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Cerps

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm looking into picking up my first gravel bike.  I know bikes are a feel thing so there isn't one right answer for everyone.  I have a full suspension and fat bike now.  I'm looking for something to ride pavement/gravel when trails are closed and maybe some commuting (~15 miles one way in Minnesota so fairly flat).  

I'd like to keep it $1k or less since I don't know how much I'll actually use it.  Right now I'm considering the Diamondback Haanjo Comp, 2017 Raleigh Willard 2, and 2018 Raleigh Willard 3.  All 3 bikes are 1x11 with disc brakes, carbon fork,  and are $800-$1k with current discounts.  Maybe I'm missing some other bikes with those features and price so I'd be open to someone pointing it out.  I've been keeping an eye on the used market as well but haven't been able to nab the right specs and size.

Main differences I see and not sure what's important are:
  • Willards are 15mm front thru and Haanjo is only 12mm
  • Haanjo has hydraulic brakes and Willards only cable
  • Willards take up to 45c tire and Haanjo only 40
  • Willard 3 and Haanjo have sram cranks/bb and Willard 2 has praxis works
  • Willard 3 and Haanjo have HED wheels and Willard 2 has Weinmann (I think both can be tubeless)
  • Willard 2 has anti-shock stem and seatpost

I have been able to sit on a Willard for sizing, don't have access to Haanjo.  Haanjo sounds like the geometry is a little odd compared to other bikes.  I'm just under 5'9" and have long arms/torso.  My cycling inseam without shoes is 31".

The Willard 2 is available from my local bike shop.  The Willard 3 and Haanjo are direct from their respective manufacturer.  

I'm not familiar with "standards" in gravel or what does/does not work or would be better for future proofing.  If it's anything like mountain and fat, hub and tire size are constantly changing and the new best thing is always around the corner.  I'd appreciate any suggestions based on your experiences.  Personally I'm leaning towards the Willard 2 because it's available from my LBS so service should be better.  And aesthetically I like the grey color.  I currently have a black/red bike and previously had a bright green one.  

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dangle

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Reply with quote  #2 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerps


Main differences I see and not sure what's important are:
  • Willards are 15mm front thru and Haanjo is only 12mm
  • Haanjo has hydraulic brakes and Willards only cable
  • Willards take up to 45c tire and Haanjo only 40
  • Willard 3 and Haanjo have sram cranks/bb and Willard 2 has praxis works
  • Willard 3 and Haanjo have HED wheels and Willard 2 has Weinmann (I think both can be tubeless)
  • Willard 2 has anti-shock stem and seatpost


Fitting you and liking the color are the most important things.

15mm vs 12mm - there's no real difference. 15mm was the smallest thru axle size for some time. It really only matters if you have multiple wheelsets and need cross compatibility. Finding 15mm thru axle wheels over the last year or two is waaay easier than 12mm. So many wheelsets at the moment are really easy to swap between 15 and 12. Don't let that thru axle size be a factor in your decision.

The Willards don't have bad brakes, but once you go hydraulic you just don't look back. 

The Haanjo will fit a little larger than a 40mm if you really want to go up to a 45 or so. The Willards will take a little bigger than 45. If the most tire clearance is your priority, then it's the Willard. That Haanjo fork looks to be about the same fork clearance, but not as much rear clearance.

Praxis and SRAM both make good stuff. It's probably a wash.

I have owned the HED wheels with the first gen Haanjo and have the slightly more narrow version of that Weinnman rim (from the 2017 Willard) that came with my Raleigh RXS. While actual build quality, spokes and hubs are very important, based on rim only I would pick the HED rim of those two. At that price point, they are likely using the exact same hubs and spokes anyhow. Both rims can be run tubeless. The HEDs are rated for road tire pressures too. I'm not sure if the Weinnmans are rated for that.

The "anti-shock" stem and seatpost is complete marketing nonsense. Ignore it.
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hyp0xic

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Reply with quote  #3 
I bought a Haanjo Comp in size Large last spring and put 2.5k mi on it riding on Tahoe singletrack and dirt roads. Not one flat tire!!! (Same for my wife 5'1" 102lbs - on XS)

I'm 5'9", 138 lbs, 32" inseam, long arms (15" 34/35 dress shirt).

The Large frame proved to be just maybe 1" too much. I had to shorten the stem down to 60mm and move the seat a bit forward of center.

So I gave that bike to my son who is about 1" taller than me, same build. He's loving it.

I picked up a Haanjo Comp in Medium in February and while I'm "maxing" out the frame - seat back on stock stem - it feels great. I put over 30k on a 2006 Specialized Tricross 54" and the HJ Comp Medium feels almost exactly the same. The only reason I upgraded from that Tricross is I wanted disc brakes and a 1x11. Descending 2k singletrack meant for MTB hurt my fingers on clinchers. So LOVING the hydro brakes on the HJ Comp. 

I spend more time in the hoods, usually on technical singletrack climbing/descending and trails mostly ridden by full-suspension mountain bikes. I'm not a roadie so upright is my style. If I were more of a roadie and used to being in the drops more then maybe the Large would feel better.

Put a 38 ring on front and smugly enjoy passing folks on the MTB trails on their $5k full-suspension bikes for 1/5th the price.

Now my family of four (mom + dad + two teen boys) are all riding HJ Comps and our more expensive Enduro MTBs are getting neglected.

Hope this helps!


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RoverAl

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Reply with quote  #4 
I have a 2016 Willard 2x and agree mostly with other posters. I think the Willard is a very capable bike at a good price. Regarding fitting 45 c tires, I question that. While I have run 42c sawtooth on mine their is very little clearance after they settled and puffed out in the rear, the front has plenty of room though.

The antishock stem and seatpost is NOT just marketing! I’ve taken mine apart and their is a rubber bushing that dampens vibrations. Not by a whole lot but measurable. I since upgraded to the ShockStop stem and kept the seatpost. A noticeable difference with the stock seatpost compared to a zip service course post.

That said the Willard is a comfortable bike on gravel. I had the stock weinman wheels for awhile but trashed the rear and upgraded to American Classic. I think either bike would be a solid choice. The 2018 willard has some nice upgrades worth considering. You can get either of them online with a nice discount too.
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Cerps

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks for everyone's input.  I ended up with the Willard 3.  I happened to check Amazon this week and it was at $841 and then told myself if it hit $800 I'd buy.  Sure enough it hit $800 the next day.  Then it was back to $1k 10 minutes after I purchased.

I have a fat with front suspension and full suspension 29'er so I didn't necessarily need the stopping power of the hydraulic discs for trail riding.  I figured being on the road the bright yellow might be a better color than the grey of the Willard 2.  I liked the upgrade to the HED wheels.  Only thing I'm a little bummed on is the 3 doesn't have the antishock stem or seatpost.  Maybe RoverAl or someone else will sell me their stem or post that they aren't using.

It just got delivered so I haven't assembled or rode it yet.  Plus we got about 20" of snow last weekend in MN so paths and roads got some fresh salt and sand and plenty of puddles still as it melts.  Maybe I'll do a quick test ride this weekend.
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