When I was eleven, I received possibly the most influential birthday present that my fading memory can recall… one that may have not only developed into a lifelong hobby but a mildly affluent career–a Haro BMX bike. Most adults can think back to one or two occasions when they received, at least what they perceived as, a life changing gift. Well for me it was that Haro BMX bike that opened up my childhood world to decades of riding and a career in the bike industry. Now for that serious question of would I still be where I am today if it weren’t for that bike, well, who really knows?
We were very excited to get our hands on Haro’s Shift IO 7 for a test
So as you could imagine, we were very excited to get our hands on Haro’s Shift IO 7 for a test. New for 2018, Haro will be officially entering the e-bike market with three full suspension mountain bikes (the Shift IO 5, Shift IO 7 & Shift IO 9), three hardtails (the Double Peak, Subvert IO 5, & Subvert IO 9), and a city bike (the Solum IO & Solum ST IO). All of Haro’s electric bike offerings are equipped with the Shimano STEPS e-bike system best suited for each application.
Modestly priced at $5,649.99, the new Haro Shift IO 7 has the Shimano STEPS E8000 drive unit cleanly integrated into their X6 Aluminum frame with 150mm of travel up front and 140mm of travel in the back. The Shimano STEPS E8000 drive unit features a 250w motor which produces 70Nm Torque and a 500wh battery to power the system. The highlights of the Shimano STEPS system include a smaller motor which is more powerful and lighter than similar options available and an elegantly designed display unit which is easy to read and shows speed, battery life, and which assit mode is being used; Boost, Trail, Eco and Walk to choose from (with the option to edit a custom mode via Bluetooth).
This bike is spec’d with a nicely detailed array of components such as a RS Monarch RL DebonAir rear shock, RS Revelation Boost fork with 15mm Stealth Maxle, Shimano 1×11 XT Shadow Plus rear derailleur with SLX 11-42T cassette, SLX disc brakes with 180mm rotors, TranzX 100mm Internal dropper post, and Kenda Havok 27.5×2.6 Folding tires. Haro obviously took time to carefully choose the best components that would not skimp on performance while being priced on a mtb riders budget. The slightly plus sized tire choice was a welcome note to keep the bike firmly planted as the bike handled better than other e-bikes we have recently tested. All-in-all the Shift IO 7 had as itching to get it on the trail since it looked like a blast to ride given its stellar build for a serious all-mountain bike.
All-in-all the Shift IO 7 had as itching to get it on the trail since it looked like a blast to ride given its stellar build for a serious all-mountain bike.
The local SoCal trails this time of year are a lovely mixture of hard packed dg, loose sandy corners, and fist sized rocks abound. Our first take was not only how well balanced the bike felt but how buttery smooth & powerfully the pedal assist aided our efforts to charge our seasonally deteriorating trail system. It is also important to note that the pedal assist started at a lower cadence which felt encouragingly natural. So much that we felt right at home even in the technical rocky areas as we climbed our way up. It is interesting to relate the empowerment felt whilst ‘pedalling’ a pedal-assisted bike through treacherous rock gardens that would normally have us scrambling to stay upright and now were simply flying by underneath. The bike geometry had all the right numbers to inspire confidence while the weight, so far, still felt nimble enough to have us venture towards a few of the harder lines. You might think that the top of the hill might feel slightly less ‘earned’ which is immediately out-weighed by the excessive amount of fun we just had getting there.
The real test for most e-bikes is shifting from pedal assisted to gravity driven and the Haro Shift IO 7 didn’t disappoint. On the scale, this bike isn’t the lightest but it seems Haro has found just the right points to place the extra weight to keep the bike not only feeling firmly grounded but still playful enough for us to forget we were riding an e-bike downhill. The bikes handling characteristics were predictable and reassuring for a bike intended for all-mountain riding. The rear suspension felt linear and well balanced with the front while being well matched with the 67 degree head angle. The large Havok tires floated easily over loose terrain, had precise braking control, and railed corners we might have normally felt more uncertain on. In other words we felt right at home aboard the new Haro Shift IO 7.
Brand Key Features
I/O Electric equipped bikes form a unique partnership between mankind and machine by taking input from your pedaling efforts and amplifying output beyond that of conventional bicycles by way of its battery-powered motor. What this means is that with its unique pedal assist design you can ride up hills easier, ride further distances, at faster speeds, for a longer period of time. I/O Electric equipped bikes are ideal for both on and off road riding. With nearly 40 years experience in the conventional bicycle world, Haro has created a series of I/O Electric pedal assist models that are an extension of their respective lines and specifically designed for leisure, commuter, and off road use. The best part of all is that every I/O Electric bicycle is guaranteed to bring you the same great magic and joy you experienced as a kid.
- Shift Plus I/O X6 Aluminum frame for Shimano STePS E8000 motor, 140mm travel, tapered head tube 1-1/8″-1.5″
- Rockshox Monarch RL 200mm rear shock, DebonAir, LL Tune, 430 lbs. lockout force
- Rockshox Revelation RC 27.5″ Boost fork, 35mm stanchions, 150mm travel, 15mm Stealth Maxle, Solo Air, w/ hydraulic lockout
- Shimano STePS E8000 drive unit / 250 Watts / 70Nm Torque, 500 w/h STePS E8000 battery
- TranzX Internal dropper post 100mm x 31.6mm
The Haro Shift IO 7 was one of the best well-balanced e-bikes we have tested so far. Partnered with Shimano's STEPS pedal assist platform, the Shift IO 7 felt ergonomically natural and performed exceptionally well as a serious all-mountain bike.