• Diamond Back History

    by Published on 23rd January 2010 20:37   

    DiamondBack originated from the US in Southern California. It was a division of Western States Imports (formed by Mitchel Weiner around 69-70 dealing mostly with parts and accessories) and sister company to Centurion Bicycle Workshop (Road bike import brand) who had been selling 10 speeds for the past ten or so years.

    WSI decided that they wanted a BMX line only, went with the Diamond Back name (raced by David Clinton) and so called because Centurion thought the frame resembled two diamonds and snakes were 'kickin'

    The original frameset kits started to show up around the end in 1976, though manufacturing started in 1977 after early race testing and improvement recommendations by Wheels 'n Things.

    Their initial intention was to concentrate on getting the bike into the Californian market rather that national.

    When production started, early models were constructed by the same company who assembled FMF and SE using materials such as Chromoly and mild steel. The original forks were dual dropout copies of a race fork “speedo” because Sandy Finkelman liked their design so early Diamond Back's went with a similar format.

    Early designs were more commonly known as just Diamond Back and not 'models' even though flyers advertise the 'very first' as MX.

    In late 1978 manufacturing was moved to the Koizumi factory in Japan (which was probably due to the strength of trading overseas) with the launch of the early Pro and TK models which were Chromoly.

    By 1980 (March) and backed up by the experience and assetts of Centurion, Diamond Back formed a race team to spearheard a National push, compiling of the already and well established DB rider David Clinton and additional were added names such as Harry Leary, Doug Davis, Mike Horton, Aaron Stevens, Eddy King and Pete Loncarevich under the umbrella of Sandy Finkelman.

    It wasn't until 1981 when the more successful updated Pro was updated by a Pro series range available in Mini, Medium and Senior, available as a full bike or a custom Kit was available (all were full Chromoly framesets). Later that year came the tri-moly Silver Streak, identical geometry to the medium pro, but a mild steel rear triangle and slightly thicker dropouts (steel).

    With Harry Leary on board and design/development driven by Sandy Finkelman, the Senior Pro became the testing platform and benchmark for the later released Harry Leary signature 'Turbo' in mid 1982. Leary himself provided vast input into the Turbo since it was to be his signature model.

    In 1982 Diamond Back had already commisioned Akisu (Taiwan) to produce a low end model, the Pro-Star and with the economic climate weakening in the US by late 1983, some model production was moved to Akisu, these being the Pro-Star replacement Viper and Pacer 500. Higher end styles such as the Formula One and 2nd generation Harry Leary continued to be manufactured in Japan, but the*original "large diamond" gusset underwent a facelift (as did the Harry Leary) and were replaced by a noticeably smaller diamond/gusset amoungst other changes.

    DiamondBack dropped the Pacer 500, fearing the name was the main reason for reduced BMX sales and decided to continue with the highly successful Viper, hence the Super Viper, which was primarily a Pacer 500 frame and forks and virtually the last of the looptail frames.

    1986 came which saw the end of the Diamond gussett, DB were using the same frame for several models and for some, the end of an era.

    I would like to acknowledge that without www.ROSBMX.com (Sandy's own site), also Sandy's own comments on www.os-bmx.com prior to his untimely passing OS-DB.net would not be the reference site it is.

    We should not forget forget such people as Junya Yamakoshi (Cozy), Mike Bobrick and Mitchell Weiner of W.S.I or those at Koizumi and Akisu plants for their part in developing the Diamond Back brand.