Ridden and Reviewed: Diamondback Haanjo and Haanjo Comp

The Diamondback Haanjo Comp (left) and Haanjo Flat Bar (right)

You might have read lately about “adventure” or “gravel” bikes. Part cyclocross bike, part road bike, part touring bike, these rides are designed to help you go anywhere your imagination can take you—on or off road.

Over the past few weeks we got a chance to test out Diamondback’s Haanjo. We loved it so much that after the test was over we bought one for ourselves.

About The Bike

The Haanjo comes in two models, both of which we got to test out. Both are built around a high end aluminum frame and fork, with disc brake mounts, fender mounts, and rear rack mounts. The geometry of the Haanjo is pretty relaxed, with huge tire clearance (both bikes come with WTB All Terrain 32mm tires). The emphasis here is clearly on keeping the bike capable of going off road while staying stable and comfortable for the rider.

The Haanjo Comp comes with a Shimano 105 10-speed road group, short cage rear derailleur with an 11-28T cassette, drop bars, FSA Gossamer 46/36 ‘cross crankset, and TRP’s exceptional Hy/Rd mechanically-activated disc brakes.

The Haanjo comes with a Shimano Sora 9-speed flat bar road group, long cage rear derailleur with an 11-30T cassette, flat bars, FSA Gossamer 46/36 ‘cross crankset, and Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes.

We tested both bikes.

Adventure awaits
Adventure awaits

 Unboxing and Set Up

Unboxing and set up for both bikes was pretty straight forward, since the bikes come 90% assembled. Just put the front wheel on, put the handlebars in the stem, and install the seatpost/saddle (already assembled). Each bike also comes with a pair of platform pedals, spare spokes, and some zip ties whose purpose remains a mystery, since they weren’t really necessary for setup.

Both bikes did need to have the brakes and derailleurs adjusted, but it wasn’t anything too major. The Avid BB5 brakes set up like any other mechanical disc brakes. The TRP brakes can be a little more frustratingly simple, so let us save you the headache: look for the knob with a picture of a lock on it. Unthread it counter clockwise until it pops up out of the socket. This will unlock the actuating arm. Once that is done, proceed much like you would with any other mechanical disc brake set up.

We added our own pedals, bottle cages, and saddle packs.

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The Ride

After spending a few days riding the Haanjo, we pretty much fell in love with the bike. It rode like no other bike we’ve ever tested… and we ride a lot of bikes. The best word we can think of to describe the ride feel is “confidence”. Whether we were on the road or on the trail, on the flat bar version or the drop bar version, we always felt confident in the bike’s ability to handle anything in its path.

The bike actually feels less like a CX bike-meets-road bike than it does a rigid mountain bike-meets-road bike…something that sounds admittedly dubious in theory but turns out to be amazing in reality. The Haanjo is easily the most versatile bike we’ve ever ridden. It doesn’t really excel in any one thing—it’s not as fast or lively as a road bike, nor as capable and controllable as a mountain bike—but it does very well in pretty much everything.

On the road the bike accelerates nicely, with smooth, predictable handling. The geometry on both bikes is also really nice for long days on the bike. The tall head tube, and slung-back geometry put you in a nice upright position that makes it easy on the back. The aluminum frame and fork feel nice and stiff for fairly snappy acceleration without any noticeable frame flex (even with a loaded rack on the back). Surprisingly we didn’t get any of the harsh road chatter we expected from this full aluminum rig, and the ride felt plush and comfortable. The WTB tires aren’t exactly the best for road riding, since the beefy tread and increased rolling resistance can slow your roll a little. For extended road riding, we replaced the WTB All Terrains with some Continental Gatorskin Hardshell 700x25c road tires.

Off road, the bike was just awesome. The handling almost felt more like we were riding a 29” mountain bike, instead of a twitchy CX bike. Thanks to the more upright geometry we were even able to take the bike over some more technical sections of trail without worrying about it too much—we felt totally in control of the bike. Off-road is also where the WTB tires came into their own. They really hooked into the trail nicely, with plenty of grip in the corners and hills, so we had the confidence to go full bore when we wanted to. The easy CX-style gearing meant that we had plenty of low-end gearing to make it up even the hardest inclines.

The stopping power of both the Avid and TRP disc brakes was impressive, even in the rain, mud, and dirt.

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The Verdict

Just awesome. If, in some sad alternate world, we could only own one bike, it would easily be the Haanjo. Its ability to literally do anything and go anywhere is unmatched. Sometimes with a bike like this, one that tries to be all things to all people, you end up with a bike that’s really nothing to anybody— but not in this case. Diamondback really cracked the code and delivered up something truly remarkable… which might be why every shipment we get sells through so quickly.

We did everything on the Haanjo: commuting, road riding, trail riding, gravel riding, bike camping with a fully loaded rack. The Haanjo is a bike that’s limited only by your imagination.

When the test was over and we had to give the bikes back, we were a little sad. So sad in fact that we decided to go out and get ourselves a Haanjo flat bar. We look forward to seeing where it takes us in the days ahead.

The Haanjo felt right at home anywhere we went
The Haanjo felt right at home anywhere we went

22 thoughts on “Ridden and Reviewed: Diamondback Haanjo and Haanjo Comp

  1. The sizing for the Haanjo doesn’t appear ideal for me. The “medium” is a 53cm (540 Eff.T.T) and the “large” is a 56cm (56 Eff.T.T.), but my two road bikes have a 55cm Eff.T.T., and I find them both comfortable. I would go for the large without reservation if it weren’t for the somewhat high standover (807mm–about the same as my inseam)… So, if I were going to buy this bike, which size should I get? Thanks in advance for the advice.

    1. Hi WJ, the size you need depends on how you like to set your bikes up, and how you’re going to ride it. Firstly, in our experience with the Haanjo, the more important measurement is the standover height. Because of the tall BB shell, this is a really tall bike, so if you have shorter or longer legs, that should be your deciding factor, since bar to saddle reach can be easily adjusted with different stem lengths.
      That being said, more it’s going to depend on your plans for the bike. If you plan on taking it off-road a lot, you might want to go with the 56cm and put a shorter stem on it for improved handling on the trails or rough gravel. If you’re using it mostly on the road or on improved gravel roads, you might want to go with the 53cm with a longer stem for snappier handling and some slight weight savings. For reference, we also ride a 55 cm TT road bike (with a 130mm stem), but because we have shorter legs, for our personal Haanjo we went with the 53cm and used a 110mm stem.
      Hope this helps.
      If you have more questions, you can contact our tech line at 1-800-553-8324 (TECH).

  2. Thanks! That really answers the question. I’d have it set up for daily commuting (and occasional rail trail touring) with a rear rack. Based on your reply, I’ll go for the 53cm if I end up purchasing a Haanjo (flat bar). Unfortunately, I’d have to buy without riding first–I wish you guys had a location near me!

  3. What can you tell me about the Haanjo Comp as a cx race bike… I know its a bit slacker and lower BB, but it doesn’t look like DB has a true cross bike coming…

    1. Hi Toddre, we’ve actually been using our personal Haanjo as a CX bike this fall. It’s a solid performer, handles well, and is nice and responsive. Honestly, you’d probably have to be riding at a pretty high level to really notice any real performance difference between the Haanjo and a true CX bike. For racing we have it set up as a 1×10 with a Narrow Wide chainring and couldn’t be happier with it. The only real thing to we’ve noticed is some toe overlap issues on tight corners– but that can also be an issue on some true CX bikes as well. The other nice thing about it is that come spring, we’ll put the front derailleur and the rack back on, and it’s a great camping or commuting bike. Also, the BB on the Haanjo is actually super, duper tall– enough so that we had to size down when we bought ours.

  4. I’ve been looking for a bike I can take on dirt roads to the beach but also be able to hop into an entry-level CX race and not be COMPLETELY outclassed, the Haanjo sounds like it could be the right pick!

  5. I am trying to decide between the Haanjo Comp and the Fuji Tread 1.0. Do you have any thoughts between the two?

  6. I have a 2014 Haanjo that I have in Michigan and like quite well. I recently got a 2015 model and don’t like it as well. The bike seems heavier, tires wider, and chainstays set wider to accommodate the large tires. Less responsive and doesn’t climb as well. Would be happy to return the 2015 model.

    1. What are your thoughts on the Haanjo Tero. I can not find one locally in my area to test ride and its very difficult finding reviews.

      1. Hi Damon,

        We actually have gotten eyes on a Haanjo Tero yet. But it looks like it’s the standard Haanjo frame we reviewed here, just with a steel fork instead of carbon or alloy, mounts for a front low rider rack, and 40mm tires.
        The Performance Team

  7. Great review! Thanks!

    Would you take the Haanjo Comp fully loaded on a multi day bike tour as well? Is it that versatile?

  8. Would the flat bar setup be a good option for either a child seat or pull a child trailer? My son is 10 mos old and I’m looking for something that would be good to have him in tow. (I’m an avid mountain biker and road biker… but none of those are obviously appropriate).

  9. I would Really like to know the as-tested weigh on these. I am looking at one and while weight isn’t the main criterion, I would like to know in advance.

  10. I have one of these bikes and like it but really want front suspension to handle rough roads and high speeds. Is this straightforward to replace? Do you have any suggestions for forks that would be good? I don’t do rough trails or racing.

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