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I own a Lithium, never ridden the DW linked Iron Horses. The DW link is supposedly pretty impressive. I can tell you that my Lithium (3.0 model), while decent for the type of riding I use it for, is probably not the most pedal-efficient design. Mine has a Vanilla rear coil, nice and sturdy. The bike really needs a platform shock, which I believe the higher end Lithiums come with. if you can get an '05 Lithium I'd say go for it if you want to save $$. I put a Vanilla R on the front and the bike can really take a beating.
 

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I'll be the first to admit that DW-Link bikes, specifically the IH MKIII you mentioned, have more sophisticated suspension than the Lithium design. This can be felt most clearly when accelerating, when the anti-squat built into the DW design counteracts the rider's weight shift backwards.

The current Lithium bikes are built so that an average rider can realize good suspension performance with a minimum of initial adjustment and low maintenance in the long-term. The MKIII works best for a more sophisticated rider that is willing to spend more time tweaking the initial set-up and keeping the bearings tight and smooth to benefit from the higher level of performance.

That's my opinion made reasonably simple. If you haven't already, you might want to cross-post this question in the Iron Horse forum, as DW himself has experience with both bikes, and may be able to shed more light on the differences.

Cheers,
T.K. Malone
K2 Bike
 

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Fun question--The son (18 years old) of one of my riding buddies has been riding a lithium 4.0 for almost three years now. He's a very strong xc and freerider and has taken that bike on 40 mile rugged epics and regularly jumps the heck out of it with no complaints.

The MKIII are also popular in our group but everyone who bought one...to a man has had significan bushing play rear pivot slop issues--all like their bikes in spite of this and most have rectified the problem-but honestly, it's goes along the idea the more complex a system is the more maintenance and nettlesome issues it will have.

In addition, having ridden both-I can say that the lithium is the best climbing 5 inch travel dualie I've ever ridden. I don't know what it is about K2 designs, but the razorback, lithium and now the Apache all climb wonderfully. That's a big trait in a mountain bike if you ask me.

Everyone seems to like Iron Horse the company (same guys running K2 bikes as well!).

Both good bikes-at the 1300-1800 trim line I'd go with the lithium.

If you have the money-wait till next season (when they ditch the now defunct Progressive bike shocks in favor of fox) and go with the very well appointed MK111 expert line. Man I wish K2 would spec the lithium with the upperl evel pike or at least the revelation--I never ever liked the Black.

I'd by the lowest trim line of either bike over the slinky-dog bike that those not to cleverly disguised shills for Sports Authority are hawking in the other thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow,
so you think the K2 lithium's climb better than the Iron Horse MKIII? :thumbsup: And the fact that the K2 lithium's have less problems than the Iron Horse MKIII's pretty much sold me on a K2 lithium...I'd prefer to get something used to save money and use that cash to upgrade the rear shock :). What are the good years to get?
 

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I'm not sure of the design changes year to year--I Know that my LBS stills has a few closeout/ demo model lithium 4.0's that they'll sell for 1000-1100.

If I were to buy the Lithium 4.0 I wouldn't upgrade the rear shock at all (the swinger 3 way is pretty solid in this application--one of the more reliable manitou suspension pieces too).

I would ditch the Black Fork for a Fox Vanilla RLC or something along those lines (RS Revelation, Marzocchi all-mountain, etc). And I'd consider better wheels if I had the coin (though-the wheelsets offered are appropriate to the price point and there's nothing wrong with them--it's just where I'd spend money if I had it!). 2005-2006 I'm sure is good--pretty straight forward time tested design all-around, though.

The now defunct Lithium 5.0 had a really nice part spec--rang in at 28.5 pounds--which is great for a bike like this--worth looking to see if you can find it.

Liam
 

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dejacky said:
a semi-local bike shop offered me 2006 Lithium 3.0 with a free pump for ~$870 after tax. Is this good? :confused:
Yes, that's a very fair price for a capable bike with hydraulic hayes brakes, strong wheels, solid upper level sram compnentry-nice fork.

The only upgrade to consider--and really the only advantage of the 4.0 over the 3.0 is arear shock with some sort of platform dampening. (the 2006 Lithium has a rock shock MC 3.1-older models had the swinger 3 way, lot of people like the Fox RP3---all good shocks). At this price-that technology just won't be available OEM----and it's not critical either (I have a nice new bike and I use a decidedly 'old fashioned' non SPV/ Platform Dampening Cane Creek shock--and I love it!). But, at 5 inches of travel, especially with this suspension design, the pedal bob reducing abilities of an SPV style shock are a nice bonus. Just something to consider down the road.

Though-as is-the Lithium 3.0 is a very capable, fun, rugged trail bike--figuring that a new floor pump is 40 bucks, the after tax price of $870 for bike and pump is very hard to beat! And, if you like the feel of your local shop--buying from them has a value as well!

Have fun--in about 3 weeks the best two months of riding begins everywhere in the USA (Bugs go bye bye, air gets drier-still get the long days...ah-August through october is the season for a new bike!)
 

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I Cant beat that deal, I traded out Two Very Nice Windsurfing Boards that I had not used in a year for a Bike. The bikes got alot of use and those older board would have just sit until I could find a buyer.
 

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I got an 06 Lithium 4.0, is my first full suspension bike and I love it. This one came with a RockShox MC 3.3 (the 3.1 seal wasn't holding air when the LBS assembled it so they swapped it for a 3.3 b/c that's what RS sent back under warranty). It took me a lot of time reading on here how to tune my rear suspension but it was well worth it. Having had a Trek hard tail, I can tell you the K2's build quality is every bit as good as the Trek.
 
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