Diamondback Ranger 2.0 Review
Designed in the UK and aimed at the British E-MTB market, the Diamondback Ranger 2.0 offers riders Shimano Steps 8000, WTB 27 wheels and 140 mm of RockShox suspension for £ 3900. We took it to the edge and back in the mountains and hills of Scotland, to see where it was most comfortable.
Diamondback, have been part of the MTB scene since year dot and were one of the hottest brands of the late 80’s. Since then they nearly disappeared until the mighty Raleigh and its parent company, Winora (the owners of Haibike), invested heavily in the brand and have re-invented Diamondback as a British E-MTB contender. Aimed at riders looking for a solid all-rounder with maximum bike for their money, the Ranger is Diamondback’s top-end model for 2017 and the 2.0 sits in the middle of three spec levels, all based around the same frame and motor.
1st impressions are good: the aluminium 6061 hydroformed frame looks solidly built and features a VPP linkage rear end. Frame colours look good and definitely ‘pop’ but the graphic finish is a bit lacklustre with the decals standing proud and die-cut stickers on the battery. Up close, the cable routing is a bit of a ‘bird’s nest’, which makes it more difficult to work on when you need to change a cable or adjust the dropper and the lack of bottle cage mounts mean that you’re limited to using a hydration pack even for short blasts. However, a few corners have to but cut to be competitive at this price point and these non-essential areas are the probable place to do it.
Specification of the Diamondback Ranger 2.0
The beating heart of the bike is the excellent Shimano Steps E8000 motor with 500 Wh external battery. The Steps E8000 gives a smooth and quiet ride with plenty of power, even on ECO mode, with enough torque available on trail to get up all but the most brutal of climbs. There is noticeably less drag than other motors, at speeds above the assisted range, which means even more flow and fun on the fast stuff!
RockShox at both ends are well specced for the price point, with the burly Yari RC up front and the Monarch RT3 with 3 position compression lever bringing up the rear. Both are simple to set-up; just set the sag according to the gradient markings already on the shock, and go, if you blow through your travel too quickly, adding the bottomless tokens is an easy and quick job. Drive chain duties are carried out by Shimano XT 11-speed shifter and mech on an 11-42 Sunrace cassette which, combined with a 34t XT chainset, gave plenty of range and shifted well under pressure. Another £ 350 gets you XT Di2 on the Ranger 3.0 and it may be worth the money to have a more integrated and quicker shifting bike that gets the most out of the Steps E8000 drive.
The well-specced theme continues with the wheels. 40 mm internal width WTB Scraper rims and 2.8” tyres are good to see, giving added comfort and a larger contact patch to aid grip and braking traction, however, they will need converting to tubeless to avoid the frequent pinch punctures a heavy bike, tubes and thin side walls will attract like bees to honey!
By either strange coincidence or careful planning, the WTB tyres are the appropriately named, Rangers; the low profile tread worked really well for cruising on fast rolling and dry, hardpack and trail centre type surfaces but would quickly get you in trouble in wet or loose conditions. Tyres with more traction would make the most out of the bike’s excellent climbing ability and provide more confidence when descending.
Fork: Rock Shox Yari RC 140 mm Rear Shock: Rock Shox Monarch RT3 Debonair 140 mm Wheelset: WTB Scraper i40 27 32H on DB Sealed Boost Hubs Tyres: WTB Ranger 27.5×2.8, Comp 27tpi Casing, Wire Bead Drive Unit: Shimano E8000 Battery: Shimano Integrated E8020 (504 Wh) Crankset: Shimano XT E8000 34t Ring Drivetrain: Shimano XT Sunrace 11-42t Brakes: Shimano M-315 Hydraulic, 180mm Rotor Stem: Diamondback Forged Aluminium Handlebar: Diamondback W:720 x Dia:31.8mm, Back sweep:6DG Up sweep:4, Rise:12mm Cut for WTB Padlock Grips Seatpost: DB Dropper post 31.6mm
Geometry of the Diamondback Ranger 2.0
|Seat tube||380 mm||420 mm||460 mm||500 mm|
|Top tube (effective)||585 mm||605 mm||625 mm||645 mm|
|Head tube||110 mm||110 mm||120 mm||130 mm|
|Chainstay||455 mm||455 mm||455 mm||455 mm|
|BB Drop||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm|
|Wheelbase||1169 mm||1189 mm||1210 mm||1231 mm|
Riding the Diamondback Ranger 2.0
We tested the XL and the short reach felt a bit on the small side for our 193 cm lanky tester; riders 180-190 cm would fit it much better. The geometry is traditionally sharp XC with a comfortable and upright position and a 68° head angle which means that it loves tight singletrack and climbing and will happily eat up the kilometres.
Unfortunately, for fast descending, those low profile tyres, steep head angle, short top tube, 70 mm stem and 720 mm bars make the handling a bit of a handful! We would have definitely have liked to see a wider bar at least, to give the rider more leverage, control and confidence. The real fly in the spec ointment are the M-315 brakes, which really have no place on an E-MTB let alone one at £ 3900, and are the cheapest Shimano units with hideous 2 finger trekking levers.
Brakes are not an area that we like to see compromised on an E-MTB because of the increased speeds and weight. Low powered units require two or more fingers to operate in order to get them to bite which reduces your ability to grip the bars and increases arm pump and pressure on the wrists. On long descents, we spent so much time thinking about braking, resulting in tired wrists and arms which took much of the fun out of the descents and ultimately made riding riskier. These would need sorting in the shop and buyers should consider this when comparing the total cost of the bike. Unfortunately, the same brakes are specced on the Ranger 3.0 so even upgrading to the next model won’t rectify the issue.
The Ranger is designed, as its name suggests, for long tours and adventure. We were happiest exploring the forests and double track of the Borders backcountry where our confidence in the range and comfort of the Ranger, kept us heading towards the horizon. Riders looking to get radical will find the Ranger’s specification unsuitable for harder riding, quickly getting out of its depth when the terrain, speeds, and gradient become more challenging.
info at: diamondback.co.uk
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Words: Thomas Corfield Photos: Trev Worsey
Diamondback Response Ebike Hands-on Review (2022)
This beast of an ebike is the Diamondback Response, a Bosch mid-drive class 3 commuter built on a hardtail mountain bike frame with a pretty nice front suspension fork and 2.8” wide semi-slick tires on it. It rocks!
Quickly Ride to a Section.
The Diamondback Response – At A Glance
Price – 4100 Weight – about 52lbs Sizes – small, medium, large Class 3 mid-drive
(all photos courtesy of Diamondback Electric Bikes) We are currently out of stock on this bike at Bend Velo Bike Shop, so I couldn’t take any pictures myself We are hoping to get some more by summer.
I weigh 220lbs and can get 20-40 miles on this ebike in real-world testing. Depending on which assist mode I’m in, how many hills there are, and how windy it is. Lighter riders will get more range.
Of course, the bike can be ridden if the battery runs out, just without any motor assistance.
- Bosch motor system
- 500wh Battery
- RockShox front fork
- Shimano Deore 10 speed drivetrain with 11-42 cassette
- Intube battery
- 2.8” tires
- Pricey at 4100
- Does not include lights, fenders, or a rack
- Only comes with smooth tires, though you can put knobby tires on it
Who’s it For?
This is a hard one to nail down.
If you want to commute around town fast, but also be able to hop curbs or go down some stairs then this ebike is for you.
If you want an ebike that is just as happy on the road as it is on the trail then this bike is for you.
If you want an ebike with the best mid-drive motor brand (Bosch) that you know won’t break easily then this bike is for you.
If you just want an ebike but don’t know what you plan to do with it, so you want it capable of anything, then this is for you.
I think you get the picture here. It’s for everybody!
The Diamondback Response electric bike actually came out in 2021 and the 2022 model will be the same one carried over. 2021 was the first year Diamondback came out with ebikes and they have 4 different models right now and all 4 will be the same for 2022.
Just keep in mind that Diamondback also carries a non-electric bike with the same name – “Response” – confusing I know, so just make sure you are looking for the Diamondback Response electric bike.
Diamondback has been making the non-electric Responses for years and they have many models available so if you’re searching for this bike, you will probably find a lot of the non-electric versions showing up.
I have sold a few of these at the bike shop and have personally test-ridden this bike. And let me tell you it’s pretty sweet.
One customer bought it just to do door dash deliveries and not use any gas. I love it!
When you buy an electric bike or any bike for that matter, what you are really buying is the ride. You could have the prettiest bike in the world and unless it rides well, then it’s just a piece of artwork.
Well, let me tell you this ebike is a ton of fun! The Response rides like butter no matter what you throw at it, and it looks good doing it. The Diamondback logo on the downtube is just raised letters in the same color, very stealthy.
First off it’s a class 3, meaning it can assist up to 28mph (no throttle though).
Second, it has 2.8” semi-slick tires that ride like butter on the road and can handle anything but the loosest terrain off-road. (I have these tires on my own ebike until it snows)
Third, it’s a Bosch mid-drive motor with 85nm of torque which is just a powerhouse.
If this ebike is within your price range just buy it if you can find one!
Here’s a breakdown of what comes stock on the bike –
The Motor, Battery, and Display
These are the parts you are really looking for when buying an electric bike.
The Diamondback Response uses Bosch, which is the best there is!
Motor – Bosch Performance Line Speed gen4 mid-drive – 250w – 85nm max torque – up to 300% assist
Battery – Bosch 500wh in-tube vertical with Bosch standard charger (charges from 0-100% in about 5hrs)
Display – Bosch Kiox (color, customizable screens, Bluetooth compatible)
The Drive Train
If you are looking for a pedal-assist mid-drive ebike then the drive train is very important. This is the gearing and shifting part of the bike.
You will want lower gearing if you plan to ride up steep hills and the Diamondback Response has you covered.
Shifter – Shimano Deore M6000 10 speed
Rear Derailleur – Shimano Deore M6000 10 speed
Cassette – 10 speed, tooth count 11-42
Now the tooth count on the cassette is where you can tell how low the gearing is, the higher the tooth count on the biggest cog, the lower the gear is.
Many mountain bikes nowadays have a low gear as big as 50 or 51 even 52, but 42 is still a pretty low gear and when paired with the Bosch motor, will get you up just about anything.
The brakes on an ebike can often get overlooked, but when you are able to cruise at speeds above 20mph it is good to know you have brakes that stop you fast if needed.
The Response comes with the Magura Fifty4’s which have a 4 piston front caliper with a 203mm rotor and a 2 piston rear caliper with a 180mm rotor. This basically means it will stop you when you need to.
Magura makes a solid brake that works great, just be aware they are not very durable. If you crash or the bike falls over and hits the brake lever it may snap off.
The Response comes with a RockShox Judy Gold front fork with 120mm of travel. This is plenty of travel for a hardtail ebike considering this bike is not really marketed as a mountain bike.
Front forks can range in travel from 30mm to 210mm. Lower travel forks are found on city bikes and hybrids, designed just to be a little more comfortable riding on streets. Higher travel forks a found on enduro and downhill style mountain bikes, meant for big descents and drops.
The RockShox Judy on the Response is about in the middle and meant for more all-around riding.
the Response comes with double-walled, 32 spoke, tubeless-ready WTB rims laced to thru-axle sealed bearing hubs. 15x110mm boost front, 12×148 boost rear.
This means that they are tough enough for most terrain and can be set up tubeless if you want, but the bike does not come tubeless, it will have tubes.
The tires are Schwalbe Moto-X’s – size 27.5 x 2.8” These are some of my favorite tires for riding just about any terrain.
For off-road just lower your tire pressure a little and these tires grip very well even though they are smooth. I have ridden these exact tires on just about every surface and they rock. Just be cautious when turning in sandy areas.
The only downside is that the tires are not tubeless-ready.
Before you buy –
This bike comes pretty bare-bones but it can take a rear rack, fenders, and you can wire lights up to the Bosch system and run them off the Bosch battery. So it can be ready for anything.
At the End of the Day
The Diamondback Response is a well-built machine that capable of just about anything you can throw at it. It is marketed as a class 3 city bike but it’s really a hardtail mountain bike. Just know that if your state allows electric mountain bikes on trails they may not allow class 3 ebikes.
So if you want an electric bike that you can cruise around town and not have to baby it or something that can head off on the trail and be just as at home, then check out the new Diamondback Response if you can find one.
We were only able to get 4 of these ebikes at the shop for all of 2021, so they are in very low supply. We may only be able to get 3 or 4 this year so check with your local Diamondback dealer and they may be able to put you on a waitlist early.
In the past, they have been available online, but that may not be the case this year due to the lack of supply.
Specialized Drops 3,800 Turbo Levo SL 24″ Kid’s E-Bike
An e-bike built specifically for kids — with the power of adult models. The new Specialized Turbo Levo SL Kids gives a whole new avenue for fun on the trails (or the ability to keep up with adults). It’s 36.6 lbs of a legit e-bike equipped with the same internals as the adult Levo SL.
Specialized Turbo Levo SL Kids
The idea Turbo Levo SL kids model is to give an extra boost to kids on trails. To help those little legs get over the big climbs and maybe conquer assents they never thought possible. The extra boost could help young riders learn to navigate the trails and drive a mountain bike like a well-seasoned rider.
Geometry and Fit
The standover height is very low, perfect for getting on/off and bailing when the trail becomes too challenging. Geometry-wise, the Kids Levo SL sports a slack 66° head tube angle matched with a long stack and reach. The more extended reach is a reasonably progressive fit for a kid’s bike; it keeps the young rider engaged but able to steer and drive the bike effectively.
What age is the Kid’s Turbo Levo SL for?
Sizing is easy; there is only one. The Turbo Levo SL Kid’s can fit riders from 48-60 inches or six years and older (roughly). The standover gives enough room for the shortest inseams to have ground clearance. For the older riders (10-11 years), the bike will fit but with more of a playful ride.
So what’s the power?
This Turbo Levo SL 24″ has the same internals as the adult flagship version. That means the same operating system, tuneability, and dialing-in of power on Specialized Mission Control. The new Specialized 1.2 SL Custom Rx Trail-Tuned Motor is the same as the newly launched Levo SL.
The battery is the same 320wh as the Levo SL. This battery will supply around 5 hours of ride time for adults — For a kid; it’s much longer.
Kids are usually more brutal on their gear than adults, and lower specs never help the cause. Specialized went all in for Turbo Levo SL Kids with quality gear to last the drops and slams.
The fork is a Rock Shox Reba with 100mm travel and a 40mm offset. The spec team chose the dependable yet fairly light SRAM NX 11-spd groupset for shifting paired with an 11-42T cassette. For brakes, SRAM Level T brakes take up the charge and should work well and stop on a dime paired with 160mm front and rear rotors.
You don’t usually see a kid’s bike with a dropper from the start, but this isn’t your run-of-the-mill kid’s bike. The Kid’s Levo SL comes with a TranzX dropper with 80mm travel — enough to get rowdy but slam the seat for little riders.
The wheels are Specialized in-house builds, with tubeless rims and sealed cartridge bearings. The Turbo Levo SL 24″ comes with Specialized tubeless Ground Control 24 x 2.35″ tires with control casing. The 2.35″ width on a 24″ wheel makes it look like a plus-sized setup and should inspire confident riding for whoever is on board.
As for color options, riders can choose from Glossy black and Orange, Satin Black and Glossy Oak Green — all match well with the dirty trails.
Full Specs — Specialized Turbo Levo SL Kids
- Frame: Specialized A1 Premium Butted Alloy, 24 Trail Geometry, integrated down tube battery, internal cable routing, 148mm spacing, UDH compatible
- Fork: Reba 26, 40mm offset, 100mm travel, 15x100mm spacing
- Shifting: SRAM NX, 11-speed
- Cassette: SRAM PG-1130, 11-speed, 11-42t
- Brakes: SRAM Level T
- Wheels: Specialized Alloy Tubeless 24″
- Seatpost: TranzX Dropper, 30.9mm, 80mm travel, 0mm offset
- Motor: New Specialized 1.2 SL Custom Rx Trail-Tuned Motor UI/REMOTE Specialized Mastermind TCU
- Tires: Ground Control, 2BR Control Casing, 24×2.35
- Saddle: Specialized
- Cockpit: Double-butted alloy, 9-degree backsweep
- Weight: 36.6 lbs.
Pricing and Availability
Just because it’s a kid’s bike doesn’t mean it will arrive at an affordable price. The Specialized Turbo Levo SL Kids comes in at 3,800. Likely keeping it out of reach for most, but it’s a heck of a machine for those who can spare the change.
The Turbo Levo SL Kids is available from Specialized.com and your local dealer.
Your ride, amplified.
Diamondback’s pedal assist eBikes will get you to where you’re going, faster. All the awesomeness of a Diamondback bike, but with some added power. Learn more about our electric bikes below.
Diamondback electric bikes integrate some of the most efficient, state-of-the art, mid-drive electric motor systems which include a drive unit, battery pack, display and user interface.
The motor sends power to the bikes own drive train which acts like your variable speed transmission.
You control the assist level and the motor only kicks in when you pedal.
This all happens in direct proportion to your pedaling input, using a series of sophisticated torque and speed sensors. This, in turn, delivers a natural ride feel that electrically amplifies your pedal stroke.
Diamondback electric bikes are equipped with the safest, highest quality, removable lithium-ion battery packs.
These are integrated into the bike’s down tube for optimal weight distribution and low center of gravity for superior handling.
These high-capacity battery packs contribute to how far you can ride. Higher watt hour (Wh) rated packs have more stored energy capacity and enable longer distance rides.
DISPLAY USER INTERFACE
Diamondback electric bikes provide these control devices that enable you to see and control all the settings on your bike.
This allows you to dial-in your level of assist while showing you your speed, distance traveled, and the battery power you have remaining.
For complete control, these are right at your fingertips, so you never have to take your hands off of the grips.
Some models have even more sophisticated displays that link to your phone for turn-by-turn directions, fitness apps, music and more.
OUR BIKES ARE CLASS 3
Get to your destination in record time aboard this Class 3 electric bike.