Weight: 30.4 pounds
By Travis Engel
(Excerpted from Bike Magazine’s Bible of Bike Tests, available now in print and in digital format on Apple’s Newsstand)
Pointing a certain finger at current categorization convention, the Diamondback Mason sports the build of an all-mountain 29er on a beefed up XC hardtail should average out to a rig that falls squarely in the trail category, but Diamondback's Mason is a very different beast than its all-capable full-suspension colleagues.
Much of our trail-bike course was made up of medium-sized hits and ledges that needed some skill to navigate on a hardtail. The little drops and bonus lines that peppered the descents only flowed if you nailed them. The Diamondback Mason had a predictability that made these sections manageable, but tiring.
Diamondback is headquartered in Washington state. While that state is renowned for its technical trails, it's also home to the kind of relatively flowy tracks best experienced without too much squish under your arse. The Diamondback Mason was engineered for this kind of playful riding. With its stubby stem, short 16.7-inch chainstays, and low standover, the frame is made for riders who like to throw their bike around, whether it's necessary or not.
The Mason's spec is perfect for its niche. It's like some backwoods, mad scientist's personal build. The stout Fox 34 TALAS 29 CTD fork inspires confidence while descending at its fully- extended 140 millimeters of travel, and success- fully channels the soul of an XC bike when you reduce the travel to 110 millimeters. The stock, single-ring SRAM X-9 drivetrain mirrors the frame's simplicity and durability. The chainguide is attached to the front-derailleur mount, but there are ISCG mounts if you want to get fancy.
If you have an altogether different vision for what the Mason could be, Diamondback offers a blank-canvas frameset package that cleverly includes a 142×12 hub and 125-millimeter KS Drop Zone post along with the frame for just $800.
Want to learn more about the Diamondback Mason? Go to www.diamondback.com