Diamondback's Prototype DH Race Bike

Apr 11, 2011
by Mike Levy  
This stealth looking beauty is the first of only three prototype Diamondback DH rigs that are currently out there, with the other two being ridden by Diamondback's DF5 team riders' Kelly McGarry and defending NW Cup Series champ Kyle Thomas. While Kyle and Kelly are out shredding their rigs hard, this blacked out version is being used by Diamondback's engineers to measure and evaluate geometry changes.</span><br><br><span style='font-size:19px'>Diamondback Prototype DH Bike details:</span><br><br>- 8 inches of rear wheel travel<br>- Single pivot with linkage activated shock<br>- Sealed bearing rearward shock mount<br>- 1.5 inch head tube<br>- Geometry undecided
This stealth looking beauty is the first of only three prototype Diamondback DH rigs that are currently out there, with the other two being ridden by Diamondback's DF5 team riders' Kelly McGarry and defending NW Cup Series champ Kyle Thomas. While Kyle and Kelly are out shredding their rigs hard, this blacked out version is being used by Diamondback's engineers to measure and evaluate geometry changes.

Diamondback Prototype DH Bike details:

- 8 inches of rear wheel travel
- Single pivot with linkage activated shock
- Sealed bearing rearward shock mount
- 1.5 inch head tube
- Geometry undecided
Diamondback isn't shy about stating that they are aiming to put together a full-on downhill race bike for those looking to go from point A to point B as fast as possible. With that in mind, they are focusing on the two main attributes of any successful race bike: sorted geometry and suspension that is tuned to tackle tracks at race speed. This first generation prototype is likely to see many changes by the time version two is released, including different tube shapes and revised geometry. Diamondback isn't sure how many different test mules it will take before they are happy, but they are more concerned about making the bike a winner than making it available to the public anytime soon. It is likely to be a 2013 model when the time does come.
Diamondback isn't shy about stating that they are aiming to put together a full-on downhill race bike for those looking to go from point A to point B as fast as possible. With that in mind, they are focusing on the two main attributes of any successful race bike: sorted geometry and suspension that is tuned to tackle tracks at race speed. This first generation prototype is likely to see many changes by the time version two is released, including different tube shapes and revised geometry. Diamondback isn't sure how many different test mules it will take before they are happy, but they are more concerned about making the bike a winner than making it available to the public anytime soon. It is likely to be a 2013 model when the time does come.
The single pivot swingarm uses a linkage to active the shock. The bike's designers have made an effort to have the suspension parts as low as possible in the frame. Aluminum pivot hardware is used throughout and it is worth noting that you can access all of the bolts without having to remove the cranks or chain guide. It is important to remember that it is the small details that can make all the difference in how a bike rides. Yes, the general layout is similar to some other sleds out there, but by changing the pivot locations by only a few millimeters, Diamondback's engineers can dial in the exact leverage ratios that they are looking for.
The single pivot swingarm uses a linkage to active the shock. The bike's designers have made an effort to have the suspension parts as low as possible in the frame. Aluminum pivot hardware is used throughout and it is worth noting that you can access all of the bolts without having to remove the cranks or chain guide. It is important to remember that it is the small details that can make all the difference in how a bike rides. Yes, the general layout is similar to some other sleds out there, but by changing the pivot locations by only a few millimeters, Diamondback's engineers can dial in the exact leverage ratios that they are looking for.
Jon Kennedy (<i>right</i>) explains the ins and outs of what they are aiming for with the new bike. Depending on how testing of future prototypes goes, it could look quite different than what you see here by the time it reaches production. While they could have gone the easy route and adapted their proven Knucklebox suspension to a longer travel DH platform, it proved to be better suited to their All-Mountain and Cross-Country bikes - despite the fact that it would have been easier and faster than designing a new linkage layout. Diamondback is committed to making the new bike a winner right out of the box.
Jon Kennedy (right) explains the ins and outs of what they are aiming for with the new bike. Depending on how testing of future prototypes goes, it could look quite different than what you see here by the time it reaches production. While they could have gone the easy route and adapted their proven Knucklebox suspension to a longer travel DH platform, it proved to be better suited to their All-Mountain and Cross-Country bikes - despite the fact that it would have been easier and faster than designing a new linkage layout. Diamondback is committed to making the new bike a winner right out of the box.
Possibly the best man-cave that I've ever visited, Jon's shop is set up with everything that he needs to work on bikes, including a fully stocked beer fridge and a selection of tools that would make most shops blush. Add in a stable of mountain bikes for any occasion and you have a place that most of us would love to pass the time in.
Possibly the best man-cave that I've ever visited, Jon's shop is set up with everything that he needs to work on bikes, including a fully stocked beer fridge and a selection of tools that would make most shops blush. Add in a stable of mountain bikes for any occasion and you have a place that most of us would love to pass the time in.
Diamondback's new DB4L grips have a great story behind them. Listen to the audio to hear how they got their name:
Diamondback's new DB4L grips have a great story behind them. Listen to the audio to hear how they got their name:

Audio Loading...



Check out the Diamondback website to see their entire lineup.


Diamondback is putting quite the effort into their upcoming DH race bike - let's hear what you think of it!


134 Comments

  • 51 4
 you could say it looks like a dhr/morewood/commencial/even the new lapeirre because of the linkage driven single pivot but really who cares ?

Its clean im sure it will be cheaper than most bikes out there. Looking forward to seeing it get closer to production.
  • 34 8
 more like a Transition TR450 Wink
but you're right!
  • 7 4
 cheaper than most bikes??? sorry but i will disagree there, i have looked over the cost of their XC/all mountain rigs and they are way in the upper. i suspect their dh rig will be expensive also.
  • 70 1
 tell me now a days something that isnt expensive....oh yeah, my salary...
  • 6 28
flag jarrod12 (Apr 11, 2011 at 3:16) (Below Threshold)
 I think it looks like the new Norco or DHR more than anything.
  • 2 3
 mix of the new turner dhr and 450 i my opinion, look realllll nice though!
  • 20 1
 Who cares what bike it may or may not look like....its their bike...so i think it looks like a diamondback Looks good so far be intresting to see what it looks like when it comes out
  • 6 11
flag familyman (Apr 11, 2011 at 8:01) (Below Threshold)
 Does totally look like the front triangle from the 2010-2011 Norco Dh bikes.
  • 3 0
 I lol'ed at pperini's comment. So true man!
  • 2 2
 @heavyp. I meant to hit the positive prop but Accidently hit neg prop.... My bad
  • 1 0
 Does anyone know the kind of seat in on the bike in the first pic?
I still think Sabbath for the Diamond back win!
  • 7 7
 sorry but when you sell you bikes in target and rei and sports authority it makes me look at your bikes and think about how cheap they are
  • 2 0
 looks awesome! and what a man cave. if i only had access....
  • 3 2
 I think it looks pretty plain and average, doesn't stand out although i'm sure it is a quality bike
  • 1 1
 it definently looks like a SC bullit
  • 3 3
 neg prop me all you want facts are facts....
  • 2 0
 who is neg proping you?
  • 5 0
 He just wants to cry about props jthefoo. Because apparently they're super important.
  • 18 1
 That is looking awesome! good that diamondback are starting to make decent bikes!!!
  • 11 2
 Starting to make decent bikes? what do you mean by that? They have been making the Mission and Sortie for some time now. They have also been making the Scapegoat now for 3 years. It was just a matter of time that they designed a full DH bike. A buddy of mine has had a Mission for about 5 years now and absolutely loves it.
  • 8 1
 i was referring to the fact that they have their new ss bike and now this new dh bike that really are alot better than the old ones.....
  • 4 2
 ....so you have ridden the old ones and this one or is it just a guess based on what something looks like and not rider experience?
  • 1 0
 I have ridden their old dh/fr ones, and they really weren't very nice frames....these new ones will be TONS better
  • 1 0
 no i have ridden the old moto it wasnt very nice
  • 18 0
 i already read about this in the first issue of PB magazine
  • 15 0
 awesome bike, clean lines, well finished.
  • 12 1
 the nice thing is diamond back is learning from other peoples mistakes, the linkages are running over sized bearings, the pivots can be all serviced and tightened from the non drive side, and the bike uses a bearing in place of a DU on the rear mount so it wont wear and develop play like many other bikes of this linkage design.
  • 12 0
 it kind of looks like a diamondback...
  • 7 0
 it;s the same linkage as the Commencal Supreme DH, on the Morewood the link thats on the swing arm pulls the shock instead of pushes like on the Supreme. But atleast you know its gunna ride good the rear linkage on the Commencal and Morewood were both designed at the same time by BOS suspension (Y)
  • 8 0
 Looks good if a little generic. I hope the matt black makes it to production.
  • 1 1
 would bike matt black be the same as car matt black? if so then you cant really let it get rained on...and any dirt has to be removed really carefully... but matt black would be gorgeous.
  • 5 0
 First off props to those who view this new rig with an open mind!! Second I am so impressed with those who can look at a picture and know or totally understand how the suspension works just by looking " WOW" I have stared at the drawing and could not get the swing arm to move??? I'll wait to see it in person to pass judgment!
All the new schoolers need to do some history research on DB or DBR as it was known in the 90's when they were ruling the NORBA when most of the haters were crapping their diapers.
DB had a strong following in the day and yes they fell off the paces but bottom line is they were there before most of the favored bikes of today and DB helped lay roots for a sport that is DH or MTB!
BIG props and new chapter!!
  • 3 0
 Thank you! ^^^^^

Sincerely, 80's bmx kid
  • 1 0
 Yep..DB Silver Streak!
  • 8 1
 So cool to see all of these prototype bikes all the time!
  • 3 0
 Here's to all the critics out there comparing this bike to other bikes out there. The bike may look similar to some bikes, it may have a similar looking suspension to some bikes BUT pivot positioning is different, leverage ratios are different, the geometry is different. All these aspects make a huge difference in a bikes performance. If you keep that thought in mind you will realize that this bike is as unique as any other bike out there.
  • 6 0
 what ever happened to that Sabbath gear box thing ?
  • 2 0
 They binned it. Probably due to it weighing more than a small car, but that's just speculation on my part.
  • 1 1
 Diamondback operates a US and European design team, this is US.
  • 3 1
 More Companies are getting into the burly bike biz, that is definitely good news for all of us customers, yes the frame looks rather generic but who cares, at the end it will look like a Diamondback, I just hope the price doesnt soar the sky as the top known brands, which I wont mention right here.

I love the statement: "they are more concerned about making the bike a winner than making it available to the public anytime soon", that means for me: lets make something high quality and reliable rather than a mass rig. Props to Diamondback!
  • 2 0
 This bike will likely be built at the same factory as the TR450, the DaBomb Tsar Bomba, among several others. The factory allows the company to fine tune leverage ratios, angles and geometry, and tubing profiles. It is a much more economical way of building than building in house. DaBomb is the house brand for the factory that builds many of the bikes people rave about. This looks like one of their designs which is used in several configurations by several companies. Having owned several bikes built at this factory, I can say the quality is excellent and the designs are sound. Warren
  • 2 0
 Diamondback has somewhat of a bad rap for bikes..... everybody seems to think that they are crap walmart bikes.. most of their bikes are in the $300-$400 range (most of us spend more than that on a good crank) but the sortie and mission line of bikes is without a doubt nothing to blink an eye at. The mission frames are bulletproof. You can probably expect Saint components when the DH hits the market and count on it costing $6000 or more. Diamondback is simply trying to expand to every corner of the market that they can.
  • 1 0
 i can only judge it from what is offered here.. so as far as looks go . its ugly.. and like my bikes like i like the ladies. they need to ride good but most important "look good" sort out your seat tube set up and get some high lights and ill double take.as it stand now diamonds are still a girls best friend.. Steve Holt!!
  • 1 0
 ive been a diamondback rider for a while now ive got one of there dirt jump bikes the bandito and i can tell you haters its a dam gd bike and if this dh rig is goin to be better then there current xts moto this should be like a dinivci just without the insane price tag
  • 1 0
 props to diamondback for making a comeback from shitty walmart bikes... and i will love to see how this comes out! My only hope is that the multi-linkeage single pivot doesnt add too much weight. Keep the weight at BB level, but dont put too much junk in the trunk!
  • 1 0
 Reminds me of Lapierre's Pendbox system, their DH-720 is probably the cheapest DH bike I've seen compared to other big brands. I probably wouldn't go near the Diamondback unless it was significantly cheaper, which I doubt.
  • 1 0
 It s funny I was just asking about this on the PRO GRT race that Kyle Thomas was in. Well my questions were answered. Although looks like a Turner DHR a bit diffrent though. Good for DB.
  • 1 0
 So around 3000 for the frame? Is it me ( I fully admit that I could be wrong ) or are downhill frames considerably more expensive than their freeride/allmountain/XC full suspension cousins? Just a thought.
  • 2 0
 That bike looks amazing! I want one of those Smile I always like diamondback, my first proper bike was a one, I'm glad to see they are making great bikes again.
  • 2 2
 i no lets play a dork head game. lets all comment on what the bike above looks like. yawn. anybody got anythin else to say other than it looks like me brothers goldfish's chainring dick heads top crown
  • 2 0
 i have seen this bike in person, checked it out and seen it ridden at a local race here and it performs really well.
  • 1 0
 I always enjoy your write-ups Mike, but WHAT is UP with the white writing on black background? I thought this technique was gone. Keep up the good/hard work otherwise.
  • 3 0
 Sweet looking frame, I'd rock it.
  • 2 0
 sweet bike, but it's still mostly the rider/suspension setup that makes the difference
  • 2 0
 I hope Diamondback and Saracen kick other mass production bike companies asses!
  • 2 0
 I have been riding a DB for a while, im glad they are starting to make more of a reputation for them selves
  • 1 1
 People always complain when some frame have similar shape with the others.However, people will straight away disapprove frame that have radical shape like Marin and Cannondale even though they works. LOL
  • 2 0
 Looks like a scalp front end.
  • 1 0
 it looks good then?
  • 2 0
 looks rather sick i wouldnt mind one tbh Wink
  • 1 0
 looks nice ! could use a differente color on the frame tho like deep blue or yellow
  • 2 0
 send me a frame id love to do some R&D on this bike its lookin sik
  • 2 1
 Thats how we "role". Bikes look the way they look these days its because "if it aint broke, don't fix it"! Shut up and ride!
  • 2 0
 damn!! thats a sexy beast!
  • 1 0
 albo mi się zdaje, albo zwalili z transition tr. pewnie jeździ tylko trza kendy zmienić
  • 1 0
 Love the look of the frame very similar to the DHR. Pink Bike keep the prototypes coming, love reading the threads!
  • 1 0
 "Looks" like a DW link DHR, but certainatley not the same design. Will be intersting to see how it performs.
  • 2 0
 looks very good to me! makes complete sense too
  • 1 0
 i wish they showed a video on how the linkages work. to be honest, i find it complicated just by looking at the pictures.
  • 2 0
 looks very cool in black, how about british racing green?
  • 1 0
 rear shoxs are getting so confusing im still loving the simplicity of my 2003 frame
  • 1 1
 Looks like a Transition TR450 or a Commencal Supreme! Not very original,but nice lines all he same. Wouldnt spend thousands on a Diamondback tho!!
  • 2 0
 I typed in "cheap walmart bike" into google and I found this.
  • 1 0
 What's the projected price point on this bad boy?
  • 3 0
 Its maybe a 2013 bike, price is a looooong way off I think. I'm going to bet that it will go for less than many others. Hope it rides well because it may be one that I can actually afford. We'll see
  • 1 0
 You're right. The production bike is a ways off so it will be awhile before we know an MSRP.
  • 3 0
 Keep in mind that the most expensive bike in the line up now msrp's around 6 grand. If this bike is dressed anywhere near as nicely as this prototype it won't be less than 8 I'm betting. These aren't budget bikes. They are better priced than a lot of the bikes of the same quality, but if you are looking for a cheap DH sled you better take a look at Airborne.
  • 2 0
 i'd ride one
  • 2 1
 commencal + transition = diamondback
  • 2 0
 mmm stealth...
  • 1 0
 well the linkage barings look kinda small...just compared to the 450...(:
  • 2 0
 lookin fresh
  • 1 1
 no the lab looks like a devinci wilson sp
  • 1 0
 i already knew about this
  • 1 0
 Reminds me of the Scott High Octane.
  • 1 1
 Looks exactly like my Supreme DH, If it rides anything like it, it should be pretty good
  • 2 0
 raceface bars.... cry Frown
  • 2 0
 get a few protos to bc
  • 1 0
 No audio Frown
DB4L???
Diamondback 4 life?? Razz
  • 2 0
 nice,bike
  • 1 1
 kinda looks like a commencal/dhr/sx trail/tr450
  • 1 1
 is that a commencal??????????
  • 3 0
 Thats exactly what i thought. You notice there using the same suspension design as soon as commencal redesigns there frame lol
  • 2 0
 even more cunning, considering the commencal supreme dh has a world cup win now!
  • 1 1
 Looks like the 2011 Turner DHR
  • 1 1
 *add to look likes list*---- tomac moah
  • 1 0
 Ha a bad oul bike
  • 9 9
 DHR
  • 3 2
 Thats the very first thing i thought as well!
  • 9 1
 and thats dw link, this is a link actuated single pivot.
  • 1 0
 Yeh I thought that aswell but with a higher shock placement
  • 21 0
 Did you read the article? All motocross bikes look similar from afar, but they ride very different. Lets give DB some credit here, they are working on a new bike and it looks pretty rad so far. I'm guessing that its going to be priced much more realistically than the bikes that it resembles!
  • 3 0
 that looks rad i just hope they can keep the weight down on it and so what if it similar to other production bikes out there cause this new proto looks rad
  • 3 2
 Look at the suspension design! It's not like the DHR or any of the bikes people are suggesting. The closest relative design to this is the new Lapierre. They even wrote in the article that they realize that it's sort of like other bikes out there.
  • 4 0
 Completely agree with Antron, people just look at the asthetics of the bike not the actual suspension design. The bike its self looks really good, perhaps we'l see some pro downhillers with Diamondback soon.
  • 3 0
 If it is a 2013 bike I would get it because of the amount of work they would have put into it would make you feel alot safer
  • 1 2
 kinda looks like last years supreme dh...
  • 2 0
 def the best looking bike diamond back as made. keep up the good work guys!
  • 1 0
 gripss are like the odi ruffians just with DB4L on them LOL
  • 1 2
 they should get some decals on it. it look discusting in my opinion.
  • 1 1
 lame
  • 1 2
 looks like a norco, there for i dont like it....
  • 1 3
 Over all look--Exactly like at TR450.
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