Diamondback Sortie Comp review

Full suspension trail bike with cross-country handling

Our rating 
2.5 out of 5 star rating 2.5
GBP £1,750.00 RRP | USD $2,499.99

Our review

Capable suspension and good value, but the old-school angles and cockpit really don’t suit it
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The Sortie Comp is the more expensive of Diamondback’s two Sorties, matching 125mm of rear travel with a 140mm fork in a package that looks like strong value – on paper. Sadly we didn’t ride it on paper.

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Ride & handling: Comfy and agile away from the steep stuff

The Sortie is a different proposition to many full suspension trail bikes. While it’s got 140mm of trail-flattening fork at the front, it handles more like a traditional cross-country bike. 

Responses are sharp thanks to a steep, 70-degree head angle and a bar/stem combo that’s narrow and long – 670mm and 90mm respectively. That wouldn’t look odd on a two-year-old XC bike. On tight singletrack and steep climbs it works well, but as things get big and fast enough to suit the fork the Sortie gets out of sorts. 

It demands care on steep or fast descents, and stepped impacts get hairy as the already steep geometry gets unstable with fork compression. Those distant, narrow bars don’t help you deal with its desire to jack knife and throw you off. That thin head tube won’t take angle-changing headsets either, so you’re stuck with it. 

On the upside, suspension performance is good, with a usefully progressive and vice-free back end. On smoother ground it’s well worth flicking the Fox’s Climb Trail Descend lever to Trail – it holds the back end up a little, although if your pedalling is smooth it’s fine left fully open most of the time. 

While stiffness between head tube and pedals is decent, the Sortie has a bit of twang in the swingarm, and that 140mm fork would really benefit from a thru-axle. 

Diamondback sortie comp:
Seb Rogers/Future Publishing

Frame & equipment: Clean looks and decent level of kit

The heart of the Sortie is the Knucklebox linkage, that substantial lump of aluminium positioned right in the middle of the frame. It takes the forward motion of the seatstays and turns it into vertical thrust through the shock. 

The big advantage of this design is it leaves space for a straight, full-length seat tube, allowing you to slam the saddle right down. It has cable guides for a dropper post, which is the least we expect, but unusually, the Sortie lacks the now almost ubiquitous tapered head tube. Instead it sticks with a 1 1/8in setup, and pairs it with a skinny quick-release rear axle. 

Diamondback haven’t taken any chances with the components, speccing Fox suspension at both ends and a complete 10-speed Shimano Deore groupset (with the rear mech bumped up to XT level) and the ever-reliable M445 disc brakes. 

Kenda Slant Six tyres are light, fast-rolling and not bad on solid surfaces, but they’re instantly out of their depth in loose ground or mud. Or ‘the UK’ as we call it.

There is a lot to like about Diamondback’s Sortie Comp. It’s well put together, well-equipped and offers capable suspension performance. But there is something of a mismatch between its heavy-duty travel and weight and its more cross-country geometry – it feels like it either needs to lose a couple of degrees off the head angle for proper stability, or a couple of pounds (and 10 or 20mm of travel off the front) to really make sense.

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This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Product Specifications


Name Name, 0, 10, Name, Sortie Comp (13)
Brand Brand, 0, 20, Brand, Diamondback Bikes

Description Description, 2, 0, Description, S, M, L, XL sizes
Bottom Bracket Bottom Bracket, 2, 0, Bottom Bracket, Shimano HTII
Brakes Brakes, 2, 0, Brakes, Shimano M445, 180/160mm rotors
Cassette Cassette, 2, 0, Cassette, Shimano HG62, 11-36T, 10spd
Chain Chain, 2, 0, Chain, Shimano HG54
Cranks Cranks, 2, 0, Cranks, Shimano M552, 42/32/24T
Fork Fork, 2, 0, Fork, Fox 32 Float CTD, air, 140mm
Frame Material Frame Material, 2, 0, Frame Material, 6061-T6 aluminium
Front Derailleur Front Derailleur, 2, 0, Front Derailleur, Shimano Deore
Grips/Tape Grips/Tape, 2, 0, Grips/Tape, DB lock-on
Handlebar Handlebar, 2, 0, Handlebar, DB Lazer, 670mm
Head Angle Head Angle, 2, 0, Head Angle, 70
Headset Type Headset Type, 2, 0, Headset Type, Zero Stack
Rear Derailleur Rear Derailleur, 2, 0, Rear Derailleur, Shimano Deore XT
Rear Shock Rear Shock, 2, 0, Rear Shock, Fox Float CTD, 125mm
Saddle Saddle, 2, 0, Saddle, WTB Vigo comp
Seat Angle Seat Angle, 2, 0, Seat Angle, 73
Seatpost Seatpost, 2, 0, Seatpost, Easton EA50
Shifters Shifters, 2, 0, Shifters, Shimano Deore
Stem Stem, 2, 0, Stem, Easton EA50, 90mm
Weight (kg) Weight (kg), 2, 0, Weight (kg), 14.1
Weight (lb) Weight (lb), 2, 0, Weight (lb), 31.1
Bottom Bracket Height (in) Bottom Bracket Height (in), 2, 0, Bottom Bracket Height (in), 13.2
Chainstays (in) Chainstays (in), 2, 0, Chainstays (in), 17.1
Seat Tube (in) Seat Tube (in), 2, 0, Seat Tube (in), 19
Standover Height (in) Standover Height (in), 2, 0, Standover Height (in), 28.5
Top Tube (in) Top Tube (in), 2, 0, Top Tube (in), 24
Wheelbase (in) Wheelbase (in), 2, 0, Wheelbase (in), 43.9
Tyres Tyres, 2, 0, Tyres, Kenda Slant Six, 2.1in
Front Wheel Front Wheel, 2, 0, Front Wheel, SL-6 doublewall rim, alloy hub
Rear Wheel Rear Wheel, 2, 0, Rear Wheel, SL-6 doublewall rim, alloy hub