Iron Horse 7Point7 Review

Mar 11, 2005
by Luc 'Acadian' Albert  
The Iron Horse 7Point series bikes all share a common custom butted frame based on the proven DW linkage, formerly only available on the Hollowpoint. Many Hollowpoint fans have been asking for a burly longer travel frame to handle light DH and Freeride trails, and Iron Horse has delivered.

The frame’s butted and tapered diameter tubes are bent in beautiful arcing lines. The OnePointFive headtube has additional gussets to ensure that the frame can take all the punishment that you can dish out. The welds are great, and everything is top quality, including the forged linkage pieces…. another plus.


I can’t speak for the 7Point5 and 7Point3, as I haven’t seen them in person, but another thing that struck me about the 7Point7 was the beautiful paint job. From the pictures I had seen on the Internet, it looked like a standard black powder coating. Once I saw it in person, I immediately noticed that there were metallic flakes in the paint, just like the upgraded paintjobs available on many of today’s cars. In direct sunlight, the paint seems to almost shimmer a bit.


As far as the geometry, as expected, it was right in between that of a DH bike and a trail bike. Leaning more towards the DH side though, but with a shorter wheelbase (compared to my v-10 at least) and the headtube is also a bit steeper. This allows the bike to be much more nimble. More on that below though…

DW-Link

Parts
The 7Point7 has a TOP of the line build that would be burly enough to handle the biggest hits that the Shore (or whatever gnarly trails you have around you) can throw at it. Manitou Breakout Plus, 5-way Fifth Element, E13 DRS, SRAM 9.0, Hayes, Hugi hubs with Mavic 831 UST rims with 2.7f and 2.5r High Rollers… these are just a small sampling of the great parts spec. Despite this incredibly burly build, the claimed weight is well under 40 lbs. Unfortunately my shop’s scale is broken, so I couldn’t get my own weigh in. It certainly feels light as heck though. With some lighter tires you could probably get this to a sub 35lb trail-bike setup.

Manitou Breakout Plus
Fifth Element & E.Thirteen Guide
Hayes/Easton/SIC/SRAM

If you are interested in the complete build specs for any of the Iron Horse bikes, a full parts breakdown is available at www.ironhorsebikes.com.

Okay, not that I've got all the details of the bike covered - time for the ranting and raving!

The Ride!!
Yeah, the frame quality is great, and the parts are awesome… that doesn’t mean squat if the bike doesn’t ride well. Fortunately, that is NOT an issue with this bike. As I say in the title, this is the bike I’ve wanted for YEARS. Something that can handle rough rocky DH’ish trails, drops, tight single track, and that pedals well enough that I don’t have to be limited to DH trails that can be shuttled. The 7Point7 can do all of this and MORE.

For the maiden voyage, a friend brought me out to Palm Springs for a 25+ mile “shuttle” run. I use the term shuttle loosely, as this was more of a Point to Point run. To me, a shuttle run is all downhill, and although this trail went from 4000 ft to 1000 ft, there was also about 3000 feet of climbing. Some of it was short steep rocky climbs, some medium length medium steepness climbs, and some long gradual climbs. Conversely, there were also some short rocky DH sections going down into the washes, long doubletrack baby head sections, and STEEP lose gravely rutted sections. Honestly, the only thing that this trail did NOT have were long steep rocky climbs, but those aren’t even fun on an XC bike (to me at least).

Climbing
To me, climbs can be lumped into two main types. Short to medium length rocky power climbs, and the longer granny-ring ones. The 7Point excelled in both. The part that was really surprising was that it didn’t matter how rocky the trail was. I mean, I’ve ridden other long travel bikes that climb well on smooth stuff, or under power, but never one that remained so active under power on rocky climbs. All the guys I was riding with commented how effortlessly the bike climbs. Under power, or in the granny, climbs were perfectly smooth regardless of the terrain, or your pedaling form. This isn’t an XC bike, so don’t expect to have it climb like one. What the bike delivers is the ability to sit and spin up just about anything. Try THAT on a DH bike.

Pedaling
Whether you are climbing, railing some tight flat single track, pedaling hard out of a corner, or powering it up a little rise, from what I could tell, there truly was no affect on the suspension. Other bikes may be active in some small “sweet spot” in their travel range, but this bike seems to pedal awesome regardless of what gear you are in, or where in the travel the suspension is. Also, it didn’t matter if you were sitting with the seatpost all the way up, or mashing out of the saddle… the bike just goes. And if the trail is flat, or down at all, it goes FAST.

Cornering
Because I was going on an epic ride, I swapped the 2.7 front and 2.5 rear High Rollers for a pair of 2.35 ones, and even with these smaller tires pumped up to 40 lbs, the bike railed.
I attributed this to a few things. First of all, the frame has almost no flex, there is a shorter wheelbase and steeper HT angle (than on a DH bike)makes it more responsive, and lastly, the SPV fork and shock make it so the bike does not overly compress when pushing it into corners.

Descending
Despite the single crown in front, and the 2.35’s I was running, this bike felt WAY more like my downhill bike than my trail bike, even though it pedals more like my trail bike!!
I started off a little timid, not wanting to push the bike beyond its limits, but by the end of the ride, I was charging the DH sections as hard as I could, floating over the bumps and rocks, and hitting drops that were previously reserved only for my DH bike. The frame is super stiff, plush as heck, and even with the steeper HT, can tackle some real steep rocky sections.

Overall
The bike I’ve wanted for years!


Iron Horse has a real winner here. Never before have I seen a bike that truly can do “everything”. It climbs awesome, descends awesome, pedals well, has no noticeable brake jack/squat, is totally active at all times, and if I had to use one word to describe the way this bike rides, it would be “FLOAT”. It just floats over everything. A guy on a Foes Mono whom I was riding with, commented how effortless riding the bike looked after he saw me blast down a rocky rutted fire road. You just float over everything. Even when climbing… you just float over all trail obstacles. And I’m not talking about an unresponsive dead kind of float. You are in tune with the trail at all times, yet still somehow floating above it. If you don’t believe me, go try one for yourself.
Every person I let ride the bike said it was one of the best bikes they had ever ridden and was totally amazed with how smooth it was on both descents and climbs.

Thanks Iron Horse!! I’ve finally found the “ONE” bike I’ve been looking for, which will make my wife quite happy. ;o)




3 Comments

  • + 1
 i want only the frame but cant find where i can buy it new...if someone knows pls PM me Smile
  • + 0
 I'm thinking of buying one like that but I whant to know if the rear suspention is good for hard riding? Is it really soft?
  • + 1
 Very good bike...love it and love it.

http://www.pinkbike.com/video/73305/

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