CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — Bob Haro, entrepreneur and founding father of the freestyle BMX movement, is celebrating the first bike he made 30 years ago with 540 limited edition “540” freestyle bikes that will be available in September on the website of his new IKONIX label. “IKONIX will be an iteration of the original bike, integrating technology to meet the needs of today’s hot, young riders,” he said, adding that the product line will include freestyle BMX bikes, racing bikes and BMX parts, accessories and apparel.
“We are working with young riders who can give us input on the product,” he explained. “It is a definitely a collaborative brand that harnesses creative knowledge and expertise. The products are designed at my office in Cardiff and engineered and prototyped in San Diego. My goal is to make as many of them in the United States, preferably Southern California, because it’s the right thing to do.”
Mark Deadrick, president and chief engineer of 3dyn, LLC, is a longtime friend who is leading the design engineering. Deadrick has been into BMX, and a fan of Haro’s, since the 1970s when he worked as a bike mechanic before studying engineering.
“After the 2008 Olympics we started toying with the idea of a new bicycle line,” he recalled. “In 2009 we discussed what we would do if we designed a line of bicycles and how we could bring more value to the brand than those that are manufactured in China and Taiwan. My experience is in aerospace, so we talked about what we could design for an ultra-premium bicycle.”
Deadrick plans to use chro-moly steel for the freestyle BMX bicycle.
“It will have some hints of the original brand with new technology and advanced materials and geometry more appropriate for today’s style of riding,” he said. “Back then, bikes were more ground based. These days riders use the urban landscape to jump off park benches and slide down rails.
“The carbon fiber used in the racing bicycle is the biggest development,” he added. “I’ve been working with advanced materials in aviation and aerospace and can do the same for BMX bicycles. It will make bicycles lighter, stronger and more efficient.”
Haro’s signature cartoon illustrations will also be incorporated into the design for fun.
Joining Haro and Deadrick is industrial designer Luke Jenkins who worked closely with Haro on his design for the IKONIX race bike that debuted in London during the 2012 Olympics. Collaborating with Haro on apparel design and development is artist, musician and singer Nena Andersen, who previously worked for Electra Bikes and Red Sand Clothing in Encinitas.
Haro was 16 when he created freestyle BMX in the 1970s after he and some buddies threw their bikes over a fence one night and snuck into a skateboard park. Soon, Haro began to build portable ramps he used to perform demos at county fairs, shopping centers and schools. By 19, he began producing freestyle BMX exhibitions around the United States as well as Europe, New Zealand and Australia. By the age of 20, accessories he began making for the BMX market would eventually generate millions of dollars over the span of his career.
Haro admits to being caught off guard in 1982 when he was approached to be a stunt rider in the BMX chase scene in “a little film” titled, “ET: The Extraterrestrial.”
“They said the movie was called ‘A Boy’s Life’ and that they’d pay me $50,” he recalled. “I thought $50? I asked for $350 and they gave it to me. When I got the check I saw that they added another $100.”
In 1986, Haro expanded his accessory business and created Haro Bicycles which subsequently merged with West Coast Cycle. He sold his interest in 1993 and immersed himself in Harodesign, a design and advertising agency specializing in the power sports market where he works with leading motorcycle race teams, race tracks and action sports companies.
Haro has participated in the last two Olympics. At the 2008 games in China, Nike contracted him to design apparel for the U.S. BMX team. Last year in London, artistic director Danny Boyle recruited Haro to serve as choreographer of the opening ceremonies.
For more information, including investment opportunities, visit harodesigngroup.com.