Haro Sonix VL120 XC Full Suspension

  • New Virtual Link 120mm/Five” travel frame
  • Manitou Black Comp 100mm fork w/ Radium R air shock
  • Avid BBDB-5 disc brakes
  • SRAM X7 9-speed trigger shifters
  • Ritchy Comp cockpit components

User Reviews (12)

Showing 1-10 of 12  
waterNdirt   Cross Country Rider [Oct 05, 2008]
Strength:

light, virtual link ROCKS! Awesome downhill, handles burms and tight tunrs with surprising ease.I love this bike, it soaks up anything (5 ft. drops and less)

Weakness:

I'm not sure about the plastic, how long will it last. Kind of high maintenance compared to my Haro Werx

Recommend to anyone looking for a great all around smooth ride. If you are riding an entry level full suspension this is the upgrade for you! The geometry is perfect, you'll increase your downhill speed, and the componetry is the best for the price. I have loved riding this bike, Although I take out 'THE TANK' (Werx) when I'm in dire need for some adrenaline packed shuttled downhill.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Joseph Guarino   Weekend Warrior [Jul 31, 2007]
Strength:

Great Climbing bike. I can actually stand up while climbing in loose dirt and get very little tire slippage. Good construction and geometry.

Weakness:

Not much in the way of reputation yet.

Great bike for the money. The combination of the components and the frame make this the best bike I could find for the money. To buy a similar bike with similar components would cost me over $3500.

Similar Products Used: Haro XLS R5
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Todd Newman   Cross Country Rider [Jul 03, 2007]
Strength:

remarkable suspension! Very responsive to minor corrections.

Weakness:

none so far.

I test rode quite a few bikes, and everything led me back to this 2006 blazing copper Haro. The virtual link suspension is the most remarkable feeling to have your feet on the cranks and those are in the rear half of the suspension of this bike, and your butt on the seat on the front half of the frame. this is unusual across most others, as the cranks are generally tied to the front portion of the frame and that was giving me that 'crumby squishy bobble' to the cranks as I tested other bikes. This years model I understand has a rear lockout, but so far I have not found the need to lock the rear just due the design.

As for Haro as a brand, I had never heard of them. After doing quite a lot of searching and test riding, the Haro product is the best value out there for the money in my opinion!!!!

If you can find one of these VL120's still in the box, I highly recommend this as a less expensive alternative to the $3,000+ mountain bikes out there.

Similar Products Used: Only my second Mountain Bike ever, last was 1986 rockhopper.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Drew   Weekend Warrior [Jun 25, 2007]
Strength:

great cross country bike - couldn't ask for better, I have raced a couple of 24hr races and racked up over 3000km in 11 months never missed a beat apart from breaking the cranks in the first month ( which they replaced free with an upgrade to the next model ( stylo )

Weakness:

front chainrings too close to chainstay

all around great bike for the money - all my mates ride more expensive bikes and are lookin for at a haro next time they upgrade

Similar Products Used: haro r5 - specialized stumpy-
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Cracker69   Weekend Warrior [Jun 14, 2007]
Strength:

Nice build, light weight, unusual appearence, tracks brilliantly, permits hammering out of the seat - how many FS bikes let you do that !

Weakness:

Finicky setup, don't believe everything you read work it out for yourself.

So here is the deal,

I'm 202 lbs (215 with full kit), 5'11", 34.5" inseam. I have set the seat height to 28" from the center of the spindle (0.833 of my inseam).
I live in Wisconsin so the terrian is a mix of things, plenty of tight single track, rock gardens, sand, some climbing, some modest downhill - nothing too death defying.

I purchased this frame for 300 bucks from Smart cycles and built up the rest by stripping parts off my moto and adding the minute 03 which just happened to be exactly the recommended travel for this frame. I immediately became anamored with the look of the bike and was convinced it would be a cool ride possibly superior to my moto because of the pivot link.

What I dicovered on my first few rides was the bike seems to bump steer in the front and pogo in the rear - a genuine problem in very tight single track. I prefer the bike to be somewhat taught so I keep the fork pumped to about 180 psi and the rear shock was set about the same. The sag on the rear is about 6-7 mm and it still felt to compress too easily particularly over sharp edged bumps and through g-outs.

I'd read all of the setup information regarding the 10mm of sag in the rear recommended for this design. But how best to measure that. Should you climb on and off the bike as carefully as possible and check the O-ring displacement, or should I sit down hard and let it cycle to rest, slide the O-ring to meet the shock body then climb of carefully to measure ? Or ride around for an hour an then check it by the latter method -Beats me. The radium has enough stiction to make all these methods bunk.

So I decided to work it out for myself as we all should. What I discovered was that the 18" frame is a touch on the smalle side for me. The work around was simple though, I simply dropped the seat about 1/2 an inch to get a little closer to the pivot point and slid the seat forward about an inch for the same reason. I compensated on the front end by switching to a slightly longer stem. All of these changes gave me a significant weight shift to the front. This had the dual effect of controlling the bump steer and placing less leverage on the rear so that the wallowing over sharp edge bumps and g-outs evaporated. I could back off on the pressure in the rear a bit with these settings. I added about 9 clicks of rebound to the Radium which made a huge difference to its manners.

With these changes I can honestly say that I'm now thoroughly satisfied with this mangle. It just tracks fantastically almost everywhere, it is lightwieght (at least it feels light), the suspension is predictable and I'm steadily gaining confidence in what I can expect the bike to deal with. The one thing that just blows me away is that I (all 215 lbs) can get out of the seat and hammer up long climbs without any noticeable pogo effect. I was convinced this was impossible on a FS bike without a lockout. Niether the minute or the radium have a lockout yet the bike barely breaks traction with me jumping in the pedals - remarkable. This is not true for loose climbs where of course traction is lost and I'm better off seated, but I don't need to slide to the nose of the seat, staying centered is just fine. I'm a full ten minutes faster on a ~15 mile loop that I do regularly - enough said.

Similar Products Used: Motobecane fantom comp II
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Drew   Weekend Warrior [Dec 11, 2006]
Strength:

sram x7 nice and smooth
cable brakes much better than expected

Weakness:

none yet

if you are after a good reliable mid range softail that doesnt have all the bells and whistles but wont let you down then this is the bike for you

Similar Products Used: haro shift r7 and werx
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
Reaper   Weekend Warrior [Mar 28, 2007]
Strength:

Suspension works as advertised and has proven extremely more plush than my Specialized FSR setup on my other bike. The extra travel (4.75") is an added boost and the suspension seems to really use all of it. The frame is built tough but fairly light. The extremely slack seatpost angle sets the rider further back over the back wheel which provides greater traction going uphill.

Weakness:

The chainstay situation reported in a previous post can indeed happen. Most bikes have little clearance between the chainrings and the chainstays but on the Sonix it does seem to be a little closer. Contact with the chainstay can occur when rocks get jammed up in there or a chain kinks up. The slack seatpost angle will position the rider further back than what you experience on most other bikes that might be cause for concern for some. It takes a couple of rides to get used to but once you get the rest of the bike geometry dialed in, the slack seatpost angle seems to really improve traction and make for a comfortable ride.

I've been wanting to build one of these frames up ever since I first saw the prototype a couple of years back. I've been a long time Haro fan dating back to riding Haro BMX bikes so I am probably a little biased.

My first two outings with this bike were over a two week period riding Moab and Fruita trails. The bike geometry took a little while to get used to with the slack seatpost angle but once I got everything dialed in I really started to feel comfortable on the bike and was amazed at how well the suspension worked. I noticed the plushness right off the bat while biking the Porcupine Rim Jeep trail and descending over 2 foot drops with complete control and ease. The rear suspension never bottomed out but the entire suspension was used which is what I wanted to see.

I then rode Slickrock trail and the geometry of the bike really worked well climbing and descending the steep slickrock angles.

I've only had a couple of rides on the bike along the Front Range in Colorado including Roxborough Loop and have found virtually no bob in the suspension while climbing smooth singletrack but as soon as you hit the slightest bump the suspension actuates which is great.

Overall, I am very pleased with this bike. I'm not sure I would be happy with the stock components that come on the VL120. I built mine from the frame up with the components listed above and the combination works extremely well.

I would like to see a little more width in the chainstay on future models (mine is a 2006)but to some degree the close quarters of the chainring to the chainstay is a work of art.

I would definitely recommend this bike to any of my all-mountain / cross-country riding buddies.

Similar Products Used: Azonic Propulsion, Haro XLS R3,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
david ponder   Weekend Warrior [Apr 18, 2008]
Strength:

Suspension design definitely works as advertised. It took a couple rides when I first got the bike to get used to the geometry, but once I did it will outclimb my old hardtail.

Weakness:

As mentioned before, the paint is soft. I have had the bottom brackett go bad twice. Both times it was replaced under warranty.

I have owned this bike for over a year. I ride about once a week and have raced it in 3 xc races. It has held up nicely. This is my first full suspension bike. I did lots of research before the purchase and feel I made a good decision. Any problems I have had have been taken care of by my local shop and Haro. Initially I was concerned with the clearance of the chainrings and also the rear derailleur. But aside from some scratches on the chainstay I have had no problems, even in mud.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Don Losole   Racer [Dec 23, 2007]
Strength:

The suspension design is great. If you put the right amount of air in the rear shock it handles like a hard tail. The components are good if it is your first bike. Nice Ritchey stem and handel bar.

Weakness:

The paint sucks. It chips very easy. I had to put frame patches where the cables touch the frame. My first ride rubbed the paint off the frame near the headtube.

I have been riding hardtails for 15 years and my body could not take it anymore. I was worried about the extra weight and loosing pedaling power.It took me about a month to get used to the diffrence. However I love the bike and the way it handles. I have no problem keeping up with all my racer friends on hardtails. I will never go back to a hardtail. I would tell anyone to get this bike.

Similar Products Used: First full suspension.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Chris S   Weekend Warrior [Dec 07, 2007]
Strength:

Great all around package for the money.
Great suspension -

Weakness:

None found yet. (other than on their 16 inch frames Haro puts 175 mm Cranks) Most other 16 inch frames come with 170MM cranks. I had to replace those cranks immediately....with 170's.

It's my 1st FS bike...and WOW....
Everyone told me to get ready for a power loss in a full susp bike, as compared to a hardtail. But I have barely noticed it. I attribute it to the HAro VLS suspension.

Great overall package - very resonsive suspension system. Good components package. SRAM X7...solid.
Bike is not that heavy...around 29 lbs.
Suspension is a little noisy...with some creaks...but there are several moving parts so I guess that's expected....
I have done: climbing, light descending, XC riding & 2-4 foot drops on this bike. And I am very impressed overall.
I weigh 175 lbs..and the stock shock seems to be OK for me. Feels like hard tail when peddeling and a Full susp. when you take on rough stuff. Great on Singletrack too. Center of gravity feels low and balanced.

As far as a FS bike (entry or mid level) for singletrack and XC riding - this has got my vote.

If you have more cash and want better components...get the upper end models...Werx etc..but the Sonix is the cheapest one they make with the VLS. And it gets you into a great FS bike for not that much money.

Similar Products Used: Test rode - Mostly sub $1K FX bikes. NON copared to this, except the GT Idrive. Iron Horse Azure and a couple other IH's, K2, GT I-drive, Motobecane Fantom & HT & FS's, Novarra MEthod. And lots of Hard tails ...Kona, Cannondale, Trek's ..etc...
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 12  

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