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Old 03-23-09, 11:04 AM   #1
mjw16
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IRO Model 19

Can anyone give me their impressions of IRO's new 29er? I've been unable to find any reviews and emails sent to the company have gone un-answered. I'm eager to get a ss 29er and this is a beautiful looking bike, and in my price range, but I'm not willing to shell out any dough with such little informtion. How about: build quality, handling characteristics, suspension fork compatability, the EBB, and, durability for a bigger rider (250#)? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-27-09, 06:17 AM   #2
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OK...... Looks like I'll be the first, I just ordered one. After getting a return email from IRO, and talking with tech support, I"m more confident in the 19's: susp. fork compatibility, frame/ebb durability, overall handling and toughness and, the appropriate size. They said they really put it to this frame and are confident in it's ability to handle a big guy. Also, a co-worker who rides said he's heard good things about their road bikes. With the basic parts spec' it came it at just under 900 bones. I got the 18t cog, hopefully, along w/ the 32t chainring, that will be flexible enough for the type of riding I do. I could have opted for the Chris King headset but, that was another $100, so I'll stick with the FSA for now. I'm also getting it without pedals, I'll move my 959's from another bike. I'll ride it rigid, see how that goes, but am already looking at a Reba 80mm, that may be first upgrade, then maybe the King headset, when the orig. needs to be replaced. Anyway, I'm psyched! It feels like I'm getting back to simpler, less technology-intensive times, it's always a shot in the arm when you get a new bike too.

I will send an update once I get some dirt on the thing.
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Old 04-21-09, 12:05 PM   #3
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Well, didja get it?

I'm thinking of building one except using a suspension fork.
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Old 04-21-09, 01:16 PM   #4
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pricepoint is having a sale on the frames, for anyone interested

I have a rob roy from the group buy..Tony(IRO) puts some nice bikes together I am very happy with my IRO stuff

http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/181...29er-Frame.htm
IRO Model 19 29er Frame at Price Point
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Old 04-21-09, 01:27 PM   #5
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Yeap, I saw the Pricepoint sale which got me thinking about it... I've already got two IRO frames.

The decision is to either build a Surly Pugsley or build a Model 19 and then a Pugsley...
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Old 08-19-09, 07:43 PM   #6
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Yup, I got one-back in April. I wasn't able to ride until June and I've only been on it about 5 times since. We had a really wet Spring and other things conspired to keep me off of it but, I'll catch you up on my impressions since none can be found elsewhere.

Initial impression (out of the box): beautiful bike. Nice, clean lines, clean welds, beautful paint. The lack of: derailleurs, cassette, cables/cable guides, and brake bosses makes for a very elegent looking bike. Easy to put together, simply install fork/stem and adjust. The thing looks big, really big, like a motorcycle parked in the basement. I switched to a favorite old saddle, installed Shimano 959's and, Oury grips. IRO upgraded (for free) to a Thomsen stem and everything else is IRO. In addition, the EBB adjustor bolts that stick out of the bottom bracket aren't as ugly or detracting as I thought they'd be-you don't even notice them.

The ride: I worried a little when I took it on a short spin in the back yard. I just wanted to check my adjustments and get a feel for the single speed. The size and weight of the wheels is most evident. The steering felt slow and the rotating mass was far more significant than the 26" wheeled bikes I was used to, it felt slower to accelerate too (some of that could be due to the single 33/18 gearing I chose-a geared bike would have more flexibility in this regard). I definitely felt more part of the bike as opposed to the perched on top of a small bike feeling that I got with the 26er, being lower in the wheels center of gravity instead of way on top is a nice feeling. It looks like a more natural fit too for someone over 6'.

My first real ride was a little daunting at first as the bike seemed slow and clumsy, but I quickly learned to lean it hard into turns and let the massive grip of the 29 by 2.4" Racing Ralphs take over. The single speed may take more effort at times but rewards with instant response and an absence of chain slap and shifting noises. Obstacles like logs, log pyramids, etc are much more easily crossed with less disruption in speed, their steepnes is mitigated by the big wheels improved angle of attack. It also handles great and holds lines really well, banked hard into a turn, it doesn't get disrupted by roots or rocks as easily and doesn't wash out on loose terrain as soon as a 26er seems too. I have yet to tackle every type of obstacle ridden on a 26er but am getting there, rode a nice skinny last weekend, got decent air, and cleared a few rock gardens and I'd have to say that the 29er excels in just about every situation.

It was a bit of a challange at first to get the front wheel off the ground but I'm now wheelie-ing and bunny hopping like the old bike. I also selected the right gear ratio for my terrain although climbing is significantly different than the 26er. Instead of gearing down and spinning I find that I'm doing more slow, out of saddle grinding. I still get up the hill but, it's at a slower pace-the big wheels are slower to accelerate and this is noticable on steep hills. Other than that, I find I'm keeping pace with some geared riders on the flats and catch them (and overtake) quickly on descents, the momentum carried in those big wheels really helps here. So, the strategy is this: climb slowly and out of the saddle when necassary, recover speed on flats and descents and, take advantage of improved handling/grip and carry momentum into next climb.

The brakes are nice too. The Avid mechanicals (BB6's) are easily modulated and provide tremendous stopping power, they give a lot of confidence in descents or when coming into a turn too fast. They're powerful, reliable, and fade free, a big improvement over the V brakes and Canti's that I'm used to. In addition, the feel of a high quality steel frame is second to none. While the frame isn't flexy under hard pedalling, it's compliant enough to soak up the bumps and be comfortable on longer rides, combined with the immense volume of the tires, the thing lands drops like a full suspension. In fact, it's such a plush ride that I may not be able to justify the cost of a suspension fork (although I'd really like one-we'll see).

Sinngle Speed Perks: The "just one" mentality makes for a fun bike, like a grown ups BMX, when riding was most fun and care free. In addition to a quieter, less maintainence sensitive bike, it's lighter and naturally allows me to pace myself better than a geared bike. My style has always been to mash a taller gear until I'd burn out, I find that I may be a little slower at times but am now more consistent and well-paced over the course of the ride.

Drawbacks or Negative Impressions: my only two complaints; 1) the front brake cable has already rubbed the paint to the metal on the steerer tube and 2) the big rear tire rubs the chainstay under hard effort. It should have taken much longer for the paint wear to occur, I've since covered this spot with electric tape and will probably touch it up soon. Also, IRO recommended switching to a 2.3" rear as the Schwalbes are said to "sag" or "bow out' after some use-I may do this after I get past the $61 per tire price.

All things considered this is a fabulous bike at a great price. The bike is a big improvement over my previous 26" wheeled hardtails, so much so that I can't see ever switching back to the small wheeled bikes. Also, I think the single speed, fully rigid bike will continue to make me a stronger, better rider, in addition, it should be cheaper to maintain in the long run and is certainly a lot of fun. I'm hoping to get a lot more rides on it this season and look forward to having this around for a long time.

Drawbacks: slower acceleration
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Old 08-21-09, 11:58 AM   #7
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great review, glad to see the 19 is working for you

I am a big fan of IRO and Tony
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Old 11-22-09, 12:27 AM   #8
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@mjw16

Can you talk about the size you got and how it fits? I'm kind of thrown off by the really long top tube length, so I don't know if the 18" or 20" is for me.
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