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Diamondback launches 2013 road and mountain bikes

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The US$5,500 Diamondback Podium 6 weighs just 6.94kg (15.30lb) with Campagnolo Chorus and Campagnolo Shamal 2-Way Fit tubeless-compatible aluminum clinchers.

The US$5,500 Diamondback Podium 6 weighs just 6.94kg (15.30lb) with Campagnolo Chorus and Campagnolo Shamal 2-Way Fit tubeless-compatible aluminum clinchers. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Cable routing for dropper posts is included on the Diamondback Sortie 29 frame.

Cable routing for dropper posts is included on the Diamondback Sortie 29 frame. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback's AAMP construction method features internal molds at the bottom bracket and head tube area for increased fiber compaction and more consistent tube walls in those areas.

Diamondback's AAMP construction method features internal molds at the bottom bracket and head tube area for increased fiber compaction and more consistent tube walls in those areas. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Buyers will pay a premium for the Campagnolo spec on the Diamondback Podium 6 Campy variant but it's a brilliant spec.

Buyers will pay a premium for the Campagnolo spec on the Diamondback Podium 6 Campy variant but it's a brilliant spec. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback doesn't spec tubeless tires on the Podium 6 Campy bike but the Campagnolo Shamal 2-Way Fit clincher wheels will readily accept them.

Diamondback doesn't spec tubeless tires on the Podium 6 Campy bike but the Campagnolo Shamal 2-Way Fit clincher wheels will readily accept them. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Rear brake cable routing was one of the few hiccups during our first test ride of the Diamondback Podium. The curved cable path produces more friction than we'd prefer and also rattled on our sample.

Rear brake cable routing was one of the few hiccups during our first test ride of the Diamondback Podium. The curved cable path produces more friction than we'd prefer and also rattled on our sample. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The S-bend seat stays are wide and thin for an impressively smooth and lively ride quality.

The S-bend seat stays are wide and thin for an impressively smooth and lively ride quality. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Internal cable routing for the Diamondback Podium carbon road frames.

Internal cable routing for the Diamondback Podium carbon road frames. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback will offer three versions of the Podium 6: one with Campagnolo Chorus for US$5,500, one with Shimano Ultegra for US$3,300, and one with Shimano Ultegra Di2 for US$4,500.

Diamondback will offer three versions of the Podium 6: one with Campagnolo Chorus for US$5,500, one with Shimano Ultegra for US$3,300, and one with Shimano Ultegra Di2 for US$4,500. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Campagnolo Shamal 2-Way Fit tubeless-compatible aluminum clincher wheels on the Diamondback Podium 6 Campy is a rare spec on a production bike. Hub quality on similar test wheels has been outstanding in the past.

The Campagnolo Shamal 2-Way Fit tubeless-compatible aluminum clincher wheels on the Diamondback Podium 6 Campy is a rare spec on a production bike. Hub quality on similar test wheels has been outstanding in the past. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The tapered head tube on Diamondback's carbon fiber Podium frame.

The tapered head tube on Diamondback's carbon fiber Podium frame. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Claimed weight on the Diamondback Podium all-carbon tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/2" fork is 360g. Key features include continuous fibers from tip to tip, carbon dropouts, and a molded-in lower bearing seat for the integrated headset.

Claimed weight on the Diamondback Podium all-carbon tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/2" fork is 360g. Key features include continuous fibers from tip to tip, carbon dropouts, and a molded-in lower bearing seat for the integrated headset. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Carbon fiber tips on the Diamondback Podium's all-carbon fork.

Carbon fiber tips on the Diamondback Podium's all-carbon fork. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Di2-equipped Diamondback Podium carbon bikes will feature battery mounts on the underside of the down tube.

Di2-equipped Diamondback Podium carbon bikes will feature battery mounts on the underside of the down tube. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback includes a carbon fiber Easton EC90 bar mated to a house-brand forged aluminum stem on the top-end Podium 7.

Diamondback includes a carbon fiber Easton EC90 bar mated to a house-brand forged aluminum stem on the top-end Podium 7. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The lightest Diamondback Podium SL frame features a carbon fiber PF30 sleeve bonded into the shell.

The lightest Diamondback Podium SL frame features a carbon fiber PF30 sleeve bonded into the shell. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Chain stay length on the Diamondback Sortie 29 frame is a stable 455mm.

Chain stay length on the Diamondback Sortie 29 frame is a stable 455mm. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback's Knucklebox rear suspension design is essentially a single-pivot setup in terms of axle path but with a triangular linkage to control the shock rate.

Diamondback's Knucklebox rear suspension design is essentially a single-pivot setup in terms of axle path but with a triangular linkage to control the shock rate. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback's Sortie 29 Trail chassis features 114mm of rear travel matched to a 120mm-travel fork. The top-end model pictured here includes lightweight Easton EA90 XC wheels and a Shimano XTR 2x10 group plus an Easton carbon bar, carbon seatpost, and forged aluminum stem for US$7,000.

Diamondback's Sortie 29 Trail chassis features 114mm of rear travel matched to a 120mm-travel fork. The top-end model pictured here includes lightweight Easton EA90 XC wheels and a Shimano XTR 2x10 group plus an Easton carbon bar, carbon seatpost, and forged aluminum stem for US$7,000. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback fits the Sortie 29 frame with 142x12mm thru-axle rear dropouts. Note the set screw to lock the driveside skewer nut in place.

Diamondback fits the Sortie 29 frame with 142x12mm thru-axle rear dropouts. Note the set screw to lock the driveside skewer nut in place. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The flagship Diamondback Podium 7 Campy will come with a complete SRAM Red group, Easton EC90 SL carbon clincher wheels, and Michelin Pro 3 Race tires.

The flagship Diamondback Podium 7 Campy will come with a complete SRAM Red group, Easton EC90 SL carbon clincher wheels, and Michelin Pro 3 Race tires. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The seat stays on the Diamondback Podium carbon frames are wide and flat, lending excellent rear-end comfort without sacrificing drivetrain efficiency.

The seat stays on the Diamondback Podium carbon frames are wide and flat, lending excellent rear-end comfort without sacrificing drivetrain efficiency. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Prologo provides custom covered saddles for Diamondback's Podium road bikes.

Prologo provides custom covered saddles for Diamondback's Podium road bikes. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Diamondback Podium 7 will also be available with SRAM's latest Red group.

The Diamondback Podium 7 will also be available with SRAM's latest Red group. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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A metal plate protects the chain stay from chain suck.

A metal plate protects the chain stay from chain suck. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback's flagship Podium 7 gets the all-red treatment. The top spec will feature a Campagnolo Super Record mechanical group and Easton EC90 SL carbon clincher wheels.

Diamondback's flagship Podium 7 gets the all-red treatment. The top spec will feature a Campagnolo Super Record mechanical group and Easton EC90 SL carbon clincher wheels. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback says the carbon fiber Podium frames will eventually feature a convertible internal routing as seen on this prototype but for now, frames will have dedicated routing for electronic or mechanical drivetrains.

Diamondback says the carbon fiber Podium frames will eventually feature a convertible internal routing as seen on this prototype but for now, frames will have dedicated routing for electronic or mechanical drivetrains. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Headset bearing seats are molded directly into the head tube on the Diamondback Podium frame.

Headset bearing seats are molded directly into the head tube on the Diamondback Podium frame. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback is using removable front derailleur mounts for the carbon fiber Podium frames. The standard one is made of molded carbon fiber but newer Campagnolo cranks will apparently require a taller one that'll be CNC-machined.

Diamondback is using removable front derailleur mounts for the carbon fiber Podium frames. The standard one is made of molded carbon fiber but newer Campagnolo cranks will apparently require a taller one that'll be CNC-machined. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The down tube on the Diamondback Podium is tall and broad for good front triangle torsional stiffness.

The down tube on the Diamondback Podium is tall and broad for good front triangle torsional stiffness. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The chain stays are moderately asymmetrical on Diamondback's carbon fiber Podium road frames.

The chain stays are moderately asymmetrical on Diamondback's carbon fiber Podium road frames. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback moved the seat tube forward on the new 140mm-travel Mason FS 29er, which allows for shorter chain stays for snappier handling. The main Knucklebox pivot is now built directly into the down for a stiffer connection, too.

Diamondback moved the seat tube forward on the new 140mm-travel Mason FS 29er, which allows for shorter chain stays for snappier handling. The main Knucklebox pivot is now built directly into the down for a stiffer connection, too. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The new Mason FS's huge down tube takes up the entire length of the tapered head tube.

The new Mason FS's huge down tube takes up the entire length of the tapered head tube. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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New for 2013 is the 140mm-travel Mason 29er with Diamondback's latest iteration of the Knucklebox rear suspension design, a two-ring-plus-bashguard crank, Easton Haven alloy tubeless wheels, a Fox TALAS fork, and a RockShox Reverb seatpost.

New for 2013 is the 140mm-travel Mason 29er with Diamondback's latest iteration of the Knucklebox rear suspension design, a two-ring-plus-bashguard crank, Easton Haven alloy tubeless wheels, a Fox TALAS fork, and a RockShox Reverb seatpost. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Less painful shouldering is promised by the flattened top tube underside on Diamondback's SteilaCoom RCX Pro frames.

Less painful shouldering is promised by the flattened top tube underside on Diamondback's SteilaCoom RCX Pro frames. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Flattened seat stays on the Diamondback SteilaCoom RCX Pro frame are intended to smooth the ride on rough courses.

Flattened seat stays on the Diamondback SteilaCoom RCX Pro frame are intended to smooth the ride on rough courses. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The SteilaCoom RCX Pro V is Diamondback's top 'cross bike for 2013 with a retail price of US$3,200.

The SteilaCoom RCX Pro V is Diamondback's top 'cross bike for 2013 with a retail price of US$3,200. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback fits TRP's excellent CX8.4 linear-pull brakes to the SteilaCoom RCX Pro V for 2013.

Diamondback fits TRP's excellent CX8.4 linear-pull brakes to the SteilaCoom RCX Pro V for 2013. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback will include a high-end disc brake 'cross bike for 2013 called the SteilaCoom RCX Pro Disc.

Diamondback will include a high-end disc brake 'cross bike for 2013 called the SteilaCoom RCX Pro Disc. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The new Easton EC90 XD fork on the SteilaCoom RCX Pro Disc 'cross bike can handle a front rotor as small as 140mm in diameter but Diamondback has bumped it up to a 160mm disc.

The new Easton EC90 XD fork on the SteilaCoom RCX Pro Disc 'cross bike can handle a front rotor as small as 140mm in diameter but Diamondback has bumped it up to a 160mm disc. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback specs the new SteilaCoom RCX Pro Disc 'cross bike with Easton's new EC90 XD carbon fork.

Diamondback specs the new SteilaCoom RCX Pro Disc 'cross bike with Easton's new EC90 XD carbon fork. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Sleek forged aluminum dropouts are used on Diamondback's SteilaCoom 'cross frames.

Sleek forged aluminum dropouts are used on Diamondback's SteilaCoom 'cross frames. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Tire clearance is generous on the SteilaCoom RCX Pro Disc 'cross bike's Easton EC90 XD carbon fork.

Tire clearance is generous on the SteilaCoom RCX Pro Disc 'cross bike's Easton EC90 XD carbon fork. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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A stout seat stay bridge helps keep the rear end from wagging excessively on Diamondback's new Mason FS 29er.

A stout seat stay bridge helps keep the rear end from wagging excessively on Diamondback's new Mason FS 29er. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback includes a Fox TALAS adjustable-travel fork on the new Mason hardtail to provide more versatility.

Diamondback includes a Fox TALAS adjustable-travel fork on the new Mason hardtail to provide more versatility. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback's new Mason long-travel hardtail 29er features tight rear-end geometry and a burly aluminum frame for hardcore abuse. The KS dropper post will include a remote lever for production.

Diamondback's new Mason long-travel hardtail 29er features tight rear-end geometry and a burly aluminum frame for hardcore abuse. The KS dropper post will include a remote lever for production. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Tall chain stays for Diamondback's carbon fiber Podium frames.

Tall chain stays for Diamondback's carbon fiber Podium frames. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback uses a removable plastic guide for the internally derailleur cables like many other companies but in this case, it's also supplemented with another cover to help seal things up further.

Diamondback uses a removable plastic guide for the internally derailleur cables like many other companies but in this case, it's also supplemented with another cover to help seal things up further. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback fits the carbon Podium frames with PF30 bottom bracket shells.

Diamondback fits the carbon Podium frames with PF30 bottom bracket shells. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback's Podium 5 will use the same carbon fiber frameset as the Podium 6 but with a cheaper Shimano 105/FSA build kit.

Diamondback's Podium 5 will use the same carbon fiber frameset as the Podium 6 but with a cheaper Shimano 105/FSA build kit. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback will include a compact FSA Gossamer BB30 crankset with the Podium 5.

Diamondback will include a compact FSA Gossamer BB30 crankset with the Podium 5. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The carbon fiber Diamondback Podium 5 does have to make a few concessions to hit the impressive US$2,300 price point, one of which is generic dual-pivot brakes instead of genuine Shimano 105 calipers to match the rest of the transmission.

The carbon fiber Diamondback Podium 5 does have to make a few concessions to hit the impressive US$2,300 price point, one of which is generic dual-pivot brakes instead of genuine Shimano 105 calipers to match the rest of the transmission. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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It's the little things: perforations in the shell of the Diamondback Podium 4 saddle should lend a little extra flex - and comfort - under the sit bones.

It's the little things: perforations in the shell of the Diamondback Podium 4 saddle should lend a little extra flex - and comfort - under the sit bones. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Diamondback Podium 4 will retail for just US$1,650 - not bad for a well sorted double-butted aluminum frame with a mostly Shimano Ultegra kit.

The Diamondback Podium 4 will retail for just US$1,650 - not bad for a well sorted double-butted aluminum frame with a mostly Shimano Ultegra kit. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The alloy Diamondback Podium 4 features a tapered head tube. Ignore the 'Mg' decal on the fork, though. The factory couldn't figure out how to make a magnesium steerer tube pass testing standards so production bikes feature a heavier - but more reliable - alloy one instead.

The alloy Diamondback Podium 4 features a tapered head tube. Ignore the 'Mg' decal on the fork, though. The factory couldn't figure out how to make a magnesium steerer tube pass testing standards so production bikes feature a heavier - but more reliable - alloy one instead. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback doesn't skimp on the brakes for the Podium 4, including genuine Shimano Ultegra calipers to match the rest of the transmission.

Diamondback doesn't skimp on the brakes for the Podium 4, including genuine Shimano Ultegra calipers to match the rest of the transmission. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The alloy Podium frames come with proper BB30 bottom bracket shells.

The alloy Podium frames come with proper BB30 bottom bracket shells. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback's product managers infused a personal touch on some of the bikes with aggressive front tires paired with much faster and narrower rear rubber.

Diamondback's product managers infused a personal touch on some of the bikes with aggressive front tires paired with much faster and narrower rear rubber. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Diamondback also has a women's-specific version of the alloy Podium called Airen with adjusted geometry and a softer riding straight head tube.

Diamondback also has a women's-specific version of the alloy Podium called Airen with adjusted geometry and a softer riding straight head tube. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)

This article originally published on BikeRadar

Diamondback Bicycles may not currently land on everyone's short list for high-performance road and mountain bikes but the company is currently in the midst of a major push to turn that around with a wide range of well thought-out machines. From lightweight carbon road bikes to disc 'cross bikes to long-travel 29ers, Diamondback is now putting out some genuinely appealing product that's certainly worth a closer look.

Get yourself on the Podium

While Diamondback is best known for its mountain bikes currently, a few consumers might remember the company's history on the road. In fact, Diamondback was one of the first major companies to move away from traditional lugs to lighter-weight TIG-welded, short-butted steel frames in the early '90s with the Master TG.

After a long stint of admittedly mediocre product, Diamondback's impressively resurrected road range is now topped by the Podium 7 carbon fiber platform with a claimed weight under 900g for a 56cm size and a matching tapered all-carbon fork weight of 360g – and thankfully not a hint of marbled paint to be found.

Despite the company's status as a relative newcomer to the high-end carbon road bike scene, the Podium SL chassis ticks most of the requisite boxes for technical features, including Toray MR60 and HR40 carbon fibers (with pre-preg sheets produced in-house), a modern manufacturing process with additional internal molds at the bottom bracket and head tube areas for more precise shaping and tube wall consistency, a tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/2" head tube with molded-in seats for the integrated headset bearings, a PressFit 30 bottom bracket shell with a bonded-in carbon fiber sleeve, carbon fiber dropouts, a replaceable carbon fiber front derailleur mount, and internal cable routing.

Likewise, the all-carbon fork features continuous fibers from top to bottom, a molded-in seat for the lower headset bearing, and carbon fiber dropouts.

Save for a switch to slightly lesser fibers that add about 100g to the bare frame, the standard Podium frame – used on the Podium 6 and 5 models – is otherwise wholly identical throughout.

Diamondback hasn't bothered with any aerodynamic tube design, preferring to stick with the classic performance metrics of weight, stiffness, and ride quality. To this end, most of the tube diameters are notably large and the tube walls are audibly thin but the seat stays are broad and flat to provide rear-end comfort without overly sacrificing drivetrain efficiency. While not exactly an original approach, it's one that's been well proven by other brands so there's little reason to expect it won't work here, too.

Geometry is decidedly middle-of-the-road in terms of handling speed with traditional head tube angles that vary between 72 and 73 degrees and 72.5-67.5mm bottom bracket drops depending on size.

While Diamondback road product manager Michael Brown tells BikeRadar that the Podium range isn't intended to compete based solely on price, the numbers are still undeniably enticing.

For example, a Shimano Ultegra Di2-equipped Podium 6 is just US$4,500 with Easton alloy wheels and an Easton carbon bar while a Podium 7 with new SRAM Red and Easton EC90 SL carbon clinchers is a comparatively inexpensive US$7,200. More impressively, Diamondback is also offering a couple of Campagnolo-equipped models, including the Podium 6 with Chorus – and Campagnolo Shamal 2-Way Fit tubeless-compatible alloy clinchers for US$5,500 and a Podium 7 with Super Record and Easton EC90 SL carbon clinchers for the relative bargain of US$8,500.

Moreover, the complete packages are also quite light: actual weight on a 56cm Podium 6 Campy is just 6.94kg (15.3lb, without pedals) and a 58cm Podium 7 with new SRAM Red is just under 6.5kg (14.33lb, without pedals).

Granted, we did find a few concessions Diamondback made to help reduce costs: tubing size doesn't vary by size so different frames will likely have somewhat disparate ride qualities and while there are six sizes from 50-60cm on tap, all of them use the same fork rake.

Updated 'cross bikes – and disc brakes, too

Diamondback's alloy SteilaCoom 'cross range gets a revamp as well with key changes including a tapered head tube, stiffer chain stays, and a bigger down tube – all of which should make the new versions snappier and more responsive than their predecessors.

The top-end SteilaCoom RXC Pro V also moves away from traditional cantilevers to TRP's fantastic CX8.4 linear-pull brakes but the real standout is the SteilaCoom RXC Pro Disc, which will come with Easton's brand-new – and ultra-burly – EC90 XD disc-specific carbon 'cross fork, Easton XA90 XD alloy clinchers, and Avid BB7 mechanical disc calipers upgraded with XX 160/140mm front/rear rotors.

Diamondback will include a high-end disc brake 'cross bike for 2013 called the SteilaCoom RCX Pro Disc

More 29ers for 2013, including long-travel and hardcore hardtails

Meanwhile out on the trail, Diamondback says the popularity of the Sortie 29 trail bike prompted an expansion of the range, which now includes the 140mm-travel Mason FS and the Mason HT hardcore hardtail with a 140mm-travel Fox TALAS fork.

The Mason FS again utilizes Diamondback's long-running Knucklebox linkage-activated single-pivot rear suspension design but now with a few tweaks to bring up to date. Pushing the seat tube forward and switching to a direct-mount front derailleur has allowed for shorter chain stays, the Knucklebox linkage's main pivot is now directly mounted to the sides of the down tube for improved stiffness, and the upper linkage pivot is more heavily reinforced as well.

Component highlights for the top-end model include Easton Haven alloy wheels, a Race Face SixC carbon two-ring crank with a bashguard, and a RockShox Reverb dropper post. Interestingly, Diamondback's product managers have also squeezed in what has long been a favorite tire setup compound among industry insiders: a very aggressive and voluminous front tire matched with a much smaller and faster rear – in this case a 2.2"-wide Kenda Nevegal paired with a 2.0"-wide Kenda Slant Six.

The Mason HT does without rear suspension at entirely in favor of a burly alloy frame with a very short rear end for more maneuverability. The long fork yields an unusually slack (at least for a hardtail) 66-degree head tube angle and Diamondback also equips the bike with a 1x10 drivetrain and a lightweight MRP 1.X guide. Key component standouts include WTB i23 rims, Race Face alloy crankarms, a Fox 34 TALAS 29 CTD Evolution fork, and a remote KS dropper post.

The Mason HT features tight rear-end geometry

Diamondback's new carbon bikes are slated for delivery next spring (although the carbon Podiums were actually introduced as a 2012 model so current models might still be available). New alloy road, 'cross, and mountain bikes should be available in the fall.

Stay tuned for a First Ride report on Diamondback's top-end Podium 7 in the coming days, too.