'03 vs. '04 Iron Horse Hollowpoints, Changes- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    '03 vs. '04 Iron Horse Hollowpoints, Changes

    I was surprised to hear Performance is now carrying Iron Horse bikes in-store, including the new 2004 Hollowpoints. Big change from last year, where the nearest store to me would have been a 400 mile drive into SoCal.

    So I wanted to see what <i>really</i> changed between '03 and '04, besides the parts spec. I took some photos of the '04 on the bike store floor and here are some of the differences.

    Probably one of the biggest complaints of the '03 bike was the minimal tire clearance. The redesigned rear triangle seems to have addressed that problem.

    2004 w/ 2.35" Maxxis versus 2003 w/ 2.1" Panaracer Trailblaster (not the stock tire).

    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw04(5).jpg"> <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw03(5).jpg">

    The dw-link appears to be unchanged (which is a good thing), with 4.5" and 3.75" travel options. However, besides the addition of the Manitou Swinger on the '04 bikes, the linkage has been stiffened up with a block between the plates (note the empty holes on the '03 are in use on the '04). Not sure what, if any, issue this addressed.

    2004 dw-link w/ reinforcing block (shock in 3.75" position) versus 2003 w/o block (shock in 4.5" position)

    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw04(1).jpg"> <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw03(1).jpg">

    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw04(2).jpg"> <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw03(2).jpg">

    Some of you might recall a few Hollowpoint frames were warrantied last year due to the yoke brace hitting the backside of the seat tube, supposedly a manufacturing goof that affected a small run of frames. That guilty yoke brace has been eliminated, replaced with this bolt-in brace that sits in front of the seat tube. Very creative!

    2004 relocated yoke brace in front of seat tube versus 2003 w/ brace welded behind seat tube.

    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw04(3).jpg"> <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw03(3).jpg">
    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw04(4).jpg">

    Due to the highly sloped top tube, the HP seat tube is reinforced with a large brace. On the '03 bikes it kinda looked like an afterthought, tacked on as a last minute addition (it wasn't -- it's actually got some internal structure to it). Well, on the '04 bikes they spruced the brace up a little with a cutout and gave it a new shape.

    2004 brace w/ cutout versus 2003 brace with... nothing.

    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw04(6).jpg"> <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw03(6).jpg">

    Another look at the redesigned yoke. The 2004 makes use of two separate tubes that make a graceful "V" from the chainstay pivot; the 2003 used more of a "Y" shape (the midpoint of which was the low-clearance spot for the tire). The '04 still has a tire clearance restriction, but much improved.

    <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw04(7).jpg"> <img src="http://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpdw03(7).jpg">

  2. #2

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    Very informative post. I've actually been looking at the Iron Horse Hollowpoint Sport. But it would be a blind purchase since I've not ridden one.

    I'll be doing mostly trial and light XC riding with the rare trip to see a friend in Asheville, NC.

    Are these bikes highly regarded? Also, would a good deal on a 2003 be worth not getting the component changes of the 2004 models?

    Thanks all,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Severe
    Very informative post. I've actually been looking at the Iron Horse Hollowpoint Sport. But it would be a blind purchase since I've not ridden one.

    I'll be doing mostly trial and light XC riding with the rare trip to see a friend in Asheville, NC.

    Are these bikes highly regarded? Also, would a good deal on a 2003 be worth not getting the component changes of the 2004 models?
    Highly regarded? No. Iron Horse has been an obscure brand, not very well known, with the exception of the very devoted following they've been growing in the DH/Freeride market, which has been persistantly spreading from the east coast. I think too many potential buyers are quick to dismiss them, since they're not familiar with the brand. As I mentioned, up to now it has been impossible to find their higher-end bikes in the SF Bay area.

    But my best guess is Iron Horse is pulling a "Giant", who went through their own reinvention of the brand in 2000. The Hollowpoint is pretty sharp, with a great parts spec at a bargin price. The dw-link suspension (in my humble opinion, of course) rocks steady!

    But it's also my humble opinion that the dw-link suspension doesn't really benefit from any of the new stable platform shocks, such as the Manitou Swinger or 5th Element Air that appear on the new bikes. I'm quite content with the simple Cane Creek AD12 I installed on my '03 Hollowpoint.

    So from that standpoint, a heavily discounted '03 Hollowpoint would not really make any compromises over the pricier '04 models, especially if you're able to get a '03 Expert at the same price as an '04 Sport. (Although I gotta say that the adjustable travel Black on the '04 Expert is a nice addition.)

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    hey
    I must correct you on that, I own a 2004 Hollowpoint expert, and the Black fork that comes on the front has no travel adjuster. I emailed Manitou about it, and they said its a Manitou black super 120 SPV. I was wondering why iron horse said it was 90-120 MM, but when I got the bike, there is the SPV air volume, and on the other side, spring preload.
    The bike rides great, but I think i am selling it to get a 2004 Jamis XLT 2.0.
    And also, my hollowpoint came with a 5th element air rear shock, which really kicks butt!

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    The 03 Hollowpoint I'm currently thinking about is a Sport variety. However, I seriously doubt I would need the Experct class.

    I've been out of riding for many years and I'm just now getting back in. I'm just thinking that if I can pick up a FS bike at the same price as a new HT then it would be worth it.

    The 03 is currently going for around $850.

    Some of the HT bikes I've looked at (Giant Rainer, Specialized Rockhopper Pro Disk, etc) are all at this same price point.

    The largest difference is that I could get the above mentioned HT's at my LBS...and so could test ride them.

    Any thoughts?

  6. #6
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    Hey Naestep,
    what about all the rumors last year that the '03 DW-link wasn't really his "full/true design"? And that in '04 IH was going to have the "true" DW-link instead of the supposed "hybrid" from the '03 bike?
    Did this just turn out to be unsubstantiated rumors?

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    Hey, I would definetly go for the hollowpoint sport, for $850, thats a great deal, and is spec'd a little better then the rainier, and it will give you a nicer ride as well. Just make sure you get the right size!

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    Good job! 2004 looks a lot more refined!

    WOW, the new frame looks a lot more refined!

    From the usual side-shots you see on the internet and in magazines, you couldn't realy see the differences between 2003 & 2004, but these closeup shots show there are quite significant differences!

    Thanks for the great pics f*nŠtik! :-)

    Iron Horse sure must keep their designers and engeneers busy, this is the third year in a row there has been a major design changes on the Hollowpoint frame. (not counting the 2002.5 and 2003.5 minor revisions) A company that takes continuious improvement to heart!.

    sh0rty :P

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    Sizing is a problem for me since I don't have direct access to the bike. The one I'm looking at is listed as a Medium. I'm assuming that would be a 17" frame, but I'm not certain.

    The 2003 IH catalog list four sizes for the Hollowpoint frame, but doesn't give any indication as to which would be a Medium.

    I'm about 6' tall and weight about 210. From the bikes I've sized, 18" frames tend to fit me best.

    So I'm not sure how this particular bike would fit me.

  10. #10
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    Isn't yours the Interbike demo...

    Quote Originally Posted by Domdil
    hey
    I must correct you on that, I own a 2004 Hollowpoint expert, and the Black fork that comes on the front has no travel adjuster. I emailed Manitou about it, and they said its a Manitou black super 120 SPV. I was wondering why iron horse said it was 90-120 MM, but when I got the bike, there is the SPV air volume, and on the other side, spring preload.
    The bike rides great, but I think i am selling it to get a 2004 Jamis XLT 2.0.
    And also, my hollowpoint came with a 5th element air rear shock, which really kicks butt!
    ...from Sportshack? This '04 Expert I photographed definitely had the 90-120mm adjustable travel Black, and was set up with the Manitou Swinger. On the other hand, specs get changed mid-production based on component avaliability (for instance, I got an Easton EC70 stem on my '03, but a EC-50 was spec'd).

  11. #11
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    My only concern with the '03 sport...

    Quote Originally Posted by Severe
    The 03 Hollowpoint I'm currently thinking about is a Sport variety. However, I seriously doubt I would need the Experct class.

    I've been out of riding for many years and I'm just now getting back in. I'm just thinking that if I can pick up a FS bike at the same price as a new HT then it would be worth it.

    The 03 is currently going for around $850.

    Some of the HT bikes I've looked at (Giant Rainer, Specialized Rockhopper Pro Disk, etc) are all at this same price point.

    The largest difference is that I could get the above mentioned HT's at my LBS...and so could test ride them.

    Any thoughts?
    ...is the coil rear shock. I didn't like the linear travel of the Fox AVA on this bike, so I don't imagine I'd like the linear stroke of a coil. Instead, I think the bike warrants a rising rate air shock. Also, hitting the proper sag point is important to the ride qualaties of this bike, and sag is easier to tune on an air shock than it is on a coil.

    The '04 Sport sports an air shock now, no coil.

    As an aside, read the recent review of the '04 Sport in the reviews section. One rider didn't set sag properly, overinflated his shock, and as a result hated the ride -- just as the MBA reviewers admitted to doing in their test of the bike last year. Rear shock setup is critical on the dw-link suspension. Overinflated or over sprung and you'll hate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by f*nŠtik
    ...is the coil rear shock. ...

    The '04 Sport sports an air shock now, no coil.
    The 03 I'm looking at is being advertised with a Cane Creek AD-5 rear airshock.

    Also, thanks for the heads up on setting up the sag. As this would be my first FS bike, I'd definitely want to read up and get educated on setting up the bike.

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    I had to buy blind, too...

    Quote Originally Posted by Severe
    Sizing is a problem for me since I don't have direct access to the bike. The one I'm looking at is listed as a Medium. I'm assuming that would be a 17" frame, but I'm not certain.

    The 2003 IH catalog list four sizes for the Hollowpoint frame, but doesn't give any indication as to which would be a Medium.

    I'm about 6' tall and weight about 210. From the bikes I've sized, 18" frames tend to fit me best.

    So I'm not sure how this particular bike would fit me.
    ...based only on reviews and some forum feedback. I also used the fit calculator at Wrenchscience.com to double check what I really wanted.

    I was caught inbetween the medium (17") and large (19") and picked the medium because the 23.3" effective top tube was right for me (I'm 6'1" with a 33.5" inseam). I probably could have went with a large and been happy. In any case, decide based on effective top tube since the bike has gobs of standover.

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    Yeah, the mid-year introduction of the dw-link...

    Quote Originally Posted by sh0rty
    WOW, the new frame looks a lot more refined!

    From the usual side-shots you see on the internet and in magazines, you couldn't realy see the differences between 2003 & 2004, but these closeup shots show there are quite significant differences!

    Thanks for the great pics f*nŠtik! :-)

    Iron Horse sure must keep their designers and engeneers busy, this is the third year in a row there has been a major design changes on the Hollowpoint frame. (not counting the 2002.5 and 2003.5 minor revisions) A company that takes continuious improvement to heart!.

    sh0rty :P
    ...was a pretty drastic change on the 2002.5 model, and the 2003 bikes made further modifications to the entire frame. But I'd call the '04 changes "refinements" that addressed some valid issues, and for all intents, it appears that the dw-link is completely unchanged from when it fist appeared (and that's good, 'cause it works well).

    I think the only real mid-year change we saw on the 2003.5 bikes was the inclusion of the new linkage plates with the 4.5 & 3.75" travel settings, down from 4.9" on the original '03 plates. But yeah, I like the approach of continual refinement. Wonder if that rear triangle will work on the '03 bikes?!?

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    You should ask dw that one...

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy
    Hey Naestep,
    what about all the rumors last year that the '03 DW-link wasn't really his "full/true design"? And that in '04 IH was going to have the "true" DW-link instead of the supposed "hybrid" from the '03 bike?
    Did this just turn out to be unsubstantiated rumors?
    I read that too, Dave Weagle and Iron Horse both denied it, and Dave had some recent comments in the Santa Cruz forum to address that (search the SC forum for "Blur Hollowpoint" and you'll find the post).

    Basically, I think he's saying that (a) he never said that and/or the comment was completlely out of context, and (b) he should be allowed to evolve his design as time progresses. But I don't want to speak for the guy, so hopefully he'll see this thread and jump in with some comments.

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    Check into that because...

    Quote Originally Posted by Severe
    The 03 I'm looking at is being advertised with a Cane Creek AD-5 rear airshock.

    Also, thanks for the heads up on setting up the sag. As this would be my first FS bike, I'd definitely want to read up and get educated on setting up the bike.
    ...the AD5 was initially spec'd for the '03 Sport models, but was pulled at the last minute and replaced with a Fox coil. I wonder if a few of the AD5-equipped bikes made it.

    As I mentioned, I ride the AD12 on mine and am very happy with it, but I've never ridden an AD5 to know much about it.

  17. #17
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    rear traingle changes, straight from the source - DW

    This is straight from DW, designer of the linkage system.. BTW, I just bought the 04 expert, and it looks much more rigid than the 03, worth it over the 03 (imho) and it rides great! only two rides out so far.

    - this is from ridemonkey.com or hcor.net-

    So here is the info on this new rear triangle.

    The suspension action on the Hollowpoint remains unchanged from the previous models. From an acceleration perspective, these bikes have been pretty damn dialed since they were designed in 2001. You know me, always trying to make improvements, and I have definitley refined things over the last couple years, but we wont see major changes until an entirely new Hollowpoint comes along in the future.

    The new swingarm has a few cool new features:

    *Shortened chainstay length to 16.9 inches (from 17.1)
    *Drastically increased tire clearance (fits a 2.4 with clearance)
    *Removable front hex cross brace
    *Mounting location for optional removable seatstay brace (not shown in pic)
    *Stronger and lighter than 02'-03' swingarm due to triangulated design

    Also, in addition to that, there are a couple other things that I added:

    *New 2-position shock mount adjustable to 3.75" or 4.5" travel (we introduced this link for the 03.5 frames actually)
    *New top link cross brace adds rear end stiffness

    All in all, we are really excited about the new bikes. Thanks for the kind words man!

    Dave

  18. #18
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    Set-up is key, My friend came over yesterday with a '04 Jamis XLT 2 to demo for the day, nice looking bike with ubber specs like jucies and a minute 2. Funny I hooked up the air pump and there was 180# in one leg and 80#, hmmm after adjusting the SPV swinger we headed out on the 12 mile mixed grind. Well while the Jamis sure looked nice he had way better run times on my borrowed '03 GT I drive that was about 2 sizes too big! We spent the 2 hour ride dropping pressure in all chanbers of forks/swinger on the Jamis and it did help on the downhills. It did warm up and seemed air pressure in the foks went UP 10#??? I just rode the Jamis about a mile, too small for me but it felt harsh but efficent. After doing the frame flex test on the pedals I gave it back to him, that frame is not for heavy people, flexes quite a bit, hard to believe it was bike of the year, but then again a supergo is this years' bike of the year???

  19. #19
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    Hey, thanks for the heads-up...

    Quote Originally Posted by icenoir
    This is straight from DW, designer of the linkage system.. BTW, I just bought the 04 expert, and it looks much more rigid than the 03, worth it over the 03 (imho) and it rides great! only two rides out so far.

    - this is from ridemonkey.com or hcor.net-
    I searched for it; here's a link to dw's post on RM:

    http://www.ridemonkey.com/forums/sho...threadid=65911

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    Idea! careful ordering size s - m - l

    "Sizing is a problem for me since I don't have direct access to the bike. The one I'm looking at is listed as a Medium. I'm assuming that would be a 17" frame, but I'm not certain."

    Note that IronHorse is not standard with naming its sizes - I am 5'11" with a 32 inseem, and the SMALL 17.5 frame fits me perfectly. As others have noted, it has a long top tube even for a 17.5 frame. If you used to getting a medium from other makers, I recomend you down size one.. (Best thing is to go by the size numbers, not names.)
    PS - the small sticker peels right off.

  21. #21
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    Wonder no more...

    Quote Originally Posted by f*nŠtik
    ...was a pretty drastic change on the 2002.5 model, and the 2003 bikes made further modifications to the entire frame. But I'd call the '04 changes "refinements" that addressed some valid issues, and for all intents, it appears that the dw-link is completely unchanged from when it fist appeared (and that's good, 'cause it works well).

    I think the only real mid-year change we saw on the 2003.5 bikes was the inclusion of the new linkage plates with the 4.5 & 3.75" travel settings, down from 4.9" on the original '03 plates. But yeah, I like the approach of continual refinement. Wonder if that rear triangle will work on the '03 bikes?!?
    Todd told me the 04 rear swingarm is available and can be bolted right up to the 03 frame. Thought about it, but I haven't really got any reason to upgrade...Guess it might improve the shock longevity if the bottom mount is more rigid...and the extra mud clearance would be nice occasionally.
    Oh yeah, nice pics Nate.

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    Thanks man...

    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis
    Todd told me the 04 rear swingarm is available and can be bolted right up to the 03 frame. Thought about it, but I haven't really got any reason to upgrade...Guess it might improve the shock longevity if the bottom mount is more rigid...and the extra mud clearance would be nice occasionally.
    Oh yeah, nice pics Nate.
    I was thinking I could pretty easily gin up a block to bolt in place between the unused holes, but then again, I'm not feeling much flex, so I'll probably leave it alone.

    I'm just psyched these guys are evolving this design. And if you haven't seen it already, check out the pix of the upcoming Hollowpoint MTX. Not my style, but wicked.

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    Another Change

    I have one of the 2004 hollowpoint sport models. One of the upgraded features that the bike has from the 2003 models is HFX9 hydaulic brakes. It looks like iron horse left last year's brake specs on their website. So far, I am loving the bike.

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    Hollowpoints Kick all form of @ss

    Quote Originally Posted by f*nŠtik
    I was thinking I could pretty easily gin up a block to bolt in place between the unused holes, but then again, I'm not feeling much flex, so I'll probably leave it alone.

    I'm just psyched these guys are evolving this design. And if you haven't seen it already, check out the pix of the upcoming Hollowpoint MTX. Not my style, but wicked.

    Hey F*naetik,

    Thanks for the updates! I saw the new ones on the web page but have not seen them live. Gotta say that I love my HP 2003 Expert. I have put some 100 miles tough all mountain riding (singletrack w/ 2 to 3 foot drops and this bike kicks all form of ass. Got the Float RL and fox rear shock competeley dialed. It's cool that they put more clearance for bigger tuires. But, I have been pleasantly suprised with the 2.0 maxxis Larsen UST tires. They roll as good as my 2.0 python airlights on my HT. And, they hook up dry conditions really well. It actually looks more like some 2.3 that I have seen because it ghas such high volume. Plus, it is lighter thatn most UST at 680 gm. Put some Stan's in there just for insurance. I road my buddies 2003 VT 1 and I gotta say that it doesn't have anything over my Hollowpoint. As a matter of fact, I think that it climbs as good but my hollowpoint actually soaks up smaller and bigger bumps better. If you have not looked at the Hollowpoint series, you gotta at least try them.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by f*nŠtik
    I was thinking I could pretty easily gin up a block to bolt in place between the unused holes, but then again, I'm not feeling much flex, so I'll probably leave it alone.
    From your pic, it looks like a pin through the unused hole in your rocker plate would interfere with those two adjusters on your shock. Mebbee it's just the angle?

    Kathy
    Look where you want to go. This is as true in life as it is in mtbiking.

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    You're right, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky
    From your pic, it looks like a pin through the unused hole in your rocker plate would interfere with those two adjusters on your shock.
    ...I <i>could</i> also just twist that end of the shock so they're pointng down. But I don't have any intention of messing with it.

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