a Cross Country Rider
from Hendersonville N.C.
Date Reviewed: March 25, 2006
Strengths: Pedals great, climbs like a mountain goat, desends like a pro, performance of a bike costing twice the price, dealer and Ironhorse; service beyond my wildest expectations!
Weaknesses: exceeds this riders ability!!!!!(makes me want to try things a fat middle aged man has no business doing).
I love this bike!!! Alan at EPIC CYCLES in Black Mnt. N.C. was great! My 2003 hollowpoint cracked the frame which may have soured my oppinion of Ironhorse if it were'nt for how it was handled by Alan and Ironhorse.Not only did they replace it with a brand new frame a 2004. They did it quickly reducing my down time (which as we all know is the most important thing). My next bike will be a Ironhorse and it will come from Epic Cycles. If you want a great bike at a great price buy a Ironhorse.
Similar Products Used: Haro 8.3, Trek 4900,Haro V-4, 2003 Hollowpoint,.
Bike Setup: Mx pro 120mm, Lx external bearing crankset, Avid mech.,Cane Creek zonos disc rims,Sram Rocket twist shifters, Fifth element air,.
Date Reviewed: October 3, 2005
Strengths: UPDATE REVIEW - After another season on this bike I have yet to find any issues with the frame, suspension or ride. It is still rock solid, smooth and fast.
Weaknesses: Hard pressed to find anything that could be considered a weakness that can be tagged to Iron Horse. We all want a lighter bike that is also still durable (the ultimate trade-off) and as I understand, the Azure Team is just that.
I still feel strong about the workmanship and quality of this bike. It continues to ride the same, does not creak and has the same ride, rigidity and flex as it did when it was first built.
Iron Horse is still the best value in the MTB market as well as being a top performer in all categories. If you can find one, ride it and buy it - you can't go wrong.
Similar Products Used: Having taught mountain bike courses and programs this summer, I rode a variety of bikes - from bargain brand rentals to a $5,000 ti bike. My preference is still with this team bike.
Bike Setup: Have not changed significantly - new grips (WTB) and tires (Michelin Comp Light UST)
Date Reviewed: March 3, 2005
Strengths: The entire package - from frame design/workmanship, DW Link, components, and most importantly, the incredible ride. At the end of every ride, it's not the name on the downtube as much as the feeling you have and the desire to do it again.
Weaknesses: Hard pressed to identify anything as this bike has exceeded all expectations - if anything, the XT cranks should have been XTR and the tires should have been Hutchinson, but this is more of a personal preference.
I have yet to find anything comparable for dollar value. One thing to understand about the bike/sporting goods industry -if you have big advertising $'s, you tend to get all of the mags filled with your images and product testing. The key as a consumer is to get your butt on the bike and ride. As much as the name is important to some people, personally I would rather have a bike that is loaded with high end components, has a long-standing background and tradition in the bike business, has bike people who know business working in the company, cares about their workmanship/quality control and REALLY CARES about their customer base.
As for the riding characteristics, there are three main testing areas: going up, going down and going flat/undulating. Braking and accelerating happen in all areas - better components = better control/feel. With a full XTR set-up, the focus of this review moves to the performance in the three areas.
Climbing: This is where the bike and technology really excel. Aside from being an engineering feat, the DW Link makes long climbs easier by more efficiently using the energy you are putting into the pedals, cranks, frame, etc. It works as a system as opposed to a great stand-alone technology that is seen on many other bikes. Even when you pop out of the saddle, the bike still powers up slopes regardless of the rocks, roots, and other obstacles. Also a bonus - NO CHAIN SUCK.
Descending: Smooooooooooth. Keep your seat in the saddle, hold on and have fun. This bike glides better than any other I have tried. Control through corners is accurate given the stiffness of the frame - I can feel the torsional rigidity and appreciate the geometry which in turn, gives me the "feel" I am looking for while riding (similar to that of a composite hockey stick, sweet spot on a golf club/tennis racquet or the hel to toe gait cycle on a high end running shoe).
Undulating or flat terrain: I was quite surprised as I commuted to work - it feels like a heavy road bike. Smooth and tight vield better control whether it be a left, tight right, sweeping corner or rising switchback. I have never had so much confidence riding into a creekbed or off of a small drop.
Bottom line: As you may be able to tell, I really like this bike and it's technology. The Iron Horse name is gaining momentum and is a brand you should seriously consider regardless of your riding ability. Their website has a variety of models to pick from. My advice is to find a dealer and ride the bike up and down a few hills. When you are ready to buy, look at where and how often you will be riding then budget a bit more as when you ride this technology, you become better, quicker. In the long run, you will be thankful for the upgraded components and frameset...
Similar Products Used: At my age and riding backgroud - most products on the market (started riding and racing mtn-bike in the early 80's on a Kuwahara for 2 months then a Ritchey Equipe for several years, then more Ritchey's, Marin, Gary Fisher, Litespeed, etc, finally IronHorse starting three years ago). Have not looked back since...
Bike Setup: Stock except for XTR cranks, XTR cog set, replaced grips from ++ mileage and Time Ti pedals
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2005
Strengths: Components, top of the line, 5th element SPV shock, manitou minute 3 SPV forks, crossmax UST wheels
Came from a very light hardtail. First impression was the weight but knew it was heavy going in (30+ lbs compared to my 22 lb hardtail). Full suspension compared to a hardtail is no comparison. Plush, plush. Night and day difference when I minimized my spinning weight and rolling resistance. Love the bike, excellent bang/buck ratio.
Bike Setup: stock with Hutchinson python airlight tires
a Weekend Warrior
from Laguna Niguel, Calif., USA
Date Reviewed: October 6, 2004
Strengths: Value, value, value!!! All the components are top notch: Thompson seatpost & stem, SRAM X.0, MAVIC crossmax XL, 5th element, Minute 3.0. DW-link works surprisingly well. 28.5lbs for large, climbs like its lighter.
Weaknesses: The bike comes with UST wheels but the tires were tube type MAXXIS Hansventure. UST tires would be nice. Took a bit of getting used to SRAM thumb/thumb shifting. Fizik seat has left me w/numbnuts on occasion.
First off the model I'm writing about is a Hollowpoint Team not to be confused with the Hollowpoint Team RL. Team is more of a Frreride sled, RL is XC. The DW link defies the mind and I'm a mechanical engineer. This bike does not bob when hammering uphill standing! Yet the suspension goes into action over any terrain variations. Can't say the same for the Manitou Minute 3.0 fork, but it still outperforms any other fork I've tested. The fork tuning is rather trying, I still don't think its optimum. The rear on the other hand was simple to tune. Rode this bike in the 24 Hours of Adrenalin at Hurkey Creek (Sept 2004), It is definitely an all day/epic ride sled. Kudos to Ironhorse. Will report back after more time in the saddle.
Bike Setup: swapped out pedals to egg beaters and tires to FIRE XC Pro (tubes)
a Cross Country Rider
from Chandler, AZ
Date Reviewed: June 14, 2004
Strengths: Components!! Great suspension - Fox Float TALAS & AVA - Hayes Mag hyd disks, Crossmax, etc., etc.
Weaknesses: The frame - it broke just under the DW link pivot while riding thru rough stuff. I knew of the possibility of this when I bought the bike...but I was hoping that I could get more than 3 weeks of use...
Great bike for the price. I can kick but on the rough stuff. Larsen tires are OK when you get the pressures dialed in. No bob on the climbs as long as you're not in your top chain ring. Great handling in the twisty's. I hope I can get a quick turnaround on the frame replacement cause I'm gonna miss it!!! Top rating on the value based on components...but I gotta give it poor rating on the frame!
Bike Setup: Absolutely Stock...but added some Stans to take care of tire leaks.
a Cross Country Rider
from Breckenridge CO
Date Reviewed: March 15, 2004
Strengths: The DW link, it seems to be a blatent rip off of the Santa Cruz Blur but I've ridden a Blur and I'll take the DW any day. This frame is very stiff laterly. Begs to be hammered.
Weaknesses: Frame weight. Mine wighed 6lbs 9oz without a shock for a large but if you start stripping down frames and weighing them this is not out of line for a large size full suspension frame.
First off I bought this as a frame only but since their is no frame review listing hear it is. Secondly I only have about 10 hours on this bike, not long enough but it made enough of an impressoin on me to compile a review. I was ancious to get a longer travel but xc raceable bike built up this year and ended up with alot more than I expected. The DW link is amazing. It makes the basic rear shock I have on it now feel like gold. This frame has a fairly long top tube and a longer than normal chain stay lenghth. Any worries I had about climbing disapeared on the first ride however. The rear end sticks like glue and the front didn't tend to wonder or float at all. When seated the shock has a minamal amount of bob only noticed when looking at it, stand up and its a masher's dream. The rear end stays fully locked out until it hits a bumb then the rear travel soaks it up and quickly goes back to locked out. On desents the suspenions is more pro-active especially when seated. The stiffnes of the frame is aparent compared to many of the super light full suspensions out their.
Their are two suspenion setting and Iron Horse claims these at 3.7 and 4.5 in. It may just be the ad 5 rear shock but both setting feel like a lot more. After the first ride I switched to the lower setting to get the bb highth down and for most xc trails the higher setting is overkill. The welds look like most Tiwan welds do these days(disgustingly good)and the paint job looks alot beeter than the 03 modles that I have seen.
Consider this bike if, You are looking for a longer travel xc bike than you have now and prefer to be out of the sadle when you lay down the power. Defintaly xc raceable on the sport lever and feels like a heavy hard tail as far as climbing and tracking go. Or, if your are looking for the modern day dream bike that can climb, desend and take a beating all at an afordable price. Consider something else if, You are a pure xc racer who is moving up from a hard tail. Or if you have a hard time riding and "Iron Horse"
So Iron Horse's Hollowpoint RL Expert has popped to the top of my list to replace my HT. I'm definitely a cross-country rider and like the 4 or so inches of travel the RL has. I've ridden a SC superlight just up and down the road and really liked it, but the price, OUCH! The only other bike I'm s ... Read More »