Diamondback Release 5C Carbon Trail Bike
Many of our readers are in search of true value in a world filled with high-priced mountain bikes. Although not usually the first brand on everyone’s wish lists, Diamondback has always stepped up to deliver good, affordable options. The MBA crew has been able to test multiple runs of the Diamondback Release. Over the years,
Diamondback has made slight geometry modifications, added a carbon frame option for the 27.5-inch model and has continued to utilize the Level Link suspension platform throughout its mountain bike lineup. We brought the latest Release 5C Carbon to our local testing trails to see if it packed performance while fitting into an affordable budget.
Keeping price in mind, the latest Release 5C still boasts modern features. The frame is made from a monocoque carbon with internal cable routing for the rear derailleur and dropper post, and comes with Boost 148 hub spacing in the rear. It comes out of the box with an MRP chain guide bolted to ISCG-05 tabs, a tapered head tube, a threaded bottom bracket and, of course, Diamondback’s Level Link suspension platform. The frame offers 130mm of travel in the rear, paired with 150mm of travel up front. The head tube angle is set at 66 degrees, while the shorter-travel Level Link at the rear aids in support when pedaling.
The relatively long wheelbase, low bottom bracket height and slacked-out head tube contribute to the stability of the bike’s design, while the steep 73-degree seat angle places a rider over the bottom bracket to improve pedaling performance.
The Release 5C Carbon we tested is held to the ground by a 27.5-inch wheelset. Diamondback currently offers this model in both 29-and 27.5-inch aluminum-framed versions. We hope to see a 29-inch carbon version in the future, but for now, it remains at a lower price point as an alloy frame.
Diamondback currently offers five different builds of the Release. The entry model, known as the Release 1, is a $2300 aluminum build with an SR Suntour Aion and Shimano Deore M6000 drivetrain. With a $500 jump, we land at the Release 2 that also uses an alloy frame, featuring a Fox Rhythm up front, a Fox Float DPS in the rear and a 12-speed Shimano SLX drivetrain. The Release 3 comes in at $3500, with a Shimano XT M8000 11-speed and a plush Fox Performance package at the front/rear. The next step up is the contender right below the version we tested, the Release 4C Carbon.
The 4C build has a Fox Performance package but comes…