Friday, June 30, 2006 11.00pm
Freelance designer Dave Weagle has really shaken things up at Iron Horse mostly due to his innovative DW linkage. The 06 range includes bikes for almost every type of mountain biking. We got rolling on the MKIII Comp - a 130mm (5in) travel do-everything trail bike and the second cheapest in the four-bike MKIII family.
6069 alu tubing is custom butted to ensure high strength and low weight. Twin gussets reinforce the junction where the top and down tubes meet the short head tube, while a short strut reinforces the extended seat tube. A CNC'd cradle at the bottom bracket junction makes the shock mount stronger and more durable.
The MKIII looks like a linkage-activated single pivot design but you'll see another small linkage tucked behind the bottom bracket - the DW-Link. This effectively eliminates feedback and improves pedal performance mechanically (through the frame) rather than relying on a platform rear shock.
A RockShox Revelation 409 airsprung fork and Manitou Radium R rear shock deliver a balanced ride that's easy to tune. The SRAM X7 transmission is chunky and faultless. Truvativ supply a sturdy 22/33/44-tooth FireX Giga X Pipe crankset and the pedals are excellent Candy C models from Crank Brothers.
The DT X455 rims are reliable especially when shod with surefooted 2.35in WTB Weirwolf tyres. The Hayes HFX-9 XC brakes aren't super light but they do bite hard and are consistent. The net result is a totally dependable ride, whatever the terrain throws up.
This bike attacks tight wooded corners with a surety that makes you wanna hit the next corner a little bit harder still. The RockShox Revelation fork saved our bacon time and again. A longer top tube or slacker head tube might also have helped.
Climbing on the MKIII Comp is straightforward - just sit and spin - and it loves rooty 'nose of the saddle' ascents. Having said that, the bike does lack the kind of killer acceleration punch (of, say, the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR) that would make you want to pin on a race number. But if you want a strong, steady 130mm travel play bike, it's a top option.
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