I don’t think I’ve ever gone to Markham mountain bike park without eating tacos immediately afterwards. Well— quesadillas in this case, but that’s besides the point. Today’s adventure was on my Diamondback Mission 2, which I’ve taken on the trails about 3 times now. I’ll be reviewing this bike today, but not how a big bike magazine or blog would. I’ll be giving you a unique perspective, through the eyes of of a hardtail die hard. If you’ve watched my videos, you know I incorporate a lot of BMX and trials into my riding, so a preference for rigidity is in my DNA.
So to say a full suspension bike has won me over is huge. I’ve ridden plenty of full squishes before and even raced one. Although I’ve been impressed with a few, they’ve usually left me feeling hindered. So far, my Mission 2 is one of the few full suspension trail bikes that I would attempt this on.
I’ve 360’ed all of my mountain bikes off of this little trail entrance as a sort of test for comparison. The fact that my Mission 2 didn’t hold me back was a total surprise, not because of the suspension, but rather the super long chain stay. In theory, this should feel like 360ing a school bus compared to my hardtail.
I had the rear shock in climb mode for this 360, but it still gave me just enough squish to really stick the landing. For most riding I end up using this middle setting which is squishy but still firm enough for flats and short climbs. On really technical climbs, the suspension even helps keep the rear wheel grounded, provided you’re spinning properly.
If you like to ride fast and take chances I’m happy to say this bike should handle the abuse. At just under 32 pounds it’s no featherweight, but for a 6 inch all mountain bike it’s pretty reasonable. The solid build means the Mission crashes as well as it rides. With the Knucklebox suspension linkage, stiff Easton wheels, and a wise selection of solid components, the only thing that gives on this bike is the suspension.
As always I have a dropper post on this bike, but this time it actually came standard with a KS Lev Integra. I have this same post on two bikes now, and have no complaints other than the fact that it sticks the first time you use it each day. Dropping your saddle is crucial if you plan on getting really aggressive, so I’m glad Diamondback decided to make this standard. They also had the sense to include the Southpaw lever, which is far superior to the one that comes with the KS Lev.
As for drivetrain, this bike is set up very similarly to my Sync’r Pro, so no complaints there. The Sram GX 11 shifting is really smooth and light to the touch. I usually prefer Shimano, but I can tell you from my experience on the Sync’r that this derailleur can take a beating.
Like any bike in the all mountain category, the Mission 2 has a short stem and wide bars. I find this to be especially important when riding technical trails since a bump in the path can knock the bars right out of your hands. With the added leverage, the case for wide bars makes sense even for a small rider like me. Getting in between trees just takes a little practice.
If you’ve noticed, I’m not a gearhead who likes to talk about components and measurements. I don’t obsess over weight, I ride in jeans, and even put iced coffee in my Camelbak. At the end of the day, I judge a bike based on how excited I am to ride it, and what I can do with it once it’s out on the trails. In that sense I hold this bike in the highest regard. Oddly enough, the only person who was able to keep up with me this weekend was riding a Mission 1. This might have more to do with the type of person that chooses this bike than it does the bike itself.
If you’re looking to buy a Mission 2, you probably see that the MSRP is $4000, but like all bikes nobody ever pays the MSRP. The 2016 model can be found far below list, and the deals on older models get even better. I can only recommend you do your research and take into account the type of riding you’ll realistically be doing. Unless you’re putting a serious beatdown on your bike, the Mission 2 might be overkill.
I’ll always have a squishy spot for hard tails, but as I expand my mountain biking horizons I’m happy to have a perfectly suited bike for any type of trail I’m headed to. We have the law of N+1 to thank for this, and I’m happy to say that my newest +1 has changed the game for me. With the addition of the Mission 2 to my squad, I’m confident that I have the right equipment to tackle anything. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll see you next time.
Diamondback Mission 2: http://www.sethsbikehacks.com/product…
Hard Tail T-Shirts: http://www.sethsbikehacks.com/product…