Fat Bike With A Cause: Advocate Watchman Review

We’ve spent the winter months cruising the snowy trails on the Advocate Watchman fat bike and have come to love its nimble handling, sturdy mountain bike feel, and sharp-looking stylings.

Hayduke Bike

We first encountered Advocate Cycles last summer when we reviewed the Watchman’s little brother, The Hayduke. We loved the Hayduke, and lucky for us, hopping on the Watchman felt very similar aside from the fatter tires.

The Watchman is pitched as an “all-around, do-it-all fat bike,” and you don’t need to ride it very long to get that feeling. The steel frame is designed from a mountain bike pedigree and it feels fast and nimble on snow covered singletrack.

Advocate Cycles Watchman Headbadge

Shorter chainstays and a more slack headtube angle mean that the Watchman feels just as comfortable on twisty singletrack as it does in deep snow or sand. Our testers found themselves feeling more confident on icy single track than with other fatties we’ve tested. Even a first-time rider remarked at how easy and natural the ride felt.

RockShox ‘Bluto’ Fat Suspension

Several key pieces of equipment help the Watchman excel, one of them being the RockShox Bluto suspension fork. Suspension forks are relatively new to the fat bike game, and the Watchman and Bluto have been designed to work in conjunction with each other, giving the ride a sublime feel.

Watchman Fatbike

The Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tires gave great traction no matter what kind of trail we ripped. Offered with the complete build of the bike, the large knobs on the outside of the tires ensured we connected with the trail and gave us confidence that things would be fine even when the riding got a little nutty.

Complete bikes are set up with a SRAM 11-speed drivetrain. They come stock with a RockShox Bluto 100mm-travel fork but can be set up rigid if the rider prefers. Hydraulic disc brakes and a Raceface Ride cockpit keep everything looking and feeling good.

Advocacy Mission

A bonus of buying from Advocate cycles is that they put 100 percent of profits from the bike sales back into the cycling community. Part of it goes to organizations like the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and People for Bikes and the other half goes towards its own bicycle advocacy programs, such as educating non-cyclists and kids on the joys of cycling for pleasure and transportation, and teaching bicycle safety and maintenance. When you buy a bike online, you can even choose which of Advocate’s partners you’d like the profits from your purchase to go to.

Advocate Cycles Watchman Review

In recent years, fat bikes have become well rounded machines compared with the snow-focused beasts of the past. Modern fat bikes like the Watchman can be ridden with pleasure year round, and are fun to roll on tricky summer single-track and packed snow alike.

Casey Krueger riding an Advocate Cycles Watchman in Duluth, MN

The Watchman is a dynamic mix of fat and flickable. It feels nimble and fast throughout the seasons, making this a truly year-round ride.

The $2,700 price tag might leave you with a bit of sticker shock until you realize that you could ostensibly eliminate your “summer mountain bike” from your quiver and have just as much fun on the Watchman.

A year-round fatty that supports cycling advocacy; now that’s something we can get behind.

Advocate Watchman Specs

  • Frame: Advocate Watchman
  • Fork: Rockshox Bluto RL, 100mm travel
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX1, 11 speed
  • Cassette: SRAM XG1150, 11 speed, 10-42t
  • Crankset: SRAM GX1000, 30t
  • Front & Rear Brake: Shimano SLX Trail w/fin pad
  • Rotors: Shimano RT-68, 180fr, 160rr
  • Front Hub: Formula, 150mm, centerlock
  • Rear Hub: Formula, 177mm, XD driver, centerlock
  • Rims: Alex Blizzerk 90, tubeless
  • Tires: Schwalbe Jumbo Jim 26×4.0, folding

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Eric Lemke

Eric is a contributing writer based in Bozeman, MT. An avid climber, mountain biker, backpacker, and snowboarder, he earned his degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. When not living the GearJunkie life, he can be found exploring the Montana backcountry.