Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Monday, April 9, 2012

This One Snuck Up On Me- Diamondback Steilacoom RCX

During my trip out to Seattle I was fortunate enough to borrow Simon Lawton's Diamondback Steilacoom RCX.  It was a great way to get out and see the city, and after a few rides I found myself really liking the bike. 

Steilacoom, wide shot.

What surprised me the most about the bike was how responsive it was under power- when you put the pedal down the bike takes off without hesitation, and the drivetrain/bottom bracket stiffness is great.  Most of that is attributable to the BB30 crank, but upon closer inspection you can also see a well thought out and highly manipulated tubeset that also plays its part. 

Bottom bracket with BB30 stamp.

Most of my riding was on paved rec paths and commuter trails, but I was able to make a couple of dirt dalliances to see how 'cross worthy the bike truly is.  Turns out it's a solid performer on dirt as well and the underfoot stiffness doesn't translate into an unnecessarily harsh ride.

Here's what the underside of the top tube looks like- note the subtle flattening in the midsection for more comfortable shouldering.  Simon is sponsored by Diamondback, so he supplemented the very stealth decals with some bolder and more visible white letters on the downtube.  

The BB30 allows for very thick chainstays which are highly manipulated to allow for tire clearance.  This also helps keep things moving forward when you're pedaling squares.  

The seatstays are manipulated to allow for some vertical compliance and are fairly thin top to bottom but wide side to side.

The overall package of the bike was deceptively nice- everything worked remarkably well including the Shimano 105 drivetrain, DBR brand cockpit (save for the shorter stem that I used- Simon is 6'4"), Equation rims, Avid Shorty brakes and venerable Michelin Mud tires.  Nothing flashy, but solid parts with no corners cut.

Handling was as predictable as any other CX rig I've ridden and was a good blend of being stable and maneuverable.  The bike was a 59 and a full size above my normal 56, but with minimal tweaking it worked out fine.

I didn't get to race on this bike, but if the opportunity presented itself I certainly would.  Diamondback isn't at the forefront of the CX arms race, but the Steilacoom benefits from being under the Raleigh umbrella, and Raleigh has certainly cemented themselves in the very competitive Pacific Northwest scene.  If you're looking for a second bike or are new to the sport with $1525 to spend then this is a great option.

For more info visit www.diamondback.com/2012-steilacoom-rcx.

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