Diamondback Release 3 level link trail bike, side

As a bicycle manufacturer, it’s essential to have bikes that perform well in your lineup. While some brands simply purchase the rights to existing designs that are widely considered effective, it’s a much bigger point of pride to break out with your own concept. The folks at Diamondback are pretty stoked to announce the Level Link- the company’s first suspension design that they’ve decided to patent.

The Level Link platform is a short link, counter rotating four-bar suspension system. Now if you’re thinking that sounds similar to some existing bikes you’re correct – Recently the patent covering those design elements expired, allowing Diamondback to create their own iteration without infringing on other brands or having to license the technology. After putting their magic into the design, Diamondback’s patent is currently pending.

Read on to find out how the Level Link has Diamondback’s new Catch 27.5+ and Release 27.5 (pictured above) grasping at the all-mountain ‘holy grail’ of efficient pedaling with excellent bump absorption…

After working for nearly three years with team rider Eric Porter and suspension wiz/engineer Luther Beal, the brand says they’ve made their best trail bike yet. Diamondback wanted to take aim at the industry’s biggest players and develop what they consider the best pedaling trail bike on the market. Their major goal was to isolate pedalling forces from suspension inputs to provide that ‘XC bike up, freeride bike down’ balance that trail bikes typically strive to achieve.

Diamondback level link rear triangle

Looking at the big picture, the suspension system was designed hand in hand with the frame geometry to ensure the whole bike works in harmony. Beal also developed the Blanchard wheelset to complement the ride qualities of the Catch and Release bikes – he explained that since Diamondback has no intention to produce their own shocks or forks, developing a wheelset was the next most influential (and feasible) factor in tuning the new bikes’ on-trail performance.

With slack geometry and a low center of gravity, the new bikes aim to balance their efficient climbing prowess with fun, confidence inspiring descending capabilities – because after all, it is all about the ride.

Diamondback level link, both links vertical

So let’s get down to the science of it all – the Level Link moniker references the fact that the lower link stays parallel to the chain as the bike moves through its travel. This keeps the instant center in line with the chain all the way through the stroke, so pedalling forces won’t activate the suspension or hamper bump compliance.

The upper link is positioned to react to trail inputs. At the sag point, where the bike rests as you pedal, the two links sit perpendicular to each other. With the upper link sitting nearly vertical, it resists bobbing up and down but offers a linear shock rate with excellent absorption of small bumps and big hits at the rear wheel.

Diamondback level link, lower link

The Level Link’s axle path starts slightly rearward, then moves forward to provide optimal bump absorption and cornering stability. The design also allows necessary chain growth around the sag point to ensure good traction while pedalling over bumps, but keeps overall growth to a minimum when the bike dives deep into its travel.

Diamondback Catch 2 level link, angle
The new Catch 2, ©Earl Harper

The new Catch and Release bikes both come in a few different models, which we’ll check out in an upcoming article, so keep an eye on Bikerumor for the specs and a ‘first ride’ report on the Release 3…



  1. All this would be nicer if they weren’t sold primarily through Amazon.
    Why would retailers promote a product where Jeff Bezos make any and all of the profit ?
    Accell needs to radically re-think their distribution model. I understand that DB is their best-selling brand, whose reputation was built on the back of hard-working IBDs. But a product this sophisticated needs a professional shop to assemble and maintain.
    Meanwhile we can enjoy the “race to the bottom” as the corner bike shop disappears.

    • Accell are making DiamondBack an internet brand. I don’t see any issue with that, someone has to fill that market, why shouldn’t this company have a piece of that pie? Out of some loyalty to the old way of doing business? Their other brands (Raleigh, LaPierre) are IBD bikes, so it’s not like they’re not supporting the LBS. Diamondback’s name is so in the dirt after years of low quality MTBs being sold at Dick’s that I doubt they could get much traction in the higher end IBD sales anyway.

    • As I think Padrote is alluding to below, this doesn’t seem to be DW link (which still has an active patent, for whatever that is worth) but is instead a VPP link. As to if it has the performance of other VPPs, I can’t be sure, although I am sure it will have a lot better pricing for a given component spec.

  2. front derailleurs are for the mentally weak thinking a wider range of gears are needed, but even for those the excuse will be moot after SRAM brings the 10-50 cogset, there will be no more arguments about range… These frames look great without it!

  3. How the hell is diamond back going to patent a blatant copy?! If this patent goes through it will make a joke out of the already laughable US patent office.

  4. Because it’s a different version of the vpp and yes they can patent that. It’s way better than the VPP. DB has come along way and with the Catch and Release models they are definitely top contenders. I rode both the Release and SC 5010 and the DB blows it away. Better components, better suspension and a hell of a lot cheaper.

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