The XTS Moto is Diamondback’s latest entry-level big-hit bike. Team Ashton Diamondback, headed by UK trials star Martyn Ashton, now includes a pair of rather rapid downhill racers who will be relying on the XTS Moto along with the Diamondback Sabbath to cope with the toughest race tracks around the world.
Ride & handling: Ready to race out-of-the-box. Stable at speed, pedals well and easy to throw around
The Diamondback has a spacious cockpit, which makes it very stable at speed. The 710mm-wide handlebar helped keep things under control, but a 60mm Gravity Gap stem may be a touch too long.
In tighter turns it was tricky weighting the front wheel adequately to maintain traction and prevent understeer, and as is common with many single pivot bikes, manualing is tough – a shorter stem would help to loft that front wheel skyward.
The rear end, controlled nicely by the Fox Van R shock, behaved very well. It’s a good bike to sprint on; at no point does it feel energy is being wasted when the cranks are being pounded.
The single pivot is not the comfiest of designs but it does what it needs to do. The great tyres and the well balanced fork and shock mean the XTS Moto holds lines incredibly well. Weighing in at 17.69kg (39lb), this bike is easy to throw around yet robust enough to take the big hits.
The 888 fork, with 200mm of travel, seemed more obedient than other Marzocchis we have ridden recently and added to the overall feel of the bike.
The XTS Moto isn’t the most versatile bike, but it can be raced on out-of-the-box, although the trail centre trip may have to be postponed.
Frame: Strong, stiff and simple single pivot design. Well finished and good looking
The single pivot frame’s simplicity keeps maintenance to a bare minimum without compromising on performance. The stiff rear triangle pivots on two sealed bearing units directly on the Moto’s chainline, ensuring nominal energy is wasted in pedal bob.
Weight has been saved thanks to generous milling on the larger sections of the rear end, and adds to the smooth and subtle detailing of the frame. The latter also has an adjustable shock mount. By sliding the shock mounting plate up or down the burly drilled gangway, tweaks to geometry couldn’t be simpler, although we found the bike felt the best at its slackest.
Triangulation is key to ensure the frame remains strong and stiff. Not a curve in sight on the XTS. It may be more of a traditional look but it is proven and doesn’t fail to deliver in this case.
The rear end combats lateral flex very successfully and provides more than adequate mud clearance. The hourglass shaped head tube engulfs the 1.5in headset and the well finished, tapered gusseting adds strength to critical areas. The only limiting factor for this frame is that it will only be available in a size 16in.
Equipment: Decent chain device, fork, shock and wheelset, but we’d fit a shorter stem
You do well for your money in this case. The drivetrain includes a short cage Shimano Tiagra rear mech and ever faithful E13 LG1 guide, mounted to the ISCG tabs.
Contrary to Diamondback’s website, the XTS Moto will come with the Fox Van R as standard. This shock is simple but effective and can be tuned to perfection by a professional if required.
When it comes to the wheelset, the XTS does well. The Quad DH rim and hub have stayed stiff and true after plenty of abuse, and the Maxxis High Roller tyres are fantastic. They can cope with a range of conditions and are tough to beat for all-round ability.
In terms of stiffness, the dual crown fork does make a difference. The Marzocchi 888 RCV boasts both rebound and compression adjustment and is super-stiff. It does weigh in at a hefty 3.7kg though, which affects the balance of the bike.
The Quad brakes are moderately powerful and worked well in the wet conditions. But the lever reach adjusters aren’t finished particularly well and it may have been easier to use a conventional Allen adjust instead.