There is a lot to say about the Diamondback Release Trail MTB series. If I had one word to describe them, it would be “capable.”
Seriously. These bikes are ready to go just about anywhere on the mountain.
But first, let’s discuss the technology before we dig deeper into this Diamondback Release review.
The Diamondback Release bikes make use of the brand’s Level Link suspension platform. This setup is very similar to Santa Cruz’s VPP. The rocker links counter-rotate, so the forces going through the drivetrain are separated from regular suspension forces. As a result, the suspension remains active under all impacts while not affecting pedaling. This design allows Diamondback to use just 130mm of travel on this frame.
All Diamondback Release bikes have 130mm of rear travel and are outfitted with a 140mm (1, 2, and 3) or 150mm (4C and 5C) fork. 130mm may not seem like much, but after descending with a Release, you’ll be surprised that’s all there is.
This amount of travel is nice for climbing and a blast to jump with as it doesn’t eat away the lip of a jump like some longer travel bikes. The 140 or 150mm fork up front complements the 130mm rear, absorbing most of what you will encounter on the trails.
The higher-end models in this Diamondback Release review have better suspension, giving you more precise adjustment. Lower-priced models still work great, but experienced riders should opt for the ones with better suspension.
Where Should a Diamondback Release Be Ridden?
The simple answer here is anywhere and everywhere. You can take trail/all-mountain bikes like these deep into the mountains and ride up and down whatever you find. You can happily pedal along peaceful trails and know that as soon as you want to ride something gnarly, it will be ready to tackle the challenge.
Diamondback’s Release bikes are versatile trail machines that feel at home wherever you take them.
The two carbon builds would also feel at home in a bike park, with burlier suspension components, more travel, and smaller 27.5″ wheels.
Related: Diamondback Mountain Bikes Overview
The Ideal Weight
The Release series bikes all weigh around 30 to 35lb. This is not particularly light or heavy for a trail bike. Since it is so durable, though, I can’t complain about the weight. To be honest, on the trails, it pedaled well enough that the 30+ pounds didn’t feel like it was slowing me down.
Below, we tackle each Release mountain bike, starting with the most cost-effective model (Diamondback Release 1), all the way up to the fully loaded Release 5C. Let’s dig into the facts and uncover who each of these bikes is aimed at.
Diamondback Release 29 1
The Diamondback Release 1 is the most affordable version of the Release series. Here, you will find a fantastic price with beginner components.
Frame: The Release 1’s frame is 6061-T6 hydroformed aluminum.
Fork: RockShox 35 Silver with 140mm travel. This is a decent fork that matches the price of the bike. It will handle lighter trails with ease. However, those who want the ability to dial in their suspension might want to opt for a higher-level Release bike to get more adjustment.
Shock: RockShox Monarch R. Again, the shock matches the entry-level price of the bike. It’s fully adjustable and will work well for cross-country and light trail riding. However, you may feel under-biked if you want to hit harsher terrain.
Diamondback Release 1 has a basic SRAM groupset that gives it acceptable performance on the trails, but questionable durability.
Drivetrain: The drivetrain on the Release 1 is a 1×12 SRAM SX Eagle with an 11-50t cassette and 32t chainring. Although this isn’t considered high-end, it functions well, but we’d rather see an equally-priced Shimano Deore 12-speed.
Wheels: The wheels on this bike are Diamondback’s in-house Blanchard 28Rs. Again, they perform as expected at this price but are heavy.
How much does Diamondback Release 1 weigh?
The Diamondback Release 1 weighs 35.5lb, a high weight for a bike in this category. If you want to invest in this bike over time, add lighter wheels and tires or upgrade the suspension fork to bring the weight down.
Who is the Release 1 for?
The Release 1 is unapologetically an entry-level mountain bike. This model is ideal for beginners, those advancing from a hardtail, or riders on a strict budget. You could also be an experienced rider and still have a blast on this bike. However, you’d quickly find out the limits of the suspension. All things considered, the Release 1 is a bang for your buck full-suspension MTB.
If I were to upgrade two or three components on this Release build, I would replace the fork with a more capable, tunable, and lighter RockShox Pike. Additionally, I’d possibly put lighter Maxxis Forekaster tires, which still offer plenty of grip for the trails I’d use this bike for.
Diamondback Release 29 2
The Diamondback Release 2 is a big step up ($825) on the entry-level Release 1. Again, this build offers a competitive price, with beginner to intermediate components.
Frame: The Release 2 frame is constructed out of hydroformed aluminum tubing.
Fork: Fox Rhythm Float 34 with 140mm travel. This is a solid fork, considering the low overall price of this bike. It will handle most enduro and trail needs with ease. Those who are picky with dialing in their suspension might want to opt for a higher-level Release bike to get more adjustment.
Shock: Fox Float DPS EVOL LV. It is a fitting shock for the price range of this bike. It has three positions of compression (open, semi-open, and fully open) as well as rebound adjustment. This shock will work well if you ride trails that aren’t too intense. However, if you ride more aggressive terrain, this shock might not be enough for you.
Diamondback Release 2 rides a combination of Fox and SRAM parts that make it capable on the trails.
Drivetrain: The drivetrain on the Release 2 is a 1×12 SRAM SX/NX/GX mixed drivetrain. This includes a basic 11-50t SX cassette, a 32t SRAM Style crankset, a GX rear derailleur, and NX shifters. The GX derailleur and NX shifters significantly increase the durability over the full SX drivetrain seen on the Release 1.
Wheels: The wheels on this bike are nothing special, just Diamondback’s 29er house-branded set called Blanchard 28R. However, they are taped for tubeless tires. Again, they are a little heavier but expected in the sub-$4,000 price range.
How much does Diamondback Release 2 weigh?
Diamondback claims the Release 2 weighs 31.3lb, which is a little heavy for a trail bike. However, it would be easy to get the weight down with another set of wheels or swap a few other components if you really wanted to.
Who is the Release 2 for?
I came into this expecting to say that Release 2 is for entry-level riders, but I don’t think that is accurate. This bike is for people on a budget. You can be an experienced rider and still have a blast on this bike and not worry about its performance. If you can afford to, opting for a higher-end model is always nice, but otherwise, the Release 2 offers solid value.
This bike is pretty well set up for what it is intended. However, if I owned the Release 2 as my everyday trail bike, I would upgrade the rear shock to a piggyback shock and possibly put lighter wheels on it. Most riders looking at this bike will likely be fine to ride it how it is. Overall, it’s an excellent build.
Diamondback Release 3
The Release 3 is Diamondback’s high-end aluminum build. It has a solid all-rounder components list that any trail rider would be happy with.
Frame: The Release 3 is constructed from the same hydroformed aluminum tubing as the Release 1 and 2. However, it sports a sleek Gecko Green paint job and internally routed cabling for greater durability.
Fork: Fox 34 Performance Float – This is a great fork. It features a GRIP three-position damper and rebound adjustment. It will have you riding smoothly on even the roughest of trail segments. No complaints here.
Shock: Fox Performance Elite Float DPS is another solid inclusion at this price. It’s lightweight, adjustable, and provides the performance riders seek from a mid-range trail bike like this.
The SRAM GX drivetrain and Shimano XT M8100 brakes found on Diamondback Release 3 offer excellent performance and are some of the best components you can expect at this price.
Drivetrain: The drivetrain on Release 3 is a GX Eagle system that fits perfectly with a 10-50t cassette and 32t crank. This is a smooth-shifting 12-speed setup that is perfect for spinning up steep climbs.
Wheels: Unfortunately, the wheels are heavy, as they’re the same ones used on the first two builds. However, they are strong and durable.
Related: Diamondback Mountain Bikes Overview
The Diamondback Release 3 weighs around 31lb. This is practically the same as Release 2. It is a decent weight for what the bike means to achieve. The weight does help it feel planted on descents without being a nuisance on the climbs.
Who is the Release 3 for?
The Diamondback Release 3 is a bike for people who want a serious trail machine at a competitive price. The Release 3 may not be carbon fiber, but it provides a fun and capable ride. For a lot of people, that is all that matters.
It is hard to talk about upgrading a bike at such a reasonable price. However, if I owned the bike, my first upgrade would be the wheels and set it up tubeless.
Diamondback Release 4C
The Diamondback Release 4C is the cheaper of the two carbon-frame Release builds. This is one of the most affordable carbon mountain bikes on the market and is sure to leave you smiling.
Frame: The Release 4C has a full carbon frame with Level Link suspension.
Fork: The Fox 36 Performance Float 150mm fork is ready to take on whatever you throw at it. It is Fox’s entry-level 36mm-stanchion fork, but it’s still very capable. The three-position compression lever and rebound adjustments allow you to tailor it for different terrain, preferences, and rider weight. It may not offer as much adjustment as higher-end models, but this is a solid inclusion considering the price.
Shock: Fox Float DPS EVOL LV – This matches the fork well. It features the same three-position lever as well as rebound adjustment.
Drivetrain: SRAM’s 12-speed NX Eagle is chosen for the drivetrain. This is a solid system that shifts quite well. The crankset is the SRAM Descendant 6K Eagle with 32t that pairs with an 11-50t cassette.
Wheels: Again, the same Diamondback wheels are used for this Release model, but they are 27.5″ instead of 29″. These are definitely worth upgrading at some point, but they are plenty durable and come tubeless-ready, which is a big plus. These 27.5″ mean the carbon Release bikes are slower and slightly less comfortable but easier to maneuver and more playful.
Despite the frame being made of carbon fiber, Release 4C weighs around 30 pounds, almost the same as Release 3.
Who is the Release 4C for?
The Diamondback Release 4C is for riders who want a 27.5″ trail bike with a quality carbon frame with a decent build kit for an affordable price. This bike won’t break any records, but it is fun like the others.
I would like to have seen lighter rims on this bike, such as a DT Swiss rim. This would be the first upgrade I’d make.
Diamondback Release 5C
The Release 5C is the premium build in Diamondback’s Release series. It sports a race-ready build kit and offers exceptional value as a carbon trail MTB in the sub-$6,000 price range.
Frame: The Release 5C makes use of the same carbon fiber frame as Release 4C, just with a Blue-Grey matte finish.
Fork: The Fox 36 Factory Float GRIP2 fork on this bike is Diamondback saying, “Go ahead, put this bike to work.” The ‘Factory’ components are Fox’s lightest, highest-performing, and are highly adjustable, capable of handling lots of abuse, and buttery smooth. High and low-speed rebound can be tuned, as well as its compression via a three-position damper.
Shock: A Fox Factory Float DPS shock further unlocks the potential of the frame. It’s also highly adjustable, lightweight, and ready to handle almost any trail you tackle.
Riders wanting the best of the best and willing to pay for it will not be disappointed by Diamondback Release 5C and its high-end SRAM and Fox parts.
Drivetrain: The drivetrain is SRAM’s performance-oriented 12-speed GX Eagle drivetrain. This 10-50t and 32t setup will give you enough of a gear range for you to tackle any situation head-on.
Wheels: The e*thirteen LG1 EN rims and Novatec hubs make a solid, high-quality aluminum wheelset. No, they aren’t carbon, but they are light and hold up to a lot of abuse—no complaints here in this Diamondback Release review.
Taking into consideration the heavier-duty suspension, the Release 5C comes in lightest at about 30lb. This feels like a good weight for the bike. It is similar to the others, but the lighter rims and drivetrain bring a small improvement.
Who Is the Release 5C for?
The Release 5C is for riders who want a do-it-all 27.5″ carbon trail bike at a reasonable price. There are no parts on this bike that I would get rid of or change. I think Diamondback was spot on with this build, but avoid it if you want a 29er.
This bike is excellent. Sure, you could add carbon wheels or bars, but the bike shreds as is; there is no need for upgrades.
The Diamondback Release series are exceptional machines at excellent prices.
The five builds cover a range of prices suitable to most budgets, and offering 27.5″ or 29″ wheels, aluminum or carbon frames, and 140mm or 150mm forks means most riders looking for a trail bike will find something to suit their needs and skill level.