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Value Field Test: Haro Saguaro - The Pink Anvil

May 27, 2024
by Dario DiGiulio  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Haro Saguaro Hardtail



Words by Dario DiGiulio; photography by Tom Richards


Haro has a vibrant brand presence in the BMX world, but a pretty spotty history when it comes to mountain bikes. They're looking to change that up with their newest forays into the market, starting with this: the Saguaro hardtail. Aimed at a gravity-fed crowd that doesn't mind soaking up the hits themselves, the Saguaro is decidedly a downhill focused hardtail with geometry and a build kit to match.

It is the most expensive hardtail on test, but has a few little features that try to set it apart. The frame may be too harsh for some, but does the value proposition help sooth the sore ankles?
Haro Saguaro Details

• Travel: 140mm fork
• 29" wheels
• 64.5° head angle
• 76.5° seat angle
• Size-specific chainstays (435mm Large)
• Reach: 445mm (Medium) / 470mm (Large)
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 33.6 lb / 15.12 kg
• Price: $2,399 USD
• More info: harobikes.com

This is not the cheapest model in the Saguaro lineup, falling right in the middle of the 3-bike range. You can get the tier 1 model for $3,999 USD, or the tier 3 for $1899 USD, but we felt that the tier 2 spec and price struck the best balance.

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This aluminum frame comes with 29" WTB KOM Tough wheels front and rear, a 140mm Marzocchi Z2 fork, TRP's Slate Evo 4-piston brakes, a 200mm Trans-X dropper post, and a 12-speed SRAM NX drivetrain. Gripping, bouncing, and rolling is done by a set of Kenda tires, with the Pinner up front and the Nevegal in the rear, both in a 2.4" width.

The geometry is aggressive without being ludicrous, with a 64.5° head angle, 76.5° seat angle, and size-specific chainstays ranging from 418mm to 435mm. The bottom bracket drop is particularly low, with 70mm of drop on all but the smallest size. The reaches on the four sizes land at 420, 445, 475, and 490mm, hitting right around the sweet spot for each.



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Climbing
Haro's own marketing copy around the Saguaro is full of statements that make you think it's going to be an absolute bear on the climbs, but in reality it does a perfectly fine job. It's certainly no lightweight, but the upright geometry and wide range drivetrain mean you'll be able to spin up just about anything in comfort. Kenda's tires are fairly fast-rolling as well, making for a more efficient combination than some of the stickier rubber on test.

One detail on the geometry front that can make some climbs a little trickier is that bottom bracket height. With the BB so low, you have to be a bit more mindful of your pedal placement, but once you're adapted to the feel it's smooth sailing - plus a nicely low-slung weight bias to keep slow speed balance easy.

photo

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Descending

If ever one could describe a hardtail as a plow bike, this might just be it. Drop your heels, brace yourself, and push through the bumps as hard as you can. It's not going to be comfortable, but you're able to carry some serious speed on the Saguaro. The headtube angle isn't terribly slack on this bike, but the wheelbase feels plenty long and stable, which is certainly helped along by the very low bottom bracket. The upright standing position that provides means you can look further down trail, push a bit harder in corners, and steer the bike with your hips more than your hands.

Compared to the San Quentin, the Saguaro feels much less keen to pop and jib off smaller trail features, biasing more towards speed, cornering, and stability. Slower speed tech moves are made comfortable by great brakes and a fork that can be dialed in to provide plenty of damping and support.

The Kenda tires feel very biased towards speed and mechanical grip, with a rubber compound that didn't quite match the performance of some of the other options on test. Our testing conditions were about as slimy as it gets, so those in drier climates might be less concerned with that tradeoff.

Finally, a note on frame stiffness. We found the Haro's frame to be quite stiff in comparison to the other hardtails on test, transmitting quite a bit of vibration and chatter to the rider. Part of this is likely due to the burlier wheelset that comes spec on the Saguaro, but the frame itself is certainly part of the equation. Something to keep in mind if you're worried about getting your teeth rattled - this won't be the kindest of the bunch.

Components

The components of the Saguaro feel well-chosen for the purview of the frame, with sensible and durable parts all around. This was the best Z2 fork we had on test, with every adjuster's clicks well defined and a comfortably usable range of damping. The Slate brakes felt excellent, and worked even in the heaviest rain once you built up enough heat.

As mentioned above, the WTB KOM Tough rims are possibly part of why the bike feels so stiff, but the upside to that is the durability they provide. I've ridden these rims plenty in the past, and dings and dents can be easily pulled out without compromising the overall integrity too much.

The NX drivetrain worked well over the test period, thanks in part to the better shift quality provided by the bar clamp version of SRAM's shifter. Subtle difference, but appreciable compared to the cheaper-feeling alternatives.

We're always stoked to see long travel dropper posts on bikes, especially those in the value realm. The Saguaro comes with long droppers matched to each size in the range, with the Large and XL both sporting 200mm TranzX posts.

Kenda's tire compound feels more suited to dry conditions, but the tread pattern works nicely and does a good job of balancing rolling speed and loose soil grip. The casing held up well to some stupid lines, and prevented any violent rim strikes.

Not necessarily a component, but there are some frame details worth noting on the Saguaro that may provide value to some people. Internal cable routing is a mixed bag, but when done right it can keep a bike rather quiet and clean looking. The Saguaro achieves that, with well-sorted cables that remained silent throughout the test. Another nice detail is the universal derailleur hanger, which allows easy swaps in the event of damage, and allows for installation of SRAM's Transmission drivetrains, should you really want to ball out your value hardtail.

Who's It For?

For those looking to push speeds on a hardtail, and don't mind paying for it a bit when it comes to comfort, the Saguaro may just be the right choice. The geometry provides stability at speed, and a planted feel that you don't tend to associate with hardtails. The chassis stiffness means you're more likely to get pinged off line than on some of our other options, but luckily the Z2 fork is there to help keep you tracking in the right direction. This was a fairly divisive bike amongst our test team, but if the smash-into-things approach speaks to you, it may be worth a further look.



Pros

+ Stable and composed at speed
+ Spec feels well-chosen for the purview
+ Nice frame details


Cons

- Very stiff frame
- Wants to plow, not pop


Pinkbike's Value Bikes Field Test is presented by Ride Concepts
photo


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121 Comments
  • 80 2
 How is this a good value at $2,399 USD for a nx drivetrain?
  • 34 0
 Only $71 per Lbs.
  • 31 2
 It would be a better value at the same price with an Advent x 10 speed or cheap cues drivetrain. Nx is better suited as a door jam.
  • 21 1
 @fartboy69theworshipable: be nice now, NX makes a perfectly serviceable paper weight, too.
  • 6 0
 @fartboy69theworshipable: It actually doesn't make a good door jam, ask me how I know
  • 16 15
 @DizzyNinja: I did see someone on YouTube modify his AXS derailleur to be a wireless switch to change the blade height of his lawn mower. Seems an appropriate use of SRAM wireless tech - it certainly has no place on any of my bikes.
  • 31 1
 There’s no excuse for speccing NX or SX when Deore exists. Sram killing the game elsewhere but not on the budget end.
  • 3 0
 @shredddr: NX/SX is a solid groupset option for "premium" Walmart bikes
  • 3 1
 @fartboy69theworshipable: It would be a mediocre price with X01, let alone this joke of a drivetrain
  • 4 0
 @fartboy69theworshipable: what have door jams ever done to you?!
  • 3 11
flag OneTrustMan (May 27, 2024 at 23:27) (Below Threshold)
 @fartboy69theworshipable: I don't get it. The only weak point of NX is the B-bolt which is easy to fix. Deore or SLX on the other hand get floppy literally everywhere and a cage made of red bull thin can. I don't even want to know how bad Cues is.
  • 4 2
 @OneTrustMan: Ssshhh! Don't tell them our secret! Let's keep a steady flow of SRAM gear that people rip off their new bikes and sell for peanuts.
  • 3 7
flag OneTrustMan (May 28, 2024 at 1:00) (Below Threshold)
 @MagerValp: That's the only good thing those Shimbois are good for. Love getting perfectly Sram parts for peanuts on the used market.
  • 2 1
 @shredddr: deore 5100 11 speed is the best shifting drivetrain Shimano makes at the moment, it’s a shame so many companies opt for sx/nx/deore 6100 over it
  • 3 1
 @OneTrustMan: the nx clutches last about 5 business days before they convert themselves to sx
  • 3 0
 @mi-bike: we need this in every review
  • 46 1
 Or for $500 (Canadian exchange accounted for) you can get a Norco Torrent with a Lyrik Ultimate, XT/SLX drivetrain, the same brakes, and Maxxis tires. I do understand the Norco is on sale, but it’s currently significantly better value
  • 42 1
 I MEANT $500 LESS
  • 22 6
 Or any number of full suspension bikes on sale with better spec that will ride circles around this POS... This entire test is kind of pointless
  • 8 0
 @jordancole: Dammit! I was about to open an new window and add to cart!
  • 7 0
 And steel...
  • 4 1
 Definitely a good deal. The Commencal Meta HT is cheaper as well and a much more enjoyable and capable HT.
  • 1 0
 @borski99: it’s true - the persistent sales culture makes a mockery of anything fresh selling at MSRP.
  • 6 4
 If your going Canadian.... Eff Norco and buy an RSD bike... Better quality and cheaper.
  • 2 0
 @OlSkoolJake: there are no Middlechild steel builds that are cheaper than the top spec Torrent. Torrent is on for $2800CAD with slx/xt, good wheels and a lyrik ultimate whereas $2900 PLUS shipping gets you a base model Middlechild with SRAM SX. I don’t even consider the top spec “deore d1” to be as good of a build as the Torrent and it costs $3500CAD PLUS the cost of shipping.
  • 2 0
 @Ryan2949: I own a two torrents and a RS-291... The Torrent is inferior in every.
  • 2 0
 @OlSkoolJake: I wouldn’t compare your 2017 torrent to a RS291 lol.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted a middle child v2 and had a preorder on one but the delivery date got pushed back a year and the price increased twice during my preorder plus additional fees and shipping costs got added so I backed out. Ended up with a Banshee Paradox, then a Honzo ESD.
  • 2 0
 @Ryan2949: I have 2017 and 2022 Torrent frames... I've also been a Norco brand loyalists for 46 years... I can tell you as diehard HT rider.... Torrent frames aren't even the same conversation as an RSD frame.
  • 2 0
 @OlSkoolJake: good to know! Sad I never got one now.
  • 14 1
 *DEEP BREATH* I will not buy another hard tail, I will not buy another hard tail, I will not buy another hard tail, I will not buy another hard tail, I will not buy another hard tail, I will not buy another hard tail, I will not buy another hard tail, I will not buy another hard tail...
  • 33 0
 You should buy another hardtail
  • 9 0
 You should definitely buy another hardtail
  • 5 0
 Don't not buy a hardtail
  • 3 0
 Don't do it. They're no fun at all. My banshee enigma is absolutely terrible and I totally regret it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do something completely unrelated.
  • 2 1
 I know, I know, buuuuut if you were looking to buy a hardtail, this would make the list Smile

Love the stiff frame and short chainstays.

I suspect the lack of “poppiness” is more about the setup and the rider, I know I could make it pop Wink
  • 1 0
 Shameless plug- buy my hardtail. It's a V1 Instigator!
  • 2 0
 You're suffering from delirium.... Your inner voice is lying to you..... BUY ANOTHER HARDTAIL!!!
  • 5 0
 you should buy another hardtail, not this one though
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: I used to have the current gen Banshee Paradox, Commencal Meta HT before that, Specialized Fuse before that. I loved them all, but they all beat the tar out of me and sold them all for a massive loss, but they were soooo cool and I have the bug again Frown
  • 2 0
 @dmackyaheard: I have the enigma now. Adding carbon wheels with some flex and tire inserts makes it pretty dang smooth on everything but rock gardens and big hits. Would reccomend.
  • 1 1
 do not buy another soft tail
  • 13 0
 It is not pink, it is LAVENDER
  • 5 0
 On their site it's actually listed as "Matte Mauve", so at least there's that...
  • 25 0
 My wife said pink. And if you'd ever spent a few minutes with her in the hardware store's paint aisle, you'd be well aware of just how right she is.
  • 5 0
 @SwampThAAng: I feel your pain.
  • 3 0
 Nonsense! It's cherry vanilla.
  • 10 0
 Haro has a BMX background.
  • 1 0
 Nice deep callback
  • 1 0
 @gmiller720: I wrote it before I saw the video. Had I watched first, I wouldn’t have said anything. Lame.
  • 4 0
 @TheR: haven’t watched the video, so I still think you’re cool
  • 1 0
 Had. Now they're department store bikes.
  • 1 0
 @lutetium: Really? I can’t say I follow them much. I’ve seen GTs at Dick’s and Mongoose in the department stores, but I couldn’t tell you where to find a Haro. That full suspension prototype they had on Pinkbike a couple of months ago looks like the real deal.
  • 10 1
 Wants to plow..... Anyways should have slx as minimum for that price.
  • 9 1
 frame looks crazy cheap.. on par with 300eur dartmoor. overpeiced AF these dropouts are plain ugly
  • 1 1
 You go wash your mouth young man. Cheap. It looks awesome. Admittedly, I am biased. If my Dartmoor Hornet's frame was available in pink I'd buy it in a heartbeat. That is my dream frame.
  • 4 0
 i dont understand how these 29er partials have gotten so heavy. My older Honzo steal wasn't this heavy. My Transtion GX Spur is 29.3 pounds. Crazy that it's almost 6 pounds lighter than this Haro.
  • 3 0
 Ok, little pricy, but PB say not bad. But it's a Haro. Nice they came out of the box. But, how long before they dissappear again.
  • 4 0
 The Marin San Quentin 3 with SAME specs retails for $600 LESS then this bike. That's a much better value then this Haro.
  • 3 0
 They've got full sus coming out soon, they looked quite good but I shudder to think how hefty they'll be if they can't keep a hardtail under 15kg
  • 1 0
 I do wonder how it is so heavy... I have a self built steel Marino hardtail, and they are known for making heavy ass frames. The whole build cost me around 2k, and the bike comes in at 14.5 kg with pedals and bottle cage. Exact same geo as this one, but nicer drivetrain of course Smile
  • 2 0
 @hardtailpunter: cheap parts... the industry standard for cheapo 29 wheelsets is like 2.2-2.3kg (thanks 30-35mm tough rims), plus 1.1kg tires and a big arse cassette of at least 600grs, 180mm rotors at almost 200gr each, 600grs dropper and 2.2kg or so of fork. I haven't even listed the frame and that's already more than 8kg. Add cheap durable (cheap) frame - another 3.5-4.5kg and an assortment of cheap parts.

Agreed with others that weight of bikes has gone wild. Wide rims and long geometries may have a part to play.
  • 1 0
 but the frame itself is certainly part of the equation.

I'd love to see the science on this. The total amount of vertical compression in the rear triangle of a hardtail mountain bike is something close to 1mm under maximum loading (ie flat landing a big drop). On regular riding its negligable when you take into account the ~30mm the tyres will flex, ~20mm of seatpost movement (fore-aft, but some of that is downwards due to the angle of the post), 10mm of riders shoe soles, etc etc. 1/2 psi of tyre pressure would make more difference than frame design.
  • 4 0
 No kink in this hardtail.
  • 2 0
 Anyone remember the Haro escape hardtails from the 2000's? This seems like a fitting homage to that bike. A burly do-it-all bike that'll rattle your teeth out.
  • 3 0
 Har-onzo. Not a bad thing, but also nothing unique or new. Color is great though.
  • 4 0
 Purview
  • 2 0
 is it quality control issue fox has with z2? interesting how z2 compares to pike select (this and prev generation).
  • 7 0
 And how come "This was the best Z2 fork we had on test"? Some were 130mm, this is 140, but apart from that (and offset, perhaps), why were they different @dariodigiulio?
  • 1 0
 @aug7hallak: the suspension on complete bikes is typically tuned for that model. (Tuned as in different parts inside) I believe that's more sigificant for the shock tune than forks, but I guess when the only thing you have is a fork, the tune it comes with might be more important
  • 4 0
 @tacopop: forks from Fox and RS do not have tunes for different oems. Some are tuned for E-MTB but that’s it.
  • 1 0
 @plustiresaintdead: I wanna say the Pike that comes on the Scott Spark has a tune, but i could be mistaken
  • 1 0
 @jona-mcc: definitely would be curious to see that!
  • 2 0
 Riding a stiff hardtail is like running on pavement, your joints will take a beating and you will suffer as you get older.
  • 5 3
 Says Devinci Kobain Details
  • 10 0
 I like the random photo of Sarah Moore riding the Kobain that's been chucked in half way through myself...details indeed.
  • 2 0
 @farkinoath: I wondered how Dario looked so different without glasses
  • 19 19
 Many point to Pinkbike for these tests hardtails tests. Hopefully is a good sign that motored-cycles will disappear from these pages!
  • 11 44
flag zarban (May 27, 2024 at 8:50) (Below Threshold)
 Hopefully people like you disappear from the comments as more and more people ride electric assisted bikes.
  • 2 0
 What tests??
  • 9 3
 @zarban: adverse to hardening up your effort/skillset?
It’s a meat powered hard tail - it’s supposed to be not the soft/wimpy way ya know.
  • 5 10
flag psullivan65 FL (May 27, 2024 at 9:57) (Below Threshold)
 Not a chance troll.
  • 1 1
 @NWintheUSA: Why can't you ride both? I ride a meat powered full suspension, an SL and a full power. I was only commenting on his stupid hate for e-bikes. I'm in my mid 40's and I ride all of them fast and down serious jank, in no way is that soft/wimpy. Just because you hate ebikes and like hardtails doesn't make you tough. Just a hater. I used to have a hard tail but my back says no more and you know what? I've never looked back...except at DJ bikes because those are sick.
  • 1 0
 @NWintheUSA: when we make fun of others, it’s usually because we aren’t happy with ourselves
  • 3 1
 @zarban: one can ride anything he or she wants. Get a motorcycle if effortless power is so important to you. Just don't fool yourself into believing that a motored-bicycle is a bicycle.

@Pinkbike thank you again for the hardtails! And please do not advertise or test motored-bicycles in a bicycle magazine? Start a Pinkmotorbike magazine instead!
  • 2 0
 @dododuzzi: I laugh every time I see your troll posts. My hope is it ruins your ride when you get passed by an emtb..
I would guess that at least 98% of the new mtbs being sold are made by companies that also make emtb's. So keep yelling at the clouds they're not going anywhere on the trails or on PB.
  • 1 1
 @dododuzzi: So anyone can ride what they want but if they don't ride what you deem worthy you're going to blast them with hyperbole and rude remarks? I never made a comment one way or another about it being a bicycle or not but just as you had to point out, it's a motored-bicycle, so by definition that is also a bicycle.

I'll keep fooling myself that I'm not riding "bicycles" while getting the most out of every ride, getting to ride way more often and having a blast doing it. While you go have fun being mad and fooling yourself that you're superior to everyone.
  • 1 1
 @zarban: You are missing the point. Do you want to ride a space rocket and chat about it? Fine. But go to a space rocket magazine or forum to advertise/chat about it. Don't go to a human powered flight magazine/forum site and claim that a space rocket is the same thing of free-flight device.

And besides that, what is utterly ridiculous is the idea that somehow, mostly because the engine is electric and it sounds "ecological", an e-MTB is still a bicycle. Forget about the pollution and power trains that force you to slow down on a uphill! It's kind of a fake-news joke, especially when 85-90 nM motored-bicycle with no-pedal-assist are common, and 100-120 are in the making.
  • 1 1
 @dododuzzi: What point? You're all over the place, making up stuff as you go. Pinkbike does advertise, review and talk about e-bikes. So what are you even talking about?

Here you are with more hyperbole, "with no-pedal-assist are common" "pollution and power trains" Wow, again what are you talking about? You can't ride those on trails you dunce, those are road machines and who cares what they ride for fun. You're so diluted it's beyond comprehension. Also, no ones making any claims one way or another, you're just attaching your prejudice and lack of understanding on to others. You're so mad that people like to have fun that you've turned into a gatekeeping jerk.

Either way I digress, I'm going to ride my meat powered bike today since yesterday I rode 40mi on my awesome e-bike (pedal assist Kenevo SL 30nm), I love it!
  • 2 1
 @zarban: I am glad to be diluted, although it is very hard to understand exactly what you are objecting to.

A bicycle is a human powered vehicle composed of two wheels held in a frame.

Any vehicle composed of two wheels held in a frame that is propelled by an engine is not a bicycle. And, as a corollary, it is polluting vehicle. Engines, batteries, and the energy they take, are polluting the environment.

Hopefully the motored-bicycle novelty will fade away, in the mean time be careful not to grow fat and out of shape!
  • 1 0
 @dododuzzi: get off your high horse troll boy. They're not a fad. They will continue to ruin your ride every time you get passed. Nice try. Back to your parents basement for more troll comments.
  • 1 3
 Chromag Rootdown clones, and really I don't know if anyone has built a better bike for an all-mountain. I ride a torrent, love it, but wouldn't take it over a rootdown... ESD is probably yet another one I'd entertain, but flip a coin and guess what... they're very old now relatively.
  • 4 2
 Aluminium hardtail… nah
  • 5 2
 ...Not Steel Not Real
  • 1 0
 Pink Anvil...wasn't that the name of a superhero-themed adult film someone told me about?
  • 2 0
 A volcano full of mouthwash...
  • 1 2
 I love how the vaunted non-bumblers here at PinkBike just subtly admit that they were wrong about there not being a noticeable difference in frame stiffness on hardtails. Well done guys.
  • 2 0
 Expensive and ugly as the way to work.
  • 1 0
 Why specify "mechanical grip" when talking about bikes? Its not like we are getting aero grip or anything
  • 1 0
 I meant it as knob layout vs. rubber compound - the latter could be referred to as chemical grip.
  • 1 0
 @dariodigiulio: Is this a common phrase in the bike world? Because the pertinent info about a tire compound is in fact its mechanical properties, such as durometer, damping, durability... and of course friction
  • 1 0
 Pink Beam field test on air...
  • 2 0
 pink bike
  • 5 0
 username checks out
  • 2 2
 Custom waltworks is the best hardtail ever. 150 fork, 83 mm bb, dishless rear wheel w/29*3.0’s. Sparkly green.
  • 3 0
 I think I can guess what your bike looks like.
  • 1 1
 @AndrewFleming: is that good or?
  • 1 1
 @AndrewFleming: maybe you’ve seen it or your the painter?
  • 2 0
 @Tigergoosebumps: I can read minds. And you described it in detail.
  • 1 0
 Dario DiGiulio, you have a voice like a lion yawning
  • 1 0
 Like an idling chainsaw...
  • 1 0
 I’ve never desired a bicycle less.
  • 1 4
 That's a Nuke Proof Scout with haro stickers on.......................
  • 4 0
 And completely different geo
  • 4 1
 haha. as someone who owns a scout 290, you're impressively incorrect
  • 1 1
 I haven't bothered to compare the numbers but it looks a lot like the kona honzo to me, sounds like it rides like one as well.
  • 2 5
 I got a 27 an apart from the cable routing it looks identical. Really easy for a overseas factory to adjust a jig.....
  • 3 2
 @naptime: they do look very similar, but the rear derailleur routing is different, the dropouts are different, the headtube is slightly different, and the seatstays look thicker on the Haro. So definitely not just adjusting angles on a jig.
  • 2 2
 @trellis-opportunity-red: if you say so chap
  • 2 1
 @naptime: i do. Because I'm not blind.







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