The last time we had a Diamondback Sortie in our test fleet (also a Sortie 3 model), the bike sported 26-inch wheels. What a difference four years
makes in the mountain bike world! The latest version
has been upgraded to 29-inch wheels, about an inch more
travel, and dimensions that don’t come close to the Sortie
of 2008. Will that be a good thing or a bad thing? Let’s
WHO IT IS MADE FOR?
The Sortie is intended for the trail rider who wants a
serious trailbike with ample suspension travel and high-speed stability. It is best suited for technically rough trails
with lots of drops, rocks and unfriendly trail surfaces. The
3 model is followed by the $6500 29 Black and preceded
by the $2700 Sortie 2 and $2200 Sortie 1.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Sortie is made from aluminum with a hydroformed
top tube, a butted and formed downtube, a seatstay bridge,
tapered head tube, a 142x12-millimeter E-Thru axle dropout and Diamondback’s Knuckle Box suspension. The
Knuckle Box, a pivoting triangular rocker, connects the
shock to a single-pivot, modified single-pivot suspension
platform. The top shock mount is beefed up compared to
our last test bike and, instead of connecting to the seat
tube, now attaches to a bracket below the top tube.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
It is the ensemble that jumps out at the rider. The Fox
suspension, Shimano brakes, dropper seatpost, Race Face
bar and stem, and WTB saddle are all familiar and welcomed
components on any serious trailbike. And will the wonders
never cease? The bike comes complete with Shimano clipless
pedals. We don’t see that bonus very much anymore.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
The setup: Suspension setup ( 20 percent sag front and
rear) is simple enough, but the Knuckle Box makes it a little
tougher to eyeball the shock’s O-ring.
The fit: The Sortie rider finds himself nicely centered and
in an upright, trial-riding position. The bar, stem and saddle
are ready to rage. The swingarm is a bit wide due to the
Knuckle Box, and some riders may note rubbing their calves
Moving out: Our large-sized Sortie was just shy of 35
pounds, and you could feel it pulling away from a dead stop.
Add 29-inch wheels to the weight and that makes it just a bit
tougher to get rolling up to speed. The plus is the rear suspension remained active without being springy under these
Cornering: The Sortie has a long wheelbase, so flicking
the bike into and out of corners is not going to happen. The
bike likes to take a wide approach to corners, and the payoff
is a level of stability at speed that will have you laughing.
The Diamondback Sortie 3 29
Diamondback By Popular Demand