A couple of months ago, Diamondback hooked me up with their new 2017 Haanjo Trail Carbon to test out. After riding all of my favorite home trails around Marin, I decided it was time to take the Haanjo on a proper adventure — it is an adventure bike after all. Driving 2000+ miles across the country, we (Baloo the bike and I) set out to explore some of the most iconic gravel riding in the Midwest.
We started in southeastern Minnesota – home to the Almanzo 100. Think rolling white gravel farm roads that go on for mile after mile. From there it was on to northern Wisconsin to explore the legendary singletrack of Chequamegon National Forest and bikepack amongst the Fruity Pebble-colored trees and abundance of lakes lining the gravel Forest Service roads. Then on the drive back to CA, we stopped for a bikepacking trip in Maah Daah Hey country, exploring the badlands of North Dakota.
The only way to describe the Haanjo Trail Carbon is FUN. Fun on the pavement and even more fun off pavement. You get a full carbon fiber frame and fork that are lightweight, stiff, and tough enough to handle off-road riding. I’m 5’9″ and am riding the medium 53 cm frame size. Compared to my Diamondback Podium Optum road bike, the Haanjo Trail Carbon’s slacker head angle and longer wheelbase make it a much more comfortable and stable ride (especially in sand and mud) for long hours of gravel and trail riding. And the wider handlebars add to the comfort and stability factor.
Apart from the obvious carbon fiber versus aluminum frame, improvements upon the other Haanjo Trail models include attachments for front and rear rack mounts and fenders, front and rear thru axles, and room for 40+ mm tires. You can even run the bike with 27.5” wheels with 2.1” tires or 700 x 28mm+ road wheels. It’s an extremely versatile bike.
The Shimano Ultegra 2×11 groupset delivers super smooth shifting with a nice wide gear ratio (54/32T up front and 11-32T in back) to crank on the flats and power up steep hills. It was only while pulling a 30+ pound trailer up long 13% grade climbs in North Dakota (yes, there are tons of hills in ND) did I ever have to deploy a little hike-a-bike.
One of my favorite specs has to be the hydraulic disc brakes — with the heavy trailer behind me, I needed all the braking power I could get on the steep downhills. And most of my home trails consist of long, 3000-foot climbs with equally long descents where hydraulic brakes are a must if you want to save your hands.
The Schwalbe G-One, SnakeSkin tires roll equally well on road as well as on trail/gravel — I usually set my tire pressure to 48 psi for gravel or combo riding. Both the tires and HED Tomcat Disc rims (21 mm internal width – the widest you can get at the moment) come tubeless ready — I am running them with tubes now but will convert these eventually like all my other bikes.
All in, my Haanjo Trail Carbon adventure bike weighs 21 pounds. That’s roughly 6 pounds more than my road bike but definitely less than my mountain bike.
For $3100 retail (available for cheaper), you aren’t going to find a more affordable and fun adventure companion. I have already planned tons more off-road adventures with Baloo — my Haanjo Trail Carbon.
Check back tomorrow for my full North Dakota bikepacking report, including all the gear I used.