Iron Horse are synonymous with breeding pedigree race bikes for the likes of Sam Hill and our very own Brendan Fairclough, and have won more races than you’ve had hot breakfasts. But how does their latest entry-level rig shape up?
Ride & handling: everything a gravity newbie needs
This is not a light bike. At well over 18kg (40lb) and wearing the massive, super sticky Intense 909 FRO rubber, rolling about on it can be a bit of a mission. Point it down a hill though, and the horse lifts its feet like a proper thoroughbred.
The single pivot back-end and supple front mean you don’t get an elaborate suspension path or zero pedal feedback, but what you do get is a bike that eats up anything you huck it at.
Although those tyres and the weight mean that the horse carries its speed pretty well through turns, getting it back out of them again can take a little bit of effort, but it’s never really enough to diminish how much fun you’re having.
This is a straight-up, simple bike that has everything a gravity newbie needs. For the money, it provides more than enough travel to let you get away with murder and a spec that’ll grow with you as you progress.
Frame: no missing fingers
The Yakuza is named after the Japanese maﬁa, who are known for being a bit tough, and this frame is no different.
There are no fancy DW-Links (although the CPS system was designed by the aforementioned system’s designer Dave Weagle) or complicated suspension paths – this is a simple, tough as hell single pivot.
It gets sealed bearings and a whopping 7in (180mm) of travel. All the angles feel spot-on, our 19in (large) felt plenty long with a wheelbase of just over 44in. You also get a 1.5in head tube and a replaceable derailleur hanger.
Equipment: workaday good value
The key to the Yakuza is its build. What you have here is a bike that features all you need to go fast. There aren’t many bells or whistles in terms of ﬂash parts or trinkets but everything on here works and offers good value.
On a bike like the Ojiki you want the money spent on the frame, shocks and wheels. These are usually the ﬁrst things to go on cheaper steeds and the most expensive to replace. With the Yakuza you get a Fox Van R shock out back and a Marzocchi 55R fork in front – both are super strong and offer reliable, plush and adjustable travel.
Wheels-wise, the WTB rims and unbranded hubs stood up to loads of angry man abuse and are wrapped in tractor-sized Intense 909 FRO rubber.
SRAM shifting (although only X-5) works well out of the box but becomes more plasticy as time goes on – it’s worth upgrading as the rider improves.
High rise bars mightn’t be to everyone’s taste but are strong as an ox and come with a nice width and sweep.