Diamondback Catch 2
- Excellent value
- All the latest tech
- High pedal clearance
- Suspension movement
- Bulky wheelset
The Diamondback Catch 2 is a trail bike featuring oversized or "plus" tires that is suitable for all styles of trail riding. With an aluminum frame, 130mm of front and rear suspension and 2.8" inch tires, the Catch 2 is a bike loaded with current technology, which can be rare at this price point. However it’s quite heavy at almost 33 lbs, and the suspension has some unwanted bob.
Diamondback’s Catch 2 has some of the latest technology primarily found on more expensive trail bikes. The Catch is an aluminum framed bike featuring Level Link rear suspension. The Level Link is a newly designed rear end for Diamondback, and seeks to enhance the suspension beyond the advertised 130mm of actual travel via the RockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir. The rear shock has three positions, though the switch yields an insubstantial movement and little change to the ride. The rear end of the Catch does feel as though it has travel beyond 130mm, though not all of that movement occurs when you want it with some bobbing and sagging through the pedal stroke and other movement. Climbing on the Catch 2 does feel more laborious as a result of suspension’s supple nature. The fork is a Fox Float 34 Performance Elite with three positions accessible on the crown and 15mm thru axle. Having ridden through the full catalog of Fox Float 34s, the differences are subtle, and the Performance Elite has full plunge through 130mm.
The Catch 2 is an aluminum framed trail bike, and the frame is stiff with no compliance. When paired with the RockShox rear suspension and the Fox Float 34 Performance, the stiffness is of no concern, however there is momentum-stealing bob while in the saddle and this is especially felt while not locked out on the climb. RaceFace cranks and bottom bracket provide a stable riding platform.
Weight and suspension movement conspire to make climbing a better workout. The perceived effort on a lengthy climb with technical sections was notable and more difficult than on other plus sized 27.5 inch trail bikes. The gearing is appropriate featuring a 30T front cog cranking a SRAM XG 10-42 tooth rear cassette. A highlight of the Catch 2 is the placement of the bottom bracket, which is higher than other trail bikes we rode, and provides clearance for the pedals in technical or rutted out riding conditions, this is a substantial positive on this bike.
By design, the 27.5 inch wheel set with 2.8 inch Kenda Havok tires floated on 130mm of travel (5+ inches) and makes for an exhilarating descent. This is a thrilling bike to descend on matching more costly bikes in its downhill capabilities. The geometry on the Catch 2 is nicely balanced, giving the Catch 2 precise handling and sharp accurate steering. Of course the Havok 2.8 “cheater” tires help mitigate both user and bike flaws in most downhill conditions. A dropper post as standard equipment further provides value in the Catch 2, and further enhances the Catch’s downhill cred.
Components: Drivetrain, Shifting and Brakes
Braking is provided by SRAM with Guide R hydraulic disc brakes, 180mm rotors front and rear. These brakes work well through all performance demands and showed no fade while also staying quiet. The lever action is stiffer than some may prefer, but the response is immediate and consistent, with excellent modulation. Raceface 30-tooth ring pulls a KMC X11L chain through a SRAM XG 1150 (10-42) cassette. The shifting on the Catch 2 was precise and we never experienced a missed shift through demanding riding. A KS Supernatural dropper is included, with SouthPaw remote and externally mounted cable.
The Catch 2’s wheelset features tubeless ready Diamondback Blanchard 32R rims coupled with Kenda Havok 2.8 inch tires. This is a fierce setup that is ready to absolutely rip on the downhill and performed exceptionally well in wet and dry conditions including snow and ice. However the heavy weight is noticeable especially in the climbs, and there was some flex under heavy load.
The Catch 2 is an impressive value. The lowest-priced bike we reviewed, it features all of today's most current technology trends like 27.5" wheels with Plus size tires, 1x11 drivetrain, a dropper post and 5" of plush travel. Together with a modern Trail geometry, this makes for a sweet ride and a great value.
How We Tested It
The bikes in this test were used on 30-50 miles of root-infested, mud-slopped, baby-head-strewn New England and/or Colorado trails and some dirt roads. Most bikes were ridden by two testers, and often ridden one after the other on the same route or segment, on climbs or especially gnarly sections or sketchy descents, to compare performance. Riding varied from longer segments to test ride feel and frame comfort, to explosive climbs and sprints for performance.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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