Ibis has released the all-new HD6, a mixed-wheel enduro bike sporting 180mm of front travel and 165mm rear. The HD6 is a welcomed addition to the Ibis lineup as a long-travel bike that is entirely capable of a long pedal or a big day in the bike park. But at its core, the HD6 is a time-shaving race machine. Developed directly for the needs of their EWS riders, the all-new HD6 is an entirely different beast than the widely-praised 147mm travel Ripmo Ibis's racers have relied upon in previous seasons.
The Ibis Ripmo punches well above its "trail-bike" categorization, securing several top ten EWS results in recent years.As such, it was note-worthy when Ibis-sponsored enduro riders were spotted aboard the as-of-yet released HD6. To learn exactly how the latest HD6 compares to the Ripmo, I chatted with Maxxis Factory Racing team member Colton Peterson. Peterson has had immense success aboard the Ibis Rimpo, most notably finishing a very impressive 9th at the Sugarloaf EWS last year. Having pushed both bikes to their limits, Peterson is one of the people best-suited to give us insight into Ibis's latest creation.
You’ve spent a lot of time on the Ripmo and even piloted it to an impressive 9th place overall finish at the Sugarloaf EWS last year; how would you describe the general ride characteristics and capability of the Ripmo?
It depends on how crazy you are… it's capable of much more than you would expect. I have pushed its limits and hucked everything a downhill bike would do. Following Richie Rude on his downhill bike in Queenstown opened my eyes to how well it handles the gnarly fast downhill chunk and gaps. Going into a lot of the big races and having a lot of pedaling, I knew I had a good advantage over some people just knowing how good it pedals. I was never scared of having a massive day on the bike and knowing there was 7k feet of climbing coming up.
What was your initial impression after riding the HD6 for the first time? What immediate differences stood out in comparison to the Ripmo?
I first noticed how well it pedaled for a big bike. I was very impressed with that aspect. It boosted my confidence on the bigger transfer days in the backcountry. Also, wheel size was a huge difference for me as well. You can notice right away how snappy you can be right out of the gate. The cornering is just unreal on it. It doesn't feel like I'm fighting for traction cornering like I did on the Ripmo.
Was there much of an adjustment period when switching to the new frame, or was the transition relatively seamless?
It's going to sound crazy but it took me literally one ride to switch over. I clicked with it. I only had a handful of rides on it before racing it at the last EDR Val Di Fassa. I jumped on it two days before practice day and did laps with Zak on the Ibis team and instantly knew it was the bike for me. It takes weeks or even months for someone to push the limits on a new bike, but I knew just from the beginning that I could push the limits with it.
What type of terrain would you say the HD6 handles the best?
The sharper the corner, the better for it. The steeper the trail, the faster it is. It handles all the chunky fast stuff like a breeze. I don't have to second guess my lines. I feel comfortable enough to go full gas on blind trails without worrying about line choice .
Considering it is a longer travel bike, how would you describe the pedaling and climbing characteristics of the HD6?
The first thing I noticed hopping on the HD6 was how good it pedals. It is so snappy getting up to speed. I haven't had a problem with having big days on the bike, that is one thing that is super important in enduro.
What are the benefits of a mixed wheel setup, and how do they translate to a race scenario?
I was hesitant about the mixed wheels at first. I didn't know what to expect. Everybody talked about how good 27.5 rear wheel corners; I hadn't had the experience of it until I hopped on it. I wouldn't want it any other way now. I don't know if I'll go back to a full 29er. I can go into corners at full speed without trying to fight for traction. I have full confidence in my cornering now.
What component or aspect of your bike setup are you most particular about? How so?
Tire choice for sure. I run Assagei and DHR II in the rear DH casing on both. I feel most comfortable on that setup for all types of terrain, even when it rains. I feel like I know the limit the best with that setup, and I don't want to change that. Also, my cockpit. 770mm or 760mm bars depending on where I'm at. And three 5 mm spacers on my stem. And my brakes have to be in the right position. Those are the most important things for me. Oh, and I have my shifter in a really weird place cause I have had a broken thumb for a while, so I rest my thumb on one of the shifters. I don't wrap my thumb around the bars like most people. It's really weird, I know.
Congrats on finishing 19th overall in the Val Di Fassa EDR! How did the HD6 handle the longer stages that the venue offers?
It handled everything with no problem. I knew this bike was going to be a game-changer. Right now, I haven't found any flaws. I never thought once my bike was doing anything wrong, it was just maybe my fitness.
When you are not focusing on a race result, how does the HD6 perform as a general do-it-all enduro bike?
I haven't had much time to just ride it for fun, but when I'm just riding with my friends in practice, it feels like a super playful bike. I'm looking forward to just riding it for fun because it's definitely my favorite bike to ride right now. I'm excited to take it to do bike park laps and maybe even enter into some downhill events.
While the Ibis Ripmo is one of the most well rounded mountain bikes available, the HD6 has the upper hand for those looking to find every second they can in an enduro race, especially in demanding terrain. For being a "big" bike, it seems the HD6 has maintained some of that beloved pedaling efficiency that makes the Ripmo so desirable, while introducing slacker geometry and increased travel. Paired with the right pilot, the HD6 will fly down the mountain as Peterson went on to further prove after our interview by securing a second-place finish at the Big Mountain Enduro in Durango. Second place in his second race aboard the HD6 is a massive achievement and testament to the capabilities of the bike.
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