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The Esker Japhy is One Scrappy 29er Hardtail

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The Esker Japhy is One Scrappy 29er Hardtail

When one thinks of Esker Cycles, the Hayduke 27.5+ hardtail (reviewed here by Locke Hassett) quickly comes to mind – and in many ways, the Hayduke served as the launchpad for the design of Esker’s latest model, the Japhy.

While the Japhy looks like considerably “less bike” than the 140mm Hayduke with its 120mm fork and 29″ wheels, don’t count it out yet: the Japhy is scrappy and is willing to claw its way through just about anything!

Over the past few months I’ve been riding the Japhy all over our local trails here in Santa Fe and while at first I was hesitant about taking it out on some of the more technical terrain, I found it to be an exceptional climber and a surprisingly fun descender.

So, let’s get into it!

Locke and His Esker Cycles Hayduke Singlespeed 29er

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Locke and His Esker Cycles Hayduke Singlespeed 29er

George Hayduke. The fictional anti-hero created by the protector of the Western ‘wilderness’, Ed Abbey. While much of Abbey’s political pennings haven’t aged well, he still brought awareness to the American West unsurpassed by any other author of that time. Abbey’s fictional masterpiece, the Monkey Wrench Gang, is a must-read for any lover of the Four Corners and Canyon Country. In it, a ragtag group of desert rats embarks on a journey to dismantle the corporate machines threatening the cherished ecosystems found on the Colorado Plateau. The term “monkeywrenching” and even “eco-terrorist” stemmed from this book as its characters threw a literal wrench in the spokes of the all-consuming corporate machine.

Esker Cycles’ predecessor brand, Advocate Cycles, used the “Earth First” fist on their headtubes and their flagship bike was the Hayduke. When the brand became Esker, they kept the Hayduke model and its signature monkey wrench decals.

Locke reviewed a Hayduke a few years ago. You can read that review in our archives but when he swung through Santa Fe on a recent jaunt, I linked up with him and shot his own personal singlespeed 29er build. Read on for more…

Esker Cycles: Japhy Hardtail 29er

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Esker Cycles: Japhy Hardtail 29er

Some people were excited by the announcement that Esker Cycles had restocked their beloved Hayduke hardtail but saddened by its migration to a long travel 27.5″ wheeled chassis. To this Esker just announced their new Japhy hardtail 29er. A completely new bike, dedicated to 29″ wheels, a 120mm travel fork, and similar detailing as the Hayduke, the Japhy fills the niche left by its rowdier sibling’s revisions. Head to Esker Cycles to see all the juicy details.

The Esker Hayduke is Back in Stock with a New Fork Spec

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The Esker Hayduke is Back in Stock with a New Fork Spec

The Hayduke is one of the best steel hardtails on the market and it just got better. Until now, Hayduke completes have been equipped with a 120mm 29er fork built with 27.5+ wheels, which allowed riders to swap between the 27.5+ and 29er wheel sizes. While that same swapping ability still exists for Hayduke framesets, complete builds will now feature a dedicated 27.5” fork with 140mm of travel, allowing Esker to develop a dedicated 29er model down the road. This increased travel with a dedicated 27.5″ wheel means the A-T-C length is the same as a 120mm and 29er wheel, so riders can always buy a frameset and build their Hayduke up that way as well thanks to the Portage dropout system, which allows users to adjust their chainstay length.

Hayduke framesets come standard with Portage dropouts, an axle, seat collar, and a Wolf Tooth Components headset for $750. Complete builds are available in limited quantities at 3 levels starting with H1 at $2000, H2 at $2950, and H3 at $3250. Framesets and completes are available through eskercycles.com.

See more at Esker Cycles.

Esker Cycles Rowl is a 150mm All-Day 29er

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Esker Cycles Rowl is a 150mm All-Day 29er

The more I ride my 150/140mm travel 29er, the more I’m in love with it. It truly is a magical travel pairing and while it takes a bit to keep on top of the travel, it really has become my all-day bike. Modern 150mm 29ers pedal like they’re much smaller bikes but still open up on the descents like a long-travel should. The Esker Cycles Rowl is right in this wheelhouse with a 140mm travel frame and 150mm fork, it is meant to be your all-mountain ally, in a neat and tidy package. With a 65.16º head angle, a 76º virtual seat angle, 425mm chainstay length, threaded 73mm bottom bracket, and a 420mm-490mm reach on sizes S-XL, the Rowl is ready for anything. Rowl completes at the R2 ($4999) and R3 ($5999) level are available now in limited quantities, so head on over to Esker Cycles to read all about it.

Monkey Wrenching with the Esker Cycles Hayduke Hardtail in Arizona

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Monkey Wrenching with the Esker Cycles Hayduke Hardtail in Arizona

Back in 2016, at the end of the #dflthedivide trip, there was a great little 40th-anniversary party at FreeCycles in Missoula to celebrate Adventure Cycling turning 40. At this party, there was a real nifty bikepacking rig from a small company that was right at home in a nonprofit shop. The Advocate Cycles Hayduke. Now, Advocate has transformed into Esker Cycles, and though the road and touring frames are no more, Hayduke Lives! (on). These are my impressions of this nifty hardtail.