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  1. #1
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    Diamondback MASON VS. all other slack 29er HT's

    Anyone have a long-term review on the Diamondback Mason? There's been quite a bit of slack 29erz hitting the market lately and aside from the Mason frame being aluminum, the complete Mason is basically my #1 build for a HT. I'm ready to pull the trigger on a new HT to replace my 26" TransAm. I LOVED the TransAm frame because the steel frame small bump compliance was incredibly comfortable. Anyone here switch from Steel 26" to 29" aluminum HT with any complaints? Any frame builders out there that build a slack 29" steel frame? I'd want a 66-67 HTA.

  2. #2
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    Just found this review posted up the other day when I was shopping: Diamondback Mason: Final Review

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ihaveagibsonsg View Post
    Any frame builders out there that build a slack 29" steel frame? I'd want a 66-67 HTA.
    I think Kona makes one called the Honzo.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by NslrPrtn View Post
    I think Kona makes one called the Honzo.
    I've looked at the Honzo in depth but I'm not exactly excited by its complete build or geometry. Adding a longer travel fork wouldn't put it where I like my HTA either. It is worth an honorable mention. If the 2014 Honzo is more aggressive than its present build, I'd be all over it.

  5. #5
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    The DB Mason is similar to the YellieScreamy from Canfield Brothers (slacker HT&ST angles and short chainstay length). Some might say the YS inspired the Mason. On my YS I run a 140mm fork, a custom wheelset using P-35 rims and DTSwiss alpine DH spokes, ultra-short stem and extra wide handle bars.

    In short ... love it.

    Yes my setup is a bit difficult to pull off step climbs (keeping the front wheel down on the ground) but it absolutely rips going down hill. With the short chainstay and wide bars it is a very responsive ride and surprisingly nimble for a 29er.

    Canfield's Nimble9 used to have a similar geo to the YS but a frame made of steel. But now it has been adapted for SS use.
    The quiver: 2010 Santa Cruz Nomad, 2011 Specialized Demo II, 2011 Canfield Brothers Yelli Screamy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdusto View Post
    The DB Mason is similar to the YellieScreamy from Canfield Brothers (slacker HT&ST angles and short chainstay length). Some might say the YS inspired the Mason. On my YS I run a 140mm fork, a custom wheelset using P-35 rims and DTSwiss alpine DH spokes, ultra-short stem and extra wide handle bars.

    In short ... love it.

    Yes my setup is a bit difficult to pull off step climbs (keeping the front wheel down on the ground) but it absolutely rips going down hill. With the short chainstay and wide bars it is a very responsive ride and surprisingly nimble for a 29er.

    Canfield's Nimble9 used to have a similar geo to the YS but a frame made of steel. But now it has been adapted for SS use.
    I was going to bring up the N9. Great geometry, steel, really versatile.
    It's always had sliders to be able to ride gears or single speed, though.
    @ihaveagibsonsg, I'm assuming you're looking for a complete. You could, of course, move your drivetrain to something like the Nimble 9, sell your frame, fork, and wheels for 29" counterparts.

    Just sayin'...

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  7. #7
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    This is where I am too. Looking for a fun HT like the Mason, Yelli Screamy, Honzo, TransAM, Trek Stache, etc.. I just can't make up my mind. I'd like to keep it as close to or preferably under $2k but with a good build on it. I would go with the YS, but I do not have enough experience building to pull it off myself. The Mason and the Stache are probably my two top runners right now, but both are a little bit more than I want to spend.

    I just really want a FUN HT 29er that can take a beating with a good build and good price. I too am not too impressed with the honzo build which is why that one isn't in my top two.

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    The Screamy is a pretty compliant frame for an AM aluminum bike, in fact if I weighed much over 200 I would look at the Nimble Nine.
    What don't you like about the Honzo? Even the aluminum Taro has good components for the $... Since you loved the Transition why not get the 29er version?
    An angleset will give you that extra degree of slack if you think you need it, the 26" Transam has a 69 head angle and 68.5 on the 29er version.

    (I have a SG too but I can't carry a tune.)
    The wheel is a extension of the foot

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    Don't leave out the Banshee Paradox.

    I liked the Trek Stashe, so I am going to build up a Paradox with similar specs, just a few upgrades here and there. Should be a fun bike to ride once I'm done.

  10. #10
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    Why 66 on a 29er hardtail? You're not gonna go as fast as on your Enduro and 29ers have plenty of wheel out front as it is... Seems counter-intuitive to have short chainstays for quick handling and then make it so slack it becomes barge-like again....

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    Why 66 on a 29er hardtail?
    Yep. Having owned a yelli and a honzo, and having briefly ridden a mason and a paradox... 66-67 is really too slack for a 29'er hardtail. 68-69 with a low BB and short stays is just about right. With a short stem and wide bars!

    GibsonSG, get some test rides in. These are all fun bikes. BB height and chainstay length matter just as much (or more) than the head angle on a 29'er.

  12. #12
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    My Honzo has a 66.5-67 HTA with a Fox 34. Give the Honzo a second look and think in terms of building from the frame up. Put the new Pike on there and it'd be even slacker. BB is 12.6 on my set up. If you're an out of the saddle climber/pedaler, 66 degree head angles aren't a problem. If you're a sit and spin climber, it can become a battle to keep the front end down.

    As for losing nimbleness, I have no problem with my Honzo even on the tightest trails, but I hardly ever sit either, so my position on a bike is different from most. I'm basically in attack position most of the time which weights the front end more making it more agile.

  13. #13
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    The mason is the number 1 bike in my crosshairs for 3 reasons listed below in most important to least -

    1) I get a discount and can purchase a complete build for $1500
    2) I love slack bikes and it's HTA is the same as my enduro which is adore
    3) It has a really good build for the money compared to the competition

    I'm not too excited about the honzo build. I really don't like the current color option for 2013(stupid I know but bike are like women, you'll never really enjoy being on top of one if its ugly). If I'm going to go steel, I'll probably go back to transition and this time around get a TransAM 29er unless I can find a deal on a honzo.

  14. #14
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    I have the Mason. I bought an XL and now I have a M. Love the bike.

    $1800 at REI right now.

  15. #15
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    Who cares about efficiency? A slack 29er hardtail with short chain stays is simply a blast to ride.
    2013 Transition TransAM 29er
    2012 Banshee Spitfire 26er
    2005 Trek Bruiser urban single speed

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    Bump it up. Good thread idea, there's so many competing slack HTs it's good to get actual riding feedback.

  17. #17
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    First ride impression was....wtf my rear hanger is bent! I called diamondback but didnt receive a response back. Anyone know what hanger this bike takes? Couldnt find it anywhere online. X9 type 2 clutch derailler and a solid 12mm axle.



  18. #18
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    Any update
    What exactly this type of bike is for
    Just about anywhere flats up or down hill. Or not so great on the street.
    I'm not looking for a fast bike
    Thanks

  19. #19
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    After about 10 rides on my Mason, it's the bike I was looking for. It handles 90% of trails without a problem. Only the roughest and steepest trails will make you yearn for a different bike. I'd imagine a steel frame of a bike with this geometry would be the best riding hardtail ever made. It's overall a fast bike up and down, but not the fastest in each category. It's a solid medium and a great trail bike.

    Diamondback's customer support though is embarrassing. I currently have a handwritten letter in the mail to get a response from them.

  20. #20
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    nice, would it possible to run a 100mm fork on the mason?
    what would the HTA be at?
    or because of the geo that wont be possible you would feel like going over the handlebars?

  21. #21
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    It might feel like a low rider. It feels like that *sometimes with the minimum fork setting

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ihaveagibsonsg View Post

    What size?

  23. #23
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    I've been on my Mason for a few months, so I'm not sure if that's considered 'long term'. Not too many people have been on them for much longer though. My riding is primarily MI singletrack, with some other Southern and Midwest riding mixed in. The HA, fork travel, and clown wheels combine to make one confident and stable descender(for a HT anyway). Always riding the most rooted, rocky, droppy lines on the local trails. I can climb anything with the Mason that I could on a more XC oriented HT(Rockhopper frame with XT/Saint gear and 120mm Fox). The bike is less than ideal on super twisty, tight corridor trails, but those aren't real common, and the wide bars are the biggest reason.

    I love rock tech, low and high speed. Big boulders and skinnies too. The geo is great for stepping down from big rocks and logs where a drop isn't feasible. I find it easier to get height with the Mason than the XC 26er when hopping. On several trail systems on my last vacation, I thought the Mason the perfect bike for the ride. Great on the flow DH at Coldwater Mtn. Great on the expert Boulder Ridge and also Blood Rock at Oak Mtn. Equally at home on dirt singletrack. Of course, there are places(Rothrock comes to mind) where you'll get beat up on any HT, and FS is still king in these places. I would easily make the same purchase again.

    One thing to consider if buying online is that any warranty issue would be dealt with through the nearest DB or Raleigh USA dealer. They will and do cover warranty issues for bikes sold online. For me, that would be about a 40 minute drive from home.

    Love the build on it, and would build a bike up with similar parts anyway. May eventually upgrade to Zee brakes(not necessity), and I swapped on some Ergon grips and added a double bash setup. Gotta have a bash.

  24. #24
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    Hi, is there much room around the front chainring for a widgit?

  25. #25
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    Re: Diamondback MASON VS. all other slack 29er HT's

    I'd give it at least a 50/50 shot of fitting a widgit. I am running a dual bash with a 32T ring. The inner(BBG) has about 1/16" clearance to the stay. The inner bash has a smaller diameter than the outer, but I don't know how it would compare to the diameter of the widgit.

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