The Takeaway: The lightweight Haanjo 8C Carbon gravel bike is more versatile than most, at home on both smooth pavement and rugged backcountry adventures.
The carbon frame and fork make for a lightweight, smooth-riding gravel bike.
It has a Shimano GRX drivetrain, the company’s dedicated gravel groupset.
There are eyelet mounts for front and rear racks and fenders, plus a third bottle mount under the down tube.
Weight: 20.6 lb. (59cm)
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The Haanjo 8C Carbon is the high-brow version of the $1,100 aluminum Haanjo 3 that earned a Bicycling Editors’ Choice award in 2019. This lightweight, carbon gravel bike is efficient on pavement and cinder paths, tough enough for daily commuting, and capable of overnight bikepacking adventures. At a time when bikes are becoming increasingly specialized, the Haanjo stands out as one that’s equally well-suited to both on- and off-road adventures.
A svelte carbon bike may not fit with your idea of the best choice for backcountry riding, but a large part of the Haanjo 8C Carbon’s appeal is that it lands somewhere between the heavier, more burly bikes that are tailor-made for bikepacking trips (though not as sluggish feeling on the road) and the lighter road bikes that aren’t great candidates for daily commuting.
5 Things We Love About the Haanjo 8C Carbon
Room for Your Gear
Unlike most top tubes, which are typically either parallel to the ground or angled downward, the 8C’s curves slightly upward, creating more room in the main triangle. Besides giving the bike a distinct look, the design allows for a larger frame bag, ideal for hauling more gear. And although it’s not overloaded with eyelets, the frame is outfitted with front and rear rack and fender mounts, as well as a mount under the down tube for a third bottle.
Shimano’s dedicated gravel groupset, GRX, is a wonderful choice for this bike. The 2x drivetrain, with 48/35 rings and an 11-34 cassette, provides you with enough gearing at the high end to cruise quickly on smooth pavement. And the 35×34 lowest combination, while not small enough to make steep climbs easy, is adequate for hauling yourself up tough gravel climbs.
Shifting is as smooth, crisp, and reliable as you’d expect from Shimano, and the hoods provide a comfortable and secure hand position for both cruising along on smooth pavement and rattling down bone-jarring trails. The brake levers are flared out and swept back, making them easier to grab no matter if you’re riding on the hoods or in the drops. The Easton EC70 carbon bar has a dramatic flare and an ergonomically shaped drop, which almost perfectly matches the backswept angle of the brake lever. When navigating technical roads, it felt great to hold the drops and easily grab a handful of brake without having to awkwardly reach for the lever.
Diamondback Haanjo 8C Carbon Details
Drivetrain: Shimano GRX810 2 x 11-speed
Cranks 175mm Praxis Grinder
Brakes Shimano RX810 Flat Mount Hydraulic Disc
Wheels Easton EC70AX Carbon
Tires 37mm WTB Riddler
Saddle WTB Silverado Pro
Seatpost 27.2mm Easton EC70 carbon
Handlebar Easton EC70AX Carbon, 16-degree flare, 460mm wide
Stem Easton EA70
Tire Clearance 700c x 42mm or 650b x 2.1 inches
The Haanjo family is made up of eight models, ranging in price from $750 for the flat-bar, aluminum Haanjo 1 to $4,400 for the 8C carbon model reviewed here. Additionally, there are two carbon models (the $2,800 7C and the $2,400 6C) and four aluminum (the $875 2, $1,100 3, $1,400 4, and $1,800 5).
Short and Tall
The Haanjo 8C Carbon is characterized by a high stack and short reach. The 378mm of reach on our size 59cm test bike wouldn’t be out of place on a bike two sizes smaller, and 622mm of stack favor a very upright riding position. When I rode my first Haanjo almost two years ago, I was unenthusiastic about a bike that short and high. I prefer a more aggressive fit—a holdover from my racing days—and riding a drop bar bike that put me in a less aggressive position than I use on even a mountain bike was far from appealing. That said, I’ll be the first to admit that the upright position of the Haanjo, paired with a 46cm handlebar, was pleasantly comfortable. The wide, flared-out bar felt great when riding down steep hills, and I appreciated the ease with which I could maneuver the bike at low speed with the bar so much closer to me than is typical on a road or gravel bike. I also enjoyed that the upright position put minimal pressure on my hands and gave me a powerful, upright position for crawling up steep climbs.
The Haanjo Can Do a Lot of Things Well
Gravel bikes are inherently versatile, but what’s most striking about the Haanjo 8C Carbon is how well and how wide it straddles the do-it-all spectrum. On gravel and ATV trails, which is where I most appreciated its upright position and wide bar, it gave me a level of control I’m not accustomed to having on more aggressive gravel bikes. On pavement, it’s smooth, comfortable, and spunky. In fact, it’s a real pleasure to ride on the road, which isn’t always the case with gravel bikes. All these characteristics combined make the Haanjo 8C a great daily rider, as well, on both paved and unpaved surfaces. It’s a bike that works—and works well—for a variety of rides and terrain.
Editor’s Note: The Haanjo 8C Carbon recently went out of stock, but will be available online again in October.
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