Diamondback Response 29er Mountain Bike Report
Best Diamondback Response 29er Bike
Diamondback is a mountain bike brand that goes against the grain. When other brands were hesitant to sell their bikes online, Diamondback jumped in and took a chance. They haven’t looked back since, and it has led to them being one of the most popular brands in the low to mid-priced range. Recently they have also started offering a few higher-priced premium mountain bikes. The Kent, Washington-based company manufactures all types of mountain bikes, from the more expensive downhill and hard tail bikes, to the recreational bicycles you will see in any park near you.
Diamond Back was founded in 1977 as a BMX brand. Over time the brand name evolved to become DiamondBack first, and then the Diamondback we know today.
Diamondback Overdrive 29er Complete READY RIDE Hardtail Mountain Bike
The Overdrive is Diamondback’s entry level mountain bike for cross country and recreational riders. This hard-tail 29er is a favourite among recreational mountain bikers, and for good reason.
First off, you don’t have to break the bank to start mountain biking.
Secondly, it comes with components that perform really well for this price level.
This classic aluminum hardtail features 24 speeds thanks to the Shimano 3×8 drive train with a plush four inch suspension fork from SunTour. Some of the other components on the bike are:
- SR Suntour XCT Front Shocks with 100mm travel
- Tectro Aries mechanical disk brakes ront and rear
- Shimano Acera rear derailleur
- Shimano handbrakes with integrated shift levers
- Schwalbe Rapid Rob 29” x 2.25” tires
- Aluminium alloy double wall rims
This bike performs very well, and is one of the leading hardtails under 500 dollars.
I took it out on some trails, and I found that it sprinted and cornered really well, and it felt very stable on flat terrain. The tires grip very nicely, although it isn’t the fastest tires in my opinion. If you are after serious speed, you might want to consider replacing the tires.
I like that Diamondback offers this bike in a variety of sizes: small (16”), medium (18”), large (20”) and extra-large (22”). It isn’t often that manufacturers cater to those of us who are slightly larger, and Diamondback has done a great job with the Overdrive to ensure there is an option for everyone.
The Tektro Aries Mechanical disk brakes on this bike really stood out for me. I found the front 160mm roter to be powerful, and it handles steep gravel downhills well. I have paid double the price for bikes from other manufacturers, and their brakes were considerably worse than the Tektros on the Overdrive.
The Overdrive 29er comes with the 6061-T6 aluminum alloy frame with custom formed and butted tubes that forms a structure so strong and lightweight, that this bike will handle anything you can throw at it. The head tube is machined for precision steering and the rear dropouts are forged with a replaceable derailleur hanger that is as tough as nails.
With this sturdy frame, you don’t have to worry about anything breaking. You can just hit dirt and ride, with the peace of mind that you have a solidly built bike beneath you.
The frame is quite heavy, which is expected at this price. It does feel very solid and absorbs vibrations nicely for a comfortable ride. And nobody ever complained about a little extra weight on the downhills!
Why 29-Inch Wheels?
29-inch wheels is a dividing topic amongst mountain bikers. There is no middle ground. Either you love it, or you hate it.
There are many benefits to the larger wheels, and all of them relate to an easier ride. These large wheels handle ledges, rocks, roots and other obstacles with more ease than their 26 inch counter parts. This is largely because of the ‘Angle of Attack’. The simplest way to explain this, is to think of skateboard wheels in comparison to monster truck wheels. If you hit a pebble on a skateboard, you are going to lose some skin. A monster truck on the other hand, powers over and crushes other vehicles. The larger the wheel, the more it can handle.
The biggest selling point of 29ers is that the bigger wheels “smooth out” the bumps. This is because of the angle of attack.
This smoothing out of the bumps, means you lose less momentum going over obstacles. This leads to more speed, and a little less effort pedalling.
The larger wheels also mean larger tires, leading to more tire on the road. You guessed it! That means more grip.
The larger tires has a bigger air volume when compared to the 26ers, meaning it soaks up the bumps a little better. There are thinner tires available in 29 inches for those concerned with speed.
The larger wheels have a knock-on effect with the bikes design, and the longer wheelbase makes for a more stable ride. This does cause the feeling of the bike being less maneuverable than 26 inches.
The one thing that most riders will notice with 29 inch wheels, is that you feel a slight lag in instant acceleration. Not a big deal for the recreational rider, but it might annoy the more experienced rider. Just to be clear, it is just a feel thing, and not really that there is any difference in speed.
In fact, a recent report concluded that 29ers are in fact faster than 26ers. Click here to view the report.
Why Hardtail vs Full Suspension?
For a beginner mountain biker, this is one of the most common questions. It comes down to choosing a basic full suspension (also referred to as dual suspension) or a higher-level hardtail for the same budget.
Let’s simplify it.
If you compare a bike with full suspension, and compare with a hardtail at the same price, it makes sense that the rear suspension must mean a compromise has been made on some of the other components. The manufacturers need to make a profit, and can only use a certain amount of money on all the combined components.
Adding rear suspension means that they skimped somewhere else.
The question then becomes whether the hardtail’s better components make for a better bike, or if the compromise on quality parts are worth it for a more comfortable ride? In other word, do you want a mid-range hardtail, or a budget dual suspension?
A full suspension bike has more moving parts and is much more complex than a hard tail, and this makes it more important for regular servicing which can add up in the long run.
The hardtail should be your preference for smooth and extended climbs, while rougher, more technical trails will require the extra traction of the full suspension. When doing downhills, the hardtail will skip and bounce more than the full suspension, which will limit traction.
If you are only just starting out with mountain biking, and plan on doing cross country trails, the hardtail is the way to go. For the price, you get better components which will last longer and will ensure a smoother ride.
If you only plan on hitting the tar, or smooth rail trails, the hardtail is the clear winner.
If you plan on doing highly technical terrain with more experienced riders, it might be worthwhile considering a full-suspension bike.
What Is The Right Size?
Diamondback caters for all shapes and sizes with the small, medium, large and extra large options. For those 5’4 to 5’7 tall, the small is the right option. The medium is suited to those who measure 5’7 to 5’10, while the large is for those who fall between 5’10 and 6’1. The large is for those who are 6’1 and taller.
I will mention that all Diamondback mountain bikes are warrantied up to 300 pounds. I had a friend of mine, who is just over 300lbs, take a ride on the extra large Overdrive I tested, and he commented on how comfortable it felt compared to other bikes he had in the past.
Diamondback introduced the Ready Ride concept with the aim of reducing assembly time when you receive your new mountain bike. No more tedious assembly with a hard to understand manual that waste hours that could have been spent riding your new wheels.
Any Diamondback that is labelled Ready Ride is handbuilt and shipped directly to you. Once it is delivered, you just put on the pedals, seat and front wheel, and you are ready to hit the trail.
No need to worry about dialing in brakes, and adjusting derailleurs. Check and pump the tires, and you are off to the races.
What Are The Con’s?
There is very little not to like about this bike. If I had to mention one thing that disappointed me, it is the saddle. I found it uncomfortable on longer rides, and you know an uncomfortable seat makes for an unenjoyable ride.
There are a large number of replacement seats available on Amazon, and many of them will lead to a more comfortable ride.
Personally, I really like the Sunlite Cloud-9 Bicycle Suspension Cruiser Saddle. For less than the price of a dinner for one at a fancy restaurant, this saddle is designed for serious comfort. Soft and forgiving, this bike seat works perfectly for men and women. You want to spend more time on the bike, and with this seat, you will be so comfortable you won’t notice the time go by.
The final verdict
We live in a world where mountain bikes tend to be over-hyped and outrageously priced. With the Overdrive, you can rest assured that you can get a sturdy, well-built mountain bike without breaking the bank. You won’t find another classic hard tail that handles as smoothly for the price.
This is a no-nonsense bike that is ready for everything you can throw at it. The 29inch wheels won’t balk at roots, logs or rocks, and you will always feel like you are in control.
The DiamondBack Overdrive 29er Ready Ride is a great option for a starter cross-country bike, or for those who are hardtail fans. The Overdrive doesn’t disappoint, and it offers really good value for money.
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