Bike Test: Ibis Tranny

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“This scale has got to be wrong,” I thought. Sure, this Ibis Tranny was built as a singlespeed, but it’s got a 4-inch-travel fork with a through-axle, and it certainly looks the part of a brawler…. But 20 pounds, complete?


Any doubts were erased the first time I rode the Tranny—it felt every bit of 20 pounds, in a good way. The bike absolutely rallied on fast, flowing singletrack. Whether pushing hard into rocky corners or pumping through every undulation in the trail, the Tranny proved a predictable, balanced and overtly flex-free ride that takes a surprisingly small amount of energy to get going.






Not content with just testing the bike’s XC credentials—after all, Brian Lopes shreds 4X and dual-slalom courses on this frame—I took the Tranny outside of what I thought would be its comfort zone. The bike saw some late-night pump-track action, some around town delinquency, and got launched a few times when a jump looked too prime to pass up. I even put on a smaller rear cog and raced it in a local underground Super D. Again and again, I was surprised by the bike’s versatility.


Like the other bikes made by recently reincarnated Ibis, the Tranny frame is constructed of 100-percent space-age carbon fiber, with compression-molded dropouts and headset cups. The lightweight frame can be run as a geared hardtail or a singlespeed with a built-in chain tensioner—courtesy of a dandy sliding bottom bracket yoke that pivots at the seatstay. As a bonus, the sliding rear triangle makes the Tranny ideal for traveling, as the frame can be broken down into two parts and easily stowed in a suitcase.


I have never been part of the singlespeed tribe, but I can see why their Kool-Aid is so tempting. The absence of a drivetrain also leads to the absence of a lot of racket when barreling down the trail. I began to notice the sound of passing trees, rolling tires—the trail itself.


But there were a few interruptions to that golden silence. First came the slap of the rear brake hose beating against the bike’s apparently highly resonant carbon frame, which a little bit of well-placed electrical tape (mostly) muffled. Then came the creaking from the bottom-bracket yoke. Following instructions from Ibis, I disassembled and liberally coated the junction with a carbon assembly compound, which killed the noise for a few weeks at a time before the relentless moon-dust of Colorado’s Western Slope inevitably crept back in.


Long XC rides and endurance races, sure. Ripping high-alpine singletrack? Fine. Jump trails? Why the hell not? Aside from a little noise, the Tranny lives up to its name—it’s a puzzling category crosser that can be many things to many riders.


MORE INFO:

$1,400

866-424-7635

ibisiscycles.com




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