Let me first introduce myself, My name is Andrew and I started working at the Racery about 4 months ago. I came in as a web development intern with very little experience in the cycling industry. Over these past months I have learned a lot about the world of cycling and am now riding daily.
An integral part of working for a bicycle shop, is having the knowledge of the different parts, pieces, brands, types, of bikes, and culture of the bicycling world. Fortunately enough, the awesome crew at The Racery let me join the employee bike demo program.
Before working here I had not ridden a bike consistently since I was about 15. I owned a very nice aluminum silver Trek mountain bike, which was my pride and joy. I owned that bike for a couple years before it was stolen from me. After that I got an older aluminum Trek off Craigslist for a few hundred bucks. At age 16 I upgraded to a 93’ Toyota Camry, and now 8 years later I am getting back on the two wheelers again.
I took a stroll many times through the warehouse gazing at the array of magnificent mechanical beasts hanging on the walls. So many beautiful bicycles, with many different qualities, characteristics, and history behind them. It was thrilling to be able to saddle up on the ride of my choice.
Considering my options realistically...I just wanted a bike to get to work, school, and Steel Toe Brewery. I was slightly intimidated by the road bikes, considering I am barely an entry level rider and some of these things had Ferrari stickers on them. Cyclocross was a foreign word, which sounds like people racing against hurricanes, and time trial/triathlon bikes looked like you needed 4 arms to ride. Mountain bikes were really the only type I was familiar with.
I was originally leaning towards a Focus Raven, a nice reliable mountain bike, just like old times. I asked the mechanics and experts here for their advice, and Diamondback Haanjo bikes kept coming up in conversations. It was explained to me as an adventure/gravel/cross bike; a road style frame with wider grippy tires. I did a little more research into them and all the summaries basically said: This bicycle was made for the daily commute, endurance rides, off road, and everything in between. I liked the versatility this ride offered, and that is how I made my choice for the Diamondback Haanjo.
The first ride I did was down the gateway trail, from Oakdale to Stillwater. The first thing you immediately notice is the weight of this bike, with the carbon frame and components I was able to lift it out of my SUV with a few fingers basically. I hopped on the seat and gripped the bars and I started to pedal. I originally thought drop bars looked uncomfortable but after a few minutes I realized that the geometry of the bike and the grip of the bars felt great and offered a lot of stability and comfort. I planned on just testing it out for a couple miles but I ended riding 20 miles to Stillwater and back, which definitely adds to the endurance aspect.
I pedaled with ease and just watched as the scenery flew by at 20 miles per hour. It required minimal effort to accelerate and maintain speed on the pavement. It was amazing how easy the transition between speeds of “casual riding” and “racing away from a hurricane” was. I took it onto the dirt path for a few intervals to test out the wheels, and it was no different feel from a mountain bike besides my grip on the handlebars. The Schwalbe tires are a bit wider style wheel covered with grippy knobs, they offered a lot of stability and I felt completely in control of the bike the whole time. The mechanical disc brakes worked good, although I felt like they needed to be broken in a bit.
The one negative aspect I found of this bike is that the seat feels like a cement brick, definitely need cycling shorts for longer rides. I think if you wanted to maximize speed for specific rides it would be nice to have an alternative set of tires you could interchange. Overall this bicycle is amazing and by far the best I have ever ridden.
Props to Diamondback for this wonderful creation.
Another thing I should note is that I am riding a 53cm/Medium size bike, although I was fitted for a 55cm. It might be a little bit of my physique and the bike, but just a heads up they do seem to run a tad small.
I've been riding this bicycle for about a month now, and it's been great every time I ride it. It's a wonderful thing going to work every morning flying down the path and getting some fresh air before heading into the office. I've been taking it out a lot more on weekends too lately, mostly down the Cedar Lake Bicycle Trail, here in St Louis Park. I try to keep up with all the flashy speedsters and semi-pros flying by out there, and I do for the most part... but I also feel like I have the underlying advantage of taking it off path or down any shortcuts I find. I've ridden through rain, mud, and gravel without any problems and kept on cruising. It truly defines why they call these "Adventure Bikes", You can go any speed, on any terrain, for whatever reason you want. The real value of this bicycle lies in the versatility it offers.