Diamondback Insight 20 Inch Review
An introduction to the world of multi-gears, longer distances, and more varied elevations - without breaking the bank.
BEST FOR: Experienced riders with speed on their minds and a desire to master shifting gears.
SEAT HEIGHT: 25.1" – 30.9"
WEIGHT: 23.75 lb.
25.1" – 30.9"
|Geared Bike Type||
Dual Hand (No Coaster)
7-speed Shimano Grip Shift
|Hand Brake Type||
|Bottom Bracket Height||
Pros & Cons
- Quality bike for a very decent price
- Mid-weight and gear shifting allows kids to tackle more hills and venture longer distances
- Shimano grip shift system is loved by little speed demons
- Higher standover height limits the safe seat height range
- Only one color option
The Diamondback Insight 20″ is a solidly built introduction into the world of multi-geared biking for kids. Fast and fun to ride, kids can happily cruise the neighborhood and paved trails while tackling hills with new confidence. Parents, for their part, will be happy with a price that doesn’t break the bank. The Insight 20″ is one of the larger 20″ bikes we’ve reviewed.
I love to ask my testers what they do and don’t like about the bike they’re riding because kids are just plain honest. Our 8-year-old tester responded, “It rides so swiftly! And it’s really easy to brake and to change the gears.” Our 6-year-old tester exclaimed, “It’s so fast! And easy to go up hills. Do I have to say something I don’t like?”
There you have it from the mouths of babes. The Diamondback Insight is a win with kids because it’s fast, and the gearing allows them to tackle hills that have previously been arduous with their old single-speed bikes. It also performs great with easy tricks that most kids naturally gravitate towards at this age, like going over curbs. And it’s a win with parents because you get a quality bike for a very decent price.
With a seat height range of 25.1″ – 31″, the Insight is one of the larger 20″ bikes that we’ve tested. The tough thing with kids’ bikes is that tire size is rarely an indication of how well a bike will fit your child. Within a tire size category, actual bike sizes can vary widely, which is especially true with 20″ bikes. Don’t buy a bike just because you think your child’s age fits them in a certain category. Always measure first.
Of all of our testers, the Diamondback Insight was the best fit for our 8-year-old tester with an inseam of 24.25″ (seat height set at 28.25″). This same 8-year-old tester was far too tall to fit on many of the smaller, higher-end 20″ bikes we’ve been testing lately. (Measure, measure, measure!) She was on the verge of being too tall for this bike as well, but has a little bit of time left to comfortably ride.
For our 6-year-old tester with an inseam of 21.6″, we set the seat height at 25.5″ (just above the minimum seat height) and he looked great riding the bike. The Insight was a nice fit from a seat height and handlebar reach perspective, but the standover height does give us pause. (Read more on that in the section below.)
Our 10-year-old tester with a 25.75″ inseam had his legs properly extended with the seat set at its maximum height, and could barely touch the ground with with his tip toes when stopped. Even though this would imply from a seat height perspective that he should fit on the bike, the Insight was clearly too small for him – he looked a bit like a clown riding a circus bike. 🙂
So while the minimum seat height of 25.1″ and maximum seat height of 31″ gives a potential seat height range of six inches, we wouldn’t actually recommend that kids at the low and high end of the range actually ride the Insight. The ideal range of use would be more like 27″ to 29.5″. It would be best to buy the bike when your child is at the low range to get the most use out of the bike.
Child’s Inseam to Seat Height Comparison
Common safety standards recommend that kids have at least 2″ of clearance between their crotch and the top bar of the bike to prevent injury in the event of a rider sliding forward off the seat during a crash.
The standover height spec for the Insight is 21.3″, but our 6-year-old tester with a 21.6″ inseam did have the top bar hitting his crotch a bit when standing over the bike. He was riding the Insight with the seat height set just above the minimum, so riders on the smaller end of the fit spectrum will most likely have an issue with standover clearance. There was plenty of clearance space for our 8-year-old tester, which is highly preferable to prevent potential injury.
For this reason, a child riding the bike at a seat height of 27″ or above is the safest scenario.
Standover Height May Be an Issue for Smaller Riders
Weighing in at 23.75 lbs., the Insight 20″ is certainly heavier than high-end 20″ bikes, but comes in a few pounds lighter than some 20″ bikes made by popular brands like Trek and Cannondale. Also less expensive than these bikes, the Insight’s weight is actually pretty good for its price. If you want a lighter-weight bike, you’re going to have to bump up your budget quite a bit. But if you’re content with a bike that’s a little on the heavier side but won’t break your bank, the Insight will suit your child well.
The Insight’s medium tread, narrow tires are 1.38″ wide, making them best suited for sticking to sidewalks and paved trails.
The Diamondback Insight is a comfortable and natural ride for those kids who will be sticking to paved trails and moderate distances. While not as lightweight as higher-end bikes like the woom 4 and Islabikes CNOC 20″, its medium weight will suffice just fine for most kids and the distances they will likely be riding (with the exception of really lightweight kids).
Many kids’ bikes are designed with high handlebars that force a child into a casual, upright position. This is especially common with budget bikes like Huffy and Dynacraft. But while seemingly natural and easy, these handlebars actually prevent a child from maintaining good balance and control of the bike.
High-end bikes are trending towards specialty designs that push handlebars lower to decrease a child’s center of gravity on the bike for better balance and overall control, while mid-priced bike brands like Specialized and Diamondback often fall somewhere in the middle with mid-rise handlebars.
Once again, it really comes down to price. Truly child-specific bike geometry comes with a pretty steep price tag, but for a price in the mid-$200’s, the Diamondback Insight’s mid-rise handlebars do a good job of helping a child to maintain solid balance and control.
Insight’s Mid-Rise Handlebars are Common for Bikes in the Same Price Rage
Rider’s Position on Bike
The mid-rise handlebars combined with wheelbase length create a relatively upright body position for the rider of the Insight. Kids that will be casually riding the neighborhood or going on mid-distance rides with parents will likely find this position to feel natural and comfortable. More timid riders especially prefer to be more upright.
While a child riding a 20″ bike is generally experienced enough to benefit from a slightly more leaned forward stance, bikes with this positioning are usually quite a bit more expensive. Many parents don’t find the additional cost to merit the benefit differential for their child.
But in just case you’re interested… if your child has an itch for being more aggressive on his bike – doing tricks, going off-road, or riding unpaved trails – a bike with a more aggressive body position would be more appropriate, like the Cleary Owl below. Likewise, if long distance rides are in your child’s future, a more leaned-in stance as found on the CNOC 20″ is a phenomenal option.
Diamondback Insight Has a Moderately Upright Body Position
The Diamondback Insight features dual hand brakes (alloy linear or v-pull), which can be adjusted to fit the reach of your child’s hands. While these brakes don’t have the stopping power of Tektro brakes found on high-end bikes, both of our testers were able to brake easily to maintain control while riding.
Grip Shift and Gearing (Gain Ratio)
The 7-speed grip shift gearing system features quality Shimano parts. While there is debate as to the pros and cons of grip shifters or trigger shifters for kids, we generally agree that while trigger shifters are easier to engage, grip shifters are more intuitive for kids to understand and master. Because a 20″ bike will be the first time your child is riding a multi-speed bike that requires manual shifting of gears, the grip shifter is a good introduction for them.
Be aware that shifting gears adds an entirely new layer of complexity to riding a bike, so be patient with your child as they learn to master this new art! Our 6-year-old tester had never used a geared bike and didn’t bother much with the gears in the beginning. In the end, it was just a lot of trial and error as he experimented with the shifter and realized the benefits that shifting gears could provide at just the right moment.
Our 8-year-old tester already rides a bike with a grip shifter, so she had no problem using it with the Shimano grip shift on the Insight. She also has larger hands than our other tester, which made it easier for her to shift. Grip shift systems are pretty standard for 20″ kids’ bikes, but can be a little difficult or jerky to twist at times, especially for the younger kids with smaller hands and less experience.
The Insight’s Shimano shifter is wider than other brands, so it can be challenging to use for kids with small hands. However, given this 20″ bike is for larger kids compared to many other 20″ bikes, this shouldn’t be a common problem.
In the end though, kids riding 20″ bikes probably won’t bother to shift gears much anyways, so the Shimano system will work just fine for most kids and be a nice introduction to the world of multi-speeds.
The Insight’s 7-speed system features a gain ratio range of 2.5 to 5.0 The higher end of this spectrum allows your child to gain more speed with less pedal spinning, while the low range allows the child to get the bike started more easily and tackle previously impossible hills.
This range is pretty standard for popular bikes from brands like Trek, Specialized, and Guardian. Less expensive than these bikes, Insight comes up a winner for what you’re getting for the price tag. High-end bikes offer wider ranges, like the woom 4 with a low of 2.3 but a high of 6.7, but you definitely pay the price. Higher-end bikes also have a higher quality derailleur that makes shifting faster and smoother, but this really will only make a difference for really aggressive riding (which most children are not likely to be doing at this age).
Overall, once our testers were used to shifting, they both loved the new ease with which they could tackle hills! I had to take a few minutes to explain the process of shifting, and they did a few trial runs of hills to experiment with the feeling of the changes in gears, but they caught on quickly. Our 6-year-old tester, new to gears and shifting, was particularly pleased to find that hills no longer had to be a frustrating obstacle.
Shifting Gears Made Tackling Hills a Fun Challenge for our Testers
Ease of Assembly
If you know your way around bikes, the Diamondback Insight won’t be much trouble for you to assemble. If, however, you are an average parent, you will probably want to get some assistance from your neighborhood bike guru or bike shop.
If you’re looking for a quality bike to introduce your growing rider to the world of multi-gears, longer distances, and more varied elevations, the Diamondback Insight is a solid option that won’t break the bank. Due to the high standover height of the bike, be sure to measure your child’s inseam to ensure a proper fit.