Bikes June 5, 2019 The takeaway: The Release 29 2 is a capable trail bike for your adventures. Who It’s For: Riders looking for a high-value trail bike with modern features and technology. What We Love: It offers intuitive riding for a variety of terrain. Great color too.Something We Don’t: It’s quite heavy Whether you’re looking to conquer technical descents, long steady climbs, or both, the Diamondback Release 29 2 is a versatile trail bike that’s also a good value. For $2,699, the Release 29 2 offers a dual-link rear suspension design, easy-handling, a dropper post, smooth drivetrain and brakes, and awesome Maxxis tires. The Best Mountain Bikes for the Money The Release 29 2 features 130mm of rear travel through Diamondback’s Level Link system, and a 140mm travel Fox Rhythm 34 fork, giving you plenty to work with for almost any trail. The geometry is, compared to current standards, somewhat short in the reach, with a steeper head tube angle. Geometry is always a tradeoff, and this bike offers handling that’s easier to manage at lower speeds than the longer and slacker bikes that are in fashion. That should make it a solid bike for less experienced riders, with intuitive handling and a stable ride overall. Reliable Components Looking over the Release 29 2’s details you’ll find it’s built with respected components and some nice features. It comes with Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II 2.3 in. EXO tires, which are some of the best tires on the market for mixed trail conditions. Even better, the tires and rims are tubeless ready for improved performance. The Shimano SLX 1×11 drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes are both smooth, seamless and noise-free. This model will come with a dropper post as well, though a company representative stated that a TranzX YSP32FL dropper will come on the publicly available bikes instead of the KS has seen in the images of our demo bike here. Frame: AluminumWheel Size: 29-inchTravel: 130mmShock: Fox Performance Float DPS EVOLFork: Fox Rhythm 34, 140mmDrivetrain: 1×11Crankset: Raceface Æffect, 30tRear Derailleur: Shimano SLX Shadow PlusCassette: Shimano SLX, 11-46Brakes: Shimano SLX hydraulic disc, 180mm rotorsSeatpost: Trans X dropper, 125-170mm travel (frame size dependent)Rims: Diamondback Blanchard 28R, tubeless readyTires: Front- Maxxis DHF 2.3 in.; Rear- Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.3 in. tubeless readySizes: S, M, L, XL If you’re willing to spend more, you can step up to the Release 29 3. This model comes with a Fox Performance Float DPX2 shock, which has a bigger compression adjustment range, along with a 140mm travel Fox34 Performance Float fork. Plus, the brakes get an upgrade to Shimano XT for even more stopping power. Ride Impressions The trails on the cross country course at Sea Otter were hard-packed and rutted at times, with loose, dusty spots throughout. There were steady climbs with steep sections and fast, relatively straight descents. This bike may not be the perfect bike for competitive cross-country racing on this particular cross country course, though it could be used for that with the right rider. For myself, I found it to be a great bike for conquering the trails at my own pace. The terrain wasn’t especially technical, and I was able to roll over any ruts with ease on the 29-inch wheels. I only had trouble with one spot, on a fairly steep section at the top of a climb. Dubbed “Hurl Hill” on a Strava segment, it wasn’t necessarily the fault of the bike, but more so the fitness level of the rider. Still, it’s worth noting that this is quite a heavy bike, which makes any steep climb more challenging. As a new bike in unfamiliar terrain, it proved both reliable and fun. I didn’t even think about the bike at times or realize I wasn’t on my own, which wasn’t only because I couldn’t stop taking in the beautiful, rolling landscape around me. I think it speaks to how good the Release 29 2 is—it felt natural, and there were moments when it disappeared beneath me. In the end, I found myself wanting to try out the bike again on more technical terrain, to see what it could really do. But in all, the Release 29 2 is a great all-mountain bike that’ll meet the needs of many riders.