Diamondback is one of our favorite brands, because of the high quality and variety of options they offer. In general, we highly recommend the brand, but today we are focusing on the Diamondback Road Bike Reviews.
The brand Diamondback has had a rich history in cycling. Formed in the late 1970’s Diamondback Bicycles rode a huge wave of success from their BMX heritage seen in the likes of Eddie King, a BMX Hall of Famer that rode for the brand early on. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s the brand expanded heavily into mountain bikes, and fielded road cycling teams.
While we won’t review one of the wildest bikes available, the Diamondback Andean, which is a work of art in its own right, we will focus on the best Diamondback road bikes for this article, in both standard and disc brake models.
In addition to great affordability, Diamondback offers quite a few different models. Within each model, they normally have 3 variations. Basically a good, better and best scenario where improved parts are key. The result is many options based on quality and price.
Here is the good news- Every new bike that Diamondback produces is equipped with disc brakes. That makes things a bit easier in regards to low-end brakes as even basic disc brakes give good stopping power.
This is my easiest recommendation, try out the Diamondback Haanjo. It has all the right things going for it, and the pricing is beyond competitive. It should be an easy purchase decision, you just decide on color and parts!
While I may normally have gone with the more pure road bike, I think the Haanjo is a fun all around bike, and with the popularity of gravel rides and races this is a great bike to get your feet wet with.
Endurance Men’s Road
Diamondback splits their road line into two categories endurance and adventure. The key difference is the adventure bike has more clearance and can accommodate the bigger tires preferred for gravel riding. Endurance bikes are a bit more aggressive and prefer the pavement, although the geometry would give comfort in many situations.
The mainstay of the Endurance line is the Century. Diamondback makes this in both a carbon and aluminum frame. There are a few key differences, most of which is geometry. The carbon based frames have slightly shorter top tubes.
With an MSRP below $1700, the Century 3 here has a ton of value. The frame is a high quality 7005 aluminum which is quite light and stiff, fairly close to carbon usually. The Shimano 105 drivetrain performs quite well, and the TRP brakes are a high-quality mechanical brake option. TRP is the premium brand from Tektro.
The other cool thing with the Century 3 is that it has good wheels from the start. The HED rims and through axle front hub is higher quality than other competitive brands. While not the lightest, they roll great, and probably not slow you down.
Now if we look at the Diamondback Century 6, we see the top of the line endurance model. While a few years ago I rode the geometry of the Century 3 in hundreds of races, I now prefer the geometry of the Century 6. The 5mm shorter top tube allows comfort, and better weight balance without having to slam the stem down.
The first thing you will notice is the big brake levers. Since the 6 runs Shimano hydraulics, the levers increase in size to house the piston and master cylinder. This gives a bigger ergonomic footprint, errr handprint! With the bars and levers setup for your needs, you will find a bit more comfort over the smaller levers pre-hydraulics.
The 6 also features a full mechanical based Ultegra drivetrain. There are pro teams all over the world that use Ultegra on their bikes, and there is nothing wrong with it. It actually weighs a few grams more than Dura Ace but is a bit tougher so it can be banged around without too much worry.
Another big upgrade is the HED wheels. These are upgraded to the Flanders rims which are nice and light. One of the main reasons race bikes switch to carbon rims is rotating mass. This is no different, you will find accelerating this bike to be a bit easier.
Endurance Women’s Road
The mainstay of the Women’s endurance road bikes for Diamondback is the Arden. As with the Men’s bikes and the Century, the Arden is the key model that comes in both carbon and aluminum versions.
On the women’s version, the geometry is tweaked quite a bit. First off is a slightly steeper seat tube angle to compensate for a shorter femur length. This is a nice touch and should allow most riders to find an appropriate fit.
Additionally, the top tube lengths are 10 mm shorter than the counterpart men’s models. When combined with the seat angle difference, many women will not need to run the shortest stem they can find. The byproduct is that forward weight distribution is easier to achieve, similar to a men’s bike for proportions. Women in this biomechanical position should find a better handling bike and have a reasonable hip angle to get good power out of their legs.
Shown is the Arden 5, which is an excellent carbon framed bike with Shimano 105 components. The ergonomics of the brakes on the 105 should suit many riders with small hands.
One big recommendation here. Women, please upgrade and get hydraulic brakes from the start. You will gain confidence easily, and feel in control. This will make your enjoyment much easier to achieve.
A nice thing about the Arden line is that there are several bikes below $1000 MSRP. They feature mechanical disc brakes and reasonable drive trains. There aren’t any corners being cut with these models.
One thing I love on the Arden aluminum models is the paint. It almost looks anodized. The satin finish in brighter colors looks amazing, and it would remain appealing to the eye for several years.
Many people ask why gravel or adventure bikes are the fastest growing segment of 700c wheel models. After all, couldn’t you do the same thing on a mountain bike? While I am sure that you can, there are big advantages of an adventure bike over other genres.
Effectively, an adventure bike is a more aggressive road oriented mountain bike. Ok, what does that mean? Well, first off it is lighter in weight and faster than a mountain bike. The skinnier tires allow you to cover more distance but still remain wide enough to tackle dirt roads, and other trails.
The road style handlebars also provide many hand positions. A big drawback to mountain bikes is the relatively few options to move your hands as they get tired, cramped or ache.
The key model to look at here is the Haanjo. Despite the weird name, the Haanjo has all the bases covered. Most models come stock with a 37c width tire, with room to go bigger. It seems 40mm is a magic number lately, being a happy medium for width and speed.
The drivetrains have a nice wide range of gearing, with most having a standard mid compact crank, and a wide range cassette in the back. Most riders will find gears that they will like, or can tweak things enough to their liking.
Another nice touch is the through axle front and rear on the carbon frames. This feature is usually seen on the very expensive bikes, but is passed down here. Through axle helps the frame and fork tie together more solidly, and prevent the wheels from deflecting as the frame handles bumps and vibrations.
The counterpart women’s adventure bike to the Haanjo is the Haanjenn. See that, Jo and Jenn, makes sense now right?
Unfortunately, due to demand, the Haanjenn only comes in an aluminum frame. Tooling up for a carbon frame is not cheap. Each size made requires a specific mould for that frame, which gets expensive quickly.
I would say that the Haanjenn is one of the best starter adventure bikes out there. For the cost versus features, it is hard to go wrong here. The geometry is reasonable, and should suit most riders fine making them comfortable easily.
While not top end for the brakes or the drivetrain, everything here will work well. Is it race worthy? No, but at that price point, it is competent.
Well, there it is, nice and tidy but easy to navigate. Diamondback has a well thought out line, the choices are right, and straight forward. Each model has several levels and great starting price points. Basically, you get good bones. All of the frames are designed well, and offer good value.
Once you find a model, choose what components you want. It really is that easy. I could easily see picking up a Haanjo with 105 myself. While I ride Ultegra Di2 on my current bike, for gravel and off road stuff, why destroy parts that cost 3 times more?
As with many bikes, wheel and tire choices are important. On many models Diamondback specs HED rims which are already high quality and lightweight. Try the tires out, you never know, they may work for your geographic region but the reality is that your riding style plus the terrain will dictate a specific setup. In my area, it is possible to use 4 different tires depending on which mountain you are on.
As you can see, it is easy to make wise choices in the various models that Diamondback produces. You can easily stay within budget and find an excellent choice that ticks off all the right boxes. Check out the line, or even test ride one if you have a chance.