(Fashion alert, your helmet straps have to be the same colour as your riding jersey too, bet you didn't know that?)
And the question on every one's lips is; How is my Tranny Pump-Track bike project going?
Well, pretty slowly.....every time I post a picture of the bike on my blog, the phone rings and someone wants a small Tranny in the colour I want to keep for myself. Although I am in the business of selling bikes, this was getting frustrating. I have mentioned before, for a bike with no gears, one brake and not much of anything else...it always seem so hard for me to build one.
Riding/raving about the Ibis Mojo HD
Righto, been meaning to get my thoughts down about Ibis Mojo HD for a while now.....but really you should take it as ‘no news is good news’. Also, I hope to have a few more in stock by the time you finish reading this too.
Firstly the HD looks mint, even my Vitamin P with red highlights colour scheme, the bike looks great and gets lots of looks....which may or may not be important to you.
The attention to detail is pretty well up there. Finely tuned DW linkage suspension with RP23 high volume shock, tapered steerer, Maxle rear axle, super stiff frames (but not too stiff, that you bounce off the trail) and cool subtle graphics. Not forgetting how cool swoopy Mojo look is too.....so cool.
There is also an option list to choose from, a down-tube cable protector, custom chain-guide and different shock mounts so you can convert the bike to 140mm of travel (via a shorter eye to eye and stroke shock) from the original 160mm travel.
Three colour options is enough for most people to lose sleep over too, gloss white, a clear matte (so you can see the carbon) and the bright as Vitamin P (which honestly looks better in real life that you think). Also you can spec the frame with DHX5 air or RC4 coil, my recommendation is, if you’re anal about tuning your bike, get the RC4, otherwise stick the RP23.
When I visited Ibis HQ back in early September, I was able to talk to the guys about designing the new HD. They worked closely with Brian Lopes to make sure they designed a bike that was extremely capable, up, down and around corners. They also made sure the HD was laterally stiff, but not so stiff that you would feel unstable when the going gets rough.
Ibis also worked closely with Dave Weagle (designer of the DW-link suspension) and Fox, to make the HD one of the best pedalling bikes I have ridden. Honestly, you feel like you should be sprinting everywhere, the bike just accelerates like crazy.
Ok, so my HD is not an ‘out of the box’ spec, but I would expect that for NZ HD sales a good number of them would be custom builds or people moving up from their old Mojos. Out of the box, I would go for X9 kit and a Float 36 fork. This builds a nice bike and pretty sure is sub 30lbs.
I am a Fox Van36 fan(atic), pretty much don’t see the need for adjustable travel forks and I will always prefer springs and oil, to just air forks. Nelson riding is quite harsh, roots and rocks everywhere and even though air forks keep getting better...they are never going to be as plush as springs and oil.
1 x 10 set up, I was thinking about going 1 x 10 all last season, but I wanted to wait until I built a new bike. Pretty much sold on it, running a chain-guide means never dropping the chain and a lot less chain slap, this alone should convert most people. Also cleans up the handle bars with only one shifter and gives you plenty of room for your seat dropper remote.
Sure you lose your granny ring, but really, you just have to get a little harder....and running 32T front and 11T-36T rear is a pretty good spread of gears. I can climb everything I could on my old bike, which had a 26T granny ring. Drive train is SRAM XX (yeah I splashed out) and my favourite cranks (XTR). Elixir brakes still rock and work well and manage to stop me in all occasions, I required.
50mm Straitline stem is pretty much a given on a bike like this. Combine it with my new favourite handle bar, the Easton Haven Carbon (711mm wide) and the bike control is just magic. Flow rims with red Hope Hubs, wheels built by Bike Culture. Tires are always a personal choice, still loving the Maxxis Ardents.
Bike weight is around the 28lbs mark, give or take....I could go tubeless, but really just lazy....tubes are easy.....I could make the bike that little bit lighter if I wanted to, with little effort, but happy with the overall weight.
On the Trail
The first impression on the HD is its pedal-ability and just how well the bike accelerates; you really feel you should be making more effort to get to where ever you need, faster. Get out of the saddle and just hammer!
Combine the short chain-stays with its great pedalling and it climbs like crazy, quickly and almost effortlessly. The 67 degree head-angle is spot on for a 160mm travel bike (thanks Mr. Lopes for this suggestion), keeps the bike stable at speed and the front wheels planted when climbing.
The HD still has the Mojo family feel, so for those of you, who are riding a Mojo or Mojo SL, will feel right at home......but the bike is just that bit better, tighter, stiffer more capable bike. This is an efficient, stable and confidence inspiring to bike to ride.
The RP23 is very sensitive to fine tuning, even changing 5psi pressure makes a difference in the way the bike rides. It never feels mushy, but I would spend sometime experimenting with the air pressure (and I did). It's worth the effort, once this is sorted, pretty much set and forget.
Some reviews have stated that the HD isn’t so good on small bump compliancy, not sure if I agree. It does have ride characteristics that are closer to a short travel bike than a longer travel bike, there is no mushy feel when pedalling....but, Nelson riding is all about small bump compliancy. I would never describe the HD as harsh or skipping over or not reacting to small bumps. You can defiantly tell what the terrain is beneath you, but it is never harsh. Maybe this is because I run the Van36’s and not air forks.
Be Like Lopes
The other noticeable thing about how the HD rides, is that it really likes to carve the corners. Again, its short-ish chain-stays, slack geometry, relatively low bottom bracket and laterally stiff frame seems to give the HD almost dual slalom like cornering abilities and with the way the bike pedals, you can get on the power fast and really haul arse. I have noticed I am exiting corners quicker than expected.
Also the HD is very playful, changing direction is almost instinctive and you just feel like you want to ‘pop’ the bike over obstacles. I think the good finesse riders will be rewarded on the HD......or just think ‘Lopes like thoughts’ when you are riding and you’ll be sweet.
Obviously with 160mm of front and rear travel, you don’t need to be a finesse rider and you can just bash your way through the terrain......but with all the R&D work Ibis, Lopes, DW and Fox have done to create this bike...you might be missing some of the finer details.
So pretty much lovin’ my HD, there will be a hand full arriving before Xmas, so you better be nice and put one on your wish list. I would suggest talking to your local Ibis dealer would be better than a note to Father Xmas.....but what ever works with you.
If you want more info on the Ibis Mojo HD, check out the Ibiscycles website, also has a bike builder and a few reviews from the normal publications.