Diamondback Octane Youth Review
Diamondback Octane Youth reviews indicate this is a solid mountain bike for youngsters getting into the swing of the sport. A handful of reviews on Dick's Sporting Goods and Amazon comment on the sturdy and durable build - it can take curb jumps and moderate off-road riding - and note that it's one of few kids' bikes with a lightweight aluminum (as opposed to a heavier steel) frame. As if to underscore its entry-level positioning, the tires seem more suited for roadways than hard-core trails, according to mountain bike reviews; one post at MTBR says knobbier tires would be better on rocks and gravel and long jumps need better suspension. Still, Diamondback reviews report that pre-tweens quickly get the hang of the brakes and the gears and easily keep up with the big people in their riding posse.
A few posts gripe about the responsiveness of the brakes, the DIY assembly requirements (not much to do but more than some expected), and flimsy packing when shipped from the factory. Taking the assembled bike to a shop for a final once-over is a good idea, the reviews say.
Where to buy
The Diamondback Octane Youth Mountain Bike (starting at $196 for 20" model; $222 for 24" model, Amazon) comes in boys and girls versions, both in 20- and 24-inch sizes. It's one of the only youth bikes that boast an aluminum frame. Both sizes feature a front suspension fork, linear pull brakes, and twist shifters; the 20-inch model has six speeds and the 24-inch model has seven.
Despite a few quibbles about build quality, this mountain bike is a good value for kids aged 7-13. It gives a comfortable ride, survives spills, and the gear range is sufficient without overwhelming less experienced riders. If you want to take the kids out on the trails without spending a fortune, this cheap mountain bike is the right choice.