Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

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Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

Postby Coherence » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:40 pm

Hey guys/gals,

First post from a newbie to biking and the forums. I picked up a Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 a few weeks ago http://www.walmart.com/ip/Iron-Horse-29-Men-s-Sinister-6.2-Mountain-Bike/19582535 from my local store as it was one of the few 29ers in stock, and I thought it looked fantastic (I am a sucker for looks, as dumb as that may sound). I'll try to add some pictures of my actual bike later in the week if anyone is interested (although it looks exactly the same as stock photos). I haven't seen too many posts on here about them, so I am getting kind of worried that perhaps they aren't very good haha. Specs sheet looked pretty good though, FS with disc brakes for under $400? Hard to find too many others in that range from my research.

Anyways I was curious what people are doing to upgrade these things (if anything?). It seems like a pretty solid base (although it is pretty heavy, about 40lbs I think). I think the seat needs to be swapped almost immediately, pretty uncomfortable - so anyone with suggestions for that would be great (I live in Delaware, so there won't be any super crazy riding as we have no mountains, but I do plan on running it through the woods/trails at our state parks).

Also is it worth the time/money to take this to a LBS and have them perform a tune-up/truing for me? I called and asked some of the shops, and most of them seemed to thumb their noses at me because it was a Wal-Mart bike (apparently taboo :shock: )

Sorry for the rambling post - certainly glad I found this forum though, seems pretty awesome. Thanks for any advice ahead of time!
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Re: Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

Postby tigris99 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:05 pm

First off welcome to the forum!!!

Secondly, though most here for fs 29ers go the XR Pro, the IH Sinisters are good bikes. The version you got is step below the one I was going to buy before my wife told me I could get my Trek 29er hardtail. Only thing for me was the fact 6.3 has replaceable derailleur hanger.

As for the weight, its because its the 6.2, the parts installed on the frame are heavier. Stem, bars, wheels and tires, possibly crankset (hard to tell by pic if crank arms are steel or aluminum). Plus the insanely heavy Steel Lower SR Suntour forks. And the rear shock weighs a bit.

Upgrades first off IMO in this order. The products again, are just my opinions based on having a Genesis Saber 26" FS and now Trek 29er Hardtail. ALso this is based on budget build, hard to spec not knowing how much money you wanna spend:

PEDALS- for some reason almost all BB Bikes have horrible stock pedals. Get something decent from online or LBS. $25 goes a long way on these.

Tires- basically go folding, dont listen to hype on tubeless, its nice but way overrated. Tread design is based on where you ride.

Forks- Rockshox XC 30 or 32 TK, I have 32TK on my Trek, can be had for about $125-150. This is dependent on what you wanna spend. Suntour XCM V3 HLO you can get for under $100 but arent as light or adjustable as the ROckshox. If you get suntour forks, get XCM v3 HLO or XCT HLO versions. HLO is Hydraulic lockout and its the only good cheap fork they have. MLO SUCKS ASS, and no lockout is still kinda bouncy. The HLO unit dampens bound and rebound, has some adjustment and wont slam to a stop on rebound. I have had MLO and HLO versions, MLO long gone, HLO still on my Saber hehe.

Wheels- can be had for $100- WTB FX with Sram 306 Hubs and 8/9 speed compatible hub instead of crappy and heavy freewheel unit. Good starter set.

Rear Shock- just better than that thing, I prefer air but thats just me, decent air or coil can be had all day for under $100 on ebay good used condition. Make sure you get proper length (same or within few mm of your stock one).

Stem and Bars- Im like IrishMongoose, Origin 8, but you have to get sizes/rise of each based on your body and how you ride, but sizes goes for any stem/handlebars. I changed out both on my new Trek to get proper fit and save weight.

Crankset- least concern unless it has steel crankarms, in which case Shimano sets can be had for around $30 on Amazon that are good and aluminum

Also probably want to fit some decent brakes into the list somewhere, where depends on how you like them and how much they annoy you when riding. Avid bb7 best Mech disc brake out there and priced decent too, can get caliper and rotor for around $50 per wheel

Just browse the forums, many of hte upgrades you find for XR Pro's are much the same as you can use for this bike.

As for the shops, ya they do that alot. Biggest thing, go buy your new seat from there. Especially try to find which one stocks origin 8 stuff. Origin 8 is low cost but great quality (right up there with parts twice the cost) so you can get a few things. You spend money on parts through them, bike wont matter anymore. My best thing there was explaining I just got into biking again and want to make sure I was going to stay with it long term and get back into shape/loose weight before I spend good money on a bike. And I buy things as possible (price close enough to online pricing) from them, so all were happy to see me and help with my Gen Saber. You have to convince LBSs in some cases you arent some dumb kid with "crappy bike" and though your bike isnt from them, your going to support them by buying parts from them.
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Re: Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

Postby Coherence » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:16 am

Thanks for the welcome, and for the excellent response!

I'll be sure to check out the upgrades done to other peoples XR Pros. Is it safe to assume that most everything they are putting on the XR's will fit the 6.2? This will be my first time dabbling with upgrading so I'm not 100% certain on what fits what yet.

I checked out several of your suggestions and they are definitely within the price range (as I plan to piece it together over the next year or so). Only thing I am going to try and do is cut down a bit on the weight, might try to find some light durable wheels if I can (without breaking the bank) as I am not sure how 5.5lbs stacks up in the world of bike wheels.

Fork is definitely getting upgraded to a RockShox one when it can, along with the rear shock as well, as I feel that these are two of the heavier (and crappier quality) parts of the bike.

The brakes seemed fairly ok just from the quick ride I did through town with it, no squealing/screeching, or other horrific oddities, stopped very quickly and smoothly. They will probably come later down the line.

Will post my progress as I go. Off to delve through other peoples customizations now to see what I find. Cheers!

Edit: Did some digging about the crankset, turns out they are steel - so I will be swapping those out quickly as well to help drop some weight.
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Re: Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

Postby Irishmongooserider » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:07 pm

Congrats on getting a bike, and welcome to the forum!

Here's your stock spec sheet: http://www.ironhorsebikes.com/full-susp ... nister-6-2

Tigris has already given a nice response, and alot of his suggestions mirror what I'd say. Going from there, I'll comment on it as if it was my bike...

My top priority would be wheels and tires on most bikes, especially on cheaper bikes (say under $500) that are equipped with heavier stock wheels that also tend to be flexy and need to be trued more often.
This is a decent wheelset that'd be a big step up without blowing alot of money: http://www.jensonusa.com/Mountain-Bike- ... r-Wheelset
These are a bit better: http://www.jensonusa.com/Mountain-Bike- ... lem-Wheels

As far as tires go, I swear by WTB, Kenda, and Maxxis with WTB being a definitive first place finisher for me. Particularly, the Nano works awesomely as a rear tire (fast rolling, and very efficient), while the Moto bites ridiculously good and works great as a front, as does the Wolverine.
My Nano review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odnFgZ6MbUc
Moto review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIbHugmGhQ0

Also, a little known fact is that Sunlite tubes (less expensive brand) are actually repackaged quality Kenda models... Your local shop probably sells the Sunlites for $5 or less, and the Kendas for $8-$10 when they're the same model (aside from superlight versions). Why am I mentioning tubes? The stockers tend to be poor quality heavy models, and you feel weight more in your wheels/tires/tubes/etc (rotation weight is felt more due to the fact that you must continuously turn it). Also, scrap the junk rim strips for some quality fabric types (FSA and Kore have good Nylon ones that are cheap-say $5 per pair).

You'll likely have to swap to a decent cassette if you change wheels (I believe your stock wheels use a freewheel but the spec sheet doesnt specify, and the better wheels require a cassette).
Here's a good cassette for a reasonable price: http://www.amazon.com/PG830-Bicycle-Cas ... d+cassette

I'm a big Origin8 supporter (after years of using Easton, Kore, Truvativ, Syntace, Raceface and others) as they provide products with quality that matches or exceeds other top brands, and specs (such as weight or features) that generally are better than almost all, topped off by prices that beat most, by as much as half.

I mention Origin8 due to the fact that the 6.2's stock bar/stem/seapost are either steel (bar), or heavier alloy (post and stem) and you'd save alot of weight while also gaining comfort (stock bikes arent setup specifically for you) and performance (the stock bar/stem/post are going to be flexy, taking away from your overall effeciency, and a flexy bar/stem hurts handling).

Take a look at some of my Origin8 gear that I personally use: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8tSmhS7wE8 and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hku7hBegybA and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FvsEwFnnOE

Cranks are a must-do upgrade on a bike like this (and go for the BB at the same time) as the stock units arent good at all, being heavy, flexy, and having non-replaceable chainrings.
Here's a very nice crank/bb combo from Raceface that I've been pushing for about a year, and the sale price is still good: http://www.blueskycycling.com/product43 ... racket.htm

Do get a rear shock and a fork when you can (air saves weight, and is more adjustable, but coil spring models are easy to use and very reliable along with being slightly more plush), but I'd focus on the wheels/tires/tubes and the cockpit along with the cranks first...
My bikes: Mongoose Valiant, Tyax Elite, Switchback SS, Blackcomb, and the old DXR

Other: Origin8 Uno SS/fixie

See my YouTube vids @ https://www.youtube.com/user/mongoosejake
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Re: Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

Postby Irishmongooserider » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:09 pm

By the way, just for your own info...

Origin8 components are sold or available at most any local bike shop. Use Amazon to price check if you think a local shop has high prices, as Amazon is the only online retailer for Origin8.

Check out www.origin-8.com
My bikes: Mongoose Valiant, Tyax Elite, Switchback SS, Blackcomb, and the old DXR

Other: Origin8 Uno SS/fixie

See my YouTube vids @ https://www.youtube.com/user/mongoosejake
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Re: Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

Postby tigris99 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:00 pm

Irish's points caused me to miss something I should have put below pedals on my list. BOTTOM BRACKET!!! This part is the bearing unit your crankset (pedal arms/chinrings) attach to. I ran my saber for a yr almost on stock crankset and its still perfectly fine. But the bearings in bottom brackets on these bikes are CRAP!!! You can get a good one (shimano, sunlite are 2 brands I Trust with my weight as im a big guy) that are sealed set ups that will last a LONG time. can be had for around $10-20 depending on model, and get square taper ones (make sure length of shaft is the same between your stock and new one), wont have to buy crankset for a while. BOTTOM BRACKET is the second most important thing to replacing crap plastic pedals.

If you go the route Irish said with the Raceface crankset, cant go wrong for the price, good crankset and comes with bottom bracket BUT (ppl here keep missing this detail lol) you really should take your bike to LBS to have the crank housing ground true. That crankset (and the crankset i bought for my Trek, $100 Shimano version) have external bearing housings and have to make sure they are perfectly square to the threads all the way through the frame. 75% chance your fine without taking to LBS but even a run/thick spot in the paint (or powdercoat whichever they used on that bike) can cause your bearings to wear out faster. I had it checked on my Trek 29er (you can look at my thread get more ideas on upgrades cause only difference is my Trek is a Hardtail instead of FS) just to be sure and sanded paint off just to keep everything perfect.
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Re: Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

Postby Coherence » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:04 am

@Irish, Thanks for another greatly detailed and informative post. I'm attempting to turn into a sponge here and just soak up as much information as I can haha. I actually saw some of your posts in other areas of the forum and had navigated to your youtube page a bit earlier on. Was checking out your tire reviews as that seems to be one of the parts that needs to be upgraded quickly. Origin8 seems like it is the way I will go for several of my upgrades as well, because you really can't beat the price, and so far, the products I have seen from them look pretty stellar as well.

@Tigris, I do believe I am going to grab that Crankset as it is on sale, and the steel set that is on there no doubt weighs 4 tons. Thanks for the info regarding the crank housing and overall fitting of the bottom bracket. I wouldn't have ever known honestly, as I am still a bit lost when it comes to some of the stuff regarding bike upgrades.

I think my first round of upgrades (hello tax return) are going to be the Crankset/BB, Cassette, Pedals, Wheels &Tires. Wondering which type of tires I should purchase for semi-hybrid use, small amounts of road riding too/from the park, and about 6 miles of trails. Will probably also ride it in the fields behind my house - any suggestions? Looking at about $200-250 for that depending before installation.

Now the question is - is that all I need to buy to do those upgrades (if I have LBS do install)? Or are there other components needed to install/use these parts that I maybe be missing/unaware of? For example are I going to need to swap the Derailleurs if I swap the Crankset and Cassette or should the stock ones work? I'm heading into this with about 0% knowledge, so I am basing much of what I do/upgrade (make that all) off of the suggestions you guys make.

Definitely appreciate all the help/suggestions so far - thanks!

EDIT - Found these pedals which I think look fantastic...question is does anyone know if they are worth the money...bit steep in my mind but I won't be clipping in for awhile so perhaps they are worth looking at (must keep in mind that Delaware gets a ton of rain, and I will be running on a gravel/dirt and root infested park paths, so keeping my feet on the pedals could be interesting at speed) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bicycle-Pedals-Origin8-ProForm-UL-CNC-Machined-Sb-9-16-Blue-MTB-Bike-Part-/380584384017?pt=Cycling_Parts_Accessories&hash=item589c98d611

Also fair to note that I am looking to drop a bit of weight of this bike, as it is a monster at like 40.2 lbs or so on my buddies scales (nothing fancy but gave us a rough estimate). Not a weight snob by any means, but I wouldn't mind it being a bit lighter, and these pedals are light @ 355g/pair. It appears that most of the Origin8/raceface parts are going to be significantly lighter than whats on there, which is great.
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Re: Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

Postby 26ERider » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:01 pm

Welcome Coherence. I am one of the few Iron Horse owners on this site, and I am totally pleased that I went with this bike. I have beat the stuffing out of this bike (frame) and it has never failed me. But, as you can see in the pic, the only original components are the grips, which I recently replaced last week. I say ride the bike while you build it up. In time start to change parts just like Tigris and Irish stated, but shop at discounted bike websites. I had a hard tail 29er that I was building, but then decided I wanted a FS 29er. I thought the IH was the best buy, so I transferred my parts from one bike to the other. I did some Ebay shopping, Jenson USA, etc. The bars, stem, pedals, and seat post need an upgrade to lighten the load, and the wheels are not bad and the cranks are okay. Well, at least on the 6.3 Sinister as they are aluminum. Anyway, you made a worthy purchase. Have fun riding and building.
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Re: Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

Postby bones72751 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:07 am

The big difference between the 6.2 and the 6.3+ is the hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum rear triangle on the 6.3 and above models. This makes the lower models heavier and leaves off the replaceable hanger. Still a decent bike imo, and worthy of some upgrading. Like others have already said I'd start with wheels and tires, also fit components like bars, stem, seat and post. After that I tend to go with either drive train or suspension depending on which is more lacking. In this case I'd probably go with suspension as your drive train is pretty decent for a BBB. Look around for a good deal on a rock shox BAR or ario, fox float, or Suntour rear air shock (not sure of their models... I ride hardtails). Suntour XC and above forks are nice, as well as RockShox XC line. Marchozzi and Fox make nice forks as well, but tend to get pricey.

@ 29ERider, your sinister is simply amazing...

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Re: Iron Horse Sinister 6.2 - upgrade recommendations?

Postby Irishmongooserider » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:14 pm

Coherence, those pedals are tops on my list (I've got a pair on my Tyax-look at that thread for pics of the red version) and they are fantastic! I've stuck with WTB Momentum pedals (which are lighter at about 260 grams) that have too small of platforms, and tend to get beat up due to the separate cage design (alloy cage gets bent on rocks easy on the WTB's) but am switching all of my mountain bikes over to those Origin8 ProForm UL pedals. It'll take a little time with 4 mountain bikes, but the pedals are my new hands down favorites on the market today... Until I get to try the new Fiber versions that is (same size, with cartridge bearings as well, but even lighter), that aren't available until May.
My bikes: Mongoose Valiant, Tyax Elite, Switchback SS, Blackcomb, and the old DXR

Other: Origin8 Uno SS/fixie

See my YouTube vids @ https://www.youtube.com/user/mongoosejake
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