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2014 Diamondback Mission Pro

Egad! The Colours!

Words by Jon Harris. Photos by Kaz Yamamura.
July 2nd, 2014

Love it or hate it, 2014 is going to be the year of the “Enduro” bike. Back in April at Sea Otter there were a bunch of newly released or soon to be released bikes that sported 160mm of travel, 27.5” (or 650B) wheels. Each is designed to pedal up the hill with efficiency and then rallied back down with some attitude.

I’m going to go with “love it” right now. I think that this is going to be a great thing for riders in BC and the Pacific Northwest with the type of riding we do here. Think of it as the evolution of the freeride bike with the addition of modern geometry for riding fast technical trails.

One of those bikes was the Diamondback Mission Pro. I got to take a quick spin on the bike at Sea Otter but we decided to wait until we could get our hands on one to ride on the home trails before forming an opinion. Here is a first look.

The folks at Diamondback did not want this bike to be missed at the trailhead. The Mission Pro is finished in an eye catching orange (being slightly colour blind I see orange but it is actually called Rocket Red). It is a purposeful looking frame with a massive headtube junction that screams “thrash me as hard as you can, you won't break me”.

The folks at Diamondback did not want this bike to be missed at the trailhead. The Mission Pro is finished in an eye catching orange (being slightly colour blind I see orange but it is actually called Rocket Red). It is a purposeful looking frame with a massive headtube junction that screams “thrash me as hard as you can, you won’t break me”.

Stealth routing for the Reverb keeps the hose tucked out of harms way.

Stealth routing for the Reverb keeps the hose tucked out of harm’s way.

SRAM X01 drivetrain gives plenty of gearing and smooth shifts. The rear end features a thru axle of the 142mm wide flavour. The rear pivot runs on cartridge bearings and a clevis joint helps to keep the rear end wag free.

A SRAM X01 drivetrain gives plenty of gearing and smooth shifts. The rear end features a thru axle of the 142mm flavour. The rear pivot runs on cartridge bearings and a clevis joint helps to keep the rear end wag free.

This bike really is bright. The colour pops like crazy under the trees and isn't for shy types. The Fox Float 34 up front gives 160mm of travel, matching the rear.

This bike really is bright. The colour pops like crazy under the trees and isn’t for shy types. The Fox Float 34 up front gives 160mm of travel, matching the rear.

The Fox Float X suspends the rear of the bike and features the CTD modes that can be changed on the fly by using the lever on the shock. The Knuckle Box design of the previous Mission has been reconfigured, gifting the new frame design with a slightly lower centre of gravity and nice low standover. The leverage rate of the new linkage has been tuned to be more linear through the stroke, relying on the air shock to provide the end of stroke ramp up in rate. This should  translate to a bike that has supple suspension on the smaller bumps but will ramp up nicely over the bigger hits.

The Fox Float X suspends the rear of the bike and features the CTD modes that can be changed on the fly by using the lever on the shock. The Knuckle Box design of the previous Mission has been reconfigured, gifting the new frame design with a slightly lower centre of gravity and nice low standover. The leverage rate of the new linkage has been tuned to be more linear through the stroke, relying on the air shock to provide the end of stroke ramp up in rate. This should translate to a bike that has supple suspension on the smaller bumps but will ramp up nicely over the bigger hits.

This cockpit is not garbage. Raceface Atlas bars and stem make for a good place to command the bike. It is great to see a quality set up on a bike designed to get rowdy. No changes needed here.

This cockpit is not garbage. Raceface Atlas bars and stem make for a good place to command the bike. It is great to see a quality set up on a bike designed to get rowdy. No changes needed here.

This bike really has a well picked build, Shimano XT brakes deviate from the rest of the group set on the bike but are still the best disc brakes on the market in my opinion.

This bike really has a well picked build, Shimano XT brakes deviate from the rest of the group set on the bike but are still the best disc brakes on the market in my opinion.

The WTB Silverado is one of my favourite saddles and another quality item on this bike. Here it sits on top of the Rock Shox Reverb with Stealth routing.

The WTB Silverado is one of my favourite saddles and another quality item on this bike. Here it sits on top of the Rock Shox Reverb with Stealth routing.

Yes those are very long chainstays… 451mm to be exact. They do contribute to how the Mission rides. Nice to see quality rubber fitted to the bike too, Schwalbe Hans Dampf doing the honours here.

Yes those are very long chainstays… 451mm to be exact. They do contribute to how the Mission rides. Nice to see quality rubber fitted to the bike too, Schwalbe Hans Dampf doing the honours here.

A top of the range bike gets top of the line parts, the Pro is pimped out with choice parts like the Raceface Next SL cranks and the Easton Haven wheels seen here. The build really is a collection of everything that I would put together to build a bike with.

A top of the range bike gets top of the line parts; the Pro is pimped out with choice parts like the Raceface Next SL cranks and the Easton Haven wheels seen here. The build really is a collection of everything that I would put together to build a bike with.

It’s tough to argue with the build on the Mission Pro, so getting on the bike and throwing it down something steep happened pretty quickly. It has taken a few rides to get the suspension pressures where I want them front and rear and the bike now feels nicely balanced. On a lot of local trails a 160mm bike is probably a bit too much, however on trails that are steep, rough, have drops with sniper landings and generally tax your bike handling skills by throwing a lot at you, the Mission Pro is proving to be good partner to have.

As you can see the Mission Pro is already being ridden hard and put away wet. Now that thing are set up it’s time to find some more rowdy lines to point it down.

Mission Pro 27.5  MSRP – USD $6,500.00
Mission Two 27.5  MSRP – USD $3,600.00
Mission One 27.5  MSRP – USD $2,800.00

What? No carbon? Is this your kind of aluminum sled?

  • Nouseforaname

    Looks like that bike has room for 29″ wheels!

  • JVP

    I’ll add to the review since you didn’t say much about how the bike rides. I’m an aggressive rider, great at tech and steeps, OK at jumping, pretty fast, and I also use this as my main bike to do big xc rides. I’m no pro, I don’t race, but among the stronger of the mortal riders. I live in Seattle and love all styles of riding, I’m 40 years old, 6’2″ and 200 lbs. geared up (all reviews should say a bit about the rider!). I just bought one of these after riding my last bike (2009 Trek Remedy with a 36 and modded DHX Air) into the ground. First, it’s bright, really bright. I love it, actually, even though I’m usually a bit understated. They really nailed it with the graphics on this one, and nice swoopy lines.

    The bike feels really balanced, the front and rear seem to work well together and I felt good on the bike as stock. I like a compact frame, and this feels just right size-wise. I was kind of worried about the long chainstays at first since I like a playful ride, but for some reason this bike is really lively and fun. It’s not hard to get the front end up, as I like to manual and pump along the trail. Chainstays are low, but not so low that you can’t ride technical xc on it. The bike is slack, but with the longer chainstays it can technical climb like an animal! It’s not the lightest bike, so wouldn’t be your choice for xc racing, but I got up some nasty root sections that I didn’t think I would make.

    Rear travel seems smooth throughout the stroke and no harsh bottoming even on 3-4′ drops to chunky flat landings. I’ll probably add one of the Fox volume spacers to the rear since I’m really hard on frames and I don’t like to bottom except in ohshit moments, but I’m not normal in this regard and like a lot more ramp up than all the guys I ride with. It does resist bottoming a lot better than my last bike. There’s none of that mid-stroke wallowing that I feel too many bikes have.

    The front is a 2015 Fox Float 34 Kashima CTD. I struggled with this fork the first ride, but turns out it needed a break-in period and I now have it set up feeling great. It was notchy and blew through mid-stroke at first. It needed about 5 rides to break in, which surprised me on a Fox. I find that descending nasty tech sections it likes to be in Trail 1 instead of descend. I pulled the lowers and put some Slick Honey on the seals and it feels super smooth now. I also added 7.5mL of Float Fluid into the air chamber to run lower pressure and make it a bit more progressive. This was based on the chart that Push has for their $80 top cap spacer setup for the Float 34. Screw the $80 when you can just add oil.

    My first two “real” rides on this bike were on (undisclosed trail) an hour outside Seattle that is a 2500 ft descent with steep crux moves, soft Hemlock duff, lots of roots, drops to flat, jumps with smooth tranny and finishing on rocky, techy, steep. It was also pissing rain on the climb both times so the conditions were challenging. It felt great by the second ride and I was charging the g-out rough corners with confidence. On the gaps and drops it felt balanced and easy to control. I hit two little gaps a bit out of control and was able to keep things together – so it passed that test with flying colors.

    The only things I didn’t like about the bike were the seat (too narrow for me), the grips were too thin, and I cut the bars down to 760mm/30″ from the stock 785 so that they’re the same as my DH bike and hardtail. I might try a 60mm stem instead of the stock 50mm, at least for long alpine rides. I also changed to the Minion in the front from the massive Hans Dampf. I don’t like that high of volume tire, and I’m just a Minion guy. I think Schwalbe tires are over-rated, but that’s another discussion.

    The SRAM 1×11 blows my mind how good it is and the 30 tooth ring up front is perfect for B.C through Oregon riding. I came from 1×10 with an 11-36 on a 30 tooth (on a 26er) and the extra gear is a huge improvement on long climbs. Love this gear setup, just hoping I don’t blow up a derailleur since they’re expensive.

    This is a great all-rounder for me. I like stout frames, and don’t mind a 160mm bike on a 5 hour xc epic. It can handle anything I throw at it short of bike park or shuttle runs. I think this will be another bike I keep for a long time and ride into the ground.

    • Nouseforaname

      @JVP – this is just a “take pictures and say what you see” sneak peak before a full review.