It's no secret that modern complete bikes are miles above the rigs that filled shop racks in the 80's and 90's. Weights are manageable, the geometry is generally designed to fit the rider it's targeted towards, and overall durability has increased significantly – in summation, you get a lot more for your money these days. In saying that, there has been an element of homogenization, and if you're a complete novice to the world of BMX, you either need a knowledgable salesperson to guide you towards a model that will fit your style, or you really have to do your research because if you ignore paint schemes and stickers, it won't be easy to tell what a specific model is designed for. Let's be honest – a 13 year old that's maybe watched a dozen Youtube vlogs isn't going to be able to figure out why a bike like the Kink Solace is going to feel completely different than a Fit Foster, even though the geometries of both are designed for two drastically different riding styles. Sometimes distinction is important, especially in a market filled with similarity, which is why seeing a bike like the Haro Downtown DLX is both a breath of fresh air and a throwback to a time long since passed.

Up until the dawn of the "mid-school" era, the BMX section of your local shop was likely stocked with two types of bikes – racing and freestyle. It wasn't difficult whatsoever to figure out which bike worked in which situation, as one usually had knobby tires and a single brake, while the other weighed 40lbs and had all sorts of cables, pegs and extra tubes hanging off of it. Choosing the freestyle option didn't necessarily mean you were headed straight to the deck of your local spine mini, but it did mean some extra work unbolting all of the add-ons if they weren't your thing. The late 90's introduced us to "dirt jumpers", which fit somewhere between the two options by offering a bike that looked like a beefier racer, but usually had a gyro. From there, the 4-pegged, dual-braked flat and ramp machine slowly began its descent into obsolescence. Let's not get it twisted – there are still plenty of guys rocking the freestyle setup, and gyro and brake sales are way higher than most product catalogs would leave you to believe, but the majority of that stuff is being sold to guys that have been in the game for more than a minute. The Haro Downtown DLX stays true to Haro's freestyle roots by building an inexpensive modern freestyle bike to encourage kids starting out to look beyond the brakeless street setups that are so commonly found in most shops these days. The hi-tensile steel Downtown DLX is designed with modern geometry like most bikes, but features all of the accoutrements needed to learn the basics of ramp riding and flatland, such as steel pegs at every corner, an Ende detangler, Kenda Kontact freestyle tires and u-brakes front and rear. It's also available in 2 different sizes: 19.3" and 20.3", but to further accommodate the smaller guys needing that shorter top tube, the bars on the smaller model shrink from 8.25" to 8" and the cranks are spec'd at 165mm rather than 175mm.

The Haro Downtown DLX is available now for $349.99 from Dans Comp and all Haro dealers, which is a bargain for all that you get with the bike. While running the dual brake setup might not be the most fashionable setup in 2016, for a kid just starting out, I think it's a great idea to have the option to learn as many different moves, and the DLX has the components to aid in that, especially if you're still figuring out bike control. The Downtown DLX is available in black, metallic grey and red, but if you're looking for the smaller option, it's black only for you. For more information on the Downtown DLX and all other Haro completes, head to www.harobikes.com now.