First Look 2016 Diamondback Release 2
Size Tested: Large
- Drivetrain: SRAM GX / Raceface Æfect SL
- Brakes: SRAM DB5
- Wheels: Diamondback Blanchard 28R
- Fork: Rock Shox Pike RC, 150mm
- Rear Shock: Rock Shox Monarch RT3 DebonAir
Travel: 130 mm Rear, 150 mm Front
Reviewer: 6’, 175 lbs.
Test Location: Moscow Mountain, Idaho; Teton Canyon, Jackson Hole, WY
Test Duration: 7 rides
Over the last few years, Diamondback has built a reputation for offering affordable (though a little portly) bikes that utilize their complicated-looking “KnuckleBox” suspension system. But for 2016 they’ve released two new lines of bikes that ditch the KnuckleBox for a completely new (to Diamondback at least) suspension system: the Catch (130 mm travel 27.5 Plus bikes) and the Release series (130 mm travel, 27.5” bikes).
The KnuckleBox design is tweaked and relegated to their 6” bike, the Mission, while the Catch and Release use what Diamondback is calling “Level Link.”
Like the Diamondbacks of yore, the Release comes in at an impressive price point. The lowest level Release 1 has an MSRP of $2800; the top-of-the line Release 3 costs $4400; and the mid level Release 2 I’m reviewing costs $3800.
I now have about seven rides on the bike, and while the full review is in the works, right now we’ll just looking at the build, the frame options, and why the Release’s frame might look a little familiar.
While none of Diamondback’s builds are especially bling-y, the Release 2’s component spec is overall well-thought-out. The SRAM GX drivetrain is an affordable but reliable option. The Release 3 gets an upgrade to X1, while the Release 1 drops down to a 2×10 drivetrain.
The 150 mm RockShox Pike RC up front is a great choice for a bike like the Release, and while the RCT3 with its preset 3-position compression dial is nice, I have no real desire to fiddle with my fork on the trail, so I have no problem setting-and-forgetting the Pike RC.
The brakes are where the Release 2’s build kit falls short. It comes stock with SRAM’s DB5 brakes with 180 mm rotors, and while they are an affordable option that probably contributes to the bike’s low price, I found myself frustrated by the lack of modulation and tool-free adjustments.
The wheels are Diamondbacks’s own house brand, color-matched front and rear to the frame. The 28 mm width is respectable, and while they are definitely not the lightest option out there, they get the job done, and haven’t gone out of true yet.
Diamondback includes KS’s Southpaw lever with the Supernatural dropper post. That’s something I appreciate. As several reviewers have noted, the stock KS lever is a plastic-y affair that seems doomed to break quickly. The Supernatural doesn’t have a Stealth routing option (the actuation is at the head), so even though the Release has a port for a Stealth seatpost cable, the Supernatural’s cable still runs outside the seat tube.
The Release 3 comes with a KS Lev Dropper that makes use of the Stealth routing, while the Release 1 has no dropper.
NEXT: Frame and Features, Comparisions, Etc.