The four months on the Ibis Mojo
have been great for me as a rider as I've wanted to grab that bike and go ride when ever I had a chance too. I even commuted on it while my commuter was getting a new paint job and a full rebuild (more on that in another article). It's been to California, Oregon, Washington and all around the province of BC, just spinning away at the trails. In that time the parts spec has changed a ton too as I wanted to try all kinds of new products to see if they'd improve or hinder my riding experiences. The Ibis you see today is drastically different in regards to the build up from the initial assembly 4 months ago.
Original build up
Final build up
When I first built up the bike, Scot at Ibis suggested that I go with a 140mm fork, but since I have been on DH bikes so much over the past few years I really did not want to go to a fork under 6", so I convinced him to let me built it with a Fox 36 Van to start. If you've ever ridden a 36 from Fox, you'll know why I started there - they are bomber forks that feel better than most DH forks, but in a smaller package. The taller 36 slackened out the Ibis a bit too and let me transition to its angles in an easier fashion. About 2/3 of the way through my test period, I was given the opportunity to try out a new 2010 RockShox Revelation in a 150mm format. The Revelation is only 10mm less in the travel department, but the axle to crown is much closer to an inch shorter. This steepened the Ibis up a wee bit (putting it close to its stock settings) and I was concerned about descending. Turns out the 10mm of travel was not missed and the lower front end made the bike more agile on the climbs - maybe Scot was right? A few weeks prior to going to the shorter fork I lent the Ibis out to my good buddy Matt Brassard, whom was on vacation in Kamloops and wanted to give my bike a beating. His initial feelings were exactly what Scot said about the front end height and getting twitchy on the climbs and switch backs. Since abusing our test bike, Matt has gone out and bought an Ibis of his own and built it up with a Fox Talas 32 with the new 15QR system and is logging serious miles on it.
Our test bike and Matt's new whip
A few weeks into the test, I was concerned that the rear shock was not working correctly as I couldn't distinguish if the Pro Pedal was on or off on the Fox RP23 that came with the frame. Thankfully I was heading to Sea Otter and Fox Racing Shox
is always there and have a full service set up for all the racers and folks like me that have questions. I took the shock to them and they explained to me that bikes like the Ibis that are using the DW system require little to no compression damping and that the Pro Pedal feature is really not needed because the bike is so efficient, they even showed me with the Dyno that the Pro Pedal was in fact doing something even if I am not sensitive enough to feel the change. (on the other hand, Matt tells me that he really notices the Pro Pedal, so it leaves me thinking I just need to ride more) This left me wondering why Ibis would spec a shock with a feature that they don't feel is necessary on their bike? Here is what Scot from Ibis had to say about my question:
"You're riding the '09 RP23, and the Pro Pedal has been increased again with the release of the '10 shocks from Fox. They've been fine tuning the valving and other features (boost valve for '10 for example) on this shock each year so we've seen a bit of variance. As to whether to run it or not, some feel that the bike is better with it on the road and fire roads, especially standing. The good news is that there's no downside. Just turn it off. For times that people want it they can use it, and if not they can leave it off.
To answer your question, Fox doesn't make a high-performance low weight air shock without a Pro Pedal, and our order volume isn't big enough to ask them to make us a custom one. And if we did, I guarantee that we'd get customers complaining, telling us they like the Pro Pedal feature. We also offer the RPL shock which has similar valving and performance in the wide open position, but adds a full lockout feature.
At the same time that I swapped to the 2010 RockShox Revelation
, I also installed a RockShox Monarch 4.2 with Gate control. The Monarch is to be run on open, but you do have the Gate option which works similar to a pedaling platform / lock out. The Monarch that I ran had an "A" build which is a very light compression for the DW platform. The Gate function is adjustable for how much pressure is required to overcome the threshold that it creates to stiffen up the bike's rear suspension. I did like the fact that when I turned the gate on, it was noticeable and firmed up the rear end - whether it needed this effect or not, it's nice to feel like your options actually make a change to the product you are using. Both the Fox RP23 and the RockShox Monarch 4.2 felt great on the trails when set fully active, this is the first XC orientated bike that I've been able to ride at over 200lbs and not require a rebuild of the rear shock to suit my size.
Detailed pics of the frame:
|Seat Tube Length||15.5"||17"||19"||21"|
|Effective Top Tube||22.0"||22.8"||23.6"||24.4"|
|Frame and Size||2009 Ibis Mojo|
•140mm (5.5") travel
•Carbon monocoque frame and swing arm
•DW Link Suspension
|Rear Shock||RockShox Monarch4,2|
|Fork||2010 RockShox Revelation Race|
•20 mm MAXLE Lite
•Blackbox Rebound Damper, Compression with Gate control
|Headset||Cane Creek IS2, 1-1/8th” Black|
|Crankset||2008 Shimano XTR, 22/32/44T, 170mm arms|
|Bottom Bracket||Hope External BB with Stainless Steel bearings, (113grams)|
|Pedals||2002 Time Atac Clipless|
|Chain||Wippermann Connex 9 speed (Gold)|
|Cassette||Sram PG-990, 9 speed, 11-32|
|Front Derailleur||SRAM X.7, 34.9|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM X.0, 9 speed, mid cage|
|Shifter Cable/Housing||Jagwire Color match Orange|
|Shifter Pods||Sram X.0 pods, 9 speed rear and 3 speed front|
|Handlebar||Sunline V-One, 745mm width, 31.8mm clamp diameter|
|Stem||Race Face Atlas Stem, 31.8mm clamping diameter, 50mm reach|
|Grips||ODI Ruffian MX lock ons, Black|
|Brakes||Avid Juicy Ultimates, 6” rotors, White with Tyler Maine in the Carbon levers|
|Wheel Set||Crankbros. Iodine wheelset|
•Front 20mm, sealed bearings
•rear sealed bearings, 135x10mm regular Q/R
•Crankbros. own proprietary twinspoke system
•1903 grams for the set
|Tires||Kenda El Moco 26 x 2.35, Kevlar Bead|
|Tubes||Schwalbe, 186 Grams each|
|Saddle||Chromag Lynx, Ti rail, 240 grams|
|Seatpost||Crankbros Joplin adjustable height(3 inches), 31.6, 461 grams|
|Extras||Ibis, Seatpost Q/R|
•Sigma Wireless Speedometer
•SRAM Matchmaker for shifter and brake set up
While the suspension components obviously played a huge part in how the bike feels, it still boiled down to how the bike was made and how the DW link suspension works. I had a bunch of questions for Dave Weagle (creator of the DW platform) and Scot Nicol(owner of Ibis), but after a little Google searching I found www.dw-link.com
where I found answers to all my questions. Here are the goods on DW Link, direct from the source.The Physics of Cycle Suspension
All vehicles on earth are governed by the same laws of physics. Your truck, a motorcycle, a bicycle. It is all the same in the world of physics. These following principles describe the situations that govern vehicle movement. dw-link anticipates and works with these principles to balance forces for exceptional vehicle performance.
1. Every rider has a mass. For a person seated on a bike, a theoretical point just in front of his or her navel represents their “center of mass."
2. Newton's Third law of Motion states that "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." When a bicycle accelerates forward, the rider's mass is transferred rearward. Without something to counteract this mass transfer, the rear suspension on most bicycles will compress under acceleration. This mass transfer as a reaction to acceleration is what riders have come to know as "bob."
3. "Pedal feedback" is a result of radically changing aligned chainstay lengths (the distance from the center of the BB to the center of the rear axle). The less radical of a change in aligned chainstay length, the less pedal feedback can be felt.
4. Extra damping is not a substitute for an efficient suspension system. Less compression damping lets your suspension react to smaller imperfections on the trail and aids in traction while cornering and climbing
7 Reasons Why the dw-link suspension is the best performing suspension system in the bicycle world
(Direct from dw-link.com):1: Ultimate efficiency
Simultaneously engineered anti-squat and wheel rate curves are the mathematical formulas that make dw-link the world’s most efficient and traction-aiding suspension system.2: 3 stage anti-squat curve
Newton’s 3rd law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When a vehicle accelerates, the reaction is that its mass is transferred rearward. dw-link’s patented position sensitive anti-squat perfectly balances this rearward mass transfer, increasing efficiency, traction, and bump sensitivity, and eliminating pedal feedback.3: Progressive to Linear Rate
Each dw-link frame is engineered for an optimum wheel rate and to work for a specific use with a specific spring and damper. Unlike other suspension systems, dw-link’s does not rely on pedaling platform type dampers, giving the best bump absorption and traction of any suspension available today. Advanced riders use these traits to pump terrain in the trail and add momentum.4: Balanced Braking
The dw-link suspension projects its instant center to an ideal location, achieving a balance of traction and stability under hard braking that is unmatched by other suspensions.5: Least Pedal Feedback
Perception of pedal feedback on a bicycle is a manifestation of rapid chainstay length change and gearing effects. dw-link uses a smooth and positive chainstay lengthening effect to offset negative gearing effects. This results in a smooth ride with imperceptible pedal feedback over entire gear range.6: Best Traction
As your suspension reacts to obstacles, the position sensitive dw-link axle path intelligently changes to meet the demands of the trail. In the beginning of the travel, its rearward profile gives incredible small bump absorption and traction on the climbs. In the middle of the travel, the dw-link axle path works with the front suspension to provide a balanced feel for amazing cornering confidence and jumping ability. The end of the travel provides an increase in compression damping for bottomless suspension feel and big hit absorption.7: Structural Superiority
dw-link uses short, stiff links, aligned in the direction of incoming forces, and a triangulated rear swingarm. This unique layout aligns suspension forces in the most efficient layouts possible to enable frame designs with industry leading strength-to-weight ratios and stiffness. This structural advantage lets dw-link riders put down power more efficiently and track straight in the bumps where others veer off course.
After all that information sank in, I only had a few questions of my own for the guys. Thankfully they were able to sit down from their busy schedules and hit me back in regards to my inquiries. Here are a few things that I simply wanted to know about:Question for Dave
:Did you have any reservations about having carbon bikes that were running the DW linkage
When Hans approached me about doing a 140mm carbon mountain frame I was ecstatic! I love the idea of carbon in cycling frames and components. It’s an incredible material and when applied properly the results can be downright amazing in terms of strength and weight. I think that Ibis as a company has a special talent in the area of composite design and construction. It’s pretty impressive for a small company like Ibis to be producing some of the highest strength to weight ratio bikes in the industry. Questions for Scot
:Why DW on your bikes
Full suspension on mountain bikes has been evolving for about 20 years now. I think it was about 20 years ago that Brian Skinner introduced the Descender, a single pivot (rigid front) suspension bike. Things have come a long way since then, through the horrible single pivot 'inchworm' bikes to the much more sophisticated (and still being sold today on Specialized bikes) Horst link. Fast forward a few more years and the next significant advance was came with the intro of the VPP bikes.
When it came time to design the Mojo we looked around for the next logical technological step in suspension, and that was Dave Weagle's dw-link. We know dw-link bikes can go down hill fast (2 world championships under Sam Hill, not to mention Brian Lopes' considerable conquests of late) but the beautiful thing about the dw is they can be designed to be super efficient pedaling bikes AND have long plush travel. That's what we have with the Mojo, a bike designed to be plush (more so than many other 5.5" bikes we've ridden), but also deliver climbing performance, bump compliance and efficiency that was unheard of before the dw-link.Why Carbon
When we were conceiving of the Mojo design back in 2003, we knew it would be a huge leap of faith to come out with this bike. But we'd watched the way road bikes had been taken over by carbon and knew that the technology had advanced to the point where you could successfully use it on mountain bikes. We knew it had the toughness, carbon doesn't fatigue and the strength to weight is far beyond any metal. Plus with a monocoque design, you are not, as my business partner Hans says "constrained by the tyranny of tubes". Meaning we get to hire someone like Roxy Lo to make a bike with gorgeous shapes, then use sophisticated software to evolve those shapes to what you see today; a frame that is strong, light, efficient and beautiful. On the SL models, what is it that gives the Carbon a rubber like texture and how did it come about
We like to push the envelope a bit. I had seen this finish on consumer products (cameras) before and wondered about its application on bikes. It was actually our factory that informed us we could get it. We decided to give it a go after we tested it for a while. The rubberized finish resists chipping better than the wet paint found on the Mojo Carbon, but I'd say the wet paint resists abrasion better. Both types of paint have their pluses. I've still never seen it on another bike. It's very tactile, people love to feel it. We offer the rubberized finish on the matte clear Mojo SL. We added two new SL colors this year, (white and trans blue) however they are not rubberized, the rubberized doesn't work on bright finishes.Everywhere that I have ridden this Ibis, it draws attention to it - how long did it take to come up with such an eye catching aesthetic
Well, it's partly all those amazing components and color schemes you're always experimenting with!
I think we're at 1800-1900 hours of cad time on this project, which is a huge amount of time. This brings up a very interesting point. Unlike a lot of the big manufacturers, or anyone who adheres to a "model year" in their product development, we don't change our bikes each year. The Mojo Carbon was introduced in 2005 and it's not a dated bike by any means, in fact I don't think anyone has yet matched us for weight, beauty, quality of ride, and especially price. We kind of nailed it on all of those aspects, and that's because we had a rather luxurious 3 years to develop the bike (Hans had a non-compete agreement with his old company Santa Cruz). When you're constrained by a 12 month development window, you simply cannot perfect every tiny aspect of the frame design like we were able to with the Mojo.
Now that you know more than you wanted to know about DW and how it works, let's talk about the parts and how they worked out on the Ibis Mojo. The original build up was a mix of light weight and mid weight parts, a few carbon bits, kevlar tires, and a strong AM wheelset. The first change that happened was the swap out of the original Ibis 2 bolt post for a longer RaceFace post that we had here as I was not comfortable riding around with my post 5-7mm above the minimum insertion. Around this time I noticed that the cables were marking up the nice Orange paint job, so I picked up some 3M protective tape at the local motocross shop and went to town cable rub proofing the frame. The tape held up great through out the entire test period. I rode the rest of the original set up, right up until I arrived in Ashland, Oregon for the 12 Mile Super D
In Ashland I stripped the Ibis down and rebuilt it with new suspension from RockShox, a wider bar (first one for me that was over 28" wide), wheels and seat post from Crankbros., my new Kenda 2.35 El Mocos that I had the local shop order in as I really wanted to try them after watching this video:Lopes talks about the El Moco:
I hadn't had an issue to date with the Schwalbe Fat Albert tires
besides finding them poor in deep mud, but at 2.4 with a folding bead I was loving them on the trails. The 2.35 Kenda El Moco ended up having a much smaller foot print and was welcomed in Ashland for the 12 mile course. After putting a few hundred kilometers on the El Mocos, I have to say they have strong and weak points. At a first glance, the side knobs look to be overkill, but they actually ended up being more than welcome everywhere I have ridden. The middle tread pattern however shows severe signs of wear and in my opinion could be closer and not so widely spaced out. I found that when descending all was good, but on the flats and climbs, a closer tread pattern would have rolled quicker and perhaps lasted longer.
Swapping out wheels was a tough call as I've had great luck with the Transition Revolution AM Wheelset
and at $300 USD you will be hard pressed to find a better deal on affordable wheels. The Crankbros. Iodine wheels do not fall into the "Affordable" range at $999 USD for the set, but they are head turners due to their unique look and sound. One young kid in Ashland told me that I won the "coolest bike" award for having those wheels on my ride. Thanks buddy! The new wheels and tires felt a little foreign at first, but within the first 3 miles I had myself sorted on them. Being a 220lbs rider I was worried that the wheels would really flex under me, but so far all is going straight and true - full review coming later in the season.
The other swapped item that came from Crankbros
. was their Joplin seat post. Kakah tested one of these last year (read about that here
), but I can't say that I was into it myself until I talked to enough folks that had them. 95% of the folks with an adjustable seat post RAVE about them, but I find that very few of those folks live in my neck of the woods where our rides go up for an hour and then down for 15 mins with limited undulating terrain. Thankfully Ashland had tons of up/down terrain and I tried a seat post out. On my first run I may have used it 5-6 times, by the second run on it I bet I moved it a dozen times and by the time I left there I was always adjusting the post to suit the terrain - it's AWESOME! My buddy Blick told me that it's a derailleur for your ass and he was right. Adjustable seatposts have their place and it's on a mountain bike that sees varying terrain and a rider that just wants to keep going and not suffer with your seat being too high or too low in certain situations. You may not believe me but borrow one and you'll see. They obviously require more maintenance than a seat post that does not move, but come on, it's an adjustable on the fly seat post!
I've ran 28 inch bars for several years now, but back in the "day" I used to cut my bars down for various reasons. Funny that today's trend is to go wider and wider and there are now bars that are over 31 inches wide - crazy! Jordan has been raving about how rad his 30s are, so after a year of listening to him I went to a 29.5" bar from Sunline. At times I like it and at others I am indifferent to the width. What I can say is that I tried a 31" on a DH bike for a few days and it was TOO wide for 90% of the people that ride bikes despite what they think in their heads or what marketing is telling them. Find a bar that suits how you ride, not how you are told to ride.
Ok enough about the parts and how they look or feel, you probably want to hear about if things did not work or if there were failures. My biggest gripe in 4 months was the tread pattern on the El Moco, so that should tell you something about how stoked I am on this whole package. I tried to abuse the bike by shuttling it and not washing it for a few months (here is the video on it's first cleaning that wasn't a rain shower
), I took it everywhere I could because I just wanted to go riding. The links never loosened off (I keep a close eye on bikes with more than one set of bearings), the paint stayed shiny, really it's been a great experience and everywhere I went I had to answer questions about the bike. Owners of older Mojos told me that the Lopes link improved the ride dramatically as original Mojos were a little flexy laterally. Thankfully our test frame did not require an upgrade as the Lopes link is now stock on all Mojos.
I did have one issue that had me concerned and it turned into a really easy fix. When I turned the bars to 90 degrees there was a resonating noise from what I thought was the head tube. Thankfully I was wrong and it was nothing more than the stretched Jagwire derailleur cable
housing liner catching on the ferrule. Quick work with the cable cutters and it was silence again - whew! On the Jagwire note, I'm super stoked on the colors and options to really customize our bikes with a quality cable set, get lots of inquiries about cables, so maybe shops should take note and bring more in for folks. We had our local shop source ours through Cycles Lambert
here in Canada, but I believe QBP
sells it in the USA.
I'd like to leave you all with a bunch of shots from the test period on the Mojo, please enjoy!Early season shots from Hood River, Oregon:
Pictures from the Ashland 12 Mile Super D:
Pics from a float plane trip into Tyax Lodge:
Fun photo shoot at the office with all the Orange and White parts we could find - I present to you the Ibisicle:
Here are a few additional resources and tidbits on the Ibis Mojo, the funniest one being Scot Nicol's Personal Blog, as well as my initial article and build up on the Mojo. And lastly the newest Ibis to be heading to trails near you, the Mojo HD.
Tyler "Brule" Maine
A big sweaty thumbs up!