2021 eMTB SHOOTOUT
HARO SHIFT PLUS I/O 9 REVIEW
Photos by Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics
When our test crew looks back on the 2021 eMTB Shootout it is hard to not think about the Haro Shift Plus i/O 9. This 160mm travel, mullet-equipped eBike is insanely fun, super capable and surprised the hell out of us. Of course, we are all familiar with Haro as a brand, but we are probably not the only ones that think of them as a BMX brand, not a mountain bike brand, and certainly not an eMTB brand. After about 20 minutes on the trail, we realized that we were about to have our biases get checked, hard! We love when that happens. Available in three models, Haro offers the Shift Plus i/O 5, i/O 7 and i/O 9 in prices from $4,599 to $6,199.* A recent price increase across the industry took this bike up from $5,999. While we already had a couple critiques about the perceived value of this bike based on spec alone, the increase is a little bit tough. Although it is an industry wide increase, and we are happy to see Haro’s increase of $200 is less than some others. Regardless of price and value, the performance of this bike stands up with bikes that cost twice as much, and we will get into that soon.
Several months ago, we did a Dissected Feature where we conducted an in-depth look at the then new Haro Shift i/O 9. Since then, Haro has added the Shift i/O 7 to the lineup, which retails for an impressive $5,599, comes with the Shimano EP8 drive unit, a 630Wh battery and a 12-speed Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain. In many ways this would be the ideal bike for us to recommend and use as a starting point for upgrades. Sadly, inventory is a major issue across the industry, and we are hoping to see the Shift i/O 9 come with some updates, like an EP8 drive unit, when inventory returns.
Our Haro Shift Plus i/O 9 has served us well and honestly the Shimano E8000 is not a huge deterrent, we still were able to keep up and ride with EP8-equipped bikes just fine. We did not love the Di2 XT 11-speed drivetrain however and would have much rather seen a price drop for a non-electronic XT drivetrain. Another major spec issue was the 125mm dropper post. On smaller sizes we understand the shorter post, but Large and XL bikes definitely need a 150mm at the very least and ideally something even longer.
This aluminum frame utilizes a four-bar linkage suspension design with an aluminum rocker and vertical shock mount. Enduro bearings are used throughout and the 160mm of travel is fully usable and very sensitive. Haro did a great job selecting the tune with Fox on the Float X2 Trunnion rear shock. Up front a Fox Rhythm 36 Float E fork handles the hits just fine and never slowed us down. Since we had a garage full of parts, we did experiment with a 38 up front and loved how it rode with the bigger fork too.
Geometry on the Haro Shift i/O 9 is pretty solid without being overkill. It is part of why the bike is so fun, snappy, and easy to ride. The size large features a 475mm reach, 450mm chainstays, 1,259mm wheelbase and 636mm stack height. A 76.5-degree seat tube angle helped keep the power down for climbs and get the seat down (after some manual assistance due to the short 125mm dropper) for the descents. The 65-degree head tube angle was not an issue for our testers, although we are sure that some may find that to be too steep. We think going to a 170mm fork may also be a fun option and slacken out that head tube by half a degree or so, which could be great all around.