My rides: Diamond Back Apex 1996

My Diamond Back Apex served me well over a period of 17 years, traveled with me to university in London, to the Spanish island I lived on for a year, then Mexico, Korea, and finally Portugal.

Its story starts in the summer of 1997. With my M Trax 400 showing its age, I thought it would be cheaper to simply buy a new bike, instead of keep replacing the moving parts as they each reached the end of their lives.

I opted for a sensible rigid steel bike, inspired by my best friend’s own 1994 Diamond Back Apex, and I wasn’t disappointed. Light, responsive and compliant, with a generally nice set of components, my Apex was a joy to ride.


After a hiatus of nearly a decade, it was on my Apex that I reconnected with mountain biking, but its geometry was a little problematic for my aging back, so I had to build a new, more suitable bike. When I finished building my Rourke 853, the Apex went into storage, and its frame forks were passed on to a new owner, whose re-build can be followed on this retrobike thread.

This is the final photo of my Apex, before its final disassembly and shipping over to the UK for its new owner.


4 thoughts on “My rides: Diamond Back Apex 1996”

  1. I still ride my 1996 Apex daily. 20 years and still going strong, still looks new, couple minor scratches. Unable to post photo. I love my bile, last year upgrade to thumb shifters. Original red paint. Want to make other upgrades but told i can’t upgrade to disk brakes and other new technologies. Any suggestions? Thanks, Miles

    1. When it comes to upgrades, I’d say it probably depends on whether you want to maximise performance or keep the bike period-correct. For performance, the best upgrades might be V-brakes and modern tyres, and possibly a pair of 60 to 80 mm travel suspension forks such as Bomber Z2.

  2. My 1990 Apex is still rolling strong as well – she doesn’t look too pretty, been ridden [really] hard across the US, but I guess that’s a testament to the build. I’ve debated upgrades for years (all original except seat/tires), but that seems almost sacrilegious at this point. My son has a new 27.5+ Cannondale, and we have a lot of fun switching off – oddly, he often prefers the old Apex! There’s much to be said for vintage steel, and I suspect she may outlive the Cannondale (haha, probably me too) as well…. Anyways, love your site.

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