Dirt Rag Magazine

Project 27plus Part 3 — Hayduke lives!

It’s taken most of the summer but we’ve finished gathering parts for our 27plus project bike. We started this process earlier this year when rumors of a fat 27.5 production bike were just a whisper and no one was really sure what to make of Trek and SRAM’s “Boost” hub spacing.

Then came Sea Otter and we were inundated with bikes with 27plus wheels and tires ready to roll. Before we even had a chance to try one there were dozens of brands with production bikes ready to go. There are also quite a few aftermarket products out there already, and in the spirit of DIY we kept moving ahead with Project 27plus, initially by measuring up some new tires.


Now that all the parts are here it’s time for an update. The foundation of this project is the Advocate Cycles Hayduke frame. Made in Asia from Reynolds 725 chromoly steel it features replaceable dropouts that can be swapped to fit either a 142×12 or 148×12 Boost axles, or even a swinger dropout for singlespeed use.

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Key geometry numbers include a 68.5 degree head tube angle, 430 mm chainstays and 60 mm of bottom bracket drop. It can also fit standard 29-inch tires without a problem. One reason we started with this frame is that you can bolt current 29er parts to it if you’re not sure you want to go 27plus in the future or if you’re saving for a new 27plus wheelset and fork.


The real attention-getter here is of course the wheels. The hubs are Industry Nine‘s Torch Classic model, one of the first aftermarket options for Boost spacing and some of the finest on the market. The aluminum bodies are CNC machined and anodized in Asheville, North Carolina, with angled flanges for lower stresses on the traditional, J-bend spokes.


The freehub body is switchable between standard and XD drivers and the end caps are interchangeable, though in the case of Boost there’s no QR frames to use them with (that I know of). The freehub mechanism features six pawls that engage at three degrees for nearly instant propulsion.


Laced to the hubs are WTB’s Scraper rims with a 45 mm internal width and a pair of the new WTB Bridger 3.0 tires. Unlike the, um, “trailblazing” Trailblazer 2.8 tires, these make no attempt to be anything other than a full-blown 27plus tire, with a far more aggressive tread.


They are mounted up tubeless thanks to the TCS tubeless system, which is essentially the same standard as UST. Going tubeless is highly recommended on these Plus bikes because of the low air pressures the tires run at. Something in the neighborhood of 10-12 psi is no problem.

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Mounted up on the front of the Hayduke is the new 27.5 Manitou Magnum Pro fork, purpose built for Plus bikes with 110 mm hub spacing and room for up to a 3.4-inch tire. With the Dorado air spring it has tons of adjustment including high and low speed compression, rebound damping, even air volume. Tying the two 35 mm legs together is the Hex Lock QR15 axle, which takes some practice to use quickly but stays super secure.


Manitou’s sister brands contributed the finishing kit. The brakes are the new Hayes Radar model that uses mineral oil instead of DOT fluid and can be flipped upside down for easy changes between regular and moto braking. (Demo truck drivers must LOVE these.)

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Answer Components supplied the Carbon SL bars, AME stem, grips and Rove R2 pedals.


Finally, propelling things is the Hope crankset. Like most Hope products it’s CNC’d from aluminum in the UK then given the anodized treatment, in this case the “gunsmoke” finish. The direct mount chainring features the now ubiquitous narrow/wide tooth profile, and it can be removed and replaced with an optional spider for a bolt-on, double chainring option. It fits the BB92 bottom bracket with a 30 mm spindle that has an expanding spline that won’t wear down after repeatedly installing and removing the crankarm, ensuring a tight fit every time.


We’re going to be evaluating each of these products for a long-term review as well as using the bike as a test bed of sorts for future Plus products. What kinds of things would you like to see evaluated?Have questions about the build? Let us know in the comments.



Inside Line: Advocate Cycles launches Watchman fat bike

We had our first introduction with Advocate Cycles earlier this year when the new brand brought its Hayduke model to the Sea Otter Classic. This week the company announced its second model, the steel Watchman fat bike frame.


Just like the Hayduke, the new Watchman is built from Reynolds 725 steel with an original Portage swinger dropout design that allows it to be outfitted as a geared or singlespeed bike with thru-axles or quick release hubs.



While most fat bikes have moved to 190mm rear axles, the Watchman sticks with the 170mm spacing. It may be limited to 26×4.5 tires instead of some of the largest treads, but it more closely aligns with the bike’s more aggressive nature. The frame also features a press fit bottom bracket shell, three sets of bottle cage mounts on most sizes, and internal dropper post routing.


Both the Hayduke and Watchman frames will sell for $750 when they go on sale, but Advocate Cycles is offering each with a discount through its crowdfunding effort to stock brick and mortar dealers. Complete bike models will also be available with Rockshox Bluto forks, GX1 drivetrains and tubeless wheels. Both models will also soon be available in “Titan” 3/2.5 titanium versions later this year for $1,950.


Advocate Cycles is incorporated in Minnesota as a Specific Benefit Corporation. A hybrid of a standard company and a non-profit, these businesses must declare a legally-binding social purpose, and report its efforts to the state. To this end, Advocate Cycles has pledged to donate 100 percent of its after-tax profits to non-profit cycling advocacy organizations such as the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), People for Bikes and Adventure Cycling Association.


Because of this arrangement the company has no profit motives to seek outside investors, so it is using the crowdfunding effort to get off the ground. The initial $10,000 goal is close to being reached after only a few days, and the company has set out additional $30,000 goals to build a new website and a $50,000 goal to begin work on a third model.




Inside Line: First look at Advocate Cycles 27plus hardtail


Here at Dirt Rag we’re huge fans of classic steel hardtails, and today we got an introduction to a new brand with a unique business model that is giving back to the associations that support cycling. Advocate Cycles is a new venture from industry veteran Tim Krueger and its first product is the Hayduke, a 27plus steel hardtail with a trail bike attitude and impressive versatility.


While the company will of course need to make money to operate, it vows to turn 100 percent of its profits back into cycling advocacy organizations like IMBA and the League of American Bicyclists. While it is still federally recognized as a for-profit company, it is regarded in its home state of Minnesota as a new status known as a Specific Benefit Corporation. These types of organizations are required to uphold “a material positive impact on society and the environment, taken as a whole, from the business and operations of the benefit corporation.”


Built from Reynolds 725 steel tubing, it has a 44 mm head tube and BB92 botton bracket shell, and the rear end has rocker dropouts of Krueger’s own design that can be fitted with a 142×12 thru axle or the new 148×12 Boost Axle. (Read more about what makes Boost parts different here.) What’s nice is that the same 174 mm SRAM Maxle is used with all of the dropouts. Naturally it can be used a singlespeed as well.


The Boost hub was created mostly to work with the many 27.5×3 tires that will soon be available, but the frame will also fit a standard 29-inch wheelset.


One nice touch is that you can build up a Hayduke frame with all the standard parts currently used on 29ers, and if you want to switch to 27plus down the road you can swap out the dropouts for the Boost version and hit the trail. It will even work with a double crankset and the 3-inch tires if you use the Boost crankset.


Other key details include a 68.5 degree head tube angle, 73 degree seat tube angle and 60 mm bottom bracket drop. It is designed around a 120 mm fork with a 51 mm offset and will be available in four sizes. The 31.6 mm seat tube has internal dropper post routing and a Thomson seat post clamp is included.


The frame will retail for $750 and should be available later this summer. Krueger said the company has three more bike models it plans to roll out in the next few months as well. It will be interesting to see not only if the bikes will perform well, but if the company’s bold business plan will too.


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