Iron Horse MKIII review

Galloping trail ride

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £1,759.99 RRP | USD $2,775.00

Our review

The MKIII has great baseline suspension but the fork, frame flex and cockpit fail to capitalise on it
Skip to view product specifications

The MKIII has been around for a while now. While it’s a decent mid-weight trail bike, steering twitch and frame flex take their toll when the going gets fast and loose.

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Ride & handling: Well balanced suspension, but flexy chassis doesn’t make the most of it

The MKIII is on par with the competition in weight terms for its price and travel, and the WTB tyres roll well enough to give it a reasonably rapid feel on less testing trails.

The dw-link suspension gives excellent pedalling manners so you won’t be unduly worried when the trail heads upwards, and it’ll suck up bigger blocks and drops and come out of corners quick enough to make it fun on flatter, faster singletrack too.

However, you’d be forgiven for not realising this bike comes from a family that’s a pretty big deal in downhill riding. The narrow handlebar, overly steep frame angle and noticeable frame flex create a twitchy ride that struggles to hold a stable line in rocky, slippery or off-camber situations.

At a price where most competitors are fitting Fox forks, the RockShox forks are less smooth and composed in the face of fast and frequent step-downs and impacts.

The MKIII is a responsive, enjoyable ride on climbs and less technical trails but the fork, frame flex and restricted narrow bar control count against it on descents.

The dw link rear is well balanced, but the fl exy chassis doesn’t make the most of it: the dw link rear is well balanced, but the fl exy chassis doesn’t make the most of it
Seb Rogers

Frame: Burgundy beast lacks the stiffness of Iron Horse’s burlier steeds

While the triangulated top tube/extended seat tube top line is all straight stuff, the slim down tube gets a contemporary hydroformed S-curve.

More skinny tubes and shaped sections create the markedly asymmetric rear subframe, with its cantilevered driveside dropout and hooped brace. Bolted brace upper linkages and smaller lower linkages create the dw-link suspension architecture.

The rear-facing seat slot and restricted seat drop are practical flaws, but the back end is less prone to mud clogging than it looks like it should be, cable/hose routing is neat and you get a conventional bottle position.

Equipment: Overall a pretty decent spec, but we’d swap the handlebar for a wider one

Iron Horse can’t compete with the big brands on kit, but apart from the fork there are few weak links in the MKIII menu.

SRAM transmission works well and the Hayes brakes are powerful if not very communicative. The polished WTB wheels haven’t got the best longevity rep but they look superbad, and the fat but fast rolling Wolverine tyres are great trail centre rubber.

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That narrow handlebar really has to go though, and lock-on grips would be a definite dirty weather bonus.

Wolverine tyres don’t claw up more traction but they do run fast: wolverine tyres don’t claw up more traction but they do run fast
Seb Rogers

Product Specifications

Product

Name MKIII Comp X (09)
Brand Iron Horse

Available Sizes 15 Inches 17 Inches 19 Inches 21 Inches
Rims WTB Lazer Disc XC
Top Tube (in) 22.5
Standover Height (in) 28.4
Seat Tube (in) 17
Chainstays (in) 16.9
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 13.2
Weight (lb) 28.7
Year 2009
Stem FSA
Shifters SRAM X.7
Saddle WTB Silverado Comp saddle
Rear Shock Fox Float R 125mm
Bottom Bracket Truvativ Giga Pipe
Rear Hub WTB Lazer Disc XC
Rear Derailleur SRAM X9
Handlebar FSA
Front Hub WTB Lazer Disc XC
Front Derailleur SRAM X7
Frame Material DW-Link Trail alu
Fork Rock Shox Revalation Solo Air 140mm
Cranks Truvativ Fire X 3.3
Cassette SRAM PG-970 11-34T 9 Spd
Brakes Hayes Stroker Trail
Wheelbase (in) 42.8