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The inspiration for Diamondback's impressive new lineup of trail-gobbling 27.5in frames came from the brand's completely new suspension platform, known as Level Link, and everything from the frame geometry to the drivetrain was built not just to work with, but showcase, the suspension's design. As part of the first series of bikes to feature Level Link, the Release 2 Complete Mountain Bike makes efficient use of the latest modern standards to create a bike comfortable on everything from XC singletrack to hand-numbing enduro descents, a machine whose nimble dexterity belies its ability to keep up in the big, scary stuff.
The Release 2 is a major departure from Diamondback's previous designs, and the frame's aesthetics would be at home next to bikes that cost twice as much. If you don't want to take out a loan or liquidate your savings to buy a mountain bike but know your abilities are well beyond the limitations of an entry-level frame, the Release 2 admirably occupies that sparsely populated middle ground. Rather than shaping the frame with low-grade carbon in a heavy layup to keep the price low, Diamondback instead trusts hydroformed aluminum, giving the Release Two the incredible durability that has kept aluminum relevant even in era of ubiquitous carbon.
The geometry borrows from both featherweight XC racers and beastly enduro machines, combining a long-and-low front end with a rear triangle that has all of the snappiness of a bike designed for racing smooth hardpack. Diamondback achieves this by knocking the headtube angle out to a slack 66 degrees with a plush RockShox Pike 150mm fork, then positioning the seat tube at 73 degrees to position you over the bottom bracket and keep you on top of the pedals. The Release 2's Boost spacing demonstrates once again why the new standard is here to stay, as it stiffens and strengthens the entire rear triangle and makes room for shortened, 16.73in chainstays. You'll appreciate that stubby stiffness while stepping through steep, rock-encrusted lines.
As the defining feature of the Release 2, the versatility of Level Link suspension expertly matches with the frame's do-it-all design. The short-link, four-bar system keeps pedal input and bump forces independent, which translates to a consistent pedal platform and plush ride on root-latticed climbs. Diamondback also carefully integrated chain growth management and anti-squat pedaling tendencies, making sure the suspension refuses to dive when you clamp down on the brake levers to avoid being flipped over your handlebars by a hidden branch. According to Diamondback, Level Link's 130mm feels deeper than it actually is, and it's plenty capable of barreling down the same descents as lumbering enduro sleds but with far more finesse while climbing and accelerating out of tight corners.
Diamondback spec's the Release 2 with a hardworking mix of SRAM componentry, including GX and X1, to make sure you aren't spending more weekends at the shop than on the trails. You'll get the convenience of a one-by drivetrain with an impressively wide-ranging 10-42t cassette along with SRAM hydraulic disc brakes and a KS Supernatural dropper seatpost complete with Southpaw remote.
- Item #DMB003W
- Q & A
testing the release
ultimate budget quiver killer
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Do you find yourself in multiple realms biking? Are you finding yourself climbing/descending long single track trips one day, and heading to the bike park to get airborne other days? If that is the case this is your bike! I have ridden this on long rides in Moab, Single track in salt lake, and freeriding at trail side bike park. This thing does it all!
Suspension:Diamondback took advantage of the VPP patent's expiration, and used it to inspire the linkage for the Release. They ended up improving vpp and designing a super efficient short-link, four-bar Level Link design. It ends up causing the suspension to sit upright when climbing and helps to offset the slack front end. It also creates a feeling of much more then 130mm in the back and feels much more like 150mm in the rear on the decent. This creates a bike that essentially climbs as well as it descends.
Build kit: This is an awesome build kit with a true parts build that is way out of the price range. Once the slack is properly tuned you can expect nothing but the best from rock shox. It is also equipped with the Scram GX- 1x11 drive train which provides a dependable drive train option, and also really helps out on the climbs. This bike also in the rear takes advantage of the new BOOST standard creating a shorter length 27.5 bike, that also makes the wheels feel much stiffer improving the overall ride. Finally the KS dropper post which is a necessity for long days in the saddle helps so much ease the ride. One thing is on the release 2 it is an externally routed dropper, and on the 3 it is internally routed which is my only issue with the 2.
Let me know if you have any questions about this bike! Would be happy to help with any questions or provide feedback if your looking into it!