BIKESOUP REVIEW: DIAMONDBACK MYERS 3.0

The Myers frame is as sturdy and as menacing as its big screen namesake (Michael Myers from Halloween), with large diameter tubing, a big tapered head tube, and a dropped top tube; all of which gives the whole thing a purposeful and aggressive look, that matches its intentions.DSC_1577-1024x680

Frame and Spec

It’s really nice to see a threaded bottom bracket in this age of press-fit, and the rear bolt-through axle keeps the back end properly rigid; something that most cross-country bikes have these days, let alone a trail smasher. The geometry isn’t exactly radical, but it’s aggressive enough to be classed as a proper all mountain hardtail.

The Myers comes with an impressively good quality fork at this price, and although the adjustability and damping unit on the Rockshox Sector RL are basic, the forks are well controlled and smooth.

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Another stand out component, and one that shows that Diamondback have their priorities in order, is the KS Lev DX dropper seatpost. A dropper post is something that any bike with all mountain aspirations should come with, and the KS is a good choice. The Southpaw remote is far superior to almost any other lever on the market, with a smooth action and brilliant flexibility of positioning. It does however work much better in the absence of a left hand shifter, where the shape puts it right where your thumb would sit.

The Diamondback branded 27.5″ (650b) wheels wheels are sturdy and well-built, although pretty heavy. It’d be good to get some slightly wider rims, as I encountered a few problems with rolling the 2.4” tyres. Speaking of which, the Schwalbe Hans Dampfs are a good choice, being a good all rounder. They’re not the best in the mud, but roll impressively fast for a tyre of this size, and you can trust them during hard cornering.

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The SRAM X9 drivetrain works reasonably well, although it’s showing its age in not being as slick as the latest SRAM or Shimano gruppos. The clutch mech allows an easy change to a one-by set up with a narrow wide chainring, should you want to ditch the front mech, and this also reduces trail chatter and the chances of the chain bouncing out of gear. The Diamondback branded crankset is stiff and solid and uses a Shimano bottom bracket, so replacements are easy and cheap. The shifting between chainrings isn’t as quick as that from the bigger brands though.

The Raceface handlebar and stem are good quality pieces, although on a bike with this much potential for aggressive riding it’d be nice to see a shorter stem and wider bar. I’ve had a lot of trouble with Avid brakes in the past, but the issues seem to have been sorted now, and the DB3 units, although basic, produce impressive power and modulation.

One of the few niggling little problems I had was with the matchmaker shifter clamps. While it’s a nice idea reducing the clutter on the bars by integrating the brake and shifter mount, in practice I couldn’t get the shifters in the right position to sit easily in reach of my thumbs.

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The ride

The first thing I really noticed about the Diamondback after the first few pedal strokes was the length. It’s a tad short. Admittedly, I really should have been a size up, on the XL, but the geometry isn’t quite up to speed with the latest craze for longer, slacker, all mountain hardtails. However, it’s a problem that’s pretty easily solved by buying a size up, assuming your legs are long enough.

After slamming the saddle back on the rails to give the bike a bit of extra length, I set out into the hills, and was surprised to feel the bike rolling along without too much resistance. This is definitely not a light bike, and that’s to be expected at this price and genre, but the weight isn’t really noticeable on anything other than the steepest of climbs. The stiff frame, large volume tyres, and wide gear range mean you can winch yourself up pretty much any gradient, and technical rocky climbs are dispatched without fuss. Something that’s surprisingly unexpected for a bike that’s designed to go down hills, more than up them.

Once at the top of the hill, with the saddle dropped and the forks unlocked, the Myers reveals its true nature. It’s an absolute riot.

Once at the top of the hill, with the saddle dropped and the forks unlocked, the Myers reveals its true nature. It’s an absolute riot. The short chainstays and relatively short overall length make for a really playful bike, one that loves to turn any two bumps in the trail into a double jump, and I found myself whipping off anything in sight.

It feels balanced and happy in the air, and composed on the landing, and the forks will happilly suck up the sketchiest of drops or the dodgiest of landings.  It’s really easy to get the front end up too, unlocking an easy path to internet fame (#WheelieWednesday anyone?). It corners brilliantly too, as the reasonably short wheelbase lets you tear around switchbacks with ease and drift it like a stolen rally car.

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On chattery rocks and braking bumps the stiff frame does buck and rattle you around a bit, but the tyres do a good job of taking the sting out of that, and if you let it move around underneath you it’ll carry you through as quickly as most full suspension bikes.

That playful nature does come at a slight cost on the steepest and roughest of trails. The not-too-slack head angle, that had kept the front end in check on the climbs and quick corners, makes it feel slightly more nervous than other hardtails I’ve ridden. The same goes for the short reach, which gives you a bit less room to get your weight centred. It’s not the end of the world though, as so long as you keep alert, and keep light over the rough stuff, the Myers will get you down pretty much anything.

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Summary

With some clever component choices, Diamondback have managed to squeeze an incredibly capable bike out of £1000, and while it’s not the most radical hardtail out there, it’s an utter bargain for some as fun and as capable as this. It may not be the go-to downhill hardtail, but it’s a damn good enduro hardtail that won’t drain you on the climbs, or drain your wallet for that matter!

I’d be happy pointing it down just about anything in the UK, and I’ve had a whole lot of fun doing so on the Myers. Buy it if you want to feel like a technical god in skill-sapping trails, or buy a size up if your need is more war-speed oriented.

Verdict: 4/5

The Diamondback Myers 3.0 retails at £1,200 but is currently on sale via Diamondback at £1,000 with 24 months 0% finance.

 

The original BIKESOUP review can be found here : http://www.bikesoup.com/magazine/review-diamondback-myers-3-0/

 

 

 

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