With three full-suspension bikes in its line, Ibis Cycles positions the 130-millimeter-travel Mojo 3 between the 150-millimeter HD3 and the 120-millimeter Ripley 29er. Spec'd with a 140-mil fork, the full-carbon Mojo 3 was developed to be a lighter-weight and snappier version of the HD3, and incorporates the same DW-link suspension design that Ibis faithful have grown to love. It is compatible with both single-ring and two-by drivetrains, is ISCG 05 chainguide-compatible with an optional adapter and utilizes a 68-millimeter-wide threaded bottom bracket.
New wheel and tire sizes have dominated trailhead chatter, and Ibis designed the Mojo 3 and its 27.5-inch wheels to be compatible with 2.3-inch, 2.5-inch and 2.8-inch-wide tires without compromising the bottom-bracket height or intended geometry. Ibis achieves this by designing the frame around a maximum tire size of 2.8 inches instead of bigger 3-inch meats. For a whisker under $6,000, riders also get a Fox 34 Performance fork and Float DPS Performance Evol shock, Fox Transfer dropper post and a predominantly Shimano SLX 11-speed drivetrain with an XT 11-46 cassette. Curiously spec'd at this price range are the lesser-known Shimano BL-M445 hydraulic disc brakes, which coincidentally were out of stock during our testing and were replaced with Shimano's reliable XT stoppers.
Bikes in this travel range are versatile and fun. Throw plus-size tires into the equation and an agile machine like the Mojo 3, with its 66.8-degree head angle and 425-millimeter chainstays, makes easy work of trail chatter and rock-strewn terrain. The proven DW-link suspension maintains pedaling efficiency and quick acceleration with the shock in the open setting, yet also becomes progressive for harsher impacts at speed. Plus-size tires provide a supple and playful ride with superb traction, but those attributes can come at the expense of climbing efficiency and hard-cornering performance. There are always compromises, but Ibis cleverly developed the Mojo 3 to meet a variety of desired riding experiences. The Mojo 3 is one of the rare 27.5-inch-wheeled platforms that lets you have the best of both worlds.
Q&A with Scot Nicol, Founder & Co-Owner – Ibis Cycles
Many brands share suspension design concepts (DW-link, Horst Link, etc), how does Ibis separate itself from other brands utilizing the DW-link?
The differentiation from the other DW-link brands is that we’re making the bike we want and the other licensees are making the bike they want. We all give Dave [Weagle] different geometries, desired leverage and pedaling characteristics, and the list of things we’re willing and not willing to compromise on to get there. It’s not hard to imagine how three different companies would give Dave different inputs depending on what what’s important to them. We also work with Fox developing shocks that are tuned to our DW-link. The OEM shocks we use from Fox are almost always custom tuned/manufactured for us, based on feedback and testing from our engineers, riders, Fox’s engineers and Dave Weagle and his shock dyno. The shock tuning will further differentiate our bikes from the other licensees.
Ibis obviously believes in Plus size tires. What questions should a rider ask to help them figuring out if that tire option is right for them?
We like the Plus tires up to 2.8″. In our tests with the bigger Plus tires, we didn’t like the added springiness of the undamped rubber, and we also didn’t like the added weight. There are certainly places where the bigger plus tires are appropriate, but we don’t think they match the intended purpose of our bikes well.
We spec 2.35″, 2.5″ and 2.8″ tires on our bikes (and soon the new 2.6″ genre which we have really enjoyed during testing). When you include the tire sag that happens with the lower pressures you run in bigger tires, the bottom bracket height of the three tires is remarkably close, within 3-4mm. So with the same set of wheels, you can run some mud spikes for winter, burly 2.5’s for Whistler, and soft 2.8’s when the trail is loose, dry and dusty.
Are there any small details on the Mojo 3 the Ibis crew really digs, yet may not be obvious to the casual viewer?
We really like how stiff it is. People may assume that the shorter travel frame that’s half a pound lighter than the HD3 is also not going to be as stiff. We really focused on maintaining the HD3’s stiffness and it’s a big part of why that frame rides so well.