Geometry, brakes, weight
The Diamondback Release is a serious trail bike that will thrive on all manner of terrain and take on any obstacle posed by the cross-country or all-mountain trail.
Trail bikes are the gold standard when it comes to offering any-situation versatility and no-compromise performance. They are light, versatile, and excellent when it comes to climbing, as well as descending hills.
Whether you are going for a short stint on the trail or embarking on a brutal day of endurance-racing, trail bikes provide the perfect MTB suspension capabilities for these kinds of situations.
A good example of a trail bike that has received positive accolades from bikers is the Diamondback Release. The following review takes a closer look at the features on the Release and the general performance it offers.
FRAME: Hydroformed Aluminum Tubing, Level Link Suspension Platform
BRAKE TYPES: Shimano XT M8000, w/180mm Front /180mm Rear Rotors
SHIFTER: Shimano XT M8000 Shadow Plus, 11 Speed
RIMS: Diamondback Blanchard 28R, Tubeless Ready, 32h
TIRES: Schwalbe Hans Dampf 27.5x2.35", Snake Skin, TSC
The Diamondback Release features a hydroformed aluminum frame and comes in four sizes that range from "Small" to "Extra Large". The bike can ideally carry riders between the heights of 5’4” to 6’6”. Weighing around 30 pounds, the bike is light enough take on alpine-style ascents yet strong enough to endure considerable stress during strong descents.
I like that the overall welding has been done properly, leading to a quality frame construction. The linkage bearings and rockers run smoothly and the chassis is quite stiff without feeling dead. The Release rolls silently, you won’t notice it even in a rough trail.
The first time I took it out for a road test, I was very much impressed by the way the bike’s weight treads carefully on the thin line between durable capability and easy pedaling. It is quite nimble on speed and still offers you stability on descents. However, the long and slack front end of the bike required an extra push as I was gradually scaling steep climbs.
The bike also uses a Fox 34 performance float fork with 3 positions of compression that easily adjust and an external rebound adjustment. These combine to provide you with a smooth ride even on the most rugged trail segments.
The Shimano XT hydraulic disc brakes on the Release continue to impress with their perfect balance of power and finesse. I felt very reassured when going down steep descents and maneuvering sharp corners because the brakes would stop the bike on a dime.
This gives you full control of the ride and boosts your riding confidence when hitting high speeds on both flat trails and sheer drops.
The Release makes use of powerful Shimano XT M8000 Shadow Plus shifters on a 11-speed drivetrain. These allow for smooth shifting between the 1*11 speed set that is excellent for all mountain and rugged trail conditions.
The Release uses Diamondback’s Blanchard 28R wheels that perform well with the wide and durable rims. I’ve been using my bike for weeks now and I can’t complain about wobbly wheels or loose spokes. I must acknowledge that these wheels are a little heavy!
The rotating mass creates a bit of lag that takes away from quick acceleration pedaling. This was very clear when I tried to accelerate from slow corners and when trying to get up and over steep inclines. Though noticeable, it wasn’t necessarily an issue given the overall feel of the machine. I enjoyed it enough to overlook this simple quirk.
What I didn’t like though, was the coloring decision that Diamondback went with. According to a pal I was riding with, it appeared like the front wheel had already been damaged and replaced with another. So dull! But coloring aside, I liked what I got from the wheels.
The 27.5” Schwable Hans Dampf tires are wide to provide traction on the trail. The Snakeskin, along with the heavy-treading on the tires ensure that you have a decent grip on wet and slippery surfaces.
What We Like
I was really impressed by the overall geometry of the bike which suits the contemporary rider quite well. The top tube is relatively long, allowing you to slam the saddle forward on the rails so as to achieve a steeper angle without cramping the cockpit. The weight distribution is simply spot on while the bottom bracket is low enough to facilitate cornering without hitting the pedals into ground obstacles.
The Level-link suspension system is another feature that makes the Release stand out. The linkage kinematics has been designed to keep the pedaling forces from suspension action, which allows the Release to strongly power up and over steep climbs with its shock absorption set wide open. In short, you can utilize all of the suspension any time, which increases the bike’s capability beyond what its specifications would suggest.
The Release can easily take on a wide range of terrain. I have used my bike on loose gravel, embedded rocks, sloppy mud trails, dirt roads, etc and the performance is more or less the same. It offers exactly what you'd expect from a serious trail bike.
Finally, I can’t fail to mention just how solidly the Release turns corners. And this is thanks to the low suspension which translates to increased stability. The chassis evenly loads up front-to-back and remains that way.
What We Don't Like
One drawback on the Release is that there is no space to put a bottle cage on the front triangle frame. Well…there are mounts on the down tube but this seems like an odd place to place your water bottle.
The wheels are also kind of heavy, but then again they are designed to save you money. It’s a good thing that Diamondback offers you the option of going to their website and customizing the bike.
The Diamondback Release is a cost-friendly trail bike that will endure rough terrains and climb hills fearlessly in spite of its weight. It makes for a good starting point for any serious trail rider looking to make a shift from a hardtail to their maiden full-suspension MTB.
It’s not the fanciest bike out there but it offers a performance that can rival other trail bikes on a higher price category.
For any rider looking for great value for money and a fun, playful bike that can tackle all kinds of trails, the Diamondback Release sure feels like a great option. It is a great buy that will serve you diligently on your adventures.