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Advice on Diamondback XTS or XTS Moto-Scratch that, Advise on "all" mountain bikes...

By BradF - Posted on 29 May 2007

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Hi there,

Long time reader, first time poster...

I was just wondering if anyone knows much about these two bikes the Diamondback XTS, or XTS Moto? Any advice is welcome.

I am also curious about the sizing of their frames, the small is 17.5", and I can not for the life of me find any frame dimensions on the net anywhere.

Here is the spec if anyone is curious?



They have an OK part list for the price but not real DHers(angles too steep and frame a little flexi) and a tad heavy anything else.

I have a mate that works for the mother company of Diamondback so i can get good price, thats the only reason why i have looked at them... was just curious. Thanks for the info...

I you were to recommend an "all" mountain bike under 3k - what would it be?

All mountain.

Norco is doing some good bikes. the 08 Atomics look hot for the price, though a little more DH than All mountain.

Depending on what your take on "All mountain" is the SIX 2 or Shore 3 would be worth the look

As for the Diamondback if you can get a very good price... You could always use the parts for something else Smiling

yeh im lookin at the shore 3 and the kona coiler- have 99% decided on kona though, think it might be a bit more versatile than the norco..interestingly enough the haro extreme is also a nice looking package, in that style and price range too..also the mongoose double black diamond, but that really is downhill (1 chainring), u can always stick a 3rd on the norco and kona too if u want..i had a diamond back, was a pretty good solid bike, think theyve dropped off a bit now, u hardly ever see them around anymore! personal all mountain view, is id rather take a bit heavier and more travel "freeride" style then a lighter "all mountain" or xc bike, but each to his own.. my 2 cents Smiling

I use a Norco Six Two which retails for about $2.5k. It does pretty much anything, and I thought it was well worth that price. It leans more towards a DH bike than pure XC, but that's why you buy a bike like that, right? There are various other Norco dualie's out there for about $3k that would be considered 'all mountain' designs. Flynny beat me to the punch with those. Check out:

I think you would be looking at the "Shore Freeride" and "All Mountain Freeride" pages.

There are various reviews on the net about those bikes too. Most are pretty decent. Try to go to authorative sources rather than forums. Check the reviews out for some extra info. Kuringai Cycles in Hornsby stock Norco as a main brand. They could give you advice if you need it. Anyway, hope this helps.


Thanks for all your help. I didn't realise Norcos were that affordable, I always saw them as the big shiny expensive bikes !! And Konas I really like them but I have heard from some people that they are two heavy and their frame/linkage/rear suspension thingy is out dated? Any views on the Giant Reign X1?

personally, i dont like giants much, and as for the kona thing, their argument is that its such a good linkage system, that if it aint broke, dont fix it- basically it is specialized who came up with the 4 point linkage system to eliminate potential brake actuated suspension play, which the single pivot designs can sometimes have. They then pateneted it and stopped others from using it without paying them $$ ..this maybe partly why specialized are so pricey?
However for those of us with lower budgets!, kona have designed and many others too, the brake jack or d.o.p.e system to eliminate this which essentially floats the brake system so that the rear suspension has full movement under heavy loading & under brakes...basically, if you jam your rear brakes on down a hill carving into a corner at high speeds, the rear suspension may not work quite as well, without the use of one of these brake mate raced national downhill and did some time in canada, without a jack, and still swears by do many champs- the high end bikes (stinky, stab etc.) come with d.o.p.e systems in place now- or the $2500 coiler that im looking at, has mounts for it if u need/want it..
as for weight the coiler is 36 pounds, not bad for freeride hardtail is 36 pounds lol!
anyway just thought id mention it!

IIRC They are faux bar not a specialized 4 bar.

Specialized placed the rear pivot on the chainstay below the axle, this allows the axle path to be taylored slightly.

Kona use a pivot above the axle, on the seat stay.
This means that the axle is on the swing arm and so, in effect they are just a single pivot design and the extra bits do nothing but active/tune the shock.

Don't believe the hype when it comes to what manufacturers claim with anti squat and break decoupling

If you like a bit of Maths there is a long winded paper on suspension physics, explaining most manufactures claims are complete crap, floating around the web some where, all I can find now is chapter five, which is where most of the meat is anyway,

There is a bit on Kona about halfway down page 12

Thanks to everyone for all the info, it has been really useful !!

So now for the golden question, if you had $2500-$3K what bike would you sink you hard earned dollars into?

I was tempted by an Giant Trance or Reign but I ended buying a Scott MC40 for a few more dollars.
Another good option is to have a look at Australian Mountain Bike mag, they often do good comparison test between bikes.


Work out what you want it to do "all mountain" may have a very different meaning to you than it does to me. Once you work out that most suspension designs work well these day and the $2500 will buy you $2500 worth of bike reguardless of what sticker it has on it all that left is to test ride as many different brands as you can and find out which on works for you.

Well "all mountain" to me means exactly that. A bike I can take literally all over the mountain and do anything I want with it. So id like a bullet proof 6"-7" travel bike, one with a good frame firstly, and then I can upgrade parts if necessary as I go.

If you know snowboards I want the Burton Custom of Mountain Bikes !!

I rode my Yeti DH 9 all over the mountain, up and down and did what ever I wanted on it... that doesn't mean I'd recommend one as an "all mountain bike" to anyone.
Whats more important to you, lighter weight so you can keep up on the climbs and go all day or strength so while you struggle a bit going up you are confident dropping it off the gnarliest DH once you get there?

There's going to be a weight vs Strength compromise somewhere so it depends on your main focus in all mountain.

Again go out and test ride as many different bikes as you can. No amount of advice can match that.

As for me, I suppose I already answered that question Laughing out loud I got a Six.

Other than a Six, I would probably also look at a Norco Shore Two for $3,250 if you can shimmy up another $250.

yah id be interested to know the weight of the shore 3/2..cant find anywhere..
sounds to me like you want the same type of bike as me for the same budget, so if you stumble on to a good 1 let me know too eh? Smiling
but yeh for me i guess i want a "freeride" style bike with pref 3 chainrings..meaning my view of all mountain is ALL mountain, i/e bombproof, but can go uphill too, if albeit a bit slower and harder than an xc or actual all-mountain bike, and im not that worried about weight as long as its not too far above 35-ish pounds..
as for all the pivot/triangle talk etc.. i think its really a test-ride issue, its easy to get carried away with the hype of the whole inverse 4 point pin twist of lemon stuff, but at the end of the day those of us that have suffered a saw bum on a ht for years, will be pretty cool with any long travel systems! -so my personal pref are kona coiler, norco shore 3/2, haro extreme 7.1, gt ruckus (although its pretty ugly) and mongoose double diamon (although it only got the one chainring i think)... im thinking brakes vs fork vs frame for $$.. all those have good ones imho..

the norco shores are coming in around the 40 lbs, i have a norco six one with a few upgrades that weighs 30lbs the standard bike comes in at 35lbs.with nearly 7 inches travel on the rear its enough for what you will find around sydney and it climbs pretty good as well,i use it everywhere in the blues and find no problems going up or down. 3k from the bike shed in mortdale.norco use the four bar horst under license from specialized and its rock solid.

yeh the shores do seem quite downhilly, and 40 is getting up there! will have to check out that six one ta.. seriously though wtf is with copyrighting a triangle design on a bike! seems ridiculous to me that anyone else who came/comes up with a similar design has to pay specialized!

it's not the triangle, it's where the rear link is placed.

Yeah i pretty much want what you want alex, I want a bombproof. I hate hills, like i really hate hills, I walk up most of them now anyway, so im happy to push a heavier bike up anyway, cause then you can wear a giant grin on the way down!!

haha yeh hills blow..i dont know there seems to be a big difference between "freeride" designs and "all-mountain" designs, and i like the look of the freeride more, they seem tougher, bigger travl, oversize tubings, mainly rear coils like vanilla etc over air, which means less chance of things going wrong to me (i know its debatable!), and bigger brake rotors with hayes 9's on the bikes im looking at (check on the site all the problems people seem to have with juicy's etc)...
yah i guess they are downhill bikes with extra chainrings and slighty less travel.. and i have to think when i got my hardtail almost 7 years ago, i wanted a bombproof tough as nails one over a xc style one, and its still going after a lot of beating with no real problems ever...something to think about- in a dualy as well, which have lets face it more moving parts therefore more stuff to break thats even more expensive!
oh and yeh sorry pivot/triangle whatever, still seems like you shouldnt have to pay to use the design! like paying the guy who invented putting shox on a fork in the first place...Smiling

If people don't get compensated for the designs that they invent / develop there is no incentive for them to do so and we would all be stuck on single speed, hard tail, ridgid fork bikes weighing in at over 17kg (that's right Kgs not pounds, we do live in Australia don't we?). I know this sounds fun to some but give me the advances of technology any day. Smiling

You're right about the frame though. Start with the best frame you can buy that suits exactly what you want the bike to do. All the other stuff can be replaced and upgraded as it breaks or the budget can allow.

Good luck

Freeride bikes tend to have 2 chainrings and be a little heavier and more upright angles than a DH race sled.

If that's the type of thing you are after the Shore would be a good pick at those $$.

yeh but lets face it your talking about the location of a pivot, not rear suspension itself, and not exactly brain surgery..anyways whatever hehe
yeh on that 2 chainring thingo flynny, the chainrings seem to be as far as i can see, the small one and the middle one with a rock ring as the large that correct? i would have thought they would use the largest 2 rather than the smallest 2 as it is more for going down then up?
i get the impression that everyones hella keen on norcos, and im the only one whos positive about kona' that right? noone likes konas? surely if there pivot design was so crap, they would be broke by now no?

My first dually was a Kona and it I have so much faith in the frame, suspension design that I have just given her a new lease on life. It is an 03 Kahuna Deluxe, straight xc here but I believe their "bigger" bikes are all as good.

Chain rings, yeah little and middle but what you will probably find is they are slightly bigger than the standard three ring size and your rear cassette will probably also be 12-34 instead of the 11-32 that is more common. Swings and roundabouts on this one.


.... & middle chain rings are used on the freeride bikes so you can still pedal them up hill(well thats the theory anyway), try riding a near 20kg bike up hill in anything other than the granny ring. Plus it makes it easy to fit the bash guard were the big chain ring normaly is. Have a look in the latest AMB it has a great review on some really nice bikes, also check the massive weight difference between them!

Granny and Middle ring is used on freeride bikes to allow you to ride up the hill. There are not too many freeride tracks around where you'd be spinning out 36-11 so Big ring is generally replaced with a bashring to protect the other rings as you smash it into rocks and logs. Also chains have trouble staying on a large rings in rough stuff without a full chain device fitted.

Alex, I don't think anyone has anything against Kona. As stated most suspension systems work (If not exactly as their marketing gurus claim.) The bad designs (URT and the like) have been tried and failed and now generally found on *insert cheap internet/super market* type bikes.

It's just value of money wise there are better speced bikes around.

As for paying for the right to use a design... The design was patented, like a lot of bike/suspension designs. A lot of people still see that design worth paying for the right to copy it, others have gone to much expense trying to find something better... If it wasn't complicated every one could make a bike that works well. The placement of the pivots *IS* the suspension, more so than the shock because how the wheel moves is very important and little changes make big difference.

You say it isn't brain surgery... Did you read that link I posted and look at the force diagrams? and that's with static loads not riders whose centre of gravity changes as the pedal, lean, sit down stand up... It's not exactly straight forward stuff

... would be easy[1] in comparison to trying to understand that stuff you sent Flynny! I almost needed some after trying as the head almost exploded under the pressure! Eye-wink

[1] Yes, it is easy, I the GF watches Greys Thingo-ma-jig and I accidentally saw some of it once - noting the surgery seems really, really simple Eye-wink

This link should clear some of this thread up:

I remember the AMP Research Bikes, and the Mongoose Amplifier. Ahh, those were the days! It flexed like f**k and cost the earth, but made us all slobber and be amazed at the advancements of modern technology. Kids today don't know how lucky they are with bike choice and availability. Lol.

Kona's kick arse. There's way more important things than suspension design. For example, having shaved legs and preferably waxed arms. Also, suspension set up..not getting too anal like some sorry arse technoweeny of course Smiling..but just making sure you've got enough for what you do, and that you are using it all (!!), and that it's balanced front and rear. And geometry. If the angles are shit for you and you're not comfy for your given type and/or style of riding then who gives a rat's ring whether your suspension is 'active under braking'... or bobs too much!
party on.

Also keep in mind that you can climb up alot of technical shit on a longer travel, slacker angled 'free-ride'/downhill type bike than on a x-country bike(or 'all mountain' or whatever else the marketing wankers have come up with lol).
You can simply plough over shit on a technical ascent that will hinder or even stop you on a less travelled steeper angled bike. Unless your trials is great Smiling
Your riding style may have to change a bit, instead of sitting down all the time spinning, get up and pedal harder gears, smoothness of pedalling and lower gears go out the window and instead you rely more on power (get into those squats) and balance.
I've surprised alot of people on trails like oxford being able to power up stuff that they wrote me off on, this was on a single ring dh bike. And I'm not a massive huge powerful mofo, I'm just conditioned to it and I also have enourmous testicals and a wonderful arse.
On a less serious note, you do need stronger/more powerful legs but they will develop naturally from doing it, or get into the gym for 20 mins a week and do some squats which will make your riding much more fun anyway. And you will also have a truly magnificent arse. Hell, maybe you already do, in which case it's not so relevant.
Obviously I'm not advocating for the use of these bikes for xcountry racing or such - although I have and it's obviously a massive compromise - but my slow in that you CAN use these bikes for everything, and they last longer, are more comfy (esp for the lower back) and most importantly go downhill and corner much faster!! would think specialized are pricks, if you dont own one, ha ha.

Gotta admit that most bikes that I have ridden lately all performed very well in the suspension department.

I bought a Kona Coiler as my first duelly and have never regretted it. Have since added a 170cm Marzoochi 66, 8 inch rotors, heavy duty rims, etc. My mates all ride "freeride" bikes as well, definately the best choice for the nothern beaches IMO.

Agree with some of the other posts regarding hills. If you ride a heavier bike you will just get fitter, but can still hit up the rougher stuff.

If you just ride the Dam like Jedijunglesnow then a Trance or similar would be the go!

I've owned two specialized bikes, both were/are great, that wasn't my point about the company..
I've smoked my own times et on my specialized, using an old '98 kona stab, with no...wait for it...brake jack. You just need to change your riding style. In alot of ways it was more fun than the technically superior bike.
So, Four bar's aren't the be all and end all and specialized are pricks for not sharing!

Was just wondering if riding a big "freeride" type bike most of the time affects the way you ride when you get back on a light weight XC bike. Obviously the weight would make a huge difference but what about the technical side of things, say climbing up rock step ups, with the lighter bike most people have to lift the back wheel over the obstacle(mono hop) but I read alot of articals where they say you can just lift the front wheel & plough through or over most obsticals with the bigger bikes. What do you think? Is it likely to teach you different habbits & make it difficult to swap between the two?

PS; whats the chance of getting a spell check thing Rob, Im a bade spaller.

Use Firefox, Luke - inbuilt spell checker!

wow this topic has made for some interesting reading ! Opened my eyes to a whole bunch of things I didn't know about bikes...

Oh and Bruce, download google toolbar, it has a spellchecker (little green tick) and checks for spelling in all active forms.

Yep it does effect the way you ride. If you are changing regularly adapting your riding style becomes second nature. But if you ride one bike a lot and there is a big break before getting on the other it can take some thought. After going from the big travel beast to the XC bike I sometimes find myself bouncing up and down on the seat as I pedal...

After riding the xc bike and not the big bike for a few month I find myself leaning too far forward on the DH bike..

As for letting the rear wheel plough through things, it's never recommended. While you can get away with it more, and with bigger obstacals, on a long travel bike it still damages wheels and rims. keeping level and unweighting the bike is still the best option.

Dave01 claims specialised are pricks for not sharing their suspension design. (Even though they do let other brands use the design for a licensing fee)

I suppose that means Ellsworth are pricks for not sharing ICT, Outland make Santa Cruise and intense pay for VVP they must be pricks too. Giant have Mastro, Pricks. ironhorse DW link, Pricks. Cannondale have all sorts of weird stuff like headshok and lefty. They must be pricks too. (Can't think of any other company other than Outland and specialised who do license out their designs, by the way)

Then, of course there's coke who wont share there formula with pepsi, KFC who wont tell anyone the 10 herbs and spices...

Get over it. People come up with a good designs and ideas and patent them all the time. If other people then want to use it they have to pay. That's how the world works it rewards the people smart enough to come up with the design to start with.

Bruce. Dont worry about the riding style thing. 10 mins back on either bike and its like the only bike you ever ride. As for the fitness thing. Ive got heaps more powerfull since i got the big hit but you do have to ride them a lot to get the benefit. As for my ass, its genetic. Its always been beautifull! Many women have told me i could crack walnuts between my cheeks! Hurry up getting the bike mate, ive got some scary stuff to show you and i mean trails not my ass!

If you use a heavier bike (say, 20kg) your body will naturally adapt to it's weight by developing extra arm and leg strength to cope with hauling it around, and over, obstacles. Particularly the uphills. It is natural resistance training on a bike, just like any other sport. Your body does it naturally and you don't even notice it. Simple!!

Damn... and I thought saving weight was the play all these years. Gonna add me some ballast on the new rig Eye-wink

BTW, I read this as, "... your body will naturally adapt to it's weight by developing an extra arm...", and thought, "Oh dear Ditty, where is this going now?" LOL

Maybe we should have some training rides for the boys without big bikes. Lets go out riding with a car tire dragging behind us! Maybe start on the fire trails then when we get competent enough we can drag it round red hill eh? That was a joke by the way!..... I could only drag a tyre round oxford falls! Ha!

Thanks for answering my question & a bigger thanks for not showing your ass Gazza, although some new scary trails sound good.

Getting the new beast next week, just so I dont have to drag the car tyre around!

flynny, what do you ride?
If you have a long travel dh/freeride rig you can 'plough' up stuff that WOULD buckle the skinny little rims you get on a xcountry bike. Unweighting the bike as much as possible when impacting into anything is a staple technique, but doesn't detract from my point. Maybe the word 'plough' was a bad one to use. I wasn't implying that you ride at something as hard as you can with no technique!!! Get a moto for that lol
I have a 03 big hit, it has done over 100 runs at Whistler, and been dh'ed and generally ridden hard everywhere since, incl up hill into shit (unweighting as much as possible)and my wheels are still true. And that's running 6.8 inches most of the time on the back, not 8.whatever it can reach at max.
If you buckle rims on a dh/freeride bike that easily then you will completely f**k a xcountry bike and should really put some time into your technique!

Specialized didn't come up with it, they bought it and took they're sweet arse time doing anything effective with it while Intense, for example, come up with a brilliant way of utilising it and had to pay Specialized. If Specialized came up with it I wouldn't have a problem. They didn't. Pricks Smiling
You sound more worked up than me though, so maybe we should hold hands and get over it together flynny lol

The whole idea of riding heavier rigs for strength training etc. is great except for the fact that you start to develop responses to the that particular setup and like it or not, it will change your riding technique from bike to bike esp. when going from a DH bike to a XC bike. This is all relative though, and if your talking about being a weekend warrior that uses different bikes for diffent courses/trails, then this wouldn't be such an issue.

PS - Bruce, you know you want a Lefty...

That's very true! I've been trying to recently adapt to a xcountryish bike again after riding a dh bike for the past 5 years, and it's been amusing re-learning where to redistribute your weight for climbing and cornering, staying seated and spinning more when climbing, and having to pick lines differently.
I think you'd buy a heavier bike if you enjoy downhills much more than climbing, and ride more hard-core trails that will punish a lighter bike more.
Just to clarify, I wasn't saying ride a 'freeride' bike for strength training. Go to the gym for that. I was making the point that you can get away with owning a bigger bike and using it for everything because you will get conditioned to it.
But for xcountry racing it's not going to be nearly as quick overall (but more fun on the downhills lol).

Muffan man

At the moment I have a cove peeler as a DH/Freeride bike and and a Vario Oxyd as my XC machine. (BOth single pivots designs BTW Shocked) )

I should show you some of Skinnies old rims as an example of how ploughing through stuff on a DH bike can damage rims. Besides a few DH "race" rims are designed to be a little soft so they dent rather than pinch flat.

I've also seen a lot of kids come in with massive flat spots in their rims as they didn't notice how hard the wheel was smacking the gutter...

hmm well ive got mavic d521 rims on my 7 year old hard-tail, and the rear wheel sure has hit some obstacles HARD over the while, just had my rear wheel re-built too, due to a shredded hub, and the rims were still in such perfect condition, that they were used in the re-build again, so i guess tough rims on a rear susp., bike should only really get buckled and stuff if its either a light crappy one, or your riding technique needs a bit of work Eye-wink i believe there are alot of sucky rims out there too that buckle on a sealed road Smiling so i guess im saying good rims+nice long rear travle= major plough-ige!

A Cove !! I went to Deep Cove Bike Shop when i was living there and my mate bought a.. hmm, actually he bought a Kona, but it was on sale... The Cove's were nice though, but were concerned that they wouldn't corner very well because that's never been a strength of our Canuck brothers. (Sorry Geoff if you are reading, but it's true). Single Pivots are great, I mean feck, look how fast Steve Pete rode on his Orange... AND THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY THOSE PRICKS AT SPECIALIZED FOR ANYTHING! Lol

I've broken a bunch of frames and wheels (etc) over the years including a kona stab frame, but the double tracks on my biggy dh are feckin tough as tits.
Did skinnie damage any double tracks? If so he might want to learn how to 'unweight' better!

Yes, I have seen those kids too. Those crazy kids. ?.

have any of you guys got mavic ex729 rims? the bike I am getting has them, judging by the size & weight of them Im hoping they will be bullit proof.

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