Anyone who remembers the ‘glory days’ of early ’90s mountain bikes – all bright colours and garish paintjobs – may have gone weak at the knees at the sight of the special-edition DBR Team Issue, created for Diamondback’s 30th birthday. However, it’s still a modern, blisteringly fast racer under its skin.
Ride & handling: old-school long, low racer falters at slower speeds
The only things on this bike that are likely to remain clean are the heels you’re showing to other riders. This is an unashamed head-down, tear-the-pack-apart racer in true old-school fashion.
Step on the XTR cranks and the DBR snaps to attention immediately, with only the carbon rims adding any softness to the absolute, undiluted transmission of your training miles into speed.
The long, low position keeps the front wheel anchored on climbs or in any powerplay situations. If there’s any trace of pain-savouring mentality in your make-up, this is the machine to tap into it and turn you on to the joys of speed.
It’s not surprising that all this takes a toll on technical aptitude. If you can stay off the brakes, keep the speed high and take hits ﬂat out, then you’ll be amazed at what this Fox-fronted frame will luck you through. However, at slower speeds that ﬂow falters fast due to the low-leverage cockpit, limited clearance and staccato stutter from the rear as it rattles and ricochets off every rock.
Frame: light tubeset makes for a snappy ride
The whole idea of oversized aluminium tubes joined by TIG welds was pretty new in the early ’90s, so these hydraulically shaped pieces would have seemed amazing back then, even if they’re relatively common now.
British design inﬂuence is shown in the Crud Catcher mounts under the down tube, and while the tyre clearance isn’t massive, it’s enough for any rubber racers are likely to use.
The E1 pipeset also goes a long way to making this an impressively light bike, weighing in at a slight 21.9lb overall.
Equipment: Fox forks and carbon wheels add some welcome comfort
WTB Raijin mud tyres might seem an odd choice on a race bike, but they’re perfect given the weather we’ve had lately in Britain. Their impressive grip extends to roots and wet rock, too, although they wear rapidly and growl a lot on smoother surfaces.
The Cole carbon-rimmed wheels are usefully broad and add some welcome comfort when clattering down boulder-ﬁlled trails without wandering all over the place. They’re mid-weight rather than lightweight in race wheel terms, though.
Pure race pedigree is obvious in the 80mm travel Fox forks and 23.5in ﬂat FSA bars, with FSA’s ﬂagship featherweight carbon SL-K kit providing the stem and seatpost too. XTR Dual Control gives instant ‘one lever does it all’ control, while the suite of gears and brakes is as slick and reliable as ever.