Before filing for bankruptcy in 2009, Iron Horse was a noble steed, producing some innovative mountain bike frames that were victoriously raced in several World Championships. These days, they can be found sniffing around the doors of the glue factory, apart from the odd well-loved stallion—like this one, rejuvenated by Venezuela’s FenixBikes.
I’m a bit biased towards the equine brand: my first serious mountain bike was a fully rigid Iron Horse MT400, sold to me by the legendary Jesse Geisler of The Bike Bar in 1995 or so. I swore by the ‘A-Frame’ design, kind of an inverted Triple Triangle that truly delivered a stiff rear end—especially after belting around the local single trail.
FenixBikes are on a mission to rebuild old bicycles, both pedal-powered and motorised, and feed them back into their community: this Iron Horse Sunday was the first. Raul Meneses gives us a brief background: “Iron Horse Bikes goes bankrupt in 2008, exactly the same year that Sam Hill wins the downhill world championships on a Sunday.
“This irony is parallel to that of Venezuela, one of the largest oil producers in the world, with a base salary of $85 a month. An outlier. This situation makes downhill bikes machines prohibitive by their price and range of use. FenixBikes, formed by Raul Meneses and Mario Fariñas, face this reality by reconstructing bicycles and motorcycles since 2008 in a small workshop in Caracas.
“Iron Horse was bought and absorbed by Dorel Juvenile Group, discarding the manufacture of high-end bicycles, like the Sunday model. This gravity machine was painted with matte black powder, all bearings replaced, upgraded to RaceFace handlebars, custom front and rear mudguards, a Transition wheel set and a full drivetrain tuneup.
“We did all this to give the bike a modern and personal look, and to commemorate the joy it has give to the new owner and our personal friend Ramón.” It certainly gave the old frame a fresh start and will hopefully continue to blaze new South American trails. Kudos to Raul and Mario for putting their passion and mechanical skills to good use.