Sneak Peek-2017 Diamond Back Topanga – Relieving us From the Pesky New Standards

For 2017, Diamond Back has something new up their sleeve, something unexpected and radical. Seeing the rising tide of experienced riders frustrated by new “Standards”, they decided to grab the bull by the balls and get this freight train back under control. What they’ve come up with is so groundbreaking that we’ve had a hard time keeping it in our pants until the press embargo was lifted. Well folks, it’s March 17th, so we are now free to share. You’re welcome.

Topanga1

About the Topanga: Diamondback’s goal for the 2017 Topanga is to is to go back to a time where new standards did not exist, and to relieve us of the headaches caused by these new standards such as…

  • Unnecessary weight from disc brakes
  • Rampant cracks from fatigue of aluminum frame welds
  • Exploding carbon frames and wheels
  • Unbearable inefficiency from suspension damping
  • Fragile chains with high wear rate as a result of more than 7 speeds
  • Axle standards that are just there to make your current bike obsolete

Our Take:

Diamond Back nailed its goal. This bikes performance delivers in spades.
Our first observation was the fact that it certainly felt faster than our 2016 suspension equipped steeds, never mind that we were completely out of control…it felt way faster, especially with the 26” wheels that were immeasurably quicker to accelerate and high tire pressures required to minimize flats with the tubes.

We were grateful as well to not have to lug around the weight of disc brakes, like we said…this bike felt fast, especially when we had to reign in the chaos while coming into a corner or set of baby head rocks a little too hot.

The lack of carbon and aluminum assured us that the frame would never fail…and it didn’t, in our 2 week test period that we had before the press embargo was lifted.


Final Verdict:

One word sums up this bike “feels FAST”, wait that was two. Whatever.

For real though, this bike, actually a 1992 or so, is a blast to ride…it reminds us that any bike is fun to ride. It may not be up to date with new features that make riding more convenient to live with, but that doesn’t necessarily make it less fun. And we were still able to get outside in the fresh air an gain some perspective on life…which at the end of the day, is why we ride.

This particular bike is the first race bike of CrankJoy’s founder, Chad Davis. He still has it around, after living in at least 10 different places…and that is saying something. It kindled a lifelong passion in Chad that he can’t seem to shake…he’s built a life around exploring the world by mountain bike, and he couldn’t be happier. His wife, Tricia picked up the bug from Chad not too long after this bike was originally built, and she shares his enthusiasm for riding to this day.

And as for changes and “new standards”? We recommend to embrace the changes. Collectively they do lead to better bikes, but it doesn’t make your current bike any less enjoyable to ride. So love the one you’re with!


Test conditions:

This bike has been everywhere. It started as an XC race bike in Virginia and has held residence in British Columbia, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona to it’s current location in Bend, OR where it serves duty as a town and light trail bike.

Bike Details:
• Bike Model: 1992 DiamondBack Topanga
• MSRP: $500 or so (1992)
• Bike Size: 18”
• Bike Year: 1992
• Wheel Size: 26” forever
• Suspension Travel: Harden up you pansies.
• Bike Weight: 26.8 lb

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Topanga 7 speed
7 Speeds for the ultimate in chain longevity.

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Topanga Canti
Steel fork for efficiency and cantilever brakes for light weight.

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Topanga brake levers
Got big meaty fingers? You’ll love these levers to match.
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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Nigel Peacock

    Still riding my early nineties topanga – wouldn’t swap it!

  2. Dennis

    I have an early model that needs some love. New gearing is what’s required.

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