The Neon Years - 1985 and 1986.
The year's 1985 and 1986 became the boom years for the formative freestyle industry. The new sport had put down deep roots in the US, Europe, and Australia, with lines of distribution channeling a profusion of bikes, clothing, and accessories, into a global market. Inevitably, many of the BMX race and component brands recognized the shift in emphasis and began to develop their own freestyle specific products. The battle for market leadership played out in the neighborhood bike shops, and on the pages of the BMX media. In the mid-1980s, It was hard to deny this formidable new direction for BMX.
Haro's relationship with its Asian manufacturing partner was off to a productive start. The Wong's capacity to produce and assemble high volumes of the Master, Sport, and FST, along with Torker's continued output of frame and fork sets in California, enabled Haro to launch a series of promotional campaigns and equip its growing freestyle team with state-of-the-art equipment. But the sheer volume of production in 1984, coupled with Haro's ambition to stay ahead of the curve with its market-leading bike range, made 1985 another challenging year in the supply chain.
The redesign process began on October 2rd, 1984, when a prototype drawing for a new Haro Master and Sport were raised at Anlen. Bob Haro worked alongside the company’s engineers to overhaul the geometry, molds, raw material specifications, and graphic scheme, of his entire range. A prototype of the 1985 Master was produced around the same time with several new features and standards born from Haro's vision for the next chapter of the sport.
A first draft of the technical drawing featured a frame with a 65-degree seat mast angle – a significant modification from the 1984 Master which featured a corresponding 68-degree angle. This is one of a series of experiments that were aborted on the full production model, which ultimately settled at 69 degrees. The reinforcing gusset plates, located between the top tubes and behind the bottom bracket shell featured pressed-in chevron logos. This feature was also dropped for full production in favor of the small circular hole seen on the 1984 frames.
The evolution of this final geometry would set the tone with a series of upgrades to the 1985 Master and Sport. Both models now featured a completely redesigned rear triangle. Double s-bends chain stays enabled more wheel and foot clearance and fed into rear dropouts that now had standing platforms incorporated into the design. The fork received attention too, with bolt through steel standing platforms and tapered legs. The final version of the drawing, produced on March 13th of 1985, sent the 1985 Haro Master into immediate production.
The first 1985 frames seen in the BMX press were those supplied to the Team Riders. Ron Wilkerson, Brian Blyther, and Dave Nourie all received new frames in January of 1985 and during this period, the first of the 1985 adverts, 'Alone at the Top" was published in FREESTYLIN' Magazine. Dave Nourie received a Neon Green Haro Master, Blyther a Chrome Haro Sport, and Wilkerson a Blue Sport. All three frames had January serial numbers - stamped at an odd angle in the non-drive side dropout. None of the frames had brazed-on cable guides, and they all featured a primitive knurling texture on the chainstays that was more refined on the post-March production models. By February of 1985, other members of the Haro Team were riding the new '85 frames. Dennis McCoy and Mark McGlynn put the new '85 Haro FST through its paces at round 2 of the AFA Masters Contest Series held in Pleasanton, Northern California. Images of Tony Murray and Rich Sigur, albeit with 1984 decals, also emerged in the BMX press.