Is Haro Ready for the Gamble?

Yesterday I posted the photos and spec charts of the two Haro 650b bikes that will be coming out this summer. There have been many conversations and emails traded between cycling folks and myself.

What are your opinions?

Personally I think it is a valid first offering for a Independent Bicycle Dealer (IBD) to carry. There are many things I would of hoped to be different.

  • On the Haro side I think it will confuse many consumers and dealers due to the price ranges. If a shop was to carry both the Haro Beasley and the Mary they would have two models from the same company competing against themselves. Educating the customer is going to be very hard on the 26 vs 650b vs 29. Most shops are still trying to catch up with the 29er movement that has swept the industry. If you go into a big box store you are lucky to find someone there that is knowledgeable about the product and hopefully they will have that product on the floor! Now we are throwing a 650b wheel into the mix. I hope that most shops go at it from a fit stand point for folks under 5’10 instead of trying to explain all the wheel spin up and handling stand points. These are things people will have to feel while riding while fitting on a bike is something you can show in your store.
  • What has Haro done to educate their IBD shop on the 650b wheel? Are the local representatives going to each store to explain the wheel differences? Are there going to be demo’s available? Did they do some type of write up in their catalog? Haro is going to have to single handedly (since they are the only big box vendor at this moment) educate consumers and customers why 650b is that much better. For full suspension I think this is going to be an easy task but why is their Beasley 650b worth buying next to their Mary 29″.
  • My only other hold up is the fact frame sets aren’t available. This would give folks the chance to get into the 650b movement on a frame that is designed around 650b. For the first year 650b is going to be a spare bike for those that have issues with a 29er or 26 but just want to TEST the waters. Give them a $400 option that gives them frame, fork and wheels.

Kudo’s to Haro being the first out of the gate from bike manufacturers I look forward to seeing where they take it!

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No Responses to “Is Haro Ready for the Gamble?”

  1. MMcG Says:

    I agree that framesets would have been a good decision.

    Perhaps Haro is being careful about the production run of these and perhaps they are only producing a number that will allow for a calculated risk.

    Perhaps it is too soon to jump in like this – but I give them credit for giving it a go. Maybe they’ve got nothing to lose and only room to gain with this venture.

    Too bad there isn’t more affordable suspension fork options – because if these two were both offered with forks – it would have at least set the SS Beasley apart from the rigid 29er Mary SS offering.

    I guess only time will tell.

  2. Dan Smith Says:

    Check out Tyterack,
    I’d say more but I have been doing this for days. Thanks we build them for you.

  3. Dizzy D Says:

    I know there are more companies out there testing the 650b size for the 2009 season such as VooDoo, and Jamis cycles. There have been many tire manufactures jumping on board as well. All it takes is one company to jump into it full steam and they will be all over the place. Its really a no brainer!

  4. Arleigh Says:

    Dizzy,

    I’m not stating this will be the end of anything or the beginning. I’m just saying there is a lot of money teetering on the investment of 650b for Haro. I hope they are planning to do a lot of marketing around the release of the bike. Start a buzz, get folks excited, educated.

  5. Guitar Ted Says:

    My disappointment is in the lack of a 12″ frame size. One of the nits on 29″ers is that you can’t make them small enough for small folks and have correct geometry. 650B was supposed to be an improvement on this. I feel a 14″ frame size isn’t going to cut it for a lot of smaller folks, especially women. A non-suspended 12″ frame size would be pure genius, in my mind. Ditto on the 14″er. Maybe there should be a “womens specific” 650B model?

    Dizzy: I think that in reality, a lot of companies are still in “wait and see” mode. I am betting that the success or failure of Haro’s endeavors with 650B will determine a lot of other companies decisions.

  6. Anthony King Says:

    I’m interested to talk to some of the Haro people about this. As someone who has been riding 650B on mostly-for-pavement bikes for more than a few years I’m curious about the reception in the off-road world.

    One argument against a frameset only offering might be that many 26″ frames can be retrofit to 650B by simply moving the pads up slot on their brake arms. Besides the bb moving up 12.5mm no significant geometry changes occur with this switch. Perhaps Haro was thinking that the savvy rider could pull off a conversion with an existing frame and perhaps a brake switch, so a frame only offering wasn’t necessary.

    The other possibility is that the choice had nothing to do with the about and was based on the fact that for major companies frameset revenues are tiny compared to complete bike revenues.

  7. jill hamilton Says:

    Howdy folks!

    Jill from Haro here. This is all really good conversation. Since someone asked for a Haro rep to comment, I’m here to offer up some (hopefully) colorful commentary.

    Regarding the price ranges being confusing for the dealers and consumers, I really don’t think this will be an issue. Yes, the price points of the Mary and upcoming Beasley bikes are close, but I see the Beasley and Mary customers as being different to a certain extent. I’m sure there’s going to be many people who gravitate towards a 650B bike because they don’t “buy into” 29ers for whatever reason (heavy, tall, ugly, slow, whatever…everyone has an opinion). I also think there will be quite a few people who end up buying a 650B bike to add to their stable of bikes…which might include 26″ wheel and 29″ wheel bikes. 650B is simply another choice for this buyer.

    With our Mary 29ers, we have noticed that most people do buy these bikes as an additional bike…most people aren’t buying these bikes as their sole ride. Recognizing this, we spec’d them nicely…but not so nice (read: expensive) that they become unaffordable for the vast majority of people who are buying these bikes as an addition. The same philosophy applies to our Beasley line.

    Regarding education, we will be putting some educational efforts in place via sales rep clinics (who will pass on to dealers), info on our website, bike hang tags, etc. Unfortunately, this info will not be included in our catalog…the pagination just wouldn’t allow it ( for those who know a thing or two about printing, you can’t just add in one page…pages need to be added based on what fits on the form). Honestly, with most people getting their information online, this really doesn’t worry me much.

    Additionally, while I agree that we will need to do our fair share of education, I personally think that most all “big wheel” bikes (29er or 650B) are sold to consumers that already have a pretty good understanding of the benefits offered by a larger wheel size. I’d say the vast majority aren’t novice riders…they are seasoned riders who are more educated about trends and niche products. Obviously, we will educate since I think there is a compelling story to be told by dealers about the larger wheel size that can be passed on to their more novice consumers.

    Frameset….yeah, that’s a tough one. I’ll be really honest…historically Haro has SUCKED at selling framesets unless we sell them at a few bucks over our cost. Our bikes have traditionally been a great value, so we just don’t sell framesets. Right now, I’m going to stick by our guns and maintain that we won’t be bringing in framesets…they just don’t sell well for us.

    12″ frame size…we’ll take a “wait and see” based on 14″ frame sales. I can tell you that currently, we sell so few 14″ bikes (hardtail or suspension) at any price point, I’d be hard pressed to “sell” a 12″ frame to our buyer. Not ruling it out…just going to wait and see what happens.

    OK, I’m done rambling. Feel free to throw any questions my way!

  8. Arleigh Says:

    jill – thanks for all the comments and feedback! The one question I have is about the framesets. Do you think with your full suspension frame you will offer it as frame only?

    Thanks again

  9. jill hamilton Says:

    Probably not. We just don’t do all that well with frames. We usually end up selling them at just a few percentage points over cost.

  10. twenty-six inches Says:

    Jill- I currently work at an ibd and we work with Haro so this is good news. Do you know when reps. will be hitting the stores with this info? Also, is there going to be a geared version or one with suspension, and if so what fork are they going to be using?

    I give Haro a pat on the back for jumping into the water. Although it may seem like a luke warm market I think It has a place.

    Viva 650b

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