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  1. #1
    Clydesdale Warrior
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    New question here. Hollowpoint - Clyde Epic XC?

    I have been doing a lot of online research into my next bike purchase (my first FS), and the 2004 Hollowpoint Expert looks like the best bang for the buck (especially with Supergo's super low price), but before I add it to my short list, I thought I'd ask the IH experts on this forum if they think the Hollowpoint frame is strong enough for a big clydesdale (250lbs + gear) to us as a Epic XC bike?

    Did my first endurance race this year (the 67km Test of Metal) on my Freeride hardtail. While I DNF'ed (due to a blown tube that took way too long to fix and caused me to miss a check point cutoff), I did have a great time, and I'm planning on doing a few more (possibly 4 or 5) similar endurance races next year.

    In anticipation of next years racing and training, I am looking to get a new bike that is:
    (1) More XC Oriented than my current hardtail. (Cove Stiffee FR)
    (2) Active full suspension design. (was feeling very beat up after long 50+ km rides, and I have problems losing traction on loose bumpy climbs on the hardtail)
    (3) Still strong enough to hold up to my weight. (that is the one good thing about my current bike, every part is heavy and strong, I have not had a mechanical or structural failure all season...aside from a couple flat tires...one of which occurred during the race)

    Whatever bike I get will be used for both training and the races (and of course some just for fun riding!). I'm on the wet cost of BC (in the Vancouver/Squamish/Whistler area), so the trails I ride are mostly single track, rooty, rocky and muddy (usually rains eight months of the year around here) with fire roads on some of the long climbs. I generally ride 50 to 100km per week off road while training. The race courses are mostly the same terrain, ranging from 45km to 88km in length. I'd say my riding style is aggressive, I ride hard and fast, especially on downhill sections, though I avoid drops greater than a few feet, and do not seek out jumps and stunts.

    Do you think the '04 Hollowpoint is up to this? ...or should I look elsewhere? Suggestions?

    sh0rty :P

  2. #2
    On MTBR hiatus :(
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    I think you're barking up the right tree in terms of frame durability for your intended use, but keep in mind that the 1.5" stroke shock combined with the 4.5" of travel makes for a fairly high leverage ratio, which might give you some hassle with your shock.

    At about 200 pounds plus gear, I'm pumping around 235 psi into my AD-12 to reach desired sag. The stock Manitou Swinger would probably be similar, and I imagine that at your weight you'll be at or beyond the upper limits of the shock (not knowing the particulars of the Swinger, such as max pressure).

    To get around this, you might be forced to knock the travel down to the shorter 3.75" setting -- the upper holes on the linkage that the bike comes setup at -- to decrease the suspension travel ratio and allow the shock to run at a lower pressure.

    An alternative (probably not a realistic one) is to convert to a 2.0" rear shock. I saw a post on another forum of this mod, and it looked slick but tricky due to tight clearances.

    All-in-all I think a lot of Hollowpoint riders leave their bikes in the short travel setting for whatever reasons, and are just as happy. For your endurance racing, it's probably where you would want to set it anyway.

  3. #3
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    Maybe a coil shock ? Just a thought, I'm no expert, but I would guess it'd be safer.

    Sh0rty, where did you find that lovely headbadge ? I want one !

    Maurice

  4. #4
    Clydesdale Warrior
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    Wink Cove...

    Quote Originally Posted by Maurice
    Sh0rty, where did you find that lovely headbadge ? I want one !
    You can buy one of those head badges here: http://www.covebike.com/bikes.htm (attached to a Cove bike of course) ;-)

    The Cove Hustler is also on my short list (for brand loyalty sake), but it does not have a fully active design (seat-stay pivot 4-Bar), and I would have to do a frame-up build...which is fun, but makes it an expensive option. (sure is a sweet looking bike though!)

    sh0rty :P
    Last edited by sh0rty; 09-01-2004 at 03:15 PM.

  5. #5
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well High ratio...

    Thanks for the response Speedüb.

    One of the few complaints I have regularly seen about the '04 Hollowpoint is the unusually high leverage ratio when in 4.5" mode (looks like it is fixed for the 2005's though). I believe the max pressure for the Swinger Air in the main chamber is 300psi, should not have any problem with the 3.75" mode, but 4.5" would probably be pushing the limit. 250lbs*115% = 287.5psi (aprox) needed for correct sag in 4.5"...right? Should I be worried running an Air shock so close to its limit?

    Fabricating custom linkages is a bit beyond my skill set, so doing a 2.0" shock conversion is probably not an option for me. As for coil, my understanding is that the hollowpoint is designed to work best with a progressive spring rate like a regular air spring to stop bottoming, maybe a 5th Element or Swinger 4/6 Way coil with adjustable progressiveness would do the job? That is an expensive upgrade though! The other problem with a coil is finding the right spring rate and fine tuning it for ideal sag (which i understand is absolutely necessary with DW-Link), is much more difficult to do compared to an Air Shock.

    My only concern about the 3.75" is wondering if that is enough travel to absorb some seriously rooty terrain? Is that 3.75" travel measured before sag, or after sag? If before sag, and 30% is the recommended sag for DW-Link, that only leaves you with 2.6" of positive travel...does not seem like much...or am I way off here?

    What do the IH people think?

    sh0rty :P

  6. #6
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    You're right on in your assessment. I weighed in the 235+ range about two years while riding an NRS, which, with zero sag, was nearly as "taxing" to an air shock. I pushed the published limit at 250psi and the rear shock held up just fine -- in fact, it's the shock I eventually swiched over to my Hollowpoint.

    I had a chance to run a (very linear) Fox Float AVA for a few weeks (after spending the first few weeks with the AD-12) and felt that the dw-link really benefits from a rising rate air shock. Even with the Float's AVA chamber in the smallest position, I would have preferred a little more "ramp up" at the end of the stroke. I've since switched back to my AD-12 (over a year ago) and, with the volume plate in the largest position, love the feel of the bike. Despite the fact that coils came with some '03 Hollowpoint Sports, I really don't think linear rate shocks are appropriate for this bike (and I agree with you, fine tuning sag would be a pain).

    The customized linkage was a bit much, but cool.

    And yeah, the 1/3 sag eats into your suspension travel, just the same as any other suspension design. But consider that truly compliant suspension has a negative component to (to track through those whoop-de-doos and G-out situations), so having a little "overhead" is a good thing. The topped-out *clunk* of an NRS doesn't leave a very satisfying feeling.

  7. #7
    Clydesdale Warrior
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    New question here. Thoughts on travel settings...

    Speedüb, what travel setting do you run at usualy (3.75 or 4.5)? What are your thoughts on the bikes capabilities in rough situations (ie. roots and "rock gardens") at speed in the different travel settings? Does it pedal any better or worse in one or the other setting?

    sh0rty :P

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sh0rty
    Speedüb, what travel setting do you run at usualy (3.75 or 4.5)? What are your thoughts on the bikes capabilities in rough situations (ie. roots and "rock gardens") at speed in the different travel settings? Does it pedal any better or worse in one or the other setting?

    sh0rty :P
    I haven't run it in the 3.75" mode, only 4.5 & 4.9" (original linkage). Can't really offer any comparison.

    The suspension is extremely responsive, which is what I expect for a 5" travel bike. The lasting impression I've taken from one of my first rides was descending down a high-frequency washboard section of a local trail that normally vibrated by backside pretty good, and feeling nothing; then sneaking a peak between my legs and watching the shock doing its best impression of a sewing machine -- a far cry from the NRS I had just transitioned from, plush like my old Fisher Joshua (which, despite its shortcomings, made for a cushy ride down).

    But the real eye opener is how well this bike pedals, in spite of its travel. It's neat that you can spin up something sketchy or a little rocky and the suspension does its thing, you do your thing and your legs (or your tricky mind) don't register any interruption to the fluid circles your crank is spinning in.

    It's hard for me to describe, other than "smooth" -- a parking lot demo doesn't tell the story, either (you'll just think, yeah, this bike is squi-shay). I don't know if any of this helps or is just confusing! Saddle one up if you can.

  9. #9
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well Canadian Eh!

    Quote Originally Posted by Speed?e
    Saddle one up if you can.
    Unfortunately I will not have a chance to test ride one (unless I go for a road trip down to Seattle) as I live in Canada (near Vancouver).

    In Canada a "sports super store" called "SportChek" has the exclusive dealer rights to Iron Horse. SportChek's primary business is shoes and sportswear, but they also carry hockey equipment, ski equipment, roller blades, tennis rackets, etc....and most of their stores have a SMALL bicycle section, that includes a tiny service area (which is their ski waxing area in the winter). I visited the local Sport Chek yesterday at lunch, they had a total of 2 Iron horse bikes (both BMX) among a few dozen unknown brand sub $300 hardtails & BMX (Nakamura, Arashi, X Games, etc.), and a single 3 year old K2 Attack FS. Ask the staff anything about Iron Horse products, and the general response is "Hu? I don't know...". Apparently SportChek has a few "Dirt Shop" specialty bike stores across Canada, that are supposed to carry Iron Horses higher end stuff, but I have yet to find one, and staff at the shops I have visited don't even know they exist. I've sent e-mails to addresses listed on their web site asking to get information about ordering a Hollowpoint from them (last fall), and I never received a response.

    In Canada consumers see bikes sold from Sport Chek as being about the same as those sold by Wal Mart. As most Canadians have only ever seen the Iron Horse name on sub $300 bikes sold in the mall, most Canadians think of the brand as a cheep department store brand. (I know I did before I learned about the brand on this web site) I really think Iron horse made a mistake giving exclusive rights to Sport Chek. Sport Chek may be able to move large volumes of cheep bikes (which I admit are the bred and butter of the industry), but I don't think they will ever move many >$1000 bikes, leaving the Iron Hose brand to continue to be known only as a low-end brand in Canada. (unless these "Dirt Shops" actualy live up to their claims?) I believe their higher end bikes would sell very well in Canada, if sold in real bike shops, or even from a Canadian based web-retailer. (the new Sunday and 7point would "sell like hot-cakes" on "The Shore" and in Whistler)

    The only reason I am considering a Hollowpoint again is because of SuperGo's amazing price right now. Even with the exchange rate, shipping, brokerage, duty (I believe 15% on bikes made in Taiwan, 0% on NAFTA bikes) and sales tax (have to pay Canadian and provincial sales tax on anything bought over the boarder), I have worked it out to still be about $1000cad less expensive than any similarly spec'ed bike in Canada.

    The other reason I am considering SuperGo is that none of the LBS's that I have visited so far have any of the bikes on my sort-list in my size (XL), and tell me not to expect any in stock until Jan-Feb. How can they run a business like that? I can see in the past, where everyone is short on stock for the last third of the year...they did not really lose business because everybody had to wait till January for the stock to become available. Now there are web-retailers, that stock large volumes, in every size, all year around...and then the LBS's cry when they loose customers to the Web.

    I was actually ready to buy a new bike last year at this time, but I had the same problem, I could not find anyone stocking what I wanted...so I just ended up riding my old bike for another year...someone lost that business! This year, the same thing...and I don't feel like waiting again...so it looks like they are going to lose business to the internet this time!

    I love the sport of Mountain Biking, but sometimes the shops, and the industry itself drives me crazy with their frequently poor business practices. :-(

    Sorry for the long rant.

    sh0rty :P

  10. #10
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    Hi there,

    It's too bad you feel that way about SportChek. I personally think that many salepeople across the country have a more than competent knowledge of bikes. I personally work at a "Dirt Shop" in Halifax, NS, and we carry all the high-end Ironhorse MTB's (and the techs and salespeople all ride, too).

    Cheers,

    Aaron

  11. #11
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    double post, sorry.

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