Cruising around town with the kids, towing bike trailers and stuff like that isn’t so much fun on a road bike and being the bike snob that I am, I don’t quite like hauling around on my mountain bike. For tooling around and around-town commuting, Diamondback has the Insight STI-8 performance hybrid.
Diamondback Insight STI-8 Performance Hybrid Features:
- Insight 6061-T6 butted aluminum performance hybrid frame
- Vertical compliance stays
- Insight aero alloy straight-blade fork
- Shimano SL8S-20 light action 8-speed twist shifters
- Shimano Nexus 8-speed internal geared hub
- 32h Equation R23 doublewall 700 c wheels
- MSRP: $599
Diamondback Insight STI-8 Performance Hybrid Bike Review
For me, riding my road bike or my mountain bike around the neighborhood with the kids or around town is not all that practical. Since I already have a quiver of bikes, the Diamondback Insight STI-8 fits right in as the all-purpose family cruiser, bike trailer tower and riding around the neighborhood machine.
When the STI-8 arrived, I was impressed with the overall look of the bike. The all-black look is subtle and offers an understated look that makes it feel like a good-quality bike. I was very interested in how the Shimano Nexus system would perform, so that has garnered much of my attention.
As I’ve pedaled around the neighborhood, I’ve put the Shimano drivetrain to the test. While it doesn’t have the most extreme low or high gears, it handles most of what you’ll throw at it with ease. The beauty of the system is how fast the shifting happens and how smoothly it performs. I’ve briefly used the Nuvinci drivetrain, so this is really the first long-term experience I’ve had with internal geared hubs.
It is pretty amazing how you can simply shift up or down without needing to pedal. The Nexus hub is very interesting in that it feels as if it has a lot of resistance all the time and the freewheel isn’t so “free” as it spins with a load of friction. The chain is also kept at quite a tension at all times.
Although the frameset is entirely aluminum, it is tuned to absorb small vibrations in the road. I was especially impressed with the fork — I actually thought it was a carbon fiber fork for a time. The entire spec is built smartly at a price that everyone can afford.
Once you venture to the dirt, the STI-8 is comfortable, to a point. Loose dirt and gravel can give the bike fits, but a little rough stuff every so often can be taken in stride. Due to its weight, it does seem to be less fun of a bike when you want to goof around on it. I’d stick to pavement or well-packed dirt roads with this one.
Cornering is capable and predictable and descents are calm and collected. The STI-8 is a great everyday pavement commuter.
Good Insight STI-8
- Shifting is super-simple
- Bike rides comfortably, even without a carbon fork or suspension
- Great for cruising the local bike paths or commuting
- Easy-on-the-back upright riding position
- Great black style (simple and muted)
- Capable enough to leave the pavement
Bad Insight STI-8
- Internal gear hub has a lot of freewheel friction
- Limited gears can make long ascents difficult, if you don’t have the legs
- All that internal gearing adds to the bike’s weight (tips the scales at 26 lbs)
- The frameset can’t be adapted to fit a traditional drivetrain, if desired
Bottom Line: Diamondback Insight STI-8 Hybrid Bike
The Shimano Nexus internally-geared hub is really a novel concept that works well in this crosstown commuter bike. If you’re looking for an affordable commuter bike or “ride around the neighborhood” bike, the Insight STI-8 is a very slick option.
Buy Now: Visit Diamondback.com
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Great write-up. I just ordered one through promotive.
planning on ordering one on promotive as well, how is the diamondback holding up?
I don’t have it in the fleet any longer. I go through bikes to quickly. 🙂
Were you able to tow a kid trailer with the unique frameset?
Our trailer has a clamp that I was able to connect to the seattube. I just wrapped it in electrical tape before placing it on the frame and it worked pretty well.
Just ordered one for my daily commute of 17 miles one way. I hope that the freewheel spin isn’t that bad. Thanks for the write up.
Jason, how would you rate this bike for 30-40 mile road rides?
That depends on the type of terrain you’re tackling. For relatively flat terrain, that distance should be fine. It rides smoothly and has lots of comfort.
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