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Diamondback’s new Level Link trail bikes: The Catch 27.5+ and Release 27.5

Diamondback Catch and Release specs, feature image
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Diamondback Release, logo shot

What better place than the oceanside to reveal two new bikes called the Catch and the Release. Bikerumor traveled down to Santa Barbara, California this past weekend to get the scoop and go for a spin on Diamondback’s new trail bikes, featuring their patent-pending Level Link suspension platform.

If you’re into fishing, you probably chuckled at the model names. Apparently there’s a certain employee at Diamondback who’s quite the angler, so following their existing Hook, Line and Sync’r hardtails the company’s newest bikes carry the fishing theme further. During the launch I was told it was a bit of that, and partly the fact that these bikes were debuting a whole new technology for Diamondback, so they knew it was going to be a big release.

In this article we’ll take a look at the full build specs and geometry for all three models of the Release and the Catch 1 and 2…

Diamondback Release, seat tube and clearance

There are a few common traits between the Catch and the Release. For one, they’re both on the short side in terms of rear travel. Keeping the travel shorter and relying on the linkage design to provide a nice squishy feel means you can run shorter chainstays with ample tire clearance, and the Release’s rear end is shorter than the previous Mission trail bike, measuring up at 425mm. The plus-sized Catch’s chainstays are comparably compact at 446mm.

Despite the bend in the seat tube shown above, the frames are compatible with front derailleurs and both bikes come stock with a 2x setup in their lowest level trim. An adapter is bolted to the lower link which hosts a Sram mid-direct mount derailleur. Diamondback also mentioned the new bikes are about a pound lighter than the outgoing Mission.

The Release 27.5

Diamondback Release, geo chart

Diamondback cleverly described the Release’s character as the opposite of everyone’s favorite haircut, the mullet: it’s a party up front, and all business in the back. With a glance at the above chart and the build specs below, you’ll see what they’re talking about. The Release features modern geometry with long top tubes, slack steering angles and nice short chainstays. It’s long-legged 150mm fork and slack head tube give it a high tolerance for thrashing through rough stuff, and the supple rear end manhandles nasty bumps like an overenthusiastic nightclub bouncer.

Diamondback Release 3, build specs

Diamondback Release 2, build specs

Diamondback Release 1, build specs

Despite their current flagship status, Diamondback has priced these bikes pretty competitively. The Release 3 will retail for $3900, the 2 goes for $3500 and the 1 brings you into the game for $2500 USD.

The Catch 27.5+

Diamondback Catch, geo chart

The Catch has a bit more of a normalized setup with 130mm of travel at both ends. It’s not quite the ‘ripper’ bike the Release is meant to be, and that’s not just due to the fork’s shorter travel. The geometry is a little steeper to make the bike ride a bit more XC than ‘enduro’ to better handle longer adventure rides. Of course, the 27.5+ tires provide some extra bite on looser trail surfaces (I wish we had time for another lap of Santa Barbara’s Romero trail on the Catch, the top section would have been perfect to feel this out).

Diamondback Catch 2 build specs

Diamondback Catch 1 build specs

The top-spec Catch 2 is selling for $3500 and the 1 hits a much lower price point at $2500.

If you like what you see, here’s the best part. Diamondback didn’t want to get people all excited then leave them hanging – both of the new bikes can be purchased now and should be in shops by mid-March.


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8 years ago

So.. Budget VPP? Same Link rotation as Santa Cruz/Intense… were you able get any weights?

8 years ago

Diamondback is an odd duck. They produce some very low end bikes that you find in generic chain stores (Dicks’s) and they also produce higher end bikes.

I wonder if the cheap stuff hurts their credibility with more serious riders.

8 years ago

I figured they used angling references for naming the bikes because of their ridiculous decision to FISH all the housings/brake line across the main triangle. Really Diamondback? That’s your best solution? Good thing I’ll be near a water source with my fishing bikes- that way I can just dunk my head in the river since I can’t bring a water bottle along…

Justin Schmid (@wandering_j)
Reply to  ThinksTooMuch

Yeah. Water bottle mounts are a must … and I hold out for two. Riding with just a CamelBak doesn’t cut it.

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