My real passion is touring road bikes. Sure, I love racing bikes, too, but cycle touring has always been my passion because the world is a beautiful place and I love to capture the beauty of it when I find a scenic vista that stirs my soul.
I have owned so many bicycles over that years that I probably could not name them all. My latest "ride" is a Diamondback Century Disc.
One Hundred Miles In...
A "Century" is the name given to a bike ride that is one-hundred miles long. Diamondback is aiming squarely at that market with the Century series of bikes. At the low-end is the Century Sport. It features an 8-speed rear cog-set, center-pull brakes and Shimano components mixed with a few budget components to hit a target price of around $600 on the street. The Century Disc lists in the $1000 to $1100 range and features a better grade of components and mechanical disc brakes.
Here is the Diamondback Century Disc...
click the image for a larger view
I changed the saddle to a Forte anatomically designed, gel-filled model for men. It is comfortable and economical. I added a lightweight bike rack on the back and a transit bag. I also added rat-trap pedals for riding efficiency. I prefer them to clipless pedals. I guess I am just old-school when it comes to pedals. Equipped as you see in the picture, the bike sits at twenty-five pounds. From the factory, it was 22.02 pounds according to spec.
Here are the specs:
Frame............... Diamondback butted 7005 aluminum
Fork.................. DBR Podium Airformed Disc Alloy, 1.5" Taper Alloy Steerer
Rims................. DB Equation SE 28h/28h
Spokes.............. 14-gauge, stainless-steel
Tires.................. Michelin Dynamic Sport 700x28c
Crankset............. FSA Tempo Compact
Front Derailleur... Shimano: Sora
Rear Derailleur.... Shimano: Sora
Rear Cogs........... Shimano HG200 9spd (11-32t)
Shifters.............. Shimano Sora
Handlebars......... DBR Drop Bar Road 31.8
Tape/Grips......... DBR Race Tape w/Gel
Stem................. DB 3D Forged, +/-7° Rise 31.8
Brake Levers...... Shimano Sora
Brakes.............. Tektro Mira Mechanical Disc, 160/140mm Rotors
Pedals............... Wellgo aluminum platform (added rat-traps)
Saddle.............. Diamondback Performance Road (swapped for the Forte)
Seatpost........... Diamondback Performance, aluminum
The Diamondback Century frame is butted aluminum and will provide many years longer use than a carbon-fiber frame at a lot lower cost. For cycle touring, I prefer the comfort of a steel frame, but, I really hate seeing rust on a bike and finding touch-up paint for your ride is almost impossible these days. Maybe I have become a fanatic that way, but, I switched to aluminum-framed bikes years ago for that reason and for the lighter weight.
My first "good" bicycle was a Schwinn Super LeTour. It weighed twenty-six pounds. In its day, it was a real lightweight. It had Suntour components and a chrome-moly frame. It was a beauty, but by today's standards it would be considered a heavy-weight. The trade-off was almost unsurpassed riding comfort and control.
How does the Diamondback Century Disc compare to that old Schwinn Super LeTour? The ride is quite a bit more nimble on the Century Disc. The rear triangle is much stiffer that the Schwinn and that means when you are pedaling, more energy meets the road where it matters.
There is a slight rake on the front fork of the Century Disc that eases steering and provides a more comfortable ride than would be achieved with a straight, racing fork. It's alloy and strong enough to handle hard use, but it's not as light as a carbon fork would be.
The Shimano Sora shifters are a perfect match for the Sora 9-speed rear derailleur. The rear cog-set is narrower than a lot of rear clusters and performs very well. Shifting is quick and reliable. It is heavier than a Shimano Tiagra, 105, or Ultegra, as you might imagine, but you can depend on it. The front derailleur is also reliable. Again, it's Shimano Sora mated with an FSA crank. It is a little heavier than the Sora crank, but, it's a bit more economical.
I plan to swap out the Sora components with Ultegra components at some future time to reduce weight and provide even better shifting. Mind you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Sora components. Like I said, they are reliable and will provide years of use. I'd just like to change to Ultegra for their added value.
If you are used to riding a hybrid bike with a triple-crank, you might miss some of the gear options you had if you switch to a road bike with a 50/34 set of chain rings. That old Schwinn Super LeTour had a 52/39 and that was pretty common on 10-speed and 12-speed bikes of the day. In fact, I remember riding some bikes with 52/42 chain rings.
Sora derailleurs are a lot easier to adjust than the Shimano Altus derailleurs that you'll find on a lot of lower-priced mountain bikes. The Sora borrows a lot of design elements from its more expensive siblings. My first reaction to the shifters was that I was not a fan of down-shifting with the brake levers, but, I've really grown to love them. I was concerned with cable stretch and adjustment issues, but, my concerns have all vanished after a lot of use. These shifters work extremely well.
I did not know what to expect from mechanical disc brakes. I am not a fan of hydraulic disc brakes because of the fluid and frequent need for bleeding the brakes to keep them reliable. These mechanical disc brakes work well. The bike also looks cleaner without the center-pull brakes seated atop the rims. I've grown to really appreciate the cleaner look. Disc brakes do provide the rider with more control and better stopping power even in wet weather.
On my maiden voyage with the Diamondback Century Disc, I realized that I wanted to swap the saddle. That is not unusual, though. Every bike I have had in the last twenty years had a saddle swap within the first few rides. My Fuji bikes all felt as though their seats were designed by Vlad the Impaler. The Diamondback saddle was nowhere near that bad, but, I wanted a wider area across the sit-bones. The Forte is perfect.
To sum things up, the Diamondback Century Disc is a good middle-priced aluminum "endurance" road bike. It is aimed at long-distance riding, day-long centuries and cycle touring. It is built for reliability, but, it doesn't feel like you are pedaling a tank. It rides as if it were lighter than it really is. That might be partly because of the Michelin Dynamic Sport tires and the Equation rims. Their wider footprint offers smooth performance without increased rolling resistance.
This bike's frame geometry is to be credited for its road-worthy ride. In truth, this frame was well engineered and gives the bike its nimble handling without making the rider feel as though he is on a buckboard.
I have put a lot of miles on the Diamondback Century Disc in a short amount of time and I will confess, I have fallen in love with it.
It's great seeing Diamondback running with the pack. The Century series of endurance road bikes offer the perfect combination of economy, dependability, and performance. GOOD SHOW DB!