Test Ride Review: Haro Shift Plus 27.5+ Trail Bike

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Haro’s 2016 MTB line is looking more full than ever and at the high end, the brand is offering a full suspension 27.5+ trail bike called the Shift Plus. I took the bike for a brief spin around the trails at Bootleg Canyon last week, and here’s what I learned.

The Bike

The Shift is Haro’s full suspension mountain bike group, and all builds feature alloy frames built around the 27.5″ wheel size. Only the Shift Plus is designed with plus-size wheels in mind, and it sports more travel (130mm) than any of the other Shift models. Haro also notes that the Shift Plus can run standard 29er wheels.

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This four-bar linkage system utilizes a RockShox Monarch RL Solo Air shock and is paired with a 120mm RockShox Reba suspension fork up front. I find it a little strange that this bike offers more travel in the rear than in the front (see my review of the excellent Turner Sultan 27.5+), though fortunately it’s not a huge gap between 120mm and 130mm.

The drivetrain on the Haro Shift Plus is interesting as well: it’s a 1×11 setup with a 30T FSA crank and the new Shimano XT 11spd cassette and rear derailleur. I would have expected (and preferred) to see a 32T crank on a plus-size trail bike; the 30T crank seems just a little dumbed down to me. Shimano SLX hydros are on braking duty, and the wheels are WTB Scrapers with Trailblazer 2.8″ tires.

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Now, the Scraper/Trailblazer combo is a favorite for 29er conversion builds (like my own), so I was curious to see just how much (or how little) tire clearance the Shift Plus chainstays offered. It turns out, not a lot, though I can’t say for sure how little. I suspect this bike could have started out as a FS 29er that was (smartly) repurposed as a 27.5+ rig. The rear triangle is Boost 148, though, which is great for future compatibility with potentially larger wheels.

On the Trail

The Haro Shift Plus climbed well enough: while the suspension platform seemed to be fairly efficient, the bike itself felt a bit heavy and sluggish. At $2,610 MSRP, clearly this isn’t going to be the lightest or most capable build, but it still felt as if something was missing.

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One thing that is definitely missing on this bike is a dropper seat post. With 130mm of rear travel and wide tires, the Shift Plus is begging to rip descents–but not with asses hanging high in the air!

In the end, the Shift Plus descended almost as unremarkably as it climbed. If you’re coming from a non-plus-size bike, you’ll love how this bike rolls over rocks and smooths out tech sections. But if you’re already enjoying the plus-size Kool-Aid, you might be a little disappointed with the Shift Plus.

I get where Haro is trying to go with the Shift Plus, but I think this bike misses the mark in a few ways. By tweaking some of the component choices, balancing the suspension, and carving out room for even wider 27.5 tires, I suspect the Shift Plus can be a real standout in Haro’s MTB line.

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