SRAM GX drivetrain 1x review advocate cycles hayduke plus 27 (9) copy

Things don’t always go as planned. I had just gotten the Advocate Hayduke in for review and couldn’t wait to finish the build. After the first look and weigh in of the frame, the parts were falling effortlessly into place until I ran into a problem. Somehow, in spite of owning almost every bottom bracket tool that was used during my days in the shop, I still didn’t have the right tool for the new threaded PF92 bottom bracket I planned to use. After a call to Abbey Bike Tools, a compatible socket was on the way. The Hayduke was literally in my stand when disaster struck.

After my injury, the bike hung there, taunting me. I couldn’t even get it down from the stand, much less finish building it, and I could forget about riding it. Slowly though, I started making progress. Forcing myself to get creative and finish the build with basically one arm, it was finally complete. The Hayduke served as the platform for my very first ride back on a real mountain bike trail, but there’s far more to it that makes it come highly recommended…

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Advocate hayduke sram gx 1 manitou magnum (14) Advocate hayduke sram gx 1 manitou magnum (6)

Advocate Cycles hayduke 27 plus 650b+ steel hardtail tim kreuger interview review (11)

The Build:

One of the features that makes the Hayduke so appealing is its versatility. I know a lot of riders interested in Plus size tires, and some have even attempted to fit 27+ wheels and tires in their current 29er frames with varied success. The Hayduke is one of the first frames we know of that not only is built to run either 29 or 27+, but to also accept wheels with 142×12 or 148×12 Boost hubs. Combined with the adjustable dropouts which allow you to run single speed, you have a very capable frame.

The only caveat to this that I’ve found is that if you plan on running Plus tires, you’re likely to run a Plus compatible fork. That Plus fork then is likely to come with the new Boost 110x15mm spacing which means your current 29er front wheel won’t fit. That leaves you with two options if you want to use your current 29er wheels in addition to 27+ wheels – either replace the front hub with a Boost hub on the 29er wheelset, or keep two different forks. Front hubs are pretty cheap, so that would be my advice so you could have two wheelsets for essentially two bikes in one.

Advocate Hayduke review 27 plus (5) Advocate Hayduke review 27 plus (1)

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Tire clearance is said to be 27.5 x 3″ or 29 x 2.3″, which seems like a true 3″ tire clearance with room for mud. The WTB Trailblazer is a 2.8″ tire that measures smaller. Fortunately there was still loads of clearance around the tire that should allow for something like the new Bridger 3.0″. The Trailblazer performed better than expected even with a very narrow tread profile. It’s only when you really start to push the tire in berms or quick changes in direction that it can become a bit unpredictable, breaking free and jumping or sliding out in the rear. Even with the smaller 2.8″ casing, the traction provided was amazing. My riding pressures varied between 12-15 psi based on conditions, and even when riding in my weakened state I was able to climb almost everything. Only in the worst conditions would the Trailblazer pack up with mud, and the tread seems to grip well through dry and wet leaves. Now that I’m back to hanging with my faster friends on bikes I would change out to a tire better suited to aggressive riding though.

Keep in mind that if you want to run 3″ tires with the Boost rear spacing you will need a Boost compatible crank or spider to make sure the chain clears the tire – set up in 29er mode or even with 2.8″ tires, the non-boost crank should work.

Really, the only fault I can find for the frame is its weight. At 6 lbs 10 oz (3.01kg), it’s not light. A lot of that is likely the dropout system which uses thick plates and big bolts, but the trade off is the frame’s versatility. Built as shown above with a SRAM GX 1 drivetrain, Sun Ringle MuleFut 50 SL wheels, my awesome modified Magura MT 7 brakes, and Manitou Magnum fork, that equals about a 30 lb (13.6kg) bike. Fortunately, the ride completely hides its heft, and of course it could be built much lighter than my build. Something about the way the big tires maintain their momentum makes it ride like a much lighter bike – to the point my riding buddies were jealous how well it floats up rooty climbs.

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Yes, the Hayduke runs a press fit bottom bracket. However, I’m almost embarrassed to say in all the bikes I’ve personally owned or tested with press fit shells, I’m yet to find one that made the slightest bit of noise. That’s not to say that I haven’t worked on bikes at the shop with press fit shells that had creaking issues, but on bikes that I’ve personally built and serviced, so far so good. Just wanted to put that out there.

The same goes for the Hayduke. I probably preempted any creaking by just going straight for the Wheels Manufacturing threaded PF92 bottom bracket, but whatever the case – it’s quiet and happy. As I alluded to at the beginning, just make sure you have the proper installation tool for the BB. The splines are very thin so it essentially requires a socket type tool like that from Abbey Bike Tools (the newest version of their BSA30 tool) or others.

If you have a Plus bike, chances are good that you’ll find yourself in muddy, sandy, or wet environments that aren’t friendly to cables. For that reason I’m happy for the decision to run full housing on the Hayduke. The zip-tie cable anchoring system isn’t sophisticated, but it is simple and provides a few options for routing including the Stealth dropper routing which tucks in at the bottom of the seat tube.

SRAM GX drivetrain 1x review advocate cycles hayduke plus 27 TBPI brachial plexus injury (7)

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The Ride:

If there was one sentence to sum up the Hayduke (in 27+ mode), it would be that it’s a hardtail that doesn’t ride like one. In a good way of course. Over the course of my recovery, I was very sensitive to impacts felt through the handlebar. Only my most plush full suspension bikes could match the ride feel of the Hayduke. Obviously there is a bit of a tipping point based on the trail features, but for the average cross country rides, the plus tires mixed with the Manitou Magnum fork and Reynolds 725 chromoly tubing were sublime. It’s that steel ride quality riders go on about, only better.

The ride quality would probably be enough to sell the bike, but the geometry is dialed as well. The Hayduke is a trail slayer that isn’t afraid of drops while still happy to hammer up climbs. I’m only 150 lbs, but I would have to imagine that bigger riders would find the frame just as stiff (in the right ways) especially considering Advocate’s founder Tim Krueger is a modern viking himself. Now that I’m back to riding somewhat normally, the Hayduke is just one of those bikes that’s really easy to let it fly through the woods. Somehow it seems equally suited to aggressive cross country riding, or loading it up with bags to take it for an epic bike packing journey.

While I was able to briefly try out the Hayduke in 29er guise, if I owned the bike I doubt it would ever leave 27+ mode. One thing is for sure though, since I am not looking for a race hard tail, after riding the Hayduke I would have a hard time buying a hardtail that wasn’t compatible with Plus size tires. Combine that with the fact that Advocate donates their profits to cycling advocacy and frames start at $750, and you have a bike that is very hard to resist.

Advocate Cycles is now shipping production Haydukes along with the Watchman fat bike in both Reynolds 725 chromoly or double butted 3/2.5 titanium. Check out our initial look at the frame for complete geometry and weights, plus more on the Advocate business model with Tim Krueger.

advocatecycles.com

19 COMMENTS

  1. What are the geometry numbers? I don’t see any of them on their site, or here… Would be great to know the measurements of this bike!

  2. Wish I knew about this when I was looking for a new frame!

    I ended up going with a Spot Rocker, a similarly purposed frame geo-wise and it can also take 29er or 27.5+ wheels. The Hayduke frame is a lot cheaper though. AND I could have kept my single speed specific rear wheel that I loved so much. The Rocker weighed 5lbs. 11oz., so about a pound lighter, but I’m not too concerned with weight. I have the frame and built a new wheel, so it’s too late now. It really is a FUN bike though.

  3. Given that the WTB Trailblazer measure up closer to 2.6″ I’m guessing you’d have to run the rear wheel quite a way back in the dropout to free up clearance for a proper 27.5×3.0″ going by that chainstay photo?

  4. @Alb
    Nope! I just picked up a complete from them today. With the Scrapper rims and the Panaracer FatBNimble tires, there’s plenty of room. Check out the FB 29+ and 27.5+ page for pictures.

  5. @DP- don’t know how I missed the geo chart.
    430mm for CS is kind of long these days, even for bikes that have clearance for 27+ out back.

  6. @Tim really? Sub 17″ chainstays on 29″ or 27.5+ are not “long these days.”

    Awesome bike with good dudes making them. Can’t wait to have the funds to build one as my bikepacking ride.

  7. @Jim- Well, OK, I judge by some extreme examples: Canfield with about 16.2, and Kona Honzo about the same. It’s harder to get the front wheel off the ground on a 29er than it is on bikes with smaller wheels; just barely sub-17 does not impress me. It does indeed look like a good bike, and it sounds like good guys are making them (which is important), the geo is just not my cup of tea. And the frame is very heavy, as Zach mentioned.

  8. These are really KOOL people, Tim is very knowledgable and the bike screams “Ride Hard”. Just rode mine today for 2.5 hours and wanted to keep going. Handled every bump and tracked straight on descents. I made one change to Schwalbe Nobby Nics at 3″ tubeless 14/16 psi, I weigh 170 and had plenty of bounce. The wheels were VERY crisp, steering was quick on the few switchbacks I rode. Wish I had more leg, I just wanted to go faster. I love riding steel, very solid feel. Weight, the only time I realized the Hayduke was heavier than my Madone is when I took it up the 3 flights of stairs to the apartment for a bath.

  9. What size frame were you riding? And what is your height and inseam? If you don’t mind me asking. I’m looking really hard at the hayduke or pine mountain, trying to decide which would fit me better. I’m 5’7″ 31″ inseam and looking at the med hayduke. Thanks for the review!! Really good details!

    • Hey Dave, No worries – I should have included that info. I’m about the same size 5’8″ but with a 30″ inseam. The medium I tested fit great. I usually find it difficult to get the bar low enough on 29/27+ bikes while still finding the right TT length. I have the stem slammed in the negative position (but the bars I had are riser) so I will probably look to get a flat bar and more negative stem in the future. But the position suited my quite well after my injury. Otherwise really happy with the fit. Hoping to have a follow up post with the bike in 29er mode soon.

  10. Trying to decide between the Hayduke and Spots Rocker. Any ideas about the two? The rocker has slightly different geometry

What do you think?