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Elphabasan 10-29-13 09:16 AM

Help! Fuji Absolute or Diamondback Insight?
Hi everyone,

Last Friday my old commuter bike was stolen, and I now need to purchase another if I intend to keep up my habit of biking to and from work. And I do intend to keep it up! I love it!

I'm fortunate to live close enough to two branches of Performance Bike. I went into one a bit grudgingly this past Sunday, still missing (I will always miss it) my old bike and thinking to myself, well, I'll never be able to afford another bike like that. My old bike was a Trek OCLV 9700 carbon fiber mountain bike I got for a steal on Craigslist a few years ago. It was old but I took excellent care of it, and it was light enough that I could carry it up to my 3rd floor apartment in bad weather if necessary.

The person at Performance was incredibly nice and listened to what I wanted, and guided me over to some Diamondback hybrid/road bikes. I've always been leery of road bikes because of the dropbars, but imagine my surprise when I discovered that they make flatbar road bikes! I tested out the 2014 Diamondback Insight 1, the 15" model. (I'm a woman and only 5'1".) It was so much faster than my mountain bike and even fit me better, and I had to force myself to not immediately take it home, having fallen in love with it. It has a $450 pricetag and I've never spent that much on a bike before, but I figured if I was going to I'd better do some research first.

The person at Performance also suggested the Fuji Absolute, but I was short on time and didn't get a chance to try out any of those. Having looked up both the Diamondback Insight and the Fuji Absolute models on the Performance website, though, I can see that the Fujis tend to run a little cheaper, and there's even a women's model called the Stagger. I'm hoping to be able to find a Stagger (or the normal Absolute with a good standover height for hobbits) today to test-ride.

So here's my question: provided each of these bikes gives me a similar good-feeling ride, which should I go for? Which would YOU go for? Which is better? My commute is not a very long one, maybe 4.5 miles each way that are all pavement and some moderate hills. I also like to ride for fun on the weekends or in the evenings if I can, and if I have a bike that doesn't just lumber along I have all ideas I'll be out on it even more!

Here are the two bikes I'm debating. Please also feel free to make alternate suggestions:

There's also just the typical Fuji Absolute 2.3, the S/M of which would probably fit me:

Thanks so much!


Herzog1911 10-29-13 09:48 AM

Hi Ash,

We recently purchased the Absolute 2.1 stagger for my wife. She is short too, 5 feet tall on a good day, and the size small frame fits her perfectly. She test rode a bunch of bikes, but she really loves the Fuji. It also seems, from all of our shopping around, that Fuji offers higher quality components for less money than most of their competitors.

In the end you'll probably want to head back out to Performance to test ride the Fuji as well.

Good luck in your search!

Wanderer 10-29-13 12:05 PM

If it was me, I'd opt for the Fuji (either one) as Fuji does make nice bikes.... I'n not a big fan of twist shifters, so I'd take the extra cash and buy other shifters and Ergon grips. The Fujis already have a big 34 tooth sprocket on the back, if you have to go up any really steep inclines. Do you ever use yours? I do! My Granddaughter has a women's specific Absolute, and its really a nice bike. Lite too!

If you are fine with the grip shifters, save the money and buy the Fuji.

That being said, the Diamondback is also a nice bike.....

Which one did you fall in love with? They are all very similar in materials, components (except shifters, lol) and value. (They are all nice bikes, and it is less likely that the women's frame would be stolen.)

The one you fall in love with....... That's the one you want.

Don't forget to sign up for their membership BEFORE you buy, so you get free money to spend after the sale.

Elphabasan 10-29-13 02:34 PM

I've never had grip shifters, but I doubt I'd mind them very much.

I'm going this afternoon to test out the Fuji. I'm already in love with the Diamondback, so the Fuji will have to impress me a lot... then again, the Diamondback was the first semi-road bike I've ever gotten to ride, so no small surprise there. :)

In terms of bikes being less likely to be stolen, that's soon to not matter much. Whatever bike I get I'll just carry up and down the stairs every day. I can't lose another one -- too heartbreaking.

Thanks so much for the help! Still taking opinions, of course.


ButchA 10-29-13 04:19 PM

I'd go with the Fuji Absolute. I saw the Diamondback Insight at Performance Bike, but didn't test ride it. Check out my review/posting on the two Fuji bikes that I tried out (Absolute and the Sportif)

I fell in love with the Fuji Absolute and will be getting one soon as I can. It's an amazing bike! :)

Elphabasan 10-29-13 07:19 PM

I'm so torn... I went tonight to try out the Absolute, but none of the local shops (I went to three) had one in my size! Furthermore, the 2.3 model is mostly out of stock on the website. The 2.3 Absolute Stagger (the women's version) is still available, but I'm a bit leery of buying something I haven't even gotten to ride.

I also found out that I can get the women's version of the Diamondback (the Clarity) for just $400 thanks to a price match.

I have a few days to make my decision. In the meantime, here are my options:

Fuji Absolute 2.3 Stagger: (cheapest bike at $370)
Diamondback Clarity 2: ($400 thanks to price match; very similar to the Insight)
Diamondback Insight 1: ($450

The only one I've been able to ride is the Insight. The people at Performance assured me the Clarity would be nearly the same, so I wouldn't mind buying it without riding it. It's the Stagger I'm worried about. Would it be okay, do you think? Should I still go for that one?



Wanderer 10-30-13 07:14 AM

You just added a twist to your conundrum...... The Clarity has 8spd, and trigger shifters... and at a competitive price.... It has a more road oriented cluster in the back, and still has the big sprocket for climbing tough spots Other than not having provisions for a rack, (not that that can't be overcome easily) it appears to now take first place in value for dollar spent. As your riding distance increases, that rear cog will be appreciated.

Do you want a step thru frame? If so, the Absolute would be your best bet. If you don't care, get what you like, I mean really like.

Remember, Performance has a no questions asked return policy.

I sure wouldn't be afraid of buying any of your choices....... If you love the Diamondback, buy it!

But still remember to buy their membership first! It amounts to 10% cash back on your purchases, and can be spent for anything ......

Which bike trips your trigger? It still boils down to the one you fall in love with.

Wanderer 10-31-13 01:20 PM

Is there an end result yet?

MagicHour 10-31-13 04:16 PM

Not meaning to confuse you more, :) but I'll throw out that the Fuji Absolute 3.0 LE from Performance is also a decent bike for the money if you can find in a size 15" and is Shimano 8 speed instead of 7. My girlfriend just got one, if you hit a sale/coupon right you can get it for ~$379 (not including oversize shipping), and it's a nice riding bike.

canadiandude 10-31-13 05:48 PM

I'm with Wanderer on this one. The Diamondback Clarity looks like a great option with the trigger shifters. But it always comes down to you taking the time to make the right choice by test riding all of them before making a decision. Don't let yourself feel pressured to pull the trigger on anything you are sure you really want or like. And don't forget to post pics of your new ride! :)

Elphabasan 10-31-13 10:47 PM

Hi everyone,

After weighing the opinions here and finally getting to try out a couple of Fuji Absolutes today, I liked the feel of the Fuji just as much as the Diamondback and opted for the Stagger. The Performance Bike guy was also nudging me in that direction, and he assured me that if I don't like the bike when it arrives I can just return it and try something else.

I'll tell you guys something... I've never had a road bike before, and zooming around on these things is just unreal. Even riding the bike around the store, I was able to veer around objects and displays in the aisles that my mountain bike would've sent tumbling despite my best efforts. I am enthralled at the responsiveness and the speed. Waiting 7-10 business days for my bike to arrive is going to kill me. =(

I'll post pictures when I get it! Thank you all so much for your help!


Elphabasan 11-07-13 10:57 AM

Well, last night my 2.3 Stagger arrived. I tried it out at the store and was not very happy with it. Rode very rough, and felt just generally creaky and shaky and bad... I got the idea that it had been assembled hastily and the staff people were quick to busy themselves with other customers throughout my time there, so I wasn't able to get much attention. I left fairly disgruntled, and I didn't take the bike home. I'm going in a couple hours to give it another go after insisting the mechanic look it over again. If I don't like it, I'm not sure what I'll do.

I've been debating the Diamondback Insight and the Clarity a bit more. I really like the Insight, as you guys know, and I was keen on trying the Clarity, but there's a problem. The Insight fits me pretty snugly in that I don't have much clearance standing over -- less than .25". The Clarity's standover height is even greater than the Insight's despite being a women's bike, so I feel like I have to rule out the Clarity.

Looking at bikes on Performance that have a lower standover height but are also good commuters, the GT ZUM came up. One of my local shops has a small in stock I could try, the standover height being 24.85". Would you guys recommend this bike for me? The Performance guy on the phone said that the GT bike is more rugged... I don't want another mountain bike, but I wouldn't mind something durable if it didn't mean sacrificing performance.


Wanderer 11-08-13 08:51 AM

If you don't want a mountain bike, by all means ,,,,, do not get it!

Hold out for one you want, as it will be much more enjoyable. Meanwhile, try the Insight again, and be sure to voice your displeasure with the Stagger. Fuji does make nice bikes....

Ride them all again, and even more if you can find them...... Don't settle for less than you want and enjoy!

Hopefully, they can get that Stagger sorted out for you - as it has $74 worth of free points with their club points today....bil

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