Haro’s full-suss bikes are new to the UK, and they’ve brought a new suspension design and some impressive kit value standards with them.
Frame: Well put together if unproven design
The Sonix mixes mostly round tubes and neat gussets with unique features such as the open-ended downtube and the open U section horseshoe over the rear shock.
The whole ‘Virtual Link System’ is also unique. The URT (unified rear triangle) subframe is connected by a short link using big concentric bearings around the outside of the bottom bracket shell. The shock also gets a very tall twin-plate vertical rocker link to reduce sway. There are a lot of relatively thin pieces taking some high loads, though, and previous concentric BB bearings had a bad longevity reputation.
Cable routing is tidy, though, and tyre clearance is okay apart from the back edge of the front mech.
Ride: Bobs under power, easy wheelies though
While there is detectable deflection at the rear end – visually between rocker link and straddle pieces, and as a slight twisting, articulated trailer effect under hard cornering or bar wrestling up climbs – it wasn’t as bad as we’d expected.
Like most URTs, there is a lot of shock ‘bob’ just from frame/leg movement, but with chainset and rear wheel on the same short subframe, actual drive connection is impressively direct.
At cruising speed it’s supple for a Bar shocked bike, with the slight upswing of the linkage helping the rear wheel pull back and up from bumps.
However, it weighs well over 30lb, so you can’t avoid wrestling it on a regular basis. As soon as you start applying power, though, the bob gets really pronounced. The fact that the effective pivot point drops lower and backwards as it goes through its travel acts to drag it even deeper down when you stand up, so it really pogos.
If you run the shock soft enough for full travel it feels horribly soggy and bouncy on smooth climbs. Run it harder, though, and descending while stood up effectively means you’re on a seriously rattly hardtail. The front end is easily pushed off line, and limited ground clearance meant we kicked the mud regularly.
On the bright side, it’s a really easy bike to manual/wheelie, so you can pop it up steps well – as long as you’re prepared for a proper slam from the rear end. The easy lift also keeps the fork out of harm’s way when the front/rear travel mismatch rears its head on rougher sections. Its tendency to squat in corners effectively stabilises the sharp steering geometry in the rough.
Equipment: Durable, but it may need to be
The Haro has a selection of decent, durable kit. However, regular hub thumping moments from the basic Tora fork meant the Pivit centred front wheel was already rattling loose after the first ride. Summary It’s always good to see new designs, but Haro’s combination of virtual pivot and URT throws up some odd characteristics. It’s a smooth cruiser and easy wheel popper in the saddle, but put the power down or stand up and you’re losing a decade of suspension development.