When Ibis builds a bike, you can bet they have poured their heart and soul into every last detail. Ibis may be a small company, but they have some serious horsepower, and it shows in the bikes they produce. The truth of the matter is, every last person at Ibis rides just as hard as you, and their number one goal is to produce bikes that are FUN to ride. Let us be the first to tell you, they have without a doubt achieved this goal, and so much more. New for 2016, the Mojo HD3 is now sporting a Boost 148mm rear end, as well as the ability to use plus-sized tires, which we'll get into later in this write-up.
If you're familiar with Ibis bikes, you're likely familiar with the Mojo HD name. It's true, this bike has the same name as it's predecessor, but that's where the similarities end. This is a third-generation of the Mojo HD, so some are calling it the Mojo HD3. While the 2nd generation Mojo HD was an improvement over the first generation, it was not a completely new bike. With the bike industry charging forward so quickly, Ibis saw the need to start from scratch with the HD3, and bring us a brand new bike designed specifically around 27.5" wheels. With enduro racing taking over the mountain biking world in the last couple of years, it comes as no surprise that the Mojo HD is built to tackle the rigors of all riding conditions. While we may have mixed feelings about the buzzword ENDURO, we can certainly appreciate the technology and passion that goes into building an enduro bike. There's a very fine balance that needs to be achieved in our eyes: geometry that lends itself well to descending as well as climbing, an active suspension platform with enough travel to soak up the nasty stuff, and durable lightweight frame construction. Has the Mojo HD3 managed to pull it off? In a word, yes, but let's dive in and find out how they did it.
Since the early days of the Mojo, Ibis mountain bikes have been sporting Dave Weagle's dw-link patented suspension platform. The Mojo HD3 utilizes a fifth-generation iteration of dw-link. What does that mean for you? Without delving in too deep, this latest iteration separates pedaling performance and suspension performance better than anything we've seen in the past. And this is no joke - we found that the Mojo HD3 climbs incredibly well, with virtually zero feedback, even when you stand up and romp on it. You'd never guess you're sitting on 150mm of suspension travel for that matter...at least not until you point it downhill. To truly appreciate a bike it needs to descend just as well as it climbs, which is a tall order for the HD3 since it is such a strong climber. Don't forget Ibis' number one goal though: creating bikes that are FUN to ride. And let's face it, most of us only climb up so we can go down - the descent is the reward. We're pleased to report the HD3 is no slouch when it comes to the descent.. We tried our best to get the bike out of sorts, punching it through corners, pinning it down steep rock gardens, even sending it off 30-foot gap jumps not intended for a bike of this nature. But no matter how hard we tried, the bike simply handled everything with seemingly little effort. The HD3 descends with such grace and confidence, we started scratching our heads trying to figure out exactly how Ibis pulled it off. We can only conclude that Ibis are rare bunch of folks who have the passion and knowledge to produce a bike that is second-to-none. Looking closely at the frame, you may notice the shock is no longer attached directly to the rear swingarm. Instead, the lower eyelet of the shock is flipped vertically and attached to a yoke that spans the seat tube, then attaches to the swingarm. This design allows Ibis to achieve optimal shock and pivot locations, which ultimately gives the bike better small-bump compliance and a more linear suspension feel. We found the bike to feel very controlled and predictable throughout the travel. Riding the bike, we never felt any sort of wallowing in the mid-stroke, and were able to utilize all of the travel efficiently. Most riders will find that 25% - 30% sag is optimal on the HD3.
Another very important factor in the design of the HD3 is the geometry. Modern trail bike geometry is quite different than it was five years ago. We're seeing top tubes getting longer, stems shorter, seat tubes steeper and shorter, chainstays shorter, and BB heights lower. The days of 90mm stems and twitchy geometry are long gone, thankfully, in exchange for stable geometry and stems preferably no longer than 50mm. In fact, most of Ibis' stock builds for the Mojo HD are coming spec'd with 40mm stems. Ibis is also recommending 150mm dropper posts allowing most riders to keep the seat fairly low for descending, while having enough height adjustment to be in a comfortable position for climbing. Compared to the previous Mojo HD, the BB height has been lowered about a half inch to 13.4", chainstay shortened a quarter inch to 16.9", top tube lengthened about a half inch on each size, and head angle slacked out to 66.6° with a 160mm travel (552mm A-C) fork. While these geometry tweaks may seem insignificant on paper, they all play a huge role in the ride quality of the HD3.
As with the rest of Ibis' current models, the HD3 is constructed of carbon fiber, using molding technology not typically found on mountain bikes. If you cut open an HD3, you'll notice that the inside of the frame is just as smooth and perfect as the outside. There are no loose carbon threads, no imperfections, and no joints anywhere. This is achieved by utilizing a very precise molding process which ultimately provides an incredibly lightweight and strong frame. At 6.5 pounds with shock, the Mojo HD3 is right on the money for a bike of this genre. Since Ibis reconstructed this frame from the ground-up, there are a number of other refinements worth noting. The headtube is now true zero-stack, using a 44mm upper and 56mm lower tapered standard. This allows you to use a tapered fork while keeping the front end as low as possible. It also allows for use of an angle-adjustable headset should you so desire. With 1X drivetrains becoming so prominent on trail/enduro bikes, Ibis decided to implement a removable front derailleur tab that bolts onto the backside of the seat tube. This gives a very clean look overall when built with a 1X drivetrain, removing as much clutter as possible. Ample front triangle clearance allows for a full-size water bottle to be used on all frame options, even the small. This is good news for the smaller folks to don't want to ride with a hydration pack. Another nice improvement on the HD3 is the cable routing. All brake, shifter, and dropper post lines are routed internally through access ports on the front triangle. Ibis gives you the option to either run uninterrupted shifter cables, or for the gram-counters, you can run split shifter housing by changing out the cable port caps.
As of 2016, Ibis has revised the rear swingarm of the HD3 making it compatible with 12x148mm Boost rear hubs. If you already own an HD3, and want to make the jump to Boost 148mm, we've got you covered with the Mojo HD3 Boost swingarm kit. Along with the new Boost rear end comes the option to use 2.8"+ tires from Schwalbe, Maxxis, and WTB.
The Mojo HD3 ships with the Boost 148mm rear swingarm, unless otherwise specified. It utilizes a 12x148mm rear Maxle axle, included with the frame and/or complete bike. It is also stocked with a polycarbonate downtube protector, keeping your investment safe from flying debris. The HD3 is backed by Ibis' three-year warranty.