Deciding which mountain bike is right for you can easily become a process more intense than buying a car if you let it get out of hand, which it's easy to do. With so many options, narrowing down what's important to you requires some serious self discipline. Fortunately, many manufacturers are blurring the lines between traditional off road disciplines more than ever, creating bikes that don't fit neatly into one category but instead spill over into two or three. Diamondback's Mason Pro XT Complete Mountain Bike exemplifies this shift. It's the top build in the Mason line and it blends the capability of a squishy XC bike with the snappiness of a hardtail by combining 27. 5 wheels and a responsive rear triangle to give you more versatility than you ever expected from a hardtail. The Mason Pro manages to occupy an affordable price point generally a lonely place in the world of mountain bikes without being so budget oriented that you question quality. Diamondback achieves this with its use of dependable 6061 T6 aluminum, a treated version of the metal with an ideal mix of bombproof durability and low weight, and it shapes the tubes to accommodate Boost spacing. Front and rear Boost spacing stiffens the entire frame, as the wider hubs necessitate a more acute, and consequently stronger, spoke bracing angle than traditional spacing especially when paired with much beefier Boost hubs. This allover increase in rigidity makes a perfect platform for 17 inch chainstays to lend the frame all mountain stability, while a thoroughly XC appropriate 68 degree head tube angle lends the frame nimble dexterity as you aim to maintain quick cadence on long climbs. Underneath, 27. 5 wheels wrapped in Schwalbe's 2. 9in Nobby Nic tires hang on with confident grip when you're rallying over loose, shifty sections of trail, helping you navigate unpredictable terrain with an added dose of plushness that goes a long way on a hardtail. As the top member of the Mason family, the Maso..