Iron Horse claims the 6point6 frame weighs 7.3lb but didn’t say if that’s with the shock or not. We suspect it’s the latter, so you’re looking at just over 8lb all in. There’s very little manipulation on the frame but it does have an S-shaped down tube for fork crown clearance and added strength where it’s welded to the top tube. A zero-stack headset allows for a longer and stronger head tube without the increase in stem height.
It looks like the 150mm spaced rear end is borrowed off the longer-travel 7point7 and, while most of the forged parts are the same; it avoids the 7point7’s thru-axle for conventional dropouts. Iron Horse says it wanted to retain Saint compatibility. An ISCG-05 chainguide mount is machined into an oversized 83mm shell and an e.thirteen ORS chain guide is fitted.
All the links feature 10mm pivot axles, which Iron Horse is claiming as a new standard for suspension bikes. The pivots are made from 7075 aluminium and feature Max-E bearings, which are made by Enduro in the USA and have 40 per cent greater load capacity. Suffice to say everything is bombproof and should stay that way for the foreseeable future.
Iron Horse hasn’t fitted an All-Mountain fork to the 6point6, instead it’s opted for a Marzocchi Z1 FR SL. It lacks the travel adjust feature of most AM forks and actually every other fork on test, having a fixed 150mm of travel. It’s also a 2006 product, but gets a standard 20mm thru-axle, position and speed-sensitive RC2 damping. Other than the colour it is similar to the 2007 model.
With 160mm of rear travel this isn’t a true six and six bike but it’s extremely effective and, due to the DW Link’s three stage anti-squat, pedals extremely well but still feels compliant, whilst still retaining the capacity to deal with the big hits. With the design there’s no need for ProPedal so none is fitted — the bike comes with a DHX Air 3.0 with only rebound and compression (boost valve) adjustment.
The 6point6 is well attired. Our favourite saddle, the WTB Pure V, is bolted to a Race Face Evolve XC seatpost, and there’s a full range height adjustment. As a nod to light weight, Iron Horse has fitted an Evolve XC stem but at 100mm it’s too long. The 26in Evolve DH could do with another inch but both are easily changed.
One of the reasons for the 36.44lb overall weight is the 920g WTB Timberwolf tyres and 540g DT rims, the heaviest combo on test. Our bike was supposed to have a 2.5in tyre up front and a 2.35in at the rear but got two 2.35s.
To increase stiffness the WTB Laserdisc Super Duty rear hub has a removable 12mm aluminium axle with a 8mm head on one end and a 15mm nut on the other. It’s stiff but you’ll need the spanner if you want to fix a flat. You also need to remove it fully from the hub to get the wheel out.
This was the bike we thought would deliver the goods, but it didn’t and there’s a simple reason for that — the head angle is too steep. In terms of suspension it’s one of the best DW Link bikes we’ve ridden. But on the first steep hairpin the head angle causes the front wheel to almost tuck under, and the steeper it got the less stable the bike felt. This geometry would feel OK on a 5in travel bike but we think it’s at odds with the build and the idea that all-mountain bikes should be faster downhill than trail bikes. We’re not saying Iron Horse should make the 6point6 a mini-DH bike (a degree won’t do that) but it has set its stall out at the burlier end of the 6in market.
We can understand Iron Horse’s thinking — fit a fixed travel 150mm fork and to compensate for the fork’s tendency to flop and wander on the climbs you’ll need to steepen the head angle. This does improve handling on steep technical climbs (not that the weight helps) but it detracts from its ability on equally steep and technical downhills. And if the 6point6 isn’t quicker or as quick as any of the other bikes downhill it calls into question all the things that should make it so — the short cranks, 150mm back end, thru-axles, heavy rims and facility to run 2.5in treads.
There is a way Iron Horse can have its cake and eat it — slacken the head angle but fit an adjustable travel fork. Screwing the fork down will making climbing easier but the 6point6 will still have the right numbers when gravity takes over.
MBR RATING: 6/10