Feature: Diamondback Haanjo Carbon EXP Adventure Bike – Sea Otter 2018

“Diamondback Bicycles was founded as a BMX brand in 1977 by Western States Imports in Newbury Park, California, which sold bikes under the Centurion (bicycle) brand. Early in its history, the brand name was “Diamond Back” and over time this changed to “DiamondBack” and then to “Diamondback.” Beginning in 1990, Western States Imports started selling its mountain bikes and road bicycles under the Diamondback name as well. Since 1979, many riders have successfully competed under the sponsorship of Diamondback, which began with BMX and expanded to Mountain Bikes with the creation of Diamondback Racing (DBR) in 1993. In 1999, Diamondback Bicycles was purchased by the Derby Cycle Corporation, which also owned the Raleigh Bicycle Company, and merged Raleigh and Diamondback together. In 2001, Derby Cycle Corporation sold Raleigh and Diamondback, and currently, both brands continue to share the same owners.” – Source, Wikipedia.

“The Carbon EXP takes the Haanjo concept to its limits. The hand-built carbon EXP is light and tough, sporting 2.1” wide tires on 27.5” rims, and a 3×9 drivetrain to maximize its potential as a deep woods explorer.”

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

Yes, people, you read that correctly. In this day and age of 1x chainrings and “simplification” (some would say compromise), Diamondback kit out the Haanjo EXP with a Shimano Deore crank fitted with 48/36/26T chainrings.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

Electronic drivetrains have not been forgotten about. Note the hole drilled for a Shimano Di2 or Campagnolo EPS front derailleur.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

At the rear end of things, a Shimano XT M772 9-speed derailleur with Shimano’s “Shadow” technology. The cassette on this build is a 9-speed 11-34 XT M770 unit.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

Above, more retro throwback! Genuine Shimano Dura-Ace bar end shifters of the 3×9-speed variety. Brake levers are TRP RRL models.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

HED Tomcat disc specific rims with no-name nubs form the basis of the Haanjo’s wheelset. Thirty-two stainless steel spokes in all, tubeless compatible rims and thru-axles (12mm x 100mm front and 142mm x 12mm rear).

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

diamondback haanjo exp carbon reviewDiamondback’s full monocoque carbon “CFT” fork features a 1.5″ tapered headtube and low-rider rack mounts.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

For a budget-oriented bike, the Haanjo is unusual in that it has internalized cable routing. That is normally reserved for bikes costing more.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

TRP’s venerable Spyre dual-piston mechanical disc brakes perform the duties of stopping and utilize the flat-mount standard. Disc brake rotors are 160mm front and rear.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

The rear end of the Haanjo Carbon EXP also receives the flat-mount treatment.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

There is plenty of tyre clearance front and rear on the Haanjo.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

diamondback haanjo exp carbon reviewDiamondback describes the Haanjo Carbon EXP as a bike that is an “alternative road frame” with endurance geometry and relaxed headtube angle.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

Seatpost size is 27.2mm, which is a turnaround from several years ago when 31.6mm seatposts were all the rage.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

This particular build deviates a little from what is posted on Diamondback’s website, but likely because 2019 website updates have not happened yet. HED parts constitute items such as the seatpost and stem.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

The Diamondback Haanjo Carbon EXP is available in four sizes, starting and ending at 525mm top tube length for the size Small, and 580mm for size Large.

diamondback haanjo exp carbon review

Further details can be seen of the Haanjo Carbon EXP at their website in the link below.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Avatar Stephen

    Looks like a really useful bike, and IMHO a much nicer colour then last years brown. Unfortunately, they seem to be US only though. 🙁

    The history of DB is wrong though. I used to work for the Oz DB agent from when the brand started, then through much of the 1980s, and they started selling MTBs in IIRC 1984 (or else 1985). I had one of the very first Mean Streaks, which came with 180mm cranks on all frame sizes; they were decent apart from that!

  2. Avatar Ron

    “48/36/36T chainrings” That’s an odd setup.

  3. Avatar Tom in MN

    Looks like it might have an external threaded BB, but as it’s not on their website yet, don’t know for sure. My kind of setup there, great 9 speed stuff, nicely compatible between road and mountain, so you can mix and match. I still find my self reaching for a bar end to shift on my bikes with brifters now and then. If you really want brifters you could always toss on some 4500 Tiagra ones and it would all work just fine.

  4. Avatar Jono

    Have you had a chance to look at the sizing?
    I’ve been reading lots of comments about the abnormal geometry -> tall standover height and a shorter reach, taller stack that seems to make sizing difficult.
    I’m 6′ with a 842mm inseam/standover and can’t decide between a 53cm and a 56cm. The 56cm has a 834mm standover clearance which I am worried would be too tight. But not sure how the standover is in real life. JOM, not sure if you had a chance to look at the sizing Sea Otter or stand over it to be able to comment?

    • JOM JOM

      Sorry Jono, all I did was photograph the bike at Sea Otter. I base my sizing preferences on the top tube length and ideally, a shorter head tube. If I were picking that bike for myself (I’m about 5’11) with a 32″ inseam aka 80cm, I’d choose the 53cm bike with the 54cm top tube. The tall head tube doesn’t float my boat.

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