Ibis is known for making high-end carbon dream machines, most of which start at over $4,000. For those that may have forgotten, Ibis’ no-longer-available 29-inch Tranny hardtail, still started at $2,700 for its most-economical build. That all changes as of today. Ibis’ new DV9 hardtail brings the brand within reach of a broader audience. Available as a frame-only for $1,000, or as a full SRAM NX Eagle-level build for $2,200, the DV9 was designed with fresh intention from Ibis.
The DV9 is the brainchild of Ibis co-owner, Hans Helm, who was inspired by his high-school XC-racing daughter, Lili Heim. Lili raced in the local National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) league, and Hans wanted to make a performance bike that was capable of winning races, but could be bought on a summer job’s income. While $2,200 for the Sram NX Eagle-level build on the DV9 isn’t cheap per se, it’s much more within reach than Ibis’ other rigs, and in line or less expensive than many other carbon hardtails on the market. Full builds aside, $1,000 for the frame-only option is quite an offering from Ibis. Many comparable carbon hardtail frames retail for hundreds of dollars more, and Ibis’ full-suspension frames are three times the price.
While Heim may have had NICA XC dominance in mind when first approaching the DV9, its geo points to broader usage than solely watts-minded lap times. We’ve been seeing the category of ‘down-country’ bikes cropping up lately. Not up-country, not cross-country, yep--down-country and the DV9 falls into this growing category. Down-country bikes are too steep and short to be true trail bikes, but certainly aren’t XC thoroughbred racers. These bikes split the difference, intended to be as much for fun-loving racers as for gravity-minded folks with distance tendencies. Quite the affliction.
A slack(ish) headtube angle, short chainstays, moderately long reach and average stack height look to make the DV9 equally at home edging start lines or riding deep backcountry singletrack. In a way, the DV9 looks as though it could be a good option for an aspiring rider: It’s not a hyper-specific tool, but appears to be one based around tried-and-true concepts, perhaps promoting riders to improve their own riding rather than rely on their bike to do the talking. Not one angle of the DV9’s geometry pushes the current envelope, but seems instead to fall right in a sweet spot of proven numbers.
That being said, from afar it doesn’t look like the DV9 is just another reasonable hardtail that blends into the crowd. Riders can choose between Fox Factory 32 Step-Cast 100-millimeter and Fox Rhythm 34 120-millimeter fork options, resulting in headtube angles of 68.5 degrees and 67.4 degrees, respectively. And, the DV9 is 180-millimeter rotor compliant, also accepting a 29×2.6-inch tire. In short, the DV9 could be set up as a XC-race bike running a 100-millimeter fork with skinny race tires, tiny little 140-millimeter rotors and a 68.5-degree headtube angle--or it could be a playful trail hardtail with a 67.4 headtube, sporting a brawny 34-millimeter-stanchioned 120 fork, meaty 2.6-inch tires and big 180-millimeter stoppers.
Versatility continues to build kits--Ibis has historically allowed customers extra customization moving from standard build kits options. The tradition continues: offering fork, wheel and dropper upgrades. Correct, none of the DV9 builds actually comes with a dropper, but at least upgrading to a KS E30i or Bike Yoke dropper to a build only adds $70 or $175 to the bill.
The new Ibis DV9 is an interesting addition to the Ibis line-up. Its design speaks not only to performance, but also to versatility and accessibility. It’s not a bike just for racing, even though the DV9 was created with the NICA races in mind. It looks to go beyond that, approaching the realm of do anything and go anywhere bikes--all without breaking the bank (too much).
See full details at Ibis’ website.