Handle bars were stock. In fact the whole bike was stock (LX RD, Deore thumbies, black anodised avenir rims with silver exage hubs - 32 hole front, 36 hole rear Deore 110 PCD cranks) except the tires which I swapped for a smoke on the front and a ritchey megabite on the back.
I bought in in April of '93. I had a '93 ascent EX on order from around x-mas time - the black and purple tiger marble painted one with the 2 tone grey exage rapidfire+ group - for months, but the importers in Australia were out of stock in my size, and the expected 2nd shipment didn't arrive. I waited and waited gazing at the '93 catalogue. I ended up with the Response as it was old stock from '92 - and the only thing in the warehouse in my size and I got it quite cheep as it was on super run-out from the wholesalers. I remember it as a '92 as it wasn't in the '93 catalogue I had - in '93 IIRC the response wasn't offered - only the response elite and the dual response.
I didn't have a '92 catalogue at the time. I later read a a '92 catalogue in another bike shop and it had my bike in grey with white and pink flecked paint in the main picture, with hot yellow (which mine was) as the optional colour. I don't have either catalogues now worst luck.
If anyone has a scan of the '93 and '92 catalogue I'd much appreciate it.
If I've been living under a misapprehension for 16 years as to the year of my first mountain bike I'll survive, but I'd be very surprised.
Well I wouldn't be that suprised about the catalogue thing.
I bought my first Apex (which I always considered a 92 model) in 92 - and I got a brochure from the bike shop when I got it. I've still got the brochure - which is a 1991 brochure.
I also still have a copy of MBUK which tested that Apex (I think it was June 1992 edition). I guess what I'm trying to say, there, is I truly suspect you had a 1993 model year bike, because in 92, they were still selling bikes with downtube cabling, and the brochures to go with 'em.
Now the following year (93) after I bought my Apex (in 92), I remember the next model of Apex coming out. It had the bullhorn / brahma bars on, and the cabling all across the top tube, and a spanglier red paint job (metallic, I think). But 92, and 92 model year bikes didn't have the brahma bars, nor the top tube gear cable routing.
And I'm pretty sure it was only 93 onwards, when Diamondback were selling suspension equipped bikes - because I never remember seeing any being sold in 92 - or at least as 92 model year bikes.
So it's completely possible that a 93 model year bike was available in late 92, but I'm pretty sure they (brahma bar equipped bikes, and those with top tube cable routing) were 93 model year bikes.