Diamondback's Mason AM 29'er is a bit of a departure from traditional 29" bike geometry, handling, and purpose. Mason is less XC than most 29" offerings, with a slack 66.5 head angle and short 17" chainstays. A 140mm Fox fork soaks up the rough stuff and allows for ease of control in getting the front end up. Diamondback's idea behind the Mason is to offer a simple bike that can be pedaled up quickly but shredded down with aggressiveness. The playful Mason AM 29'er retails for $2,499 for the complete bike.
Mason AM Frame
The Mason features a 6061-T6 aluminum frame with a formed top tube, a formed and butted down tube, a tapered head tube, ISCG 05 tabs and a 142×12mm Maxle drop out. The Mason comes in a Raw/Red paint scheme and is available as a frame only or a complete bike in four sizes: SM (15.5"), MD (17"), LG (19"), XL (21").
Mason is designed to be affordable. A 140mm travel Fox 34 TALAS 29 CTD air fork smooths out the ripples up front. Race Face Respond 10-speed crankset is mated to a 32t single ring and a bash guard. Combine this with a SRAM X-9 Type 2 rear derailleur and trigger shifter, and a 10-speed 11-36t cassette and you have a minimalist approach to get you up the hill with ease. WTB 29" 32h, single eyelet, double wall disc-specific rims are laced to sealed cartridge bearing hubs for a stout, yet lighter weight wheelset. Avid Elixir 5 brakes with 200mm front and 180mm rear rotors offer plenty of stopping power. A Raceface Respond stem and bar complete the cockpit. Mason also comes specced with a KS dropper seat post with handlebar-mounted remote.
We got a little sample ride in aboard the Mason AM 29" and were impressed with the relaxed geometry and stiff, precise feel. The bike was tame enough on steep climbs to not 'need' the travel adjustment of the Fox Talas fork, but those climbing for extended periods may prefer to use this feature. Once pointed downhill, the bike really came to life, offering stable yet quick handling. We were afraid the alloy hardtail would kick like a mule, but the 29" wheels help exponentially to smooth things out. Even with flat pedals, we felt comfortable rolling the tall bike on rocky terrain. Cornering is a joy when pushing the big wheels into turns, much attributed to the slack front end and short stays.
|The Mason handles like a dirt jumper on the trails. - Eric Porter|
Diamondback's marketing director Jon Kennedy gives some product overview of the Mason AM 29" hardtail:
A Preview Of Things To Come
Diamondback will be responding to the mid-travel 29'er crowd with the Mason FS. The 140mm front and rear travel bump-taming aggressive geo shred machine could be available as early as spring 2013. Although we didn't get a chance to ride the only prototype in existence, we can comment that the shape of the frame combined with the graphics scheme is a visual treat. Expect a similar component spec to what you see here, which includes Fox CTD air shocks, XO Trail brakes, Race Face SixC Carbon cranks, Easton Haven 29" wheels, and a RockShox Reverb. With that type of spec, we're guessing somewhere around $6k, and a progressive all-mountain geometry similar to the Mason AM hardtail.
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