In 2018, Diamondback wanted to put together something that could do it all: Road rides, 8+ hour long hauls, cyclocross, and the occasional off-road situations, all while keeping the price point as low as possible. We’re convinced that they’ve pulled it off with the Diamondback Hook, an all-occasion, aluminum-framed beast of a bicycle.
The Hook frame is based off of the Sync’r and Line, two other Diamondback models that are hugely popular within the trail riding and cyclocross crowds. While the Hook is a bit more stripped down than its siblings, it provides an comfy, progressive climbing geometry and a lot of features for being such an affordable ride.
Below, we get into the nitty gritty behind this bike’s mid-level design and assemblage.
While the Diamondback’s Hook design is somewhat stripped down, it’s quite clever and really gives you a lot of quality for the price. You don’t often see fully (or even partially) handcrafted bikes for under $1,000, which makes the Hook even more desirable as a base frame to build up from. Perfect for those cyclists who enjoy myriad disciplines and terrain, the Hook is a great all-around fun machine. Stock from the factory, Diamondback loads these with the following:
- Frame: 6061-T6 Butted Alloy for 27.5″, 1 1/8″ Head Tube, Formed Top and Down Tube, w/ Integrated Disc Brake Tabs
- Fork: SR Suntour XCM 120mm Travel, 30mm Stanchions, Coil Spring w/ Preload Adjust
- Tires: WTB Vigilante, 27.5 x 2.3″
- Crankset: Alloy Arm w/ 30T Steel “Narrow Wide” Single Ring
- Front Derailleur: Full ISCG-05 Chain Guide w/ Roller
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM X3, 8 Speed
- Shifters: SRAM X4 8 Speed
- Brakes: Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc, w/ 160mm Rotors
- Saddle: DB Sync’r Saddle
- Number of gears: 8
With the Diamondback Hook, you may not necessarily get all of the features you’re looking for right off the bat, and that’s kind of the idea. The Hook was created with upgrading in mind, which is why they provide you with an exceptionally well-crafted aluminum frame. It provides a wonderful base on which to build a custom trail cruiser all your own!
What’s Good About Diamondback Hook?
As a mid-level “all-purpose trail rider”, the Diamondback Hook is less about the individual components, and more about the overall experience that it provides during rides. At 30 lbs, it’s a strong, nimble frame that can cut quick lines regardless of terrain. They deliver these bikes from the factory almost fully assembled, which limits the possibility of user error before you can ever get on the road. So, what’s this bike loaded with?
Related: Diamondback Atroz 1 review
Gearing & Drivetrain
The Diamondback Hook has an 8-speed cogset, with a single chainring. This means you’re only getting 8 total options for shifting, which may be a bit limiting for some. The cogset is 11T to 32T, which suggests that the designers were much more concerned with how this thing can handle hills than what speeds you can get it up to. Because of this, urban riders may want to look elsewhere as the Hook isn’t exactly lightning quick.
Frame & Derailleurs
The frame is where the Hook really shines. The 6061 T-6 aluminum frame is hand built, and each joint on the Hook frame is hand welded, which means a there’s a much more critical eye for imperfections as opposed to some companies who use automated production welding techniques.
This grade of aluminum falls right below what they use on the space shuttles, and is incredibly light. The integrated disk brake tabs are a nice touch, adding even more stability to an already rock solid frame.
Derailleurs can make or break a geared bike, which is why Diamondback went with a combination SRAM/Diamondback package on the Hook. The SRAM X3 is a mid-level unit that tends to be a little fickle in wet weather, so make sure to use an all-weather lube very regularly on your chain. Without proper attention, these units can seize up.
Tires & Brakes
Diamondback tends to go with WTB tires on a lot of their trail bikes, and the Hook is no exception. It’s fitted with WTB Vigilantes, coming in at 27.5 x 2.3″. These are perfectly fine to start with, but are very much designed for off-road terrain.
If you’re looking to make your Hook more all-purpose, finding some slick, hybrid style tires is a great place to start.
The brakes on this bike are a point of contention as they just don’t fit the quality of the other components found on the Hook, which has us scratching our heads.
Tektro is a great company, and their Aries brakes provide a solid baseline level of functionality, but there are several other brands at similar cost that provide a much better level of braking for bikes like this.
A common saddle for most Diamondback cyclocross and mountain bikes, the DB Sync’r is made with comfort in mind. While there are certainly some better seats out there, the Sync’r is sturdy and decent enough to get you through your first couple of seasons before needing to be replaced. Also, these tend to be quite comfortable.
Related: Diamondback Release 3 review
Should I Buy It?
While you’re not necessarily getting a pro-level trail bike with the Hook, what it does provide is a great platform with which to build your dream cyclocross machine.
Diamondback even mentions this themselves in their literature, calling the Hook the “kit car of trail bikes”.
There’s no good reason to shy away from the Diamondback Hook, even with its stock components. You’ll probably find that it tends to comfortably fit into your riding habits, regardless of the terrain.
Cyclists that tend to stick mainly to roads and paved environments may want to steer clear of the Hook, as its design is much better suited for hills and gravel. However, give it a test ride first. You might be surprised.
|What we disliked about the Hoom||What we like about the Hook|
|Only 8 speeds||Handmade aluminum frame|
|Cheap, unstable rear derailleur||Easily upgradeable|
|SlowGreat for climbing hills||Great for climbing hills|