A double-butted aluminium frame, with subdued profile changes along the fat down tube, meshes with a chunky wishbone portion giving the rear end a slightly dated appearance. Next to the zero stack headset it reminded us of Schwinn’s past offerings. Overall construction is kind of industrial with distinctive welds and 3D forged dropouts.
It may be on the bottom rung of Marzocchi’s ladder, but the coil sprung MZ Comps proved both plush and tortionally stiff with 30mm steel stanchions. Pair this with Marzocchi’s impressive reliability record and you’ve got 100mm of fettle-free bounce. A shame the brand’s only endorsed by one manufacturer here.
Using the same WTB SX24 rim as found on the Felt, and held together with no-name hubs and fairly aggressive ‘It’s Ninja’ tread combo of 2.1in for added cushioning up front and 1.95 in the rear for speed and clearance, this is a once popular approach to tyre pairing that few companies use these days.
Shimano Deore shifting parts and a 9-speed drivetrain are backed up by FSA’s Dynadrive chainset with a svelte profile that avoids heel hook-ups. Tektro’s dual piston Auriga hydraulic discs proved reliable enough anchors despite the basic lever shape.
This bike is weak in the cockpit. It gets a budget, no-name stubby stem and neutral-shaped riser bar. The Cane Creek zero stack headset is a pleasant addition with a good record in longevity. The seatpost on the Warrior was too short so not until we swapped the original for a 400mm length could we realise the bike’s comprehensive riding abilities.
Rewarding the brave, as the trails get techier the Warrior reveals a lively nature. It delivers in the handling department as you throw it into the more challenging nuances in the trail. When things do get out of shape it’s well-equipped to bolster your pride with a fork that sucks up hard hits without fuss. It’s a great bike to ride, and despite the short seatpost is more an XC rig than anything designed for jumping.
While the fat seatstays may not be the most forgiving, the Warrior is no slouch on climbs, even with the lumpy knobblies. A new addition to the Dirty line-up, Iron Horse are generally more about clever linkage-driven double bouncers than entry-level hardtails. However, they obviously haven’t neglected their homework in this sector. If you’ll pardon the cliché, straight from the off this bike really was the dark horse of the group.
The handling attributes of the Warrior suggest that something very positive has leached in from the downhill world to create this affordable trail ripper.