DIAMONDBACK RELEASE 29 2 REVIEW
Words by Nic Hall | Photos by Drew Rohde
Diamondback seems to improve their offerings year after year while still managing to keep their prices low. We’ve always been pleasantly surprised with how they perform on the trail, so we were excited when Diamonback sent us the Release 29. The Release 29 is Diamonback’s budget 29er trail bike with 130mm rear wheel travel and 140mm up front. A majority of the cost savings come from the aluminum frame and lower spec component group. Still focusing on performance however, Diamondback choose to stick with higher end suspension so aggressive riders could get the best experience possible and make smaller, more affordable drivetrain upgrades as they wore out parts. At only $2,800, with free shipping, we were curious to see if this budget mountain bike would be able to hang with the pricier options on the market?
Diamondback continues using their Level Link Suspension, which is a linkage driven four bar design that was originally designed to limit chain grown and decouple pedaling input from suspension performance. It is similar to other VPP designs with a very short lower link that remains parallel to the chain line. The suspension is designed to be very sag dependent as it will spend most of it’s time in the middle of the stroke.
Geometry is respectable for a trail bike, but nothing over the top. Reach is 449mm, chainstays measure 446mm, with an overall wheelbase of 1,185mm. The seat tube angle sits at 73 degrees, and the head tube angle is 67.7 degrees on our size large. While the numbers may portray a mild sounding bike, we found the geometry to be very balanced in respect to both pedaling and downhill performance. The seat tube angle was just about perfect to get up and on the power when climbing and the front end tracked nicely when descending.
Build spec is spot on for a nice blend of value and performance. Brakes and drivetrain feature Shimano SLX 11 M7000 series, which incorporates some of the best features of Shimano’s high end 11-speed design in a bit heavier package. Race Face AEffect cranks and Ergon grips are standout parts on the build. A Fox 34 Rhythm with Grip damper and a performance Fox Float shock on the rear offer really solid suspension that still has a good amount of adjustment. The only thing we didn’t love was the shorter 125mm TranzX dropper. It worked well, but a large bike with that steep of a seat tube really needs a 150mm dropper.