BIKE TEST: HARO SHIFT PLUS I/O 7

Haro’s impressive electric intro effort

 

Haro as a brand has been around a long time. It can trace its roots to the late 1970s when Bob Haro, the godfather of BMX freestyle riding, started out making number plates. From there he started making some of the best soft goods on the market, and eventually he started making bikes. The first ones were made by Torker to his specs with his graphics. He made the bikes to be nimble and perfect for their purpose. Many of the top BMX racers and freestylers rode Haro bikes. In the years since, Haro sold the company in 1993, but it lives on building bikes designed to be the best at their specific purpose.

 

ELECTRIFYING

Haro hasn’t made an electric bike in their history. But starting in 2018, Haro now makes electric mountain bikes for every level of rider. They make the Double Peak for beginners, as well as the Subvert I/O 5 and I/O 9, and the Shift I/O 5, Shift I/O 7 and Shift I/O 9. The Double Peak is a hardtail with a 100mm suspension fork, and starts out at $2900 with Shimano components and a Shimano Steps E6000 motor. The three hardtails in the line are designated Double Peak, Subvert I/O 5 and 9.

 

The models marked Shift I/O feature the new Shimano Steps E8000 motor, which is finally starting to appear in the U.S. market. It’s a more powerful yet lighter and smaller motor and battery setup than the previous E6000 version.

 

THE BIKE

The Shift is based on the current non-electric Shift, with the frame modified to handle the STEPS motor instead of a traditional bottom bracket, and the downtube modified to cradle the 500-watt-hour battery. It’s otherwise very similar to their very successful pedal version. This is the middle of their top-of-the-line Shift bikes, and really the only difference between this and the I/O 9 is that the latter features a Di2 shifter and group.

Shimano’s new E8000 motor is smaller than almost anything else on the market and lighter and more powerful than the previous E6000 motor. It’s buttery smooth in power delivery!

Top-end RockShox suspension includes the new Revelation 27.5-inch Boost fork with 35mm stanchions and a 15mm Maxle thru-axle with 150mm of travel and a hydraulic lockout, as well as a Monarch RL rear shock.

The Shimano SLX display is small and out of the way, yet it lets you easily see speed, battery life and current assist mode.

“Eighty Nm of torque is huge, and toggling between the three levels of assist proved to be better than shifting the rear derailleur most of the time.”

Pairing with Shimano SLX brakes with 180mm rotors with the slightly plus-sized tires provided ample braking and easy modulation.

The Kenda Havok tires barely break into the “plus” range at 2.6 inches wide. This is a favorite size among many riders, as they’re narrow enough to knife along precise lines on a trail without ballooning, yet wide enough to keep you out of trouble in small, rutted areas and roll more easily over sand and loose dirt.

The RockShox Monarch RL shock was supple off the top of the stroke and smooth on the bottom. The 140mm of travel was just enough for all-mountain riding.

A Shimano SLX 1×11 drivetrain helps keep gearing tidy and still lets you easily climb hills, but it’s almost not necessary. A KMC Blacktech anti-rust chain helps keep you from snapping the chain under load from your legs, plus the 80 Nm of torque from the motor.

The 2018 RockShox Revelation provides 150mm of travel. Mated with the 67-degree head angle, you can have the confidence to descend anything.

WHO IT’S MADE FOR?

This is definitely not a beginner’s bike. It’s made for advanced, all-mountain riders who want serious power assist without adding a ton of weight to the bike. The level of geometry and components is designed to feel at home on most any terrain, even really technical, rocky areas, and it’s built to last with workhorse components like the Shimano SLX brakes.

This TransX internal dropper post can drop up to 100mm. It’s good, but at least one of our test riders wished it had a little more travel.

THE MOTOR

This is the first time we’ve had a new E8000 motor from Shimano for a full test. We first rode them a couple of months ago on a few different bikes at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey. Power delivery is very smooth, there’s no surprises, torque starts from lower cadence and there’s no shortage of that torque. It’s very predictable and user-friendly, especially to those who are not used to electric assist.

Having 80 Nm of torque is huge, and toggling between the three levels of assist proved to be better than shifting the rear derailleur most of the time. It’s almost like having a front derailleur. We only shifted actual gears on the steepest of sections. Otherwise, the middle of the rear cassette was fine for most riding. Shifting the assist levels is the same type of trigger shifter as on the right side of the bars for the rear derailleur.

The great-performing Kenda Havok tires in 27.5×2.6 inches are right on the cusp of plus-sized, and with the volume, there is room for varying pressure for the ultimate in grip for cornering and braking.

THE RIDE

As soon as we started riding the Haro, we felt right at home. The ergonomics simply fit us perfectly. Climbing over some rocks and up and down a couple of hills with a few drop-offs and hits, the suspension felt supple off the top of the stroke with no harsh bottom-out.

The rear travel is very linear, and the head tube angle at 67 degrees is slack enough to make it very stable and predictable on technical trails. At 48 pounds, the Haro is fairly light for an electric mountain bike, and it was really nimble and easy to toss around. It cornered on tight switchbacks effortlessly.

The oversized Havok Plus tires are a preference for some, but others don’t like them, instead preferring the more traditional (and narrower) tires. Depending on rider preference and the terrain you ride, your mileage may vary. We love them because they float easily over sand and loose dirt, corner like the bike is on rails, and can be really well tuned to the terrain by varying the air pressure. There can be a huge contact patch, leading to better and more precise braking and great traction for acceleration, as well as running more pressure to allow less contact and higher speeds.

 

THE VERDICT

Owing to its ride and performance, it’s impressive to find that this is Haro’s first electric mountain bike line. Out of the gate, they have an incredible bike with an impressive powertrain and great geometry. Suspension and tire size are both fantastic for the trails we rode it on, which covered many types of terrain. Add to that the great pricing for this level of performance on a bike with outstanding suspension, and it’s a really good deal.

 

SPECS: 2018 HARO SHIFT PLUS I/O 7

MSRP: $5400

Motor: Shimano Steps E8000

Battery: Shimano Steps E8010, 500Wh

Charge time: 4.5 hours

Top speed: 20 mph (with assist)

Range: 15–45 miles (tested)

Drive: Shimano SLX 11-speed, 11-42t

Brakes: Shimano SLX M7000 hydraulic disc, 180mm rotors

Controls: Shimano STEPS

Fork: RockShox Revelation 150mm travel w/ 15mm Stealth Maxle, 150mm travel with hydraulic lockout

Rear shock: RockShox Monarch RL 140mm travel

Frame: Aluminum, four-bar linkage with Enduro bearings

Tires: Kenda Havok, 27.5×2.6”, 120 tpi, Aramid beads, tubeless compatible

Weight: 48 lb.

Color choices: Blue

Sizes: Men’s 14.5”/16”/18”/20.5”/22”

www.harobike.com


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