Note: These are not reviews but are simple ride impressions based on the demo tech set-up. All bikes were ridden on the Bootleg Canyon demo loop. Keep in mind that a short ride is not a review, but merely gives us, (and you out there), some idea of what we’re looking at here.
Diamond Back Mason: by Guitar Ted
Last year we saw the prototype Diamond Back Mason at the show and we gave the bike a “Best Of Show” award. (See here) Of course, it was a pre-production prototype, and things could change drastically, or the bike could have been nixed altogether. But that didn’t happen, and now the bike, (sans original name), is a reality. How does it ride? Did Diamond Back compromise anything from its version shown last year? These were the questions I had as I checked out the bike from the demo tent.
Well, I am pleased to say that the Diamond Back Mason kept everything from the prototype we were wanting: 426mm/ 16.77″ chain stays, long travel, 140mm Fox Talas fork, and they even held up their promise of dropper seat post routing and spec’ed a Kind Shock dropper post. Cool! Bonus was that the graphics were almost spot on from the original shown last year. Nice touch.
Okay, so how does it play out in reality? Well, quite nicely, actually. Like the Devinci Atlas, the short chain stays were very noticeable. Quick accelerations were met with a scoot forward that you could definitely feel. The rigid rear end even amplified this sensation over that of the Devinci. Although the Diamond Back was spec’ed as a 1 X 10, I never wanted for a lower gear here. (Note: There is a direct derailleur mount and a 2X crank could be fitted for a wider gearing range.) Typically, I would find standing and mashing on a rigid rear end bike to be superior over that of a similarly spec’ed full suspension bike in climbing situations, and this was the case with the Mason. Of course, most full suspension bikes climb better seated than hard tails, so pick yer poison here.
Final Impression: I really liked what Diamond Back did here. They even spec’ed a travel adjust Talas Fox fork, and in this application, I feel it makes a ton of sense. Knock the travel down to 110mm for climbs, which lowers the front end, and keeps wandering wheel issues and too light of a front end issues at bay. Pop it back into 140mm travel for the down hill, drop the post, and have a fun time. The frame is solid feeling, the wheels and components felt up to the task, and I can’t really see why this bike wouldn’t be a hoot to ride almost anywhere.