|Fork||RS Reba RL w/BOOST, 120mm|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM GX1, 11 speed|
|Cassette||SRAM XG1150, 11 speed, 10-42t|
|Crankset||SRAM GX1000, 30t|
|Headset||Cane Creek 40, tapered|
|Handlebar||RaceFace Ride, 740mm|
|Grips||RaceFace Half Nelson, locking|
|Shifter||SRAM GX1, 11 speed|
|Front Brake||Shimano SLX Trail w/fin pad|
|Rear Brake||Shimano SLX Trail w/fin pad|
|Rotors||Shimano RT-68, 180fr, 160rr|
|Saddle||WTB Rocket Comp|
|Front Hub||Formula, 110mm, centerlock|
|Rear Hub||Formula, 148mm, XD driver, centerlock|
|Spokes||Stainless butted, black|
|Rims||WTB Scraper i45, 27.5”|
|Tires||27.5×3.5″ Panaracer Fat B Nimble, folding|
When looking at plus bikes, one of the first things to note are what tires and rims the company chooses for their build kit. I was very pleased to see that Advocate chose to mount Panaracer Fat B Nimble tires upon the WTB Scraper rims for their build.The 45mm inner width WTB Scraper rims weigh in at a claimed 650 grams. Some carbon rims of similar width can weigh up to 200 grams less per wheel, but would make the complete build cost hundreds more and durability could potentially be compromised. Many other aluminum rims of slightly narrower width tend to weigh about the same. Having a rim this wide will allow for maximized volume and a flatter tread profile compared to narrower rims. The Panaracer Fat B Nimble tires measured 2.83 inches wide across the tread and the casing measured 2.96 inches wide while mounted on the WTB Scraper rims. This is much less than the nominal 3.5 inch width claimed on the sidewall of the tire. Nevertheless, the tires are very lightweight for their size at a claimed weight of 710 grams each. These tires have a very aggressive knob pattern. The combination of one of the lightest weight plus tires and the fairly lightweight and wide rims proved to be a complete win. They spun up very easily, much like a normal 29er tire/wheel combo, but had a reserve tank full of traction. It was actually fairly difficult to break the rear tire loose even when it was unweighted by climbing out of the saddle up steeper climbs. Only on fist-sized cobbles did the rear wheel lose traction, and that was more of the cobbles slipping on one another like ball bearings rather than the tire losing its grip on the surfaces it was upon. Speaking of climbing, the SRAM GX1 drivetrain did not let me down either. With a 1X11 drivetrain, I knew what I was getting into. The lowest gear being a 30×42 tooth made climbs very possible, even when faced with steep trails while having tired legs at the end of a long ride. The highest gearing did not often have me wishing for more beyond the 30×10 tooth, but there definitely were occasions, especially on the slowly descending dirt roads that led into a climb. Although I wouldn’t often need additional gearing, on long days, and especially when bikepacking, I wouldn’t mind having a 2X chainring setup on the Hayduke, but for most days I would be very content with the 1X system. One thing that was noticeable about the SRAM 1X11 system after having ridden Shimano cassettes so often is that the middle of the SRAM cassette has a noticeably bigger jump between cogs that left me wishing there were closer ratios in that particular range to choose from. I most often ride in the middle of the cassette, the range that most single speed riders choose their gear ratio from. Most of us do, but the jump on the XG1150 10-42t cassette was noticeable and I hadn’t noticed it before on any other drivetrain. Granted, on a Shimano cassette there is not as much range between the smallest and largest cog (SRAM’s 10-42 vs Shimano’s 11-42), but Shimano keeps the jump at 2 teeth per cog until reaching the 21 tooth cog, while SRAM made a 3 tooth jump from the 18 tooth to the 21 tooth cog. I found myself, not so much in the wrong gear, but in a gear that I had to adjust my cadence to with the SRAM cassette, instead of shifting into a different gear to keep the same cadence and change speed like I would with the Shimano cassettes which I have grown accustomed to recently. It may not seem to warrant such a discussion here on the Hayduke review, but I was intrigued while climbing this bike and had to find out why my cadence had to change to match the gearing. Many of you may not notice this at all, but for me it felt weird and just a little bit less smooth than I prefer. Here are the cogs used in each cassette I mentioned. SRAM 11 speed XG1150 10-42 cassette: 10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-42 Shimano 10 speed XT 11-42 cassette: 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28-32-37-42 The SRAM drivetrain as a whole shifted flawlessly and I was impressed with how quickly the shifts were made with zero adjustments needed, from right out of the box, all the way to two months later, even with lots of El Nino mud thrown up into it from the 27.5+ tires. The Shimano SLX brakes were fantastic. I have tested many bikes built up with Shimano XT brakes and I could barely tell the difference at all when it came to the brake feel and responsiveness. I am not sure if I would be able to tell them apart very easily in a blind test, they were that good. The 120mm Reba fork locked out well and was pretty plush over the many rough patches of trail I subjected it to. I ride rigid forks a lot and thought initially that I would prefer a rigid fork on the Hayduke if I were to use this bike as a long distance or bikepacking rig. This fork slowly and subtly won me over without me realizing it. I switched bikes one week and quickly realized how much I had grown to take the Reba for granted. There are definitely lighter weight forks available and did move slightly when climbing out of the saddle with it locked out, but for the majority of the time I rode the Hayduke, it seemed like a great fit, allowing for a comfortable and fast ride through the rough sections. The WTB Rocket saddle is a fantastic choice by Advocate for this build. While saddle preference is very subjective, the WTB Rocket is one of the best selling mountain bike saddles in history. I have ridden many bikes equipped with this saddle and all have felt fine. This saddle never reminded me that it was there, which is a very good thing when it comes to saddles. When building up the Hayduke, I took the seatpost with WTB Rocket saddle and mounted it in the frame then clamped it into the work stand. After the bike was fully built, I adjusted the seatpost height and there it has remained. No adjustments needed. I have never had such an experience. Usually you will need to slightly adjust tilt or the saddle fore or aft to get a proper and comfortable position. It was comfortable right away and positioned perfectly for me. Although a bike’s saddle is one of the first things I replace with my own saddle that I prefer, it is worth mentioning how great the experience with this WTB Rocket has been. It’s also worth noting that while the build kit comes with a rigid seatpost, the frame comes with internal dropper post routing. I think that I would add a dropper post immediately to this bike. It would make this bike that much better at being a fantastic trail bike. When looking at the Hayduke’s closest competition, the Marin Pine Mountain 2, I had wondered why Marin spec’d a dropper post on a bike they had specifically marketed as being bikepacking ready. While there are no rules in bikepacking, it is pretty standard to run a large seat bag and a dropper post would pretty much prevent that ability. Marin included rack mounts on the seat stays, so I figured maybe they intended on giving riders the option to put the gear that would normally be stowed in the seat bag upon the rack so the dropper post could be utilized. Most bikepackers I know would prefer to swap out the dropper seat post for bikepacking trips in order to run a bikepacking seat bag off of a rigid seat post. It’s nice that Marin includes the options to run a rack (although the need to purchase a rack and bags remains) and they include the dropper seat post in their complete build, but I honestly prefer having a rigid seatpost included in the build Advocate has chosen. This would allow me to choose the dropper seatpost of my liking, with the option to internally route the cable. I don’t miss rack mounts on a trail oriented bike. They would rarely, if ever, be used by me for carrying a load. When loaded up with bikepacking bags, the Hayduke did not disappoint. It felt more sluggish and on the steepest climbs, it tended to wander more than would be preferred due to the slacker 68.5 degree head tube angle, but for all but the steepest climbs, the 30×42 tooth gear combination did remarkably well for seated climbing. I would still prefer a double chainring setup for long distance, multi-day trips with any significant climbing, but as it is setup currently, its only going to leave you walking up the climbs that you would be pedaling up at the same speed if you had a lower gearing combination anyways. When loaded, its important to adjust the pressure of the fork and tires accordingly. I adjusted the tire pressure, but did not adjust the fork pressure and it was entirely too soft when lots of extra weight was loaded up on the handlebars. I ended up using the lockout significantly more than I did without it loaded with gear, but it was still a pretty comfortable ride, especially with the plus tires, slacker head tube angle, neutral handling, and upright geometry. One morning I had an opportunity for a #coffeeoutside session with a couple friends, so I loaded up a Defiant Packs Malamute seat pack with a 1L Hydroflask filled with hot water, Aerobie Aeropress, GSI Javamill coffee grinder, 100 grams of coffee beans, and a couple camp mugs. I also threw in a bivy to take up space and serve as packing material to fill the voids. After the climb up to the top, I still had half a liter of hot water to bring back down, and although I was a little apprehensive of having a good amount of weight off the back before the very technical downhill that lay ahead of us, I decided that everything was cinched up tight enough to really let her rip. I had ridden this technical downhill trail many times as it was part of our weekly group ride all summer in 2015. The top is a section of chunky rock-laden fireroad that too often I find I’m going too fast and careening off my line, so brake control is very necessary. Aboard the Hayduke, I was able to lean back and lay off the brakes more than ever before. The next section was one that many riders tend to walk. It is both steep and loose with large 1-3ft rocks that prevent choosing a good line to follow. Although it was challenging, it was easier to descend than any time I had ridden it previously. In fact on both sections, I found that I had new PR’s after uploading to Strava later that day. The next section is called Miner’s Loop and it’s one of the most fun downhill sections in western San Diego County. It has lots more of the chucky rock and drops as well as some very technical sections, with some loose over hardpack and smooth flowing loamy sections thrown in. I felt more in control than I ever had on that section. I was able to quickly change lines and the tires stuck everything I threw at them. Braking was significantly better than with normal width tires and I was able to position my center of gravity side to side as needed and remained glued to the ground until choosing to bunnyhop features that would inhibit speed along my line choice. The bike was very nimble to handle and very controlled. I got to the bottom of the run and remembered I had all the coffee gear hanging off my seatpost. Remarkable. While I wouldn’t necessarily choose this particular bike for most bikepacking adventures where I would want an efficient, endurance XC type rig that excelled at climbing and long, flat sections, I could definitely see it being a welcomed addition to my stable. This would be the bike I would lean towards riding where the intended application would be an everyday trail bike, excelling in longer rides with nearly impassible terrain, where fatigue and technical riding are anticipated. The Hayduke is one of the most attractive bikes I can remember coming across. From the pearlescent paint, to the art on the top tube, and even Advocate’s badge itself, the bike’s aesthetics are perfectly tasteful, understated, and eye catching. Advocate Cycles didn’t set out to just create good looking bicycles however. Yes, the Hayduke exceeded my expectations in how it performed, but that is only the beginning of what makes this bicycle company pretty rad. Take a look at the non-driveside chainstay and you will see a few logos from different organizations. Advocate is ALL about ADVOCACY. Yep, they are purposeful in advocating for us cyclists. Below is a little about how they take profit of each bicycle sale and give it to their partner organizations that inspire, enhance, empower, create, preserve, unite, support, and develop character in and through the bicycling community. Advocate Cycles is a bike company that exists solely to create innovative bicycles and deliver 100% of profits from the company back to cycling advocacy efforts. Advocate Cycles is working with five major bicycle advocacy groups and will begin allocating funds to them immediately, based on sales of our Hayduke™, Watchman™, and Lorax™ models. Even better, when you purchase a new Advocate bike, whether through a participating retailer or direct from us, you’ll have the opportunity to select from which of these worthy groups will get the profit from your purchase on our Registration page.
The MSRP for the Advocate Hayduke, as specified with the build kit tested in this review is $2699.
The Hayduke frames go for $750 for the steel version and $1950 for the titanium version.