Diamondback Overdrive Pro in the snow

It’s a new year and time to get on with tasks at hand. That includes our review and test of the Diamondback Overdrive Pro 29 inch wheeled hardtail mountain bike. While winter has our area in its icy grip, I have been able to wrangle a few rides in on the snow, rock hard chunky ice, and hardpacked crust. The Overdrive Pro has given up a few of its secrets so far, so here is my first impression so far.

You may remember that I mentioned the weight of the Overdrive Pro was heavier than any other bike we’ve tested so far. The funny thing is, out in the snow and ice I haven’t noticed it too much. Only in steep ups can I tell I’m pedalling something a bit weighty. Otherwise, I can say it rides about like any other hardtail that is a bit under 30lbs. This concurs with my experiences onboard this bike in Bootleg Canyon. It just didn’t seem to ride like it weighed more than 30lbs, but it does. Again, one could shave weight off this rig in a hurry with some easy part swaps, so it is possible to lighten it up without busting the limit on the credit card.

The thing that stands out for me on this bike is its handling. Before I get into that, I might address something I’ve become aware of over the past six months. That being the two basic paths that 29″ers seem to be taking handling-wise. On one hand we seem to be observing an effort to wipe out any traces of “negative” handling characteristics that 29″er wheels seem to have. This is especially true in terms of how the 29″er steers. On the other hand we see another type of bike that stops short of wiping out all traces of a 29″ers inherent characteristics and in some cases actually accentuates them. The Overdrive Pro falls into the latter category. It is a bike that is unabashedly “29”er” from stem to stern.

I felt the stability of the wheels on this bike like I have not in some time. Snow riding demands a stable bike and the Overdrive Pro strolled over the white stuff with relative ease. The only thing really holding it back was the Prowlers lack of girth which may have helped me float up on some of the hardpack and crusty snow sections I floundered in from time to time. In terms of stability, I find that a stable, nuetral handling bike inspires me to do things right away that I might be tentative or unwilling to try on such a “new to me” bike. In fact, the Overdrive Pro did just that for me. I tried launching up a three foot high solidly frozen wall of snow from flat, (something I rarely do anyway) and I ended up crashing spectacularly, not due to the bike. My own lack of skill there did me in, but the bike did inspire that sort of confidence to try unfamiliar moves.

Component-wise the Overdrive Pro delivers. I really like the Dual Release Rapid Fire shifters and of course, the Reba was like butter right out of the box. The shifting was crisp and I have yet to have any miss shifts, even in icy, snowy terrain. The Prowlers have been okay, but these conditions really demand a wider tire than they are. That said, the Prowlers are holding their own.

The frame is great with its stiff front triangle and minimal bottom bracket flex. This bike handles well mostly because of that stiff front triangle. Your geometry is only as good as that front end is stiff. Great geometry and a noodly front end really isn’t fun! Diamondbacks design pays dividends here. In the rear it is stiff, but oddly enough, I remember the Overdrive Pro out at Vegas to be even stiffer. Hmm…..not sure why that is yet. We’ll see after it thaws out here and I can get this on some “real” trails. Until then………….