Fizik Ares Saddle
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Diamond DM-1 Pro Race
Michael and David Diamond are the brains behind the new Diamond Bicycles DM-1 Pro. They've put together a great value with top-notch components and an impressive frame. Speaking of value, this Ultegra-equipped bike sells for $2295; compare this to a Trek Madone 6.2, which retails for nearly $4200 (and has a lower quality Shimano 105 cassette), and you can see this is a good value for the money.
How does it ride?
The most notable feature of the bike is the massive fork; it tapers from 1.5 inches to 1.25. Sure enough, the front end felt especially solid and instilled the desire to dive into the turns. It's remarkable how solid and secure the front end felt and it lends legitimacy to this emerging standard. Moving back, the rear stays look very similar to extremely thin ones found on a Cervelo R3. Also similar to the R3, the bottom bracket was massive. As a result, the bike had a very rigid feeling -- as if made from one solid piece. The ride was very smooth and bumps were muted. The bike seemed to hum along efficiently. The Ultegra components were excellent; shifting seemed second nature and braking was very powerful. Unfortunately, the bike was a bit larger than I currently ride; the top tube was longer than what I am used to. As a result, it was difficult to get into a really comfortable position.
Downsides? Amazingly, though a seemingly stiff frame, I was able to elicit noticeable chainring rub when out of the saddle. There was some flex, either from the frame or the crank. Additionally, while a smooth roller, when bringing this rig up to sprinting speed, it seemed to take a lot of effort to maintain. Perhaps this was because the frame was slightly too large, but it was a bit of a disappointment considering how well it handled.