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First Ride: Diamondback Mission 27.5 trail bike

MONTEREY, Calif. (VN) — Diamondback is not a brand many of today’s riders identify as a player in the high-end bike market, but the revived builder is looking to change that. With the Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies team straddling the Podium Optum this year, Diamondback has shown it’s here to play, and with a totally redesigned Mission trail bike, it will be making waves across the board.

The new Diamondback Mission 27.5 replaces the 26-inch Mission as well as the Scapegoat park bike, and will be available at the end of May in three builds centered around a redesigned aluminum frame with 160mm of front and rear travel. All three models run one-by drivetrains. The $6,000 Mission Pro 27.5 will come equipped with a SRAM XO1 build; the $3,300 Mission 2 will come with a mix of SRAM X7 and X9, and the $2,500 Mission 1 will carry a Shimano SLX drivetrain.

Mission 27.5 first ride impressions

We were able to sneak out for a short ride Thursday morning aboard the flagship Mission Pro 27.5 on the Demo Loop outside of Laguna Seca at the Sea Otter Classic. The trail started with a descent and it was obvious that was where this bike shines.

Going uphill, the Mission Pro was capable, but not a joy. Switching the Fox Float X rear shock to climbing mode was nearly as good as locking it out, but the side-mounted switch means riders accustomed to using their right hand have to adapt. Climbing in the middle “Trail” setting was by no means efficient.

The 66.5-degree head tube angle is relaxed and made the top tube feel short, and short chainstays make this bike a capable all-mountain rig. It rips the downhills and while the 30-plus-pound platform with an aluminum frame is not exactly lightweight, it’s a solid choice for the rider looking to avoid dropping a month’s pay for a trail bike. It’s no quiver killer, but would be a fine complement to a rider’s cross-country setup, for the playful days on the trail.