Diamondback Overdrive EXC Review

Diamondback Overdrive Exc Electric Bike Review 1
Diamondback Overdrive Exc
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Tranzx Currie Motor
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Removable Battery Pack
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Lcd Display Button Pad
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Aluminum Alloy Platform Pedals
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Adjustable Rockshox Xc30
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Lithium Ion Battery
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Quick Release Wheels
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Sram X7 10 Speed
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Twist Throttle Trigger Shifters
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Electric Bike Review 1
Diamondback Overdrive Exc
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Tranzx Currie Motor
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Removable Battery Pack
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Lcd Display Button Pad
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Aluminum Alloy Platform Pedals
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Adjustable Rockshox Xc30
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Lithium Ion Battery
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Quick Release Wheels
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Sram X7 10 Speed
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc
Diamondback Overdrive Exc Twist Throttle Trigger Shifters

Summary

  • A rugged 29er style trail bike with efficient mid-drive motor system, centrally located battery pack and quick release wheels (front and rear) for easy maintenance
  • Nice 10 speed cassette with SRAM X7 derailleur, solid RockShox air fork with lockout, burly 180 mm Tektro Auriga-E hydraulic disc brakes
  • Capable of reaching higher top speeds ~28 mph in the highest level of pedal assist when pedaling hard
  • Motor sensors are more basic and don't sense when you shift, the display panel isn't removable and only attaches with one arm vs. two, the throttle cuts out at 6 mph if you're not pedaling along

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Diamondback

Model:

Overdrive EXC

Price:

$3,300 USD

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

Lifetime Frame, One Year Components

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

20142015

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

50 lbs (22.67 kg)

Frame Material:

6061-T6 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

18 in (45.72 cm)

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Red

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 SRAM X7, SRAM 1030 11-36T Cassette

Shifter Details:

Sram X7 Triggers on Right Bar

Cranks:

42T Sprocket with Aluminum Bash Guard

Pedals:

Wellgo Alloy Forged, CNC MTB Platform

Headset:

Sealed Cartridge Bearing for Taper Headtube

Stem:

DB 3D Forged, 31.8 mm Diameter, 7° Angle

Handlebar:

DB Laser Series 31.8 mm Diameter, 15 mm Rise, 670 mm Length

Brake Details:

Tektro Auriga-E Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Tektro Auriga-E Levers with Motor Inhibitor

Grips:

DB4L 135 mm Kraton with Lockers

Saddle:

DB Race M-Series

Seat Post:

DB Micro Adjust

Seat Post Diameter:

31.6 mm

Rims:

Diamondback SL-7 Doublewall

Spokes:

36 Spokes, 14 Gauge Stainless Steel

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Rapid Rob, 29" x 2.25"

Wheel Sizes:

29 in (73.66cm)

Tire Details:

KevlarGuard

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Padded Slap Guard on Right Chain Stay, Aluminum Alloy Bash Guard with Plastic Chain Guide

Other:

1.5" Tapered Head Tube, Replaceable Hanger, Locking Removable Battery Pack, KMC X10eRB Chain, Hubs: 36 Hole Alloy with CNC Disc Mount, 2 Amp Battery Charger, Quick Release on Front and Rear Wheel

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

TranzX

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

8.8 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

422.4 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Estimated Max Range:

45 miles (72 km)

Display Type:

Backlit Monochrome LCD, Fixed

Readouts:

Speed, Odometer, Battery Capacity, Assist Level (1-4)

Display Accessories:

Large Independent Button Pad on Left Bar

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist, Twist Throttle (Torque and Cadence Sensing)

Top Speed:

28 mph (45 kph)(Up to 6 mph Throttle Only or 20 mph Throttle with Pedaling)

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Written Review

The Diamondback Overdrive EXC is a trail ready hardtail electric bike with large 29 inch wheels. It’s great for cruising around town or taking dirt paths and is capable of higher top speeds in pedal assist, up to 28 miles per hour. With a mid-drive motor system from TranzX and support from Currie Technologies, this bike combines the racing heritage of Diamondback frames with proven electric bike systems and support. The balance is great because all of the heavier parts of this system are mounted low and center and the efficiency is also impressive because the motor drives the same chain that you pedal with as a rider. As a result, it benefits from mechanical advantage depending on which gear you choose from the 10 speed cassette. One of my favorite features is the RockShox air fork suspension which includes rebound adjustment and lockout so you can reduce bob when riding on flat hard surfaces. The one thing I really wish this ebike had however, would be rack attachment points on the rear seat stays. The bike is fast, efficient and better suited to roads or hard trails so why not make it into a rugged commuter with lights and a rack? While it’s true that you could always use a beam rack, in my experience those just aren’t as sturdy and can get knocked right or left more easily than a traditional frame mounted rack.

Driving this bike is a 350 watt geared mid-drive motor from TranzX. It’s relatively small and seems well protected at the bottom bracket because the front chainring extends below and has an aluminum bash guard to protect its teeth from rocks, roots or curbs. I like mid-drive electric bike designs because they can be fast or strong depending on which gear you choose at the rear but one disadvantage is potential gear grinding. Some fancier systems from Bosch or Impulse actually detect when you’re switching gears and tell the motor to ease off but that is not the case here. As mentioned in the video review above, I’ve found that the best way to shift is actually to tap the brake levers (which cuts power to the motor temporarily). Ultimately, this TranzX Currie motor is part of a mid-level or “value” system but it’s definitely not the lowest end in my experience it operates smoothly, relatively quietly and is capable of those higher top speeds in pedal assist. The control system that powers the motor measures your torque and cadence which makes it feel fluid and another big advantage of this mid-drive is the front and rear quick release wheels. This feature makes changing flats or just getting a standard bike tuneup easier and less intimidating for shops that might be used to servicing only normal bicycles.

Powering the motor and display system on the Diamondback Overdrive is Lithium ion battery pack that mounts directly on top of the downtube, where you might be used to seeing a water bottle cage. This design is good for several reasons, it keeps weight centered on the frame compared to a rear rack which might produce more flex in the frame and it also protects the pack itself in the event of a crash. The battery offers 48 volts of power and 8.8 amp hours of capacity which is quite good and the 2 amp charger that comes with the bike can fill it up either on its own or while still attached. The battery pack also locks to the frame for security which is nice if you use it around town. In terms of chargin, the pack reaches ~80% in roughly two and a half hours or 100% in about five hours due to leveling towards the end. While I’d prefer a battery pack that’s more integrated into the downtube vs. the large square one used here, I understand that it helps to keep the price of the bike and replacement packs low. The two big complaints I have with how this one works however is that it has to be activated before the display panel can be turned on (most mid or high-level ebikes don’t have two switches like this) and there isn’t a spot for mounting a bottle cage because that’s where the battery already is. When riding off-road in places like Colorado, Utah or Arizon where it’s dry and hot, water is very important and it just bums me out that there isn’t space for it with this battery pack and that they didn’t try to fit one on the seat tube. You might do best with a CamelBak or that beam rack idea mentioned earlier.

Turning this bike on is a two step process. Once the battery is charged and mounted you have to press a rubber power button on the right side of the battery for a couple seconds and then press a second power button near the left grip on the button pad for two more seconds. From there, the LCD screen turns on and does a quick countdown… then, finally you’re ready to get going! From here, at any time you can twist the throttle and get up to ~6 mph (20 mph if you pedal along). This two-step throttle system sort of threw me off at first just like the two step power-up because I’m used to many ebikes having a throttle that will go to 20 mph with or without pedaling. As I understand it, the throttle here is meant to serve primarily as a boost for helping you ascend short climbs while pedaling in lower levels of assist. In practice, that method works pretty well but it makes me question the need for a throttle at all, especially considering that it compromises the right grip a bit which you could be squeezing tightly while navigating rough terrain. One thought I had was that maybe they could use a trigger throttle instead so that both grips are consistent and stable feeling? Back to the display, it has a built in light sensor or you can activate backlighting at any time by using the button pad. The LCD display shows speed, battery level, estimated range (based on the battery’s state of charge) and assist level 1-4. This display is actually one generation old from what I’ve observed on other ebikes and doesn’t have two support arms like the newer Currie Technologies displays. That’s usually not a huge deal but might be more vulnerable if this bike is crashed while riding off-road. The display isn’t removable and doesn’t seem to swivel easily like the new two-arm systems but it performs just fine otherwise.

My feelings are mixed on the Diamondback Overdrive EXC… I love that it will be available through more retail outlets because it’s a Diamondback product and that it uses a mid-level drive system and battery but I feel like the price is a bit high considering the IZIP E3 Dash is very similar but goes for $200 less. In fact, the Dash has rear rack mounting points and the new display system I just mentioned. The lack of rack mounts and bottle cage bosses bother with the Overdrive me but I do like that the frame comes in two sizes and the air suspension fork is light but sturdy. There aren’t many 29er electric bikes out there and this one would be perfect for mixed terrain commuting, even with a beam rack or backpack. The large wheels are smooth and efficient and the higher top speed could make short work of longer rides… especially with the lockout. I personally think the bike looks cool and with the hydraulic disc brakes and grippy aluminum alloy pedals, it handles very well and I believe you can even have aftermarket lights wired in to run off the main battery source. This bike isn’t exactly cheap and that sort of pushes me towards the Haibike XDURO 29″ for ~$700 more. That bike has a much more sophisticated motor motor system but still no rack mounts, no throttle and a lower top speed of 20 mph vs. 28 mph. It really depends on what your riding needs are but the Overdrive EXC will definitely perform in a wide range of conditions and brings something new to the market in terms of speed, efficiency and serviceability.

Pros:

  • Available in two sizes for improved fit, both are high-step which provides stiffness and come in the gloss red color scheme
  • Light weight RockShox XC30 air suspension fork with lockout for riding on pavement and flats as well as rebound and compression adjustment for trails
  • Battery can be charged on or off the bike (store in neutral temperatures and top off after each ride for maximum life) connects easily to frame and locks securely, the built-in LED charge level indicator is useful when the pack is off the bike
  • Solid warranty, available at lots of locations throughout the USA for easier test riding, fitting and future service
  • Excellent weight distribution with the mid-frame battery pack and center drive motor, this improves balance and handling, especially off-road
  • Mid-drive motor leverages the 10 speed cassette for improved efficiency and range, great for climbing with lower gears
  • Throttle adds power dynamically (up to 20 mph) when pedaling, great for overcoming small hills when using a lower level of assist
  • Front and rear wheels offer quick release for easy trail maintenance – changing tires, fixing spokes etc. and makes the bike less threatening to traditional bicycle shops who may have never serviced an ebike
  • Removable battery reduces overall weight of the bike when transporting on cars etc. and also frees up the triangle section of the bike for easier mounting from hang-style racks
  • Solid one year electronics warranty serviced by Currie Technologies, should get good service for tuneups and mechanical fixes from Diamondback retail outlets
  • The 29er wheel size offers the best rolling momentum and smoothest feel on bumpy terrain, takes a bit more energy to get them going but then they coast very nicely and have a high attack angle for riding through obstacles
  • Nice component upgrades including the SRAM X7 10 speed cassette, locking grips, aluminum alloy pedals and RockShox suspension fork – wires are integrated through the frame for durability and a nice clean aesthetic
  • Hydraulic disc brakes operate without requiring much effort, they are smooth and provide quick stopping power while also cutting power to the motor, matching 180 mm rotors are large for added strength
  • Remote button pad on left bar is well sealed against water, blends in with the bar and is easy to reach while riding – intuitive menus make operating the bike while riding fairly easy

Cons:

  • The throttle can only reach ~6 mph if you’re not pedaling along, it cuts out abruptly and leaves me wishing it could hit 20 mph on its own
  • Display panel is not removable, that means it will take more exposure to the elements when parked outside and may be tampered with more easily
  • Display panel only attaches to the handle bars with one support arm (some newer displays use two) could be a little more vulnerable when trail riding if you slide out on the bike
  • Value drive system with larger front ring and simpler control sensors than higher end systems like Bosch or Impulse, the motor doesn’t kick in or stop as quickly and it also can’t sense when you’re shifting gears
  • The rear seat stay bars lack side bosses for mounting a rear rack in the most secure way, you could still make it work with the middle hole but this might take the place of a rear fender, also there are no bottle cage mounting points on the frame, consider using a CamelBak
  • In order to operate this ebike the battery pack has to be turned on before the main display is activated, this takes extra time and can make you wonder if the battery is charged or if the bike has an issue (if you forget to activate the pack first)

Resources:

More Diamondback Reviews

Diamondback Trace EXC Review

  • MSRP: $2,800
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014, 2015

A versatile urban or light-trail ready electric bike with removable battery, quick release wheels (front and rear) and a higher top speed of 28 mph in pedal assist level 4. Powerful 500 watt motor and 48 volt battery combine to offer decent climbing ability, gearless…...

Diamondback Lindau EXC Review

  • MSRP: $2,500
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014, 2015

Comfortable hybrid city style electric bike with relaxed upright handle bars, large ergonomic pedals, seat post suspension, full length fenders, a clean minimalist chain guard and a rear rear rack with triple bungee cord attachment. Available in two frame sizes and either high-step or step-thru design for improved stiffness and…...

Comments (19) YouTube Comments

joe
5 years ago

All I can say is wow.. I know how gracious you are with your reviews and this particular bike seems to have a long list of honey do’s!

Guess we give Diamondback a mulligan for their first effort, knowing that their bikes are usually heavily discounted at some point… At $2000 this would be a decent buy.

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Hey Joe, yeah… I had mixed feelings about this ebike because it’s great for trail and off road but could be so much more with just a few little tweaks or additions. I feel like the decision to use last-gen display and button pad was made to help clear out inventory and gently step into the space to build awareness while keeping prices low. I’m not sure what kind of volume this bike is doing but I’d expect it to increase next year and possibly have some updated systems. It still looks pretty cool and works fine but isn’t quite reaching its full potential in my opinion :)

  Reply
John
4 years ago

I’ve got a corporate discount for this bike that knocks the price down to 2,000 for the month of march. I’m in a flat area (florida coastal) and want a commuter bike that can go 20 miles round trip for a big guy (250 lbs) with some groceries. Don’t really care about off-roading at all. Is this an option I should consider, given my needs and the reduced price point? other option is a trace exc for a few hundred less. any advice would be much appreciated.

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Hi John, the Overdrive EXC would be a solid choice because the mid-drive will be more efficient with the weight of rider and groceries than the hub motor on the Trace. Sounds like a great deal you’ve got going with your employer! As mentioned in the review, I wish they would have put seat stay bosses on this bike for adding a rack more easily but you could use a backpack or get a beam rack like this one from Topeak on Amazon pretty cheap but definitely get the Pannier Frame accessory if you plan to use bags that hang down on the sides. Here’s a video I shot installing this exact setup on my ebike. Ride safe :)

  Reply
Mike
4 years ago

I am considering either the trace or overdrive for my 7 mile commute. Most of it will be on dirt jogging type trails and then some sidewalks to the office. There is some climbing and is not a straight shot with plenty of turns. Which one would you prefer in this scenario. Which one would be faster overall? Does the trace assist more because of the bigger motor?

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Hi Mike, both of these have solid drive systems but the Overdrive is a bit more balanced (weight of the motor is in the middle of the frame) and the tires are built for off-road use. The Overdrive costs more however and given your intended use, I feel like the Trace could be an excellent option. You could always get some knobby off-road tires with the extra money you’re saving and that might help with the trail sections you plan to hit. Technically the motor on the Trace is more powerful but being rear-mounted and gearless, it doesn’t provide the same torque and leverage because it’s not pulling the chain and using your gears. It will operate more quietly and should be very durable but of course it will be a bit more rear-heavy. I hope this helps!

  Reply
George
4 years ago

I see this bike with a sale price of $1,999. I’m wondering if the reviewer would have a slightly different opinion of this bike at the lower price, or is it still an 8/10.

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Hi George! Yeah, the lower price makes this a much more desirable electric bike in my opinion. To be clear, 8/10 is not a “bad” score, it’s just meant to communicate that there are areas of opportunity for improvement and similar bikes done better for the same or less. Given the ~$2k price point this bike is much more competitive :)

  Reply
George
4 years ago

Thanks Court! I had another question. Th Diamondback Overdrive seems a lot like iZip Peak in terms of the electric drive and general setup. Can you comment on how they compare?

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Yeah, they are very similar. The E3 Peak has 27.5″ wheels also known as 650b whereas the Overdrive uses 29ers. I prefer the smaller size because you’re less likely to clip your toes while turning and that size tends to handle quicker. It’s just a personal preference. The drive systems are basically the same but the button pad on the Peak is newer and nicer (slimmer, better integrated). Color might also play a role in your decision and I believe the E3 Peak comes in two sizes instead of just one :)

  Reply
George
4 years ago

Good to know about the 29ers vs the 650b. I’ve been reading the user comments in the electricbikereview forums regarding the Peak and I think it’s what I’m looking for. It was actually one of the first ebikes I’d ever seen ‘in the flesh” and I really liked how it looked, but didn’t know anything about it at the time. At the same bike shop, I test rode the Haibike Xduro Treking RX and while I liked it in general, I was a bit annoyed at the “wall” I felt when I hit 20 mph. It was the first time I’d ridden an ebike so maybe I just needed a little more time with it. I would have tested the Peak but they didn’t have one my size. I guess the Diamondback caught my interest because of it’s price. I originally found it on the REI web site and figured it couldn’t be all that bad if it’s being sold by REI. On “paper” it looked like a less expensive alternative to the Peak.

  Reply
Peter
4 years ago

I’ve purchased this bike. $1750 price at Performance made it a no-brainer. I don’t have any trouble with rough shifting. I just stop pedaling for a second and it’s as smooth as a non-powered bike. Great power. I’ve ridden the Bosch and Shimano bikes and feel this has more zip. I found the assist cutoff at 20 mph on the Bosch and Shimano systems annoying. I don’t really go 28 mph much, but I am often at 23-25 mph, which I find to be a comfortable speed. I use the bike for commuting. I was able to mount a rear rack by attaching the top braces to the seatpost skewer (I swapped a slightly longer skewer from another bike). I’ve also ordered an aftermarket seatpost clamp with rack bosses from Amazon. I’ve mounted 700×32 road tires, which fit on the wheels and let me run 85 psi. I’ll put on some SPD pedals as well and see how that works (haven’t had time to get ahold of the proper wrench yet).

One problem: the bike inexplicably shuts down when I’m riding. It happened once on my morning commute and twice on my evening commute. I called Currie, and the rep suggested I check the wire connections on the control panel. I did and they are snug. One theory I have is that I was straining the motor and it triggered an overheating sensor which shuts down the system. The motor felt a little warm when it shut off this evening. I weigh 220 lbs and was pushing hard in level 3 or 4. When this happened, I would just restart the bike. After it shut down the second time on my way home,I tried to pay attention to being in the right gear and wasn’t pushing too hard. I made it the remaining 5 miles or so with no problem. I’ll post again if the problem comes up again.

My 7.5 mile uphill ride home usually takes me around 45 minutes on my non-powered hybrid bike. It took around 25 minutes tonight on the ebike. As long as the sudden shutdown problem is solved, this bike seems unbeatable for the price. I’ll keep you all posted.

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Awesome! Great overview Peter, thanks for sharing your experience with the zippy feeling, higher top speed riding and the potential overheating… that’s a great theory. What was the temperature outside? I’ve spent time on ebikes in hot and cold climates and that does play some role in how the bike performs. Many ebikes do include a heat sensor to protect the systems and riding a bit slower or using a lower level of assist could help avoid overheating (if that is indeed what the issue was for you). Thanks again for sharing :D

  Reply
Peter
4 years ago

HI Court –

Now I’m not sure overheating is the problem. I was riding in mild weather, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This morning the bike shutdown again when I was on the road. It was maybe 70 degrees F, and I had ridden about five miles. When it cut off, I was riding hard, at Level 4 and pedaling fast. But I think I was in the right gear. Also, last night the bike shutdown when I was stopped at an intersection. I’ll call Performance Bike, but I’m not sure how much they’ll know yet about ebikes. I hope this doesn’t mean I’ll have to leave the bike and wait days or weeks for them to sort it out, as I’ve loved commuting on the bike when it’s working.

Another theory I have is that the battery is not seated properly and maybe loses contact. I’ve noticed the gap clearance between the bottom of the battery and its mount is very large, more than in the photos of the bike you reviewed. Perhaps there was some poor quality control and the battery isn’t properly seated in the mount. This will be an interesting test of the support from Performance Bike and Currie. I hope this works out — I think Performance selling these bikes at such a reasonable price will really help these bikes gain acceptance. But they have to work.

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Hmm… Good theories Peter, I hope that Performance Bikes does step it up for you and that Currie responds and resolves the issue (especially if it does have to do with battery seating). This is likely a new space for Performance and they might still be learning how to properly build and sell the bikes. I hope they have good intentions and are doing their best to support the movement, I’ve always had good experiences with them getting accessories and stuff. It’s nice to have such a big network of dealers through them and indeed, the lower price point that more people will find appetizing. Stay in touch with what happens! Wishing you luck :)

  Reply
Peter
3 years ago

After a couple more trips back to Performance Bikes, I’m happy to report the stalling problem seems to have been solved. I’ve had the bike for a little more than a year now and think it’s really the best for commuting in urban LA. Though heavy, the solid construction and suspension fork are key to riding on our horribly potholed roads. The power and speed are great and shifting smoothly is not difficult at all, just pause a bit. When working properly, this is a fantastic bike. I load it up with panniers and all my commuting gear, and am heavy myself (220#) and it just powers on.

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Nice! Glad the bike is working for you and Performance Bicycles has stepped up to help. LA is a sweet place to commute by bike because the weather is mostly good, parking is difficult and traffic can be a pain. Ride safe out there Peter, thanks for the update :D

  Reply
Trung
2 years ago

Court, is Diamondback dumping their E-Bike business? I see that the overdrive is $1000.00 now. Should I pick it up or get a refurb Juice Crosscurrent for few hundred more?

  Reply
Court
2 years ago

Hi Trung, I haven’t heard anything official but it does appear that Diamondback is pausing their electric bike line because nothing was shown or spoken about during my last visit to the Accell Group. We focused on Raleigh and IZIP only. Juiced is a much smaller company that seems committed to growing and offering support but since Diamondback is owned by a larger company and still in business, they should also offer good enough support. I’d choose the bike that fits your needs… and if that is spending less, then the Diamondback could be a good choice.

  Reply

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