Haro was founded by Bob Haro in 1978, and is most well known for its BMX bikes. Haro was known as the “Father of Freestyle” and his company got in on the BMX boom’s ground floor in the 80’s.
In the late 80’s Haro started producing mountain bikes. And not just any plain old bike. They didn’t just throw some Shimano parts on a steel diamond frame. They were out there. They made a big splash and that helped make them a very popular bike in the vintage world.
They still sell BMX and mountain bikes, but we don’t care about that – let’s look at the old ones.
Extreme has become a pretty toothless buzzword due to overuse, but in 1990, no other word better described Haro’s mountain bikes. They featured elevated headtubes, road time trial bike-like profiles (aka “funny bikes“), bolted together frames, and extra loud 90’s paint jobs. Plus, they were made with high end parts, like the XT equipped bike here, that also featured a Tange Switchblade fork.
They also experimented with parts. The Wing Strut stem and Wingbar used an oversize clamp – which is the current standard size btw – and flat bar with a forward facing curve at the grips. Tell me this arrangement doesn’t look really comfy.
Richard Cunningham developed the concept of an aluminium front triangle bolted to a steel rear triangle. It gave you a stiff front end, and some compliance in the rear. Nishiki licensed the design, but I don’t know if Haro did as well, or just went ahead and used the design. It looked great but was prone to breaking.
By 1996, Haro had dropped this extreme style. I’m not sure why, but then again I don’t know why they started with it. Seemingly whatever problems were solved by elevated chainstays were actually solved by something else, because they didn’t exist by the late 90’s. And the wild colours were just not fashionable anymore.
Given that Haro still exists, this was probably a good move on their part. I had a Werks XLS in the early 2000s, and I really liked it. Also I’ve read a very favourable review in Mountain Bike Action of their current Shift bikes, so it’s safe to say that they still make some good bikes. It’s nice to see they’re all under $2000 too.
They really need to bring that red/yellow/white fade back though.