Haro Shift Plus i/O 9

REDESIGNED AND READY TO SHRED

Words by Drew Rohde |  Photos by Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics

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Our latest episode of the Dissected Series has us taking a deep dive with the redesigned Haro Shift Plus i/O 9 eMTB. Haro is a brand with a deep history in the BMX world and has been offering larger-wheeled bikes for quite some time now. Like many brands, they’re aware of the skyrocketing popularity of eBikes and have taken a hard look at their initial offerings by revitalizing the Shift line with some impressive new features. Over the last few weeks while creating this video and story we’ve spent a lot of time on the phone and emailing Haro to learn about the new Shift i/O eMTB and what Haro wanted to accomplish with it. After you watch this awesome video, that we had a blast making, check out the story down below.

The Shift Plus i/O isn’t exactly new, as Haro already had ebikes on the menu, but Haro did make some notable improvements to the redesigned Shift Plus i/O eBike line up; like boosting travel to 160mm, integrating a larger battery and making the bike a mullet for faster speeds and increased rollover. As of right now there are two models available but a third will be released soon. The i/O 9 we received is their top of the line model and retails for $5,999. The Shift Plus i/O 5 is the entry level offering and retails for $4,199 and the to-be-released i/O 7 is said to be in the mid-$5,000 range.

Dissected: Haro Shift Plus i/O 9

Haro builds their 160mm travel Shift Plus ebikes out of sturdy aluminum, ready to handle the demands of eMTB riding. We spoke with Haro’s product manager Jean-Luc Ferre about the latest version of the Haro Shift Plus i/O with its longer travel, beefed-up components and updated geometry, he had lots to say:

Jean-Luc Ferre: We evolved the new Shift I/O frame platform after our experience with the successful 2018 & 2019 All Mountain Shift i/O models, which offered 140mm of rear travel and a more traditional geometry. With the new 2020 generation, we knew we had to feature an internal down tube battery, better geometry and we wanted to push the rest of the design a bit more also. Haro wanted to get this bike into Enduro territory with 160mm of rear travel and a burly 160mm fork.

Haro also wanted to offer a longer range for our riders while making an aesthetically pleasing and well-rounded bike, so we put our in-house frame engineer to work. Half-way through the R&D process, we decided to give the bikes sized medium and above a 29” front wheel to benefit from the best of both worlds without creating what would have led to a longer rear end and wheelbase with a 29” rear wheel. So, now we’ve got a truly capable, do-it-all 160mm eMTB with mullet wheels for snappy handling and faster rolling speed over the chatter.

Dissected: Haro Shift Plus i/O 9

Quite honestly, we didn’t know what to expect from the Haro as we’ve never ridden one of their mountain bikes, let alone an eMTB. We knew the potential was there just by looking at the numbers and the true four-bar linkage suspension design. We didn’t break this thing in slowly either, it was sink or swim as we didn’t just throw it into the deep end, we threw it into the ocean! Within a couple turns it was apparent this bike was going to hang.

Before we got to the downhill however, we had to get up, and we got there courtesy of a Shimano Steps E8000 motor and Darfon 630Wh battery. Haro was smart enough to outsource a battery larger than Shimano’s 504Wh offering found on many Steps-equipped bikes. It means that when our other Shimano bikes are done for the day and the Bosch, Brose bikes are able to pedal up for another lap, the Haro can go too!

Another smart spec choice is the 165mm crank arm length selected by Haro. We’ve found that eMTB riding has a lot of unique demands and presents new challenges to riders and equipment, and one of those is pedal and crank arm strikes. Shorter cranks allow us to get on the power sooner out of corners, but also allow us to climb way faster! Which is afterall, the best thing about eBikes.

Dissected: Haro Shift Plus i/O 9

The rest of the drivetrain is made of Shimano XT components and worked well during our short filming period. We look forward to continuing to thrash on them for our long term review. One thing to note is that Haro decided to stick with an 11-speed drivetrain to not only keep the cost down but to utilize a thicker chain that they believe is stronger and better suited for eMTB applications. Stopping this fast machine is a set of 4-piston 203mm-equipped XT brakes.

The cockpit features Pivit bar and stem with a 125mm X-Fusion Manic dropper post, one of our few critiques about the bike but something we’ve been told Haro is looking at.

Haro has moved the pivot locations along with increasing the travel for the new i/O. Their impressive utilization of a true four-bar suspension design is nicely tuned and the bike’s ability to handle hits and remain playful is quite impressive. The tune on the Haro Shift Plus i/O rear shock is good for a wide range of riders, which is a good thing since the Performance level Fox Float X2 shock, doesn’t have a high-speed compression adjustment in order to pass on savings to the consumer. Nevertheless, we found the shock tune to be pretty spot on, and think most riders won’t miss having that adjustment.

Up front a Fox Rhythm 36 Float E leads the charge with 160mm of travel. All bikes besides the size small come with a 29er version of the fork with a 51mm offset. Haro’s Jean-Luc told us that after testing and going to the 29-inch front wheel they felt this was the best offset to offer stability, precise handling and avoid that floppy feeling some bikes when cornering.

Rolling stock on the Haro Shit Plus i/O 9 come in the form of WTB ST i35 TCS 2.0 wheels with a 40mm internal width and double-wall construction. Kenda’s eMTB rated EMC Nevegal 2 2.6” wide tires wrap the wheels and provide plenty of grip going up or down.

GEOMETRY
Due to the timing of this project we had to settle for a size medium test bike, but still felt comfortable enough to let it loose. Even at 5’11” – 6’2”, our riders were able to get a solid feel for the bike and besides the somewhat shorter reach of the medium, we couldn’t contain our smiles when it came time to stand up and shred.

Dissected: Haro Shift Plus i/O 9
Dissected: Haro Shift Plus i/O 9

SHIFT PLUs i/O 9
M.S.R.P $5,999

Frame: New Shift Plus I/O X6 Aluminum, 4-Bar linkage w/ Carbon Injected Rocker, 160mm
Fork: Fox Rhythm 36 FLOAT “E”, 160mm
Shock: Fox Float X2
Headset:FSA Orbit 1.5E ZS No.57E

ELECTRONICS
Drive Unit:
Shimano STePS E8000, 70Nm Torque
Battery: New Darfon internal, STePS Compatible 630Wh

DRIVETRAIN
Shifters: Shimano XT Di2 11-spd
Derailleur: Shimano XT Di2, 11-spd
Cassette: Shimano Deore XT M8000, 11-46T
Crankset: Shimano E8000, 165mm
Chainring: Shimano 38T
Chain: KMC e11T
Brakes: Shimano BR-MT520, 4-Piston

COCKPIT
Handlebar:Pivit Alloy 20mm riser bar, 780mm
Stem: Pivit 3D Forged alloy, 35mm
Saddle: WTB Volt Comp
Seatpost: X-Fusion Manic 100, 125mm

WHEELS
Rims: WTB ST i35 TCS 2.0, 40mm
Hubs: Pivit Alloy disc Boost, E-Bike specific
Tires:Kenda Nevegal 2 29×2.6″ Front / 27.5×2.6″ Rear, EMC

Dissected: Haro Shift Plus i/O 5

SHIFT PLUs i/O 5
M.S.R.P $4,199

Frame: New Shift Plus I/O X6 Aluminum, 4-Bar linkage w/ Carbon Injected Rocker, 160mm
Fork: Suntour Aion 35mm EVO RC-PCS DS
Shock: X-Fusion 02 Pro RL
Headset: FPD Dozer 1-1/8″-1.5″

ELECTRONICS
Drive Unit:
Shimano STePS E8000, 70Nm Torque
Battery: New Darfon internal, STePS compatible 504Wh

DRIVETRAIN
Shifters: Shimano Deore SL-M6000-R 10-spd
Derailleur: Shimano Deore, RD-6000, 10-spd
Cassette: Shimano Deore HG-500, 11-42T
Crankset: Samox, 165mm
Chainring: Shimano 34T
Chain: KMC e10S Sport
Brakes: Tektro HD-M745 hydraulic, 4-Piston

COCKPIT
Handlebar: Pivit Alloy 20mm riser bar, 780mm
Stem: Pivit 3D Forged alloy, 50mm
Saddle: WTB Volt Sport
Seatpost: X-Fusion Manic 100, 125, 150mm

WHEELS
Rims: Weinmann U-40 TL
Hubs: Pivit Alloy disc Boost, E-Bike specific
Tires: Kenda Nevegal 2 27.5×2.6″, EMC

Dissected: Haro Shift Plus i/O 9

FIRST RIDE IMPRESSIONS

As we’ve said in each or our Dissected stories, this is not a long-term or detailed review, but a chance for us to share an in-depth look at new products with the added bonus of working closely with the brand to report on the facts behind the development.

That being said, we spent quite a few hours and lot of vertical feet getting to know the Haro Shift Plus i/O 9 while creating this feature and it is really good. We’d love to see a longer dropper post spec’d on the larger frames and even though we felt the shock tune was really well done, we can envision some riders missing out on the adjustability. But, don’t let that stop you because chances are 90% of riders will fit within the factory tune just fine!

Highlights of the Shift i/O include suspension design, extended battery range out of the Shimano Steps system, and well-rounded geometry. The bike is composed and planted in the rough and rowdy sections thanks to the supple four-bar suspension design. It still plays nicely and handles big hits easily too. All of our riders really liked the balanced feel and suspension of the Haro Shift.

Similarly, our testers felt the bike offered competitive geometry that wasn’t overwhelmed on the gnarliest of DH trails but kept the bike alive and fun on flatter, pedaly trail rides too. So far all who’ve ridden the Haro have been stoked. We look forward to spending more time on the bike on a broader range of trails and reporting back on the durability and a more detailed account of how it performs after lots more bashing.

VISIT HARO’S WEBSITE TO LEARN MORE
Dissected: Haro Shift Plus i/O 9