During the late '80s, Haro sponsored some of the top flatland riders in the world, including Dennis McCoy, Dave Nourie, Joe Gruttola and Rick Moliterno. The bike they rode, the Haro Master, was the go-to flatland vessel for many riders at the time. (For all intents and purposes, most flatland riders at the time went one of two ways: the Haro Master or the GT Pro Freestyle Tour.)
As the BMX economic bubble broke in 1991, Haro lost the majority of its top pro flatland riders, but brought in new names to ride the Master, which had morphed into a new design called the "Ground Master." Riders such as Danny Meng and Bill Nitschke endorsed the frame for Haro, and it eventually found its way to a budding flatland rider from Green Bay, Wisconsin named Chad Degroot.
Within a few years, Haro's attention to flatland waned as they sponsored Dave Mirra and Ryan Nyquist and entered into a period of overbuilt frame technology. Suddenly, the Haro Master was no more, replaced by the Blammo and the Backtrail. But then, Haro added another rider to the team: Chad Degroot, whom had recently left Standard.
Haro brought back the Master for Degroot and UK team rider Effraim Catlow. Though overbuilt and no longer sporting a double top tube, the Degroot-ized Master featured a small standing platform and a gusseted front triangle for increased foot room. Degroot and Catlow remained on Haro through the early '00s, but eventually moved on. The Master ceased to exist, and with it, Haro's flatland program.
That ended earlier today, when Haro announced the addition of French world champion flatland rider Matthias Dandois to their team. Though Dandois has recently expanded his repertoire to include street and park riding, Dandois' rise started with flatland. And his command of the bike is second to none in the current realm of flatland.
"Haro is a legendary brand that gave so much for freestyle," said Dandois. "My riding has been changing a lot this past year -- I try to ride a little bit of everything now so I needed a frame that actually fit my riding. The Haro SD V2 (Dennis Enarson's signature frame) is perfect for me. I can ride flat, street and park with it. I've already had a couple of sessions on it and it feels amazing."
Though it's too early to say whether or not Haro will bring back the Master for Dandois, it is remarkable to see Haro back in the flatland game. And if anyone at the Haro offices happens to find a 1991 ground Master laying in a dusty old corner, there is an editor at the X Games office that would pay dearly for it.