By Stephen Haynes
In case you didn’t know, Haro makes more than just 20-inch bikes for the likes of Dave Mirra and Ryan Nyquist to do amazing feats of acrobatics while flying through the air. They make mountain bikes too.
For the 2013 model year, Haro will roll out its Flightline Carbon 29 series (or FLC29 for short), named for a now defunct trail network near the Carlsbad, Calif., airport. What Haro was going for with the FLC 29 was a 29-inch ride that handled more like a 26. Smooth rolling yet nimble.
(Editor’s note: Gotta call you out on this one, Haro. "Handle like a 26?" We thought that cliche was finally dead and buried. We don’t want to ride a 26-inch hardtail. Besides, we want bikes that ride like great bikes, wheelsize be damned. Ok, off my soapbox.)
The sub-3lbs. frame is made from T-700 modulous carbon fiber and boasts a tapered head tube and a super beefy down tube.
The $3,500 FLC 29 Pro model is spec’d with a Shimano XT crankset and shifter and Deore XT derailuer and brakes. It also comes with Rock Shox SID RL 100mm fork with Push Lock, which allows you to lock out the fork with the push of a button mounted on the handlebars.
The shifters and brakes performed admirably running through the gears well, and the Rock Shox SID RL soaked up everything I ran it over, even with my less than elegant navigating.
Though much more aggressive of a bike then I’m used to riding, the FLC29 wasn’t uncomfortable. The carbon frame is as stiff as anything I’ve ever ridden but wasn’t off-putting. Climbing was a breeze with the fork locked out and the rigidity of the frame lending a firm platform for pedaling. Down hill and through corners the FLC29 did well. I can’t come up with anything noteworthy for or against the FLC29. In my opinion, it’s just a solid ride. I think on familiar trails, or in race conditions this bike could be pushed to the limits without batting an eye.
Overall I had a good time on the FLC29 and I think Haro has achieved the desired effect, a smooth rolling yet nimble ride. If the $3,500 entry fee is a little rich for your blood, check out the Comp or Expert models, $1900 and $2,400, respectively. That gets you the same quality carbon frame, with a slightly less bling build.