Iron Horse Azure Expert XC Full Suspension

-Manitou Skareb Super Air SPV fork
-Progressive 5th Element Air shock
-Shimano Deore XT derailleur, brakes, and dual control shifters
-Truvativ Stylo Team GigaX cranks
-Crank Bros Eggbeater clipless
-WTB Laserdisc Lite hubs w/DT Competition spokes & Mavic XC317 Disc rims

User Reviews (16)

Showing 1-10 of 16  
Branton   [Dec 17, 2012]
Strength:

Long, steady climbs and steep, short climbs are no problem in this. Light and flick-able, weaves through tight trees at dangerous speeds without a problem. Pedals very efficiently in cross-country sections.

Weakness:

Light weight means that big roots or rocks can upset it when you're descending quickly, but it's agile enough to get around them with ease.

This is my first full-suspension bike, so I don't have anything to directly compare it to, but this bike is great. Admittedly, the one I got has almost nothing stock, but the frame works very well. Mine has SRAM X-9 mech, X-0 shifters, a modified Rockshox Reba fork, ario 3 shock, Truvativ carbon cranks, and a narrow carbon Easton handlebar. With all the upgrades, the ride is great. The DW link suspension pedals really efficiently, XC guys on hardtails had to push hard to try and catch me on the open climbing sections, but I could really pull away on the downhills. This bike pumps through turns really well, and I leaned to preposterous angles that I didn't think were possible. This bike has made technical trails I used to loathe into some of the most fun times of my life.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Adam Capel   Racer [Jan 13, 2012]
Strength:

Great frame, had many, but I love this one. It is solid on descents.
To do over, I'd get a hardtail version of Azure.

Weakness:

Don't necessarily like the rear suspension. Too soft.

Love the frame.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Brandon   Cross Country Rider [Jul 18, 2011]
Strength:

- Excellent suspension by DW-Link
- Good component set
- Good price

Weakness:

The frame only accommodates somewhat narrower rear tires. It hasn't bothered me but it was one of the first things I noticed.

The only complaint I had about this bike was actually a complaint about the Shimano shifters. Every indexing shifter I've had since I was a kid was made by Shimano so I always thought finicky was just the nature of the beast. I couldn't be happier with the SRAM X.9's though. I almost wish I had bought the less expensive 2008 model, which came with SRAM shifters but it also came with RockShox instead of Fox.

Similar Products Used: I used to have the competition ("comp") model Iron Horse "Warrior" hardtail.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
globalfish   Cross Country Rider [Oct 23, 2009]
Strength:

Agile yet with more strength than pure XC racers. Climbs well but maestro end on my giant is as good in my opinion. DT wheelset is good.

Weakness:

Tyre clearance! in UK winter conditions I can see this is gonna be fun. Cheap crankset lets it down. X9 rear mech looks very vunerable - may swap over to full XT. Reba SL's are horrid compared to my FOX TALAS X forks. Little stick devoured my mech.hanger like it was cheese :-(

As it's not an all out racer i don't understand such a severe lack of tyre clearance. To be able to comfortably run 2.1/2.2's would have been nice. With a set of Spesh Fast Trak 2.0 on, I have approx 5mm of clearance. Swapped these out for Panaracer Fire XC Pro 1.8's but it's a bit like riding on a knife edge. Will hopefully improve as the mud comes back.
It's a very responsive bike and I'm sure as time goes by, I'll love it even more. Happy so far in the short time I've used it.

Similar Products Used: Boardman Comp. HT, Giant trance
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Matt   Cross Country Rider [Jan 07, 2009]
Strength:

Lighter than a Fisher HIFI. Great at everything I do.

Weakness:

I had an issue when it wouldnt stay in gear and it worked great for a while before this. needed to take it back to the shop several times to get it fixed. Tire clearence, the biggest tires you can use are without rubbing are 1.95s

GREAT BIKE!!!

Similar Products Used: Ironhorse Mavrick hardtail.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
billiebob   Weekend Warrior [Jul 26, 2008]
Strength:

Great suspension, climbs very well. I have had no trouble with the 5th element shock, nor do I have to add air. The brakes are great and the pads are lasting me a while. I've wrecked pretty badly (including 2 ER trips) and have yet to damage anything on the bike except a derailleur hanger.

Weakness:

Requires narrow tires, I think 1.95 or 2". Maybe you can squeeze in a little wider, but then you will rub the frame a bit.

The Skareb front shock bobs badly. I really wish it had a lockout for long smooth uphills

Front derailleur mashed the frame in EVERY position until I replaced it.


I would buy this bike again, though I would much rather have paid $1400 rather than 2K. I had no idea it would get that cheap.

It wasn't so easy getting the suspension dialed.

I had a lot of trouble with pinch flats with the stock mavic rims and light tires and tubes. I replaced the tubes with super thick slime filled units and haven't had a problem since, though this added several lbs to the already heavy bike.

Similar Products Used: FSR
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
clads01   [Jan 17, 2007]
Strength:

Climbs like no other bike I've ridden; same or better performance for less $$$ compared to other "sexier" or boutique brands; dw-link the best suspension design that no one knows/talks about.

Weakness:

A little heavy compared to the lightest frames in the class; front derailleur must be adjusted just perfectly to prevent hitting the chainstay.

I've got the 2006 Azure Expert. Incredible build kit; no need to upgrade anything. The dw-link suspension is amazing -- especially efficient at climbing, during which the rear wheel articulates over all the bumps so you can maintain traction and control. Sure, platform shocks are a great technology, but it's much better when the suspension is designed such that it can remain active at all times. I sometimes wish I had a bit more travel on the downhills, but I don't do jumps and need all the help I can on the climbs, so the lighter Azure was a better choice than the MkIII for me. Don't let the hype over other suspension designs fool you -- give a dw-link bike a test ride and decide for yourself!

Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Blur LT
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Kary   Cross Country Rider [Jan 02, 2007]
Strength:

Climbs great. Suspension is active with almost no bob. Very stable.

Weakness:

Limited rear tire clearance.

I absolutely love this bike. Since I got it in October I have been riding this 3 to 4 times a week. I came from a Bontrager TiLite and had a hard time finding a FS bike that climbs as well as the Bonrager. The Azure comes close but is a much better descender than the Bonty. I test rode every bike I could get a hold of and liked the Azure the best. I find myself wanting to ride it every chance I can. At the clearance prices for the 2005s the bike is a steal. It is perfect for an XC rider. It handles beatifully in the tight northeast singletrack. I never considered an Iron Horse but test rode it at a festival and am glad I did. I highly reccommend it.

Similar Products Used: lots
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Robert Hixson   Cross Country Rider [May 26, 2007]
Strength:

total package is quality, all very good parts. No awesome parts mixed with garbage parts. I love the shimano hydraulic disc brakes and the pedaling efficiency.

Weakness:

Instructions on setting up rear shock are not as extensive or precise as I would have liked, but I found better info on the web, and some experimentation is needed to tweak it to my liking.

What a difference from my schwinn, although it saw many years and miles. I love the geometry and the pedaling efficiency, tires, grips, brakes, suspension, seat, eggbeater pedals, and almost everything else, except that it is a mother to get on my hitch mounted bike rack. That is a small price to pay i guess. I couldn't find anything close to this value for the money. I almost bought the 2006 model, but I'm glad I bought the 2005 and saved the difference of $300. I rode it in a rocky trail 24 hour race the week after i got it and i loved the comfort and the toughness. I would buy it again if I had to do it all over again.

Similar Products Used: Tried a friends titus racer x (very nice)but i cant afford his bike/setup and tested a gt idrive 5.0, but it was too mushy for me. Was riding a schwinn moab hardtail for years.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Patrick   [Apr 11, 2007]
Strength:

great ride, climbs awesome, high quality components, DW Link

Weakness:

I guess it could be a little lighter

DW is awesome!!! I liked it so much better than the other bikes i tried. All I know is that I don't want to continually be reaching down to lock out my rear shock for uphills. The bike is soft when you need it but doesn't bob up/down constantly while peddaling hard. Fantastic bike with top notch components, and I was able to get a price match at a ludacris price. Buy it now!!!!

Similar Products Used: FSR, Yeti Enduro, Rocky Mountain ELement, too many to list
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 16  

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