Sea Otter Classic, North America’s premier cycling festival, is happening now at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The four-day event hosts hundreds of world-class riders who are competing in mountain and road races as well as brands big and small that are revealing new products for 2019 and beyond. We have a team on the ground to bring you intel on all of the most exciting product releases. Follow our coverage here.
Model: Sync’r Carbon
Availability: Available Now
Unique Features: Wide tires, modern geometry, solid specs
Upshot: Diamondback has made a name for itself in producing quality mountain bikes at an approachable price point. The Sync’r is its new carbon hardtail (a mountain bike without rear suspension), and it offers modern geometry, plus-sized tires, a 1×12 gearing and a quality fork — all for $3,000.
Who It’s For: Hardtail fans. Plus-sized hardtails are the Swiss Army Knife of mountain biking. The Sync’r is ideal for anything from bike parks to all-day trail rides.
Insight: If you haven’t kept up with mountain bike design recently, you might have missed the dramatic change in prevalent geometries. Bike frames are getting longer and stems shorter while headtubes get slacker and bottom brackets drop. This gives bikes more predictable steering and a more confident position during descents. In the Sync’r this geometry, combined with a long travel fork, wider axle spacing to allow for 2.8-inch tires, and a 12-speed single chainring groupset, makes for a versatile and enjoyable ride.
The Sync’r uses larger tires and a smaller rim to put more tread on the trail and give the rider more cushion and traction in the dirt. It’s hard to imagine how the Sync’r Carbon rides by looking at angles and millimeters, but I can attest that it feels stable and safe on fast descents and the huge tires are confidence-inspiring in the rocky stuff. It rolls much quicker than the balloon-like rubber would suggest on hard packed trails too and is certainly more capable than any dual suspension bike you’re likely to find at this price.
If you’re in the market for something at a reasonable budget and you’re not entirely sure which way your riding will evolve, the Sync’r makes a great first mountain bike (or a modern update if your stable is aging).