A competent fork but it's hard to find the sweet spot
USA-based suspension brand DVO (Developed Suspension) offers a range of three products — the Emerald dual-crown fork, the Jade coil shock and a 160mm travel single-crown fork called the Diamond.
Available in 27.5in and 29in wheel sizes, the Diamond’s travel is adjustable in 10mm increments from 130mm to 160mm, using clip-in spacers. To keep the weight down, it sports tapered aluminium stanchions, a hollow-forged crown and a pared down 15mm thru-axle.
There’s no shock pump or star nut included, but you do get a mini fender, which bolts to the back of the fork brace. It keeps mud off the seals, but it’s not long enough to be effective in UK winter conditions.
Like Fox’s FIT system and RockShox’s Charger unit, the Diamond uses a bladder cartridge damper. It’s fully sealed and can be removed quickly for tuning and servicing, and allows for oil displacement. The fork has independent high and low-speed compression adjustment in addition to rebound, the former via the two dials on top of the right leg.
Low-speed has six pre-set positions and it’s relatively easy to flick the lever on the go if you want to stiffen the fork for climbing. The black high-speed adjuster is underneath, it has around 24 clicks of adjustment, but unfortunately it seized solid twice during testing.
In the other leg is the spring cartridge, which combines a main air spring with a coil negative. This negative spring can be pre-loaded using DVO’s Off-The-Top (OTT) adjuster, which alters the initial sensitivity of the fork and lets you play with the small bump ride.
DVO doesn’t currently offer volume reducers for the Diamond, but you can increase the progression by introducing a small amount of oil to the air chamber. Alternatively, you could get a similar result by increasing air pressure and then dialling in more OTT.
The big negative with having both an air spring cartridge and a damping cartridge is that it adds weight — the 27.5in Diamond is nearly 300g heavier than the equivalent RockShox Pike! It also takes a little longer to set-up, and even after a month riding I was still fiddling with the adjusters.
Watch how to add spacers to a RockShox Pike
Some of this fettling is because the compression settings are a little on the firm side — the fork just didn’t feel as smooth as a Pike or Fox 36 over roots and square edges — but also because adding more OTT changes the ride height, meaning I vacillated between 150mm and 160mm.
At £800 the Diamond is over £100 cheaper than a Fox 36 and only marginally more that a RockShox Pike, but it’s heavier than both. It lacks the Pike’s simple set-up and is not as stiff as the Fox 36, but it has improved ride sensitivity courtesy of the excellent OTT feature. It is comparable in quality and has easy-to-understand features; you just need to persevere with set-up if you want to find the sweet spot.