Diamondback Atroz Comp Review

The Diamondback Atroz Comp is a relatively affordable way to conquer basically any single track trail system. With it’s robust frame, full air suspension, hydraulic disk brakes and a robust 1×11 gearing system, it promises a solid all around ride. This is my review.

Starting out, there are a few different configurations of this bike. Mine came with a full air suspension, with a Rockshox Monarch R on the rear and a 120 mm Rockshox Recon Silver front fork. It comes complete with a 1×11 SRAM gear/pedal set, Kenda Nevegal Lite 27.5″  tires, and Tektro Gemini hydraulic brakes on the front and rear. Everything else from the handle bars to the seat and post are pretty basic components built by Diamondback themselves, including the understated but rugged 6061-T6 aluminum frame. The full air version tested here comes in at about 31 lbs, retails for $1,499, and is available now.

What I liked

In the grand scheme of all things mountainbiking, the Atroz Comp is considered an entry level full suspension trail bike. Granted, the ceiling goes very, very high. That being said, I’ve found this bike to perform well above it’s price range when it comes to performance. Most similarly priced bikes will come with coil shocks, or no rear suspension at all. Here, we see a full Rockshox powered air suspension on a legitimately capable and playful frame, with a really nice gear set and appreciable weight. They achieved this by producing as many of the parts as they could in house (the frame, handlebars, seat-post, etc), while shopping out more important components like the suspension and brakes where it made sense. Thanks to this careful attention to price balance, it stands out in a crowded market for it’s value. Despite the moderate cost, it’s handled fast trails, rock gardens, roots, small drops, berms, and even the occasional jump impressively well, and better than similarly priced bikes. Every time I try to push the bike to its limit, I find that the limit was never there in the first place and it responds with less and less resistance the harder I ride. Granted, I’ve only been riding seriously for a few years now so I’m not an expert by any means, but as a relative newcomer, I’m yet to find anything that the bike cannot handle.

The suspension does a great job of handling really tough sections of the trail, especially with a little speed. Large rocks are sucked up by the front suspension, and small 1 to 2 foot drops are absorbed to the point that they’re barely felt at all. After tweaking the suspension to my specifications, I’ve found the front fork to be supple, providing excellent contact to the ground over rough terrain, and the rear performs quite well also, making easy work out of most technical, rugged sections of trail. Bounding down rugged slick rock, plowing over rock ledges, and even the near catastrophic casing of a huge stone gap has all been surprisingly pleasant, with the bike virtually smoothing the trail before me. It all but but eliminates arm pump and rattling of the body, making longer, more brutal trails less tiring and far more enjoyable.

Durability has so far been pretty impressive. I’ve cased large jumps onto rock, hammered hundreds of miles of rock gardens and drops, pounded the pedals into stone, chain ringed a couple trees (oops), and even taken some spills. It’s managed to handle it all with no issues. I’m yet to have a single flat, warped rim, or anything resembling a problem out of it.

The lockout is nice, although I’ve never felt the need to use it. Mud fender not included. 

As far as overall ride goes, the Atroz is quite a lot of fun. It’s nimble and highly responsive in the turns, with a snappy response that provides exceptional control. It has a certain peppiness to the suspension that makes bouncing around the trail, and in fact over rocks, very enjoyable. The responsiveness and somewhat aggressive geometry is  counter balanced by extra wide handlebars for stability. This provides great handling even when skipping along the tops of rock fields and root “stairs”, but doesn’t feel cumbersome or laggy. The tires provide great traction, making climbing up loose sections fairly easy, and descending down fastpack, steep drops and along sliding scree, almost too simple. The bike really does most of the work, making every ride a bit more effortless than it seems like it should be. Being a full air suspension, there is a bit of loss of efficiency in pedaling, but is easily offset by it’s downhill performance.

The SRAM X-Horizon 1×11 system provides a wide range of gears, with a defnite emphasis on higher end, making reaching high speeds effortless. It’s geared low enough to make it up long climbs (if your legs are up to the challenge) and always seems to have enough gears available to hit any speed desired. The shifting is flawless, controlled by only the right thumb, and happens quickly with no hesitation or bouncing between gears. Chain slap is also non-existent, and I’m yet to drop my chain either. The result is a whisper quiet, reliable ride.

The suspension does offer full adjustability, with air pressure, compression, and dampening all being highly customizable. This makes it easy to tune it to my personal body weight and riding style, allowing me full travel and use of both my front and rear suspension.

Other smaller details like thru-axles, a flexible seat panel, two finger braking levers, lockout front fork, locking rear derailleur for easy wheel removal, on the fly compression and dampening adjustments and more really add to the package.

What I didn’t like

The rear suspension is the only point on the bike that I feel could be somewhat improved, but this comes down to the limitations of air shocks in general. It handles high impact jumps and drops great, but rolling over peaky bumps at low speed can be a little bouncy in the rear on occasion. There are shocks that help alleviate this, but it’s at the cost of pedal efficiency and weight. So, like most things, it’s a trade off, and one I’m happy to make. While at speed, it performs great and the issue disappears completely as it is receiving it’s needed forced to compress. Thankfully, speed really is the focus of the bike, and when the bike is on task it excels.

While I’m a big fan of the 1×11 gearing on the bike, it does target a more developed rider and lacks any true “granny gear”. Climbs, while entirely doable, come more down to personal strength and training than say a 2×10 system with lower gearing available. The bike can accept larger chain rings, so if climbing isn’t your strong suit, you may want to consider something larger up front which will help, although you’ll lose some top end speed. Personally, I’ve found it to grown my climbing gain and it’s developed my muscles…but others may not adapt so well.

It’s also worth noting that shipping didn’t go so hot. I ordered direct from DB, and my rear derailleur was a bit bent out of the box. It was a quick fix and it’s hard to tell if it was something that happened at the factory, packaging, shipping or what, but it is something I have to mention. DB kindly and without hesitation offered to cover the small cost of repair ($15 bucks at the local shop as I didn’t have the tool to align it), which is excellent of them. I declined and covered it myself as I wasn’t sure it was there fault, but props to them for offering.

The seat has an excellent narrow profile and a bit of flex to the panel. 

Other thoughts

Keep an eye out when purchasing this bike, as there are dramatically different variations of it. They can range from excellent to abysmal. A good sign that you’re purchasing a cheaper version is the words “exclusive” or “edition” anywhere on the listing. The best bet if you want the full air version (recommended) is to avoid Nashbar, Dicks Sporting Goods and others who may slip cheaper components on the bike to lower the price. Purchase from a reputable bike store or from DB themselves, and look for the Recon Silver front fork.

Overall

I can’t understate enough what a value this bike is. When looking at the competitors, it always seemed like I was looking at higher prices, for lesser specced machines. Sure, there are bikes with longer travels, lower weights, or more popular brand names, but at huge costs. Most of that money goes to shaving ounces, pushing a more popular brand name, or providing extraneous accessories that I just didn’t need, and not towards the performance of the bike itself. This is what lead me to the Atroz Comp. While still not easy on the pocket, it has proven to provide an exceptional ride at a price point that actually makes sense for the intermediate rider. The ride is great, and the bike only becomes more and more fun as I keep trying to challenge it’s perceived limits, only to find more fun and confidence waiting on the other side. Keeping in mind that this is a trail bike, and not a downhill machine or big air flyer, it’s a great combination of stellar components, a solid frame, playful geometry, and most importantly, reliability.

Highly recommendedThanks as always for reading! Don’t forget to follow our blog for future updates and reviews. If you have any questions, comment below, send us an email, or find us on Twitter or Facebook (links on the right).

I purchased this bike for my own enjoyment and was under no obligation to review it. If you have any questions about it, just let me know!

 

 

 

 

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