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Diamondback Performance Hybrid Insight 1 ’08 Bicycle Review

Effective Living > Mobility

20080307fr-diamondback-insight-bicycle.jpgSummary. This is a review of the Diamondback Performance Hybrid Insight 1 ’08 Bicycle. Click here for the official Diamondback website page for the 2010 model details.

Vendor. The bike was purchased from Geoff’s Bike & Ski in Iowa City on 7 March 2008.

Price. $385 retail, $350 on sale. Kickstand, $7 extra. The selection of bicycles in the store ranged from $350 to $5,000.

Overview. The Insight is an excellent low-cost bicycle for daily commuting. The larger wheels offer greater peddling efficiency and provide smoother rolling over bumps and potholes. The frame is equipped with the necessary attachments for fenders and racks. Posture for riding is comfortable. The frame allows for a balance between a racing bike (leaning over all the way) and a comfort bike (sitting up straight).

Video. For some reason, this review has been hugely popular, so we’ve created a video review to accompany the written review. Note: For the best image and sound quality, click on the HQ (high quality) option in the player toolbar below.

User Log. The following is a journal of maintenance and ownership costs.

  • One Year Anniversary – March 2009. This month I had the spring overhaul and cleaning for the bike. The front brakes still squeak very loudly, but now I actually feel it’s an important safety feature allowing me to alert people when I’m approaching. The chain and the rear cluster of gears needed replacing because the sand and grit from winter had worn them down. The front shifting mechanism needed to be totally replaced. The one included with the bike became unusable because it became stuck in place. This is probably due to road dirt. In general, the bike continues to perform well despite over 1000 commuting miles put on it over the past year.
  • 22 September 2008. The bike is still working well. I continued to have spokes breaking on the rear wheel, which required trips to the bike shop to have them repaired. So, I recently had the rear wheel replaced. The bike shop used the existing hub, and then match spokes with a rim that would be stronger. Now it seems to be working great. I pull a heavy cart, and I think the additional weight was a problem. This past week, the shifter for the rear shifting mechanism had a frayed cable. So, I had that replaced. I still have a problem with squeaking brakes. A benefit is that the loud noise alerts people to my approach.
  • 1 September 2008. Efficiency. I continue to be impressed by the efficiency of riding a bicycle with no suspension. It seems that almost all energy expended in pedaling goes into forward motion without any bounce.
  • 31 July 2008. The bike is still working well. I think I’d recommend it as an in-town commuting bike. I like the way it handles. Because it doesn’t have suspension, and riding requires leaning over a bit (possible with elbows locked) it may not be suitable for repeated long-distance rides (more than two hours per day).
  • Day 107 – Kickstand and Peddling Problems Resolved. Yesterday I took the bike to  Geoff’s Bike & Ski in Iowa City to have them fix two issues that were bothering me: the kickstand and also the peddling was not smooth.
    • The kickstand (not originally included with the bicycle) wasn’t quite long enough, so unless the ground was flat and firm, the bike would often fall over unless propped up against something. They added a rubber kickstand boot at the bottom of the kickstand which provided just the right amount of extra length. This kickstand tip also provided a wide base for better functioning on grass, mud, or other soft surfaces.
    • When pedaling the bike, I noticed that with every revolution of the pedal there was a dull clicking feeling. It was as if a bearing was damaged. It turns out that the bottom bracket (crank) was not tight. Once tight, the problem went away.
  • Day 106 – Various Issues. Despite having the brake pads replaced and mechanical work done on the bike, the loud squealing noise from the front brakes continues to be an issue. The loud noise is a helpful when trying to alert oblivious pedestrians wearing headphones and listening to loud music. However, it is also a nuisance. The after market kick stand may need to be replaced. The bike seems to tip over in most circumstances. The chain has fallen off a few times when shifted to the #1 (smaller) chain ring in front. The posture issue mentioned on Day 4 (below) is still a concern. After about 20 to 30 miles of riding over a period of two days, there was a distinct elbow soreness. Despite all of these things, the bike still seems to perform well. (20080621sa0929)
  • Day 34 – Noisy Brakes. Since the first ride, the front brakes have made a loud squeaking noise. It may be that another set of brake pads would make less noise.
  • Day 4 – Proper Posture. After some lengthy riding, I’m finding that it is important not to lock elbows or arms while riding. Instead, the bike should be ridden with arms slightly bent. Because this bike has no suspension, it’s not practical to take it off road or even on roads that are in need of repairs since the ride is quite rough. So, riding this bike is similar to horse back riding. By keeping arms and legs bent, it’s possible to cushion the impact of any bumps when necessary.
  • Day 2 – First Ride. The first ride was quite good. The bike is comfortable and well adjusted for the first time out. Because the tires are narrow and can accommodate 80 pounds of pressure, there is very little rolling resistance. The temperature was about -6 to -11 Celsius with wind chill. The roads still have a considerable amount of ice on them. The bike handled well through snow and over ice. (20080308sa)
  • Day 1 – Purchase. The bike was purchased and will be ridden about 30 days before the initial follow-up inspection and adjustment. (20080307fr)

Comments, Questions, Suggestions. If you have any further questions about the Diamondback Insight 1, please leave a comment below.

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Categorized as Mobility

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com


  1. I commute to work sometimes on this bike and have noticed some of the same pros and cons. Overall, it’s a great bike for the price. I added a rack on back and lights on front and back. It needs another hole for mounting fenders if I decide to do that. The front brake does squeal but it can be manipulated to not be quite so obnoxious. I have noticed the slight clicking when pedaling but I will try your solution (a lot depends on who originally assembled the bike).

    I’ve also had the chain pop off when downshifting into the first gear a couple times. You can avoid this by learning how to pedal exactly when you shift the gear. It just takes some practice.

    All in all, I’ve learned to deal with the bikes eccentricities and appreciate it saving me money on my trips to work. I’m very happy with the bike but I think I would look carefully at the Trek 7.2 FX if I had to do it all over again.

  2. I bought this bike for commuting and it has worked wonderfully.
    I have added fenders, a rear rack and lights, swapped out the pedals, seatpost and seat.

    I had the squeaky brake problem too, and I found that taking a bit a fine sandpaper to the pads once in a while stopped the squeak.

    I also had the spoke breaking problem on the rear wheel. Maybe a factory default. Anyway bought a new wheel with stronger spokes and the problem is solved. Actually I had a new rim relaced at my local shop. The guys at BicycleWarehouse did a great job.

    It is a great commuter bike. The upright position is a bit of a drag when it is really windy so I added aerobars.

    It is a very well preforming bike for the price. I currently have 3,300 miles on mine.

  3. I’ve had this bike for about a year and a half now. I rode it the first year I had it daily to work and school. It worked well for me. I also replaced the rear wheel not because the spokes were breaking but more so because the wheel itself started getting really out of shape and needed to be replaced. I find myself geting lots and lots of flats, I think I am doing something wrong when I instal new tubes but it hasnt happened for awhile now. I added a few lights, fenders, an air pump for the presta valves and a new seat. Wanting to start riding again, I pulled the bike out last night and I think the crankset ned to either be cleaned or replaced. Hopefully cleaned because to replace it would cost about 1/2 of what I paid for the bike itself! The whole drivetrain system is getting kind of rusty and squeely so I’m thinking of getting a new bike. All in all though, this was my transportation for 1 year straight and I really punished this bike and it just kept on going, I’d definately reccomend it especially for the price. Great video and info!

  4. Wow! I was thinking about replacing my 20 year old 10 speed Spalding Dynasty, but I think I’ll clean it up and stick with it. This Diamondback sounds like a piece of junk with basic defects that you guys are in denial and are rationalizing your way around in any which way. Needing to replace the rear wheel because the spokes break and the rim contorts is acceptable? And squeaking brakes being a safety feature because they make pedestrians aware of your approach!?! You’re kidding, right? Would you consider buying this bike again?

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