ENDURO Long-term Test | Review: The Ibis Mojo HD3
Back at the Design & Innovation Award 2015 the Ibis Mojo HD3 managed to stop the jury in their tracks, and seeing as we couldn’t get enough of its riding prowess and unrivalled production, we naturally couldn’t send the bike back immediately. In short, we recruited it to join our long-term test fleet and over the last three months test rider Vinzenz has pushed this bike to its limits. Here is his story:
After my job as a Trans-Alp guide spread me far and wide over the Alps last year, I decided to spend this season in my natural habitat around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The trails here – often technical, at times super flowing, and littered with many nasty, steep climbs – demand a lot from any bike. They ask for it to endure any type of descent but also to partake effectively and willing in the climbs, like any diligent soul – and all because the cable cars here won’t take bikes. What’s more, I’ve always been a particular fan of Ibis bikes, so when I heard that one of their whips was a potential for me, I didn’t hesitate before agreeing.
My test bike’s spec is strongly reminiscent of the X01 WX version of the bike, which is currently available, but has done away with the lovely Ibis carbon wheels. At first glance the parts struck me as a bit of a wild mash-up, but the sum of the parts is in fact brilliant. The suspension consists of FOX 36 Float forks and a Cane Creek DB Inline shock. The 1×11 drivetrain is a Race Face/SRAM mix and the brakes stem from Shimano.
Having had issues with previous FOX 36ers a while back, I’m amazed by the latest incarnation of these classic forks as their performance is outstanding. Responsive and with spot-on adjustability, I’ve got no cause for concern.
The rear shock demanded a considerable amount of time both in front of the laptop and during the early test rides to hit the perfect set-up. Fortunately, the final result has been worth the effort and I’m loving how the rear reacts to my riding. The damper is nicely plush, with stable travel, nice end progression and shows remarkably little pedal-influence. The SRAM XO1 is my first 11x and I can’t praise it enough. As you’d expect from SRAM, shifting is quick and positive, with the chain firmly positioned. For my purposes, the gear ratio is optimal but you could mount a smaller chainring if you wanted.
Not just lightweight beauties, the Stan’s NoTubes wheels can handle even the most thankless sections, showing no battle scars to date.
Little needs to be said about the Shimano XT brakes; they perform amazingly even though they’ve only got a 160mm disc at the back. Having said that though, I am about to go up to a 180mm model for more braking power.
The Thomson Elite Dropper posed its own problem with the lever as it refused to deliver the full length of hub, which meant that the post constantly seemed to slip a little. As a temporary (and slightly odd) measure I found that a contraption with a KS Lever got the problem under control.
Up until now I’ve only altered the cockpit to take 780mm Race Face SIXC bars and stem, as I found the stock Ibis bars too narrow and the original stem too long.
HOnce you flick the Climb Switch on the rear shock then the HD3’s performance on every steep climb is brilliant, giving you the feeling that you’re on a 100mm marathon fully. The DW Link rear proves itself completely uninfluenced by the pedalling, with no bouncing or pogoing in sight – a first for me. The riding position is satisfying too, and even on the most thankless climbs I’m not forced to shift my weight forward. The front end of the bike just doesn’t lift!
Despite being nice and rigid, the rear still gives bags of traction so that even rough and technical descents are not a problem. The 66.5º head angle ensures control is maintained (even if your speed isn’t!), and it gives a confidence-inspiring ride.
Downhill riding characteristics:
VSlacker geometry seems to be all the range with so many manufacturers these days, and Ibis seem have upped the ante when compared to the HD3’s predecessor as the geometry of the Mojo HD3 has a 66.6º head angle and a fairly short reach of 431mm (size large), so it’s still reasonable without being extreme.
On speedy sections the rear clings to the ground and delivers a mega confident ride. Given the compact geometry the bike is nimble and playful – the trails are the playground you can’t get enough of. This is testament to the fact that the guys at Ibis aren’t just engineers – they’re mad about riding too. With such a range of suspension adjustment, every single rider will surely find his or her dream set-up. As I’ve mentioned, the geometry isn’t the slackest, but this means that tight corners and rapid changes in line are definitely more manageable.
In my eyes, the Ibis Mojo HD3 isn’t just the fittest bike on the market right now, but it’s also one of the best technically too – think of its mash-up spec and well thought-out geometry. It climbs like a beast and packs a real punch of fun on the trails. Not sold yet? Just take a look at recent EWS results, and you’ll spot it repeatedly high up the rankings. Unfortunately there’s another area in which it ranks highly – namely in terms of price, as it retails around 7,000 €.
Words: Vinzenz Bader Pictures: Christoph Bayer