Sonix 650B sneak peek

There has been a lot of buzz about 650B mountain bikes fluttering about the bike industry over the past year or so, but it seems like many bike manufacturers have been a little slow on the uptake with getting complete 650B bikes to market. One of the benefits of being a small bike manufacturer like Haro is being able to produce cool niche bikes relatively quickly. We don’t have to run our ideas past layers and layers of corporate committees in order to get the green light. If we come up with an idea for a niche bike and think there’s a market for it, we more or less just start working on it.

Since our Beasley 650B hardtails have been so well received, it was pretty much a no-brainer to start developing a full-suspension bike that would specifically accommodate 650B wheels. It was also a no-brainer to base this new bike on our proprietary Virtual Link System that we use on our popular Sonix and Xeon full-suspension bikes. With 120mm of rear wheel travel, it made the most sense to add a 650B wheel-equipped bike into the Sonix series given the fact that there seems to be more demand for cross country trail bikes in the 4” to 5” travel range.
My noble steed

If you hit the fast forward button, a few months later we finally have our first batch of rideable prototypes of the Sonix 650B we’ll be introducing into our 2010 line. When we get prototypes in, it feels a lot like Christmas…we tear open the boxes and look at the treasures held within with wide-eyed wonderment. After we’ve had our fill of just looking at the frames, we build them up and hit the trails to begin testing…that’s the fun part!

This wasn’t my first rodeo aboard a 650B full-suspension bike. About a year and a half ago, we put a set of Velocity Blunt 650B wheels on a stock Xeon equipped with a Fox Talas fork and found that they fit…it was a close fit, but a fit nonetheless. I actually did a side-by-side test that compared the 650B-equipped Xeon to a standard 26” wheel Xeon and wrote about it on my blog. What I found in that test was 650B wheels did everything that was promised they would do…and that was they would give you many of the same benefits a 29” wheel will give you without that “big bike” feeling.

A close-up of the frame detail

The Sonix 650B is proving to offer that same level of performance I experienced in the Xeon test. It combines everything I really like about my 29er with the nimble handling characteristics of a 26” wheel. You might be asking, “Well, why not build a 29” wheel full-suspension bike?”. 29” wheel full suspension bikes handle sort of like a freight train…they rock on the descents but on tight switchbacks and on climbs, they feel as sluggish as a wet sponge. If you’ve ridden one, you know what I’m talking about.

The beauty of the Sonix 650B is the fact that it’s nimble and quick. It negotiates the tight stuff with ease and precision. In fact, I don’t even notice I’m on a bike with bigger wheels. Where the bigger wheels become evident and are a huge asset is on the climbs. It feels like the bike has endless traction. In fact, our MTB product manager, Patrick Crosby, commented that “having a 650B wheel and Virtual Link pedaling efficiency is like adding four wheel drive to your bike!”.
The larger 650B wheel size also rolls over trail obstacles like a monster truck rolls over a row of cars at the county fairgrounds. It’s pretty amazing to just sail through technical rocky sections that would usually bounce me around on my 26” wheel bikes. Pat said could really feel how the larger diameter wheel would just coast over roots and rocks that would normally swallow a standard wheel.

A couple of shots of Pat's Sonix 650B

Another nice feature of the Sonix 650B is how easily the wheels spin up to speed. On a 29er, as much as I love them, it does take a little more effort to get the wheels rolling and up to speed. The Sonix 650B wheels spun up with little more effort than a 26” wheel.

I’m really looking forward to getting these bikes into production and into dealer’s stores, but that’s several months away. Realistically, we won’t see these in our warehouses until late summer or early fall. Good things come to those who wait…


Haro Office Visit

Our big Cali roadtrip crescendo'd with a visit to the Haro office in San Diego yesterday. After riding Woodward West and training until we couldn't hold onto our handlebars any longer, we made our way south to meet up with everyone in the office.

This was the first visit to the office for me and Phil, so we had an opportunity to check out some crazy stuff, like the Captian America bike and a few other historic items!

We caught up with everyone and checked out some of the stuff that's in development, gave some input, and went over our plans for the next few months. It was a great day to be in the office, and really cool for us to see the "behind the scenes" of Haro. We also filmed the last bit of Wilson's segment for his Summer Of Shred clip...stay tuned for that one!

I'd also like to thank everyone in the crew for their overwhelming support of my decision to live in the city of Portland, OR. I know that I've loved it for years, but I never thought that so many of my friends would go out of their way to be so envious of my decision to settle in what is quite possibly the greatest city in the northwest. Thanks guys!


Trip to Cali

I love the snow, but it was time to get out of of Utah and make my way to California to ride bikes. On the way I stopped by one of my favorite secret spots in Utah to ride, a little metal full pipe. It's not too big, but its kinda long so you can carve back and forth. It works much much better with a bmx bike as well, its just a bit too tight for a mountain bike really. Luckily I just got my new Haro Convert BMX bike rolling. It's the first bmx bike that feels like it kinda fits me, 21.5" top tube and 8.25" tall Premium bars. Anyway I sessioned for a while before getting back on the road, it was a nice break from the long drive through the desert. I'll keep you guys updated as the trip goes on. I'm currently with Phil, Blake, Lutze, AT, and Wilson, and we just got done with a productive few days at woodward (sorry no photos, too busy riding!), and now we are headed into the Haro world headquarters to go over all the new stuff in the works! Next is Aptos for the rest of the week, this place has so many dirt jump spots its ridiculous, I can't wait. By the way all the photos in this update are from my iphone, so quality isn't top notch. The first shot in this update is on the way out of Heber City, where I live, not bad eh? Next two are from the fullpipe, with my bike in there too so you can check it out. The last shot is from a shady casino about 45 minutes away from Woodward... it's Blake, Andrew, and then a local, we were playing blackjack, this place was ridiculous! How sweet is that haircut???


Woodward Update

The Haro crew is all together (with a few friends) at Woodward West right now, and we are having a great session! Everyone has been sessioning and learning new stuff, which has been a blast! Here are a couple screen grabs from the past few sessions:

Blake Robinson Tuck No-Hander
Phil Sundbaum X-Up Transfer
Phil 360 Double X-Up
Tomorrow we're headed in to the Haro office to see everyone, we're all super stoked to get down there. Stay tuned!


Summer Of Shred Cali Roadtrip

As seen in the previous news post, Blake Robinson has joined our Cali roadtrip for Summer Of Shred. We began in Seattle and deathmarched it through the night to Andrew Taylor's house in Santa Rosa, CA. We left Seattle at 11am and got to Santa Rosa at 4:30am. It was a rough one, but we were glad to get it out of the way. Unfortunately, the next few days/nights didn't offer up much rest, as we were constantly pinning it between ride spots, and unfortunately--the hospital. Ben Boyko was on our trip and managed to tweak his knee a little bit. We had to put him on a plane home after only two days of riding, which was a bummer.

We brought our buddy Wilson with us on the trip for comic relief. At the moment he has pink and purple hair from Andy Sundbaum's 25th birthday party (which was pink and purple themed), and he had to do some decidedly odd jobs to get extra money to go on this roadtrip. He has kept us in stitches the whole trip, but in addition to that, he absolutely shreds. Here's a couple pics of him:

After a few days shredding NorCal (thank you Randy Spangler), we started making our way down to Woodward West. Eric Porter was here to meet us, so now the whole Haro crew is together. We've been here for a few days just chilling out, catching up on sleep, and pushing each other as hard as possible during each session. Phil is a trick machine this week, our favorite activity is to sit on top of the roll-in and call out tricks for him to do on the resi. I've lost count of how many new tricks he's learned, so I guess that's the sign of a good session. We've got about two more days here before we head down to San Diego to hang out at the Haro office!


Blake Robinson's NorCal ride report

Hello everyone,

Day 2 here in 'kind of sunny' California is panning out to be a rest/travel day. We are driving south to Tehachapi to ride Woodward West for a couple days. I am so stoked.

Yesterday we drove through beautiful Napa Valley to get to the suburbs of Sacramento to ride at Spangler's Jumps. The place was awesome. Ideal for all of us who dream of having some open land, a huge barn for riding, a personal bike shop, and perfect sunsets every night. Oh ya, and a front loader of course. :)

I had a chance to meet and ride with a long time mentor of mine, Randy Spangler. Randy has been riding dirt jumps and freeride since the dawn of time. He is 42 years young and still killing it. We shredded his dirt jump's for a couple hours then spent some time on the pump track. (a pump track is a very small tight intertwined course that is built with rollers and small humps, so you can practice turns, flow, and speed without pedaling.) Randys pump track is the sickest I have ever seen. He and I ended up being the last two on it. We called it a night at about 10 p.m.. . . time to turn off the floods.

So I keep referring to this location as Randy's place, however its not his at all, he just built the dirt section of it. The house and land actually belongs to super rad couple, Terry and Alison. Terry owns College Bikes in North Sac. He races drag cars, well kind of drag...he races the super long skinny cars with really small front wheels and huge rear wheels....well all you need to know is that they go about 275 mph and are loose cannons right from the get-go. He does that for a hobby amongst many other things. His wife Alison is super nice as well. We spent about a half hour talking dogs. Here are some pics of their Bouviers...only about a year old and as huge and clumsy as ever. Way nice and extrenely smart dogs.

Anyway, here are some pics of the jumps, the pump track, and the poonches. (pups).

More updates later,



Blake Robinson Bike Check

We're here in sunny California with Haro team rider Blake Robinson. We pulled him away from an absolutely mental shred session at Spangler's jumps to snap a few pics of his bike for a little bike check.

Here are some close-up pics of the bike for inspection:

And what would a bike check be without some serious action shots? Here's the goods from yesterday's session at Spanglers:

Travel tips with Porter

Hey There! Just thought I would give you guys a quick travel tip that will save you a ton of money. This is the best way that I have found to travel with a bike, maybe not the easiest, but by far the cheapest. The initial investment is an Ogio Monster bag, $260 retail, it is designed to protect your golf bag and clubs while flying. This bag will fit bmx bikes super easy, and with a little work it will fit mountain bikes up to about a 16" seat tube. I have flown with my X7 in this bag even. Basically what you have to do is take off the wheels, rotors, tires, pedals, seat, and fork. you position the bike with the headtube at the bottom of the bag, with the fork on one side and the bars on the other. Then you kind of lock the wheels into each other, and put them on top. I would recommend putting some furniture padding in between everything to keep your bike nice. Then I fold up the tires and put them and the seat at the top, and put all the small parts in the side pockets. I can usually fit my half shell helmet and pads in the bag as well. If you are flying Delta, they charge $175 each way to fly with a bike, so with your "Golf Clubs", it's free. This adds up to a savings of $90 dollars on your first round trip flight alone. Enjoy your travels!!



Mary on Ice

Ever seen a Mary on ice? We haven't so we figured many of you haven't either, so we posted these pictures for everyone to see.

Moe Chamberland, a NEMBA member from Greenville, RI sent us these pictures of him riding his Mary 29er on a frozen lake in the George Washington Management Area in the northwest corner of the state.

When I asked him to give me a little ride report to go along with these images, this is what he had to say:

"There are fire roads and power lines which are left unplowed in the winter for snowmobiling. There are a lot of snow/rain/freeze/thaw cycles here in Southern New England which makes for great studded riding. That day it was 15 deg F and everything was frozen solid, not just the pond! Riding on the ice was quite a blast, there was quite a bit of ice cracking going on but it was safe. Traction was excellent, much easier than walking. It was great because I was able to get to areas that are normally inaccessable. When I'm not ice biking I do a lot of technical single track, there are many great areas to ride nearby."

Moe also gave us some really nice feedback about his Mary:

"I am a life long rider and 16 year mountain biker, I have had many very good bikes, some of them costing much more than the Mary. But the Mary is my favorite bike, ever! It has totally reignited my passion for mtb'ing. Mike's (former Haro product manager) design and Haro's spec and workmanship is just amazing. The ride, comfort and handling is right on the money. I am having more fun than ever. Steel is indeed real! I bought the bike new at The Ski Market in Warwick RI, thanks to Jim and Sarah."

Brrr!!! Looks really cold, Moe...but the pictures are great!


Rumor mill.....

We've got a little rumor for you...Haro is very close to signing a frame deal with a top-notch North American trials rider! While we likely won't ever produce a full-on trials-specific bike, we have several bikes that are suitable for stock trials. This rider does many, many shows per year so the exposure Haro will get will be awesome. Plus, trials riding is just plain cool...I mean, who wishes they didn't have bike handling skills like those guys do? I know I wish I did.

Stay tuned for more information...........


Phil Sundbaum 720

This was before Phil was on Haro, but it's still cool. Qashqai Urban Challenge '07.


Beasley Bling-Bling

I thought I'd share some pictures that Greg Goat of Forces of Nature Bike Shop in St Joseph, MO sent us of his Beasley 1 x 9 all decked out in gold anodized WOOdman bits. Very nice! Thanks for sharing your pics with us, Greg. Your Beasley looks awesome!


Phil + Adiridas

It's official! Phil Sundbaum is a member of the Adiridas team, which is the Adidas freeride crew. It's loaded with shredders of every riding style, and Phil will fit in the mix nicely, along with our latest addition to the SOS program, Andrew Taylor.

You probably saw a few pics here on the blog of Phil in his skinsuit, and wondered what was going on. Well, look no further than this blog entry's video sequence. Not only did we get some bobsled action, but Phil threw front brakes and some studded Kenda tires on his Haro Steel Reserve and pinned it down the track!

The trip to Germany and Austria last month was probably the best trip to Europe that we've ever had. We were only there for six days, but Adidas packed it with some really cool stuff, including a campus tour where we got to see their Walk Of Fame and plenty of other fun stuff. Phil also managed to meet up with his Gravity teammate Dave Smutok for a session at the Munich indoor park.

We're headed down to Cali next week for some training at Woodward, and then it's Go Time. After that, Phil is headed to RaysMTB Park for a contest, then straight to Botswana to meet up with some other members of the Adiridas team to do a ten day trip through South Africa. Stay tuned!

Keep the rubber side down!

Happy New Year everyone! We're finally emerging from our holiday vacations so we'll be back on board with regular updates.

I know many of you live in areas where your local trails are covered in snow so you might now be getting too much riding in these days. For those of us who are fortuntate enough to live where we never see much snow, let's try to cheer up our brothers and sisters in Haroland who might be snowed in with some pictures and ride reports. So next time you are out and about on your Haro, snap a few pics and write a paragraph or two about your ride and send it to me. I'll select a few and post them up here on the website. You can send your pictures and ride reports to me at mtbcontact@harobikes.com.

From all of here at Haro, we just want to wish you all a very safe and prosperous New Year! Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up. Too bad this guy didn't get that memo before his ride:

Chris Warren and his 2009 Extreme X7 at the Big Creek trails in Roswell, GA


Dirtbike snowmobiling

So a couple days ago I was out snowmobiling with some friends, and we ran into the guys from Obsession Motoworx, a dirtbike shop in Utah, and they were having a demo of these dirtbike conversion kits that make it shredable on the snow. I wasn't sure going into it how much fun it would be, but I was pretty blown away by it. It's crazy how far you can lean the bike over on the snow, and it's so much smaller and lighter than a snowmobile. I only got a couple quick runs on the bike, one of which you see in the video here, but I got an invitation to do a full day out with these guys, so I'll give you full report after I do that!

Also, Happy New Years! Looking forward to a great year on the bike!