A couple month’s ago we reviewed the Diamondback Release 2, their $2,800 29er that blew our testers away. That extra $1,300 gets you a whole lot in performance and would be something we suggest looking into if you’ve got the budget to do so.
The Atroz 3 has the backbone of a decent bike. Initially the looks, geometry and in-saddle feel turned us off but the more we rode the bike, the more we realized, it could hang if we really wanted to. The slack seat tube angle combined with the stack height and reach left us with a weird climbing position that we fixed by sliding the seat all the way forward on the rails. Standing up and climbing the bike didn’t get much better as the bars were right in our knees on hard, steep efforts. Combine that with tires that do not have a very grippy compound and needless to say, it rode about what we expected a $1,500 bike to ride like. Which is fine, except the other bikes in our shootout rode like they cost over $2,000 and didn’t cost very much more.
When it came time to drop the post, manually, and hit the downhills, the Diamondback surprised us over and over. It wasn’t a standout in the crowd, but we were able to keep up with the crew and hit everything we wanted to hit. Honestly, the biggest limiting factor on the descents was the sideknobs on the Vee Rubber tires. They had a tendency to just fold right over or squirm out of the way depending on the terrain. Under optimal conditions though, the Diamondback Atroz 3 could handle big rock gardens, tight terrain, speed and we even sent it off a few skinny ladders to six-foot drops just to see how it would do. Each run ended the same, with a smile of disbelief. It still runs!