10/19/2008

Heartland Love




It's not all that often that people take the time to review a comfort bike, so I was nonetheless intrigued when my co-worker Tim "Masi Guy" Jackson, forwarded me a review that somebody wrote about their Haro Heartland Express LE.


The post came from a blog simply called "Jon's Bicycle Blog"...so I would assume the owner of the Heartland Express LE is named Jon. Jon's relationship with his Heartland Express LE started when he decided he needed what he described as a "Florida Bike": a bike he could do decent mileage on, was zippy, and was comfortable. Based on his love for his Masi Gran Corsa, Jon decided to check out what Haro had to offer (for those of you who don't know, Haro and Masi are "sister" brands...we share the same ownership and same building). After doing his research, Jon headed to one of our dealers called The Energy Conservatory where he purchased his Heartland Express LE.


Jon goes on to describe his first ride about his Heartland. He set out for a quick 10-mile ride without any water, tools, or tubes. As he headed down the Pinellas County Trail, he soon discovered that he was doing more than just cruising along on his new comfort hybrid, we was flying along at 20 mph. As he continued along at his brisk clip, thoughts about being "deceived" by his perception of his Masi road bike entered his head. Never in his wildest dreams did he think he'd be able to pedal so smoothly, quickly, and comfortably on a comfort bike. He pedaled onward until he realized that it would be getting dark soon, so he reluctantly turned around and pedaled home, basking in the "I love my new bike" glow.


At the time he wrote the review, Jon had put on over 500 miles on his Heartland Express LE. In his own words, Jon says, "And I still love the bike. 500+ miles later, it’s my weapon of choice here in Dunedin. It’s not comparable to the Masi, but that’s not its purpose. I can roll out, do 20 miles, and roll home, or roll into work and back. Or just pick up groceries, or toss a tent in the saddlebags and head out to camp".


I couldn't have said it better myself.


It's great to hear feedback this good about a bike that we put a lot of effort in "getting right". Since the comfort category represents a large chunk of Haro's business, we really wanted to make sure the new Heartland series was spot on. We looked at lots of different comfort bikes and examined what other manufacturers were doing right and what they were doing wrong. We looked for ways to improve the common comfort bike. In fact, we even went as far as purchasing a very popular comfort hybrid that one of our competitors makes just so we could analyze how it rode. The brand will remain nameless, but underneath the flashy looks and big brand name was a bike that had such poor handling, it's a wonder anyone buys them.


Once we had done all of our homework, product managers Pat Crosby and Wayne Doran set off to make what we feel are the best darn comfort bikes on the market. Here are just a few of the things that make Heartlands superior:


  • We steepened up the head angle so the rider wouldn't feel the dreadful "wheel flop" our competitor's bike had.

  • We got the seat angle right...it's just slack enough to be easy on your back, but not so slack to where you can't pedal efficiently. The super-slack seat angles that some of our competitors use that put your feet too far in front of you just isn't efficient. Once you start to pedal up any sort of an incline, you'll see why.

  • We welded the seat stays higher up on the seat tube; this provides a better platform to mount racks and child carriers. We noticed many of our competitor's bikes welded their stays too low on the seat tube, making rack mounting difficult or impossible.

  • We added extra water bottle cage mounting holes: 2 pairs on both the standard and step-thru frames. Having an extra mount is nice if you want to mount an extra bottle for longer rides, lighting system, or a tire pump.

  • We use sealed bottom brackets and cassette rear hubs for longer life and less maintenance.

  • We use nice tall bars to put you in a comfortable, upright riding position.

  • And above all, we use the most comfortable seats and grips we can find.


I could go on and on, but I'll stop there. I guess one of the points I'm trying to make is we're not all that surprised that Jon loves his Heartland Express...a whole lot of "love" went into making those bikes.


Happy trails, ya'll...



Jon's Heartland Express LE

(Ex Post from Bike Biz Babe)