Haro Mary XC review£900.00

Haro's background is in 20in-wheel BMX bikes

BikeRadar score4/5

Haro's background is in 20in-wheel BMX bikes. Maybe that's made them more inclined to think out of the 26in-wheel box. In any event, they've got a couple of steel 29ers - geared and singlespeed - plus at least one aluminium one in the pipeline.

Skinny tubes tell you that this is another steel frame. Again, it's butted chrome-moly with a slender gusset under the head tube. Steel is strong enough not to need beefy wedge gussets. While it also carries a weight penalty over aluminium, this 30lb Haro - in common with most 29ers - climbs remarkably well. Scott Ransom owner Andy (pictured above) easily cleared a tricky sand-and-root climb on this that he'd only managed once before.

The Reba SL is a decent air fork that's easily tuned to rider weight and preference. With the bigger wheel it feels like you've got more than 80mm travel and you can really attack - and carry your speed through - those annoying cobbly sections. It feels unstoppable and it's easy to get lazy with your line choices.

A wider bar and tyres (Kenda Nevegal) that feel like they're not going to skip a beat on anything makes fast descents less wary than on the Specialized. It'd be even better but for the cable discs, the only bum note in the bike's spec. As cable discs go, these aren't bad. They're easy to adjust and work okay. Power is suf?cient if you're 10.5 stone (me) but a bit feeble if you're 14 stone (Andy).

Given the Reba fork, the drivetrain is about what you'd expect. It's good to see the cassette going up to 34T, although at the front end the Deore mech feels hesitant after the On-One's crisp XT shifts. It's tempting to leave it on the middle ring and keep the hammer down to make the most of that big wheel momentum. Apart from that, we'd only change the rearward-facing seat tube slot, which will collect British mud, and those brakes.

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