1/29/2009

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…

6 comments:

Joshua said...

I like the bike, but for production, you guys may want to find a a way fit the bottle holder on the other side of the downtube. If it was mine, I wouldn't want to be putting all of tht dirt and mud into my mouth everytime I get a drink.

jill hamilton said...

Sure, we have a perfect solution...a Camelback! ;)

But in all seriousness, bottle cages just don't fit on these bikes anywhere else. It's just the nature of the design.

The SB Image said...

Why do you hate me? I was fine with my bike but its starting to look like I will have to give Haro a bunch of my money....

I have been riding my Prophet 650b long enough to know that my next bike will be 650b specific.... good going Haro!

j.brown said...

We are so lucky to have this choice. I do suffer from back pain with my 26" Hopefully this size up will relieve some of the suffering.

slo farmanimal said...

I love my 650B Beasley, the bike rocks. I also ride a XEON with a 650B wheel set,(Haro didn't hear me say that), 650 Rocks... I give it up to Haro for grabbing the bull by the proverbial horns here. I feel a new race bike coming on...

Eli said...

I will buy this bike.