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Bike check: 2011 Diamondback Assault

Sexy, no?

Hot damn. The new Diamondback Assault is slated for release in 2011, but I  got a sneak peek at the slaying power of this beauty—an aluminum one—after Billy helped me build up knobby-tired hardtail with an extra frame he had lying around. I fell in love with his Assault at a Diamondback demo at Black Diamond and it didn’t take much convincing to get Billy to scrounge together a bunch of parts to build up an extra jump bike that I could take to Duthie, Greenlake,  wherever.

This frame is pre– a redesign that DB implemented at Billy’s request. The forthcoming frame has a shorter rear-end with a lower top tube and no adjustable dropouts.  And don’t let the aluminum frame fool you, the bike can slay, and if the words of a 115-lb chick don’t hold clout, check out what this pony can do under the right handling.

Billy grizairs off The Legend at Duthie

Tightening the cassette

Anyway, so I got my hands dirty building ‘er up too. It’s a thrill to watch it all come together, piece by piece, from frame and scattered components, to a rolling, charging, schralping, hucking machine—pedal-powered. Makes you giddy to skirt all things and head for the hills and that solid northwest dirt that greets you oh, so sweetly after those long days tangled up in the city.

Huge thanks to Billy for learning me the trade

You gain a new respect for bike builders and for the intricacies of the machine when you watch each bolt get tightened, each cable get strung. It takes patience to get all the parts dialed in so that there’s no rubbing of the brakes and the gears are shifting correctly.

And when it’s done, it’s like Christmas morning. You head out to put the new ride to the test. You don’t care that you’re not at the huge race,  missing the “fastest riders in the world.” (The Pro GRT  went down this weekend in P.A.) Sure, that’s cool, inspirational. But right now, inspiration is dripping off your colorway, as you’re rolling up to that first lip: compressing, pumping into the take off, pulling up hard and slaying the landing. Zzzzing! go the nerve endings.

Shimano 105 Derailleur

Avid Juicy 5 brakes

This all goes beyond simply getting “new gear.” Of course, that’s rad. But having a hand in the creation of the device that will carry you to that place of ultimate stoke and see you through the adventure, is what completes the experience. I suppose that’s why there are so many independent companies designing and generating their own boards, bikes, whatever. Personally conquering the gap between the “here” and the “there’s-where-I-want-to-be,” whether it’s a beckoning singletrack, a transcendent wave, or the smooth ascent up a concrete bowl, is a gratification that makes all this worth forgetting about the real world on a Sunday afternoon while Bob Dylan plays and your gears are one click away from all dialed in.

Duthie, little kids playground.

Yeah, that’s two tires off the ground.


Bike Check:

Frame- DB Assult

Fork- RST Space

Brakes- Avid Juicy 5

Handle Bars- Gravity Light

Stem- Uno Kalloy

Cranks- Gravity Light

Chain Guide- Gravity

Pedals- Atomlab Pimp

Shifter- 9sp Deore

Rear Derailleur- Shimano 105 short cage road

Rear Wheel- Alex rim and Shimano center lock hub

Rear Tire- Geax AKA 2.2

Front wheel- Alex rim and a 20mm hub

Front Tire- WTB Wolverine 2.2

Grips –ODI Ruffian Lockons

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