BIKE TEST: DIAMONDBACK PODIUM VITESSE

Diamondback brings an affordable jack of all trades

Diamondback may not be a household name when it comes to race-ready road bikes, but they have been making a push to promote their road bike division. To show off their commitment in this category, they came on board to become the official bike sponsor of the Rally Cycling professional team, which took their bikes to races such as the Tour of California.

Diamondback introduces the Podium Vitesse, a bike that may be considered a jack of all trades, as it comes with an aero frame, electronic shifting and hydraulic disc brakes.

THE FRAME

The Podium Vitesse frame is a UCI-approved aero road frame with the requisite internal cable routing, but what we liked is that they didn’t get lost in all of the aero details. The seatpost comes with a standard seatpost collar and not an internal, hard-to-adjust seatpost wedge. What they may give up in some wind drag here, they make up for in user-friendly parts. We like that.

The Vitesse runs front and rear thru-axles equipped with quick handles (versus 8mm hex heads). In a race scenario, the thru-axles may be a bit much for your wheel-changing efforts, but for everything else, the modern skewers are a good move.

The relatively large Kamm-tail downtube is what stands out on the frame, as much for its shape as the large Diamondback logo that resides on it. The shape of this downtube came at the end of many hours spent in the wind tunnel with HED, who supplies most of the other parts that are featured on the Podium Vitesse. The rear seatstays have a more rounded curve to them to offer more comfort and appeal to the sharp aero race-frame geometry.

THE PARTS

What first stood out to us on the Podium were the small wires of the Ultegra Di2 (a full 11-speed Shimano Ultegra Di2 build from the shifters to the crankset). The hydraulic disc brakes were a nice touch, as we see the trend going towards disc brakes, and once you partner that with the electric drivetrain, it’s a win-win situation in our eyes. The gearing combo of the mid-compact 52/36 chainrings offers enough top-end gear for us. The rear cassette comes as an 11-28, so you never have too many issues finding a gear to spin your way up the climbs.

“The aero frame and ride quality lean more towards the “competition” category it’s found in, but the addition of the hydraulic disc brakes with a thru-axle lend a more all-around bike.”

From the cockpit to the wheels you’ll find HED branding. The HED Ardennes Plus LT aluminum clinchers are tubeless compatible, while the 24.5mm profile may not be the deepest aero wheel to pair with the aero frame. The low-profile wheels made up for it once we were climbing in the hills.

THE RIDE

With the aero frame geometry, the Podium Vitesse rides on the stiff side. Under acceleration the bike accelerated in a snappy way, but riding over rougher pavement, the ride was less than smooth. The front end had a twitchy feel and liked to drop suddenly while cornering. The hydraulic disc brakes gave the bike optimal stopping power in both dry and wet conditions.

THE VERDICT

For the component choice offered on this bike, the Vitesse is a good bang-for-your-buck ride (the non-Di2 version sells for $500 less). The aero frame and ride quality lean more towards the “competition” category it’s found in, but the addition of the hydraulic disc brakes with a thru-axle lend a more all-around bike. We like how Diamondback didn’t go overboard with the small aero additions that frequently end up being a hindrance. There are no fancy hidden brakes, and the cockpit is standard and is easily adjustable and interchangeable. In short, the Podium Vitesse is a bike that has a little bit of everything to offer.

PUNCH LINES

  • Solid price/value equation
  • Thru-axle with quick release
  • Twitchy front end

STATS

Price: $3699

Weight: 17.8 pounds

Sizes: XS, 50; S, 52; M, 54 (tested); L, 56; XL, 58cm

www.diamondback.com

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