Ibis' HD3 was an instant favorite of mine when I reviewed it back in 2014, and one of the main reasons for my positive take was due to its real-world geometry; it wasn't a too long, too slack enduro race bike that was a burden anywhere that didn't look like a World Cup DH track. But that was three years ago now, and Ibis thought it was time to revisit their all-mountain / enduro platform and, more specifically, its geometry.
The new, 27.5'' wheeled HD4 that's tested below has essentially the same amount of rear wheel travel, 153mm, but it's longer and slacker than its predecessor, a change that brings Ibis' heavy hitting mid-travel bike more in-line with the competition. Pricing ranges from $4,199 - $8,099 USD depending on the build, and bikes will be available by the middle of June.
• Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
• Rear wheel travel: 153mm
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• dw link v5 suspension
• Longer, slacker geometry
• 64.9-degree head angle
• 455mm reach (large, +24mm over the HD3)
• Color options: Fireball Red, Añejo Silver & Lime
• Weight: 28lb 12oz
• Availability: June 15th
• MSRP: $4,199 - $8,099 USD
But the question is: do the updated geometry numbers turn what was one of the best all around mid-travel bikes on the market into something that's less, er, all around? Let's find out.
Due to time constraints and parts availability, my black (which is not a production color) HD4 test bike is a bit of a bastard when it comes to its build kit; there's a Fox Performance 36 fork with a GRIP damper and Float X2 shock, an XX1 Eagle drivetrain, XT brakes, and a mix of other parts that aren't entirely representative of the build kits that Ibis will offer. If you did want to pick up a complete HD4, they start at $4,199 USD (NX drivetrain, 738 alloy wheelset) and go up to $9,399 USD (XX1 Eagle drivetrain, 742 carbon wheelset), with three models in between those two. If you pick an HD4 with alloy wheels, another $800 USD will get you a set of Ibis' own carbon hoops. Frame-only pricing starts at $2,999 USD (with a yet to be released shock), or $3,269 USD with a Float X2.HD3 vs. HD4
Ibis' new and old all-mountain bikes sure look similar, but like twins with opposite personalities, the HD3 and HD4 are actually quite different once you take the time to get to know them. ''On the Mojo HD4, we really wanted to enhance the bike's handling capabilities over rough and steep terrain,'' Andy Jacques-Maynes, Ibis' lead engineer on the HD4 project, said of the new bike. To do that, Ibis added length and subtracted head angle, making for a large-sized HD4 with a reach that's 24mm longer than a large HD3 (455mm vs. 431mm) and 1.7-degrees slacker (64.6 vs. 66.6-degrees). The wheelbase grew as a result, of course, with a large now sitting at 1,219mm vs. 1,168mm on the old, large-sized HD3. The rear-end remains the same at 430mm.
Ibis has been known to be a touch conservative with their geometry, preferring numbers that, while longer and slacker than the norm of four or five years ago, are still not on that longer-is-always-better bandwagon. The new HD4, however, sports geo that is close to a few of the better mid-travel bikes out there right now: Transition's Patrol and the latest Trek Remedy. But it wasn't a matter of copying what's already been done.
Jacques-Maynes says, ''Instead of choosing a geometry by committee or based on other companies' bikes, we chose our geo based on what worked best when we rode the steepest and gnarliest trails we could find. In our testing, we were able to see what each geometry dimension actually did to help the rider. For example, by trying a number of head angles back to back to back, with all other geometry dimensions held constant, we were able to pinpoint that changing the head angle slacker will allow the bike to achieve higher lean angles before slipping out. Conversely, this change also makes the bike more stable as the trail transitions to off-camber (less likely to slip or get pushed down-camber by the trail). On the Mojo HD4, we set the head angle at 64.9 degrees to maximize the stability in off-camber sections and increase our maximum lean angle.''
After all the experimenting and tweaking, the production HD4 has bumped up a touch more than one whole frame size, which makes sense, given that Ibis was seeing customers who would normally be on a medium-sized HD3 choose a large instead.
The one place where this increase wasn't done is the seat tube length - that's actually been shortened by about one whole frame size and has been reamed deeper internally to allow for longer-stroke dropper posts. ''On the medium, large, and x-large sizes, almost everyone should be able to use 170mm dropper seat posts, while 150mm droppers should work for almost all small size owners,'' Jacques-Maynes explained.
The HD4's suspension remains largely the same as its predecessor - you can read more about that below - but Ibis did re-work both the upper and lower links in a search for more lateral rigidity. Word is that the upper link is 30-percent stiffer and the lower is 40-percent stiffer, although those numbers surely don't translate directly to the same massive rigidity gains in the frame as a whole. That said, a new carbon layup was also put to use for the same reason, so while the HD4's lines look very similar to the HD3, the frame is said to be more torsionally rigid all around. Suspension Design
The older HD3, released in 2014, saw Ibis give the bike's dw-link suspension a makeover, with the most notable change being that the shock was now driven by the clevis rather than the swingarm itself. That 2014 HD3 had some impressive suspension traits, including great pedaling performance and, thankfully, Ibis hasn't really changed too much when it comes to the HD4's rear end. ''From a suspension side, we absolutely love how the current Mojo HD3 pedals,'' Jacques-Maynes said. ''We didn't want to mess with such a nice suspension design, so we left the kinematics the same for the Mojo HD4.''
So, hopefully the same great on-power feel is present, but Jacques-Maynes did actually change a few things: the travel is bumped up ever so slightly, from 150mm to 153mm, and there's more progression built into the leverage curve to keep those clangs to a minimum.
My HD4 test bike came with the new X2 Float from Fox, and there's just enough room for a properly sized bottle to squeeze in under the shock's piggyback thanks to it being flipped relative to how a piggyback shock fit on the HD3. To do this, a small opening in the frame provides just enough clearance for the shock's blue low-speed compression lever. The new Ibis is an air-only bike, however, ''due to the clevis shock yoke extending the eye-to-eye too far to give a good bushing overlap ratio,'' Jacques-Maynes explained.
This bike's predecessor, the HD3, is an impressive climber in all regards, with efficiency that would scare a bike with 30mm less suspension travel and much quicker handling. No, the HD3 wasn't a true EWS-ready machine, but its real strength was its versatility: it could scramble up all sort of technical pitches that would trouble a bike with more enduro-friendly geometry, but it was still capable enough on the descents to be more bike than the large majority of riders would ever require.
|The bike does not need this crutch, with it having more enthusiasm when the rider is on the gas than Alex Jones on speed and Red Bull.|
But the HD4 is longer and slacker - nearly two degrees slacker and a fair bit longer. Predictably, this means that it doesn't have the same poise as the HD3 on properly technical climbs. Some foresight is required to snake the black bike through tight switchbacks, and especially if said switchback is home to all sorts of roots and rocks. The HD4 will get up anything if the rider has the skills - isn't that always the case? - but no, it's not the technical climbing whiz that the HD3 was (relatively speaking, of course). Ibis' new mid-travel all-mountain bike is on par handling-wise with other machines in the same class, and while that's not a terrible thing, I'll admit that I miss the HD3's brilliant technical climbing prowess.
One thing that the HD4 and its predecessor still have in common is efficiency. My test bike came with a Fox Float X2 shock that has a low-speed compression lever to pile on a bunch of pedal-assist. The bike does not need this crutch, with it having more enthusiasm when the rider is on the gas than Alex Jones on speed and Red Bull. Ibis' dw-link bikes have a great on-power feel, and the HD4 is, not surprisingly, no different. I did flip the blue switch a few times when faced with a long fire road grind, but even then I think it was more of a mental aid than anything.
The HD3 was one of the best climbing 150mm-travel bikes when it came to tricky, technical ascents and, with slacker and longer geometry, there's no way that the HD4 can match its predecessor on this front. Instead, it handles a lot like most other mid-travel all-mountain bikes in that type of setting - it'll get up the same stuff, but more thinking ahead and skill is required than the HD3 asks for. Descending
I reviewed the HD3 back in 2014 and said that ''it's more fun to ride in roughly 95% of the places where you'd ride a mountain bike,'' when comparing it to longer, slacker enduro-inspired machines. When I rode that bike, I loved how agile and playful the HD3 was, but the HD4 is
a longer, slacker enduro-inspired machine. Does that mean that it's less fun than its predecessor? Well, yes and no; it depends on how you get your giggles.
The HD4 is a very different bike; it's more stable and easier to ride quickly when traction is low, be it too dry or too wet, and it feels like far more of a true enduro race rig than the HD3 could ever have been. That said, it hasn't lost all (just some) of the HD3's playful eagerness, a trait that Ibis bikes are well known for. Some of these new mid-travel bikes seem happy to trade away their liveliness for comfort at all-out speeds, which is fine and dandy if you're buying a bike for racing, but less so if you think like me and just want every ride to be a bike party. The HD4 is still a bit of a party bike, though, and it's easier to move around on the trail, to manual, and to put it in interesting places than something like a Trek Slash or Devinci Spartan.
In other words, while the HD4 is certainly less nimble than the HD3, it still has more beans than other bikes in its class.
Much of my time on the new HD4 was spent in Pemberton, B.C. - a small town in the Whistler corridor known for rocks that want to see what your insides look like and extremely dry and dusty conditions that openly mock your tire choice. If a bike is going to be sketchy at speed, it'll be sketchier than a Craiglist personals ad when ridden on Pemberton's rowdier trails, but the HD4 held its own. I have zero doubts that it's a much faster bike than the HD3 is such settings, and especially on fast, loose corners - the HD4's handling only asks for directions rather than corrections when it's on the edge, whereas the HD3 would feel nervous by comparison. And because there are fewer questions as to what's about to happen, a rider is surely less likely to hesitate on the HD4 than they might be on the HD3. Simply put, the HD4 is easier to ride faster.
When the speeds drop and the corners tighten up, the HD4 feels like more bike than its forerunner, but you can still get around the tightest of switchbacks without too much fuss. It's at these times, however, that I'm reminded of the new bike's added length and slackened head angle. The black Ibis feels a lot like other new-school all-mountain rigs when the speeds drop, which is to say that it's a bit ho-hum if you're not actively trying to wring its neck. So it goes with today's modern "enduro" bikes, I guess.
|The HD4's handling only asks for directions rather corrections when it's on the edge, whereas the HD3 would feel nervous by comparison.|
Suspension-wise, the back of the HD4 and its Fox Float X2 shock were largely invisible, which is a good sign. At about 160lbs, Ibis recommended 175 psi to get the ideal sag number, which they say is 25-percent. That's a bit less than the 30-percent (or more) that a lot of bikes are best suited to these days, but the HD4 never felt harsh or like it was sitting up too high in its travel. I bumped the sag up to 30-percent and still never had a hard bottoming moment, so there's something to the progression that Ibis says they've added over the HD3. The 5-percent difference may not sound like much, but keeping it at the 25-percent number went a long way to preserving the remnants of the fun-loving, poppy personality that carried over from the HD3. Recommended damper settings are still relatively open, which is typical of Ibis' bikes, but the dw-link and Float X2 combo always felt controlled, but far from dead. Pinkbike's Take
|I have very fond memories of the HD3, a bike that was well suited to a rider who was more into mucking around than setting a quick time during a race. The HD4 still has a bit (but not all) of the HD3's nimbleness, but it's also a bike that's more stable and inspires more confidence, all of which makes it easier to ride faster. So if faster is your thing, you'll likely be happy with the changes Ibis has made.— Mike Levy|About the Reviewer Stats:
Age: 36 • Height: 5'10” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 165lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None • Instagram: killed_by_death Mike Levy spent most of the 90s and early 2000s racing downhill bikes and building ill-considered jumps in the woods of British Columbia before realizing that bikes could also be pedaled for hours on end to get to some pretty cool places. These days he spends most of his time doing exactly that, preferring to ride test bikes way out in the local hills rather than any bike park. Over ten years as a professional mechanic before making the move to Pinkbike means that his enthusiasm for two wheels extends beyond simply riding on them, and his appreciation for all things technical is an attribute that meshes nicely with his role of Technical Editor at Pinkbike.
I think that compares to DH vs enduro bikes. DH rigs are so specific and not so versatile. Enduro bikes can handle tough terrain and be very fast, yet can climb and be an all rounder.
If you go only into the enduro segment, I agree as well. Maybe some brands should offer a bit more hooliganish bikes since I bet 90% of end users don't really race. If that 90% end up racing, most of them wont really care if they place 5th or 47th.
Another comparo is Off Road bikes vs MX bikes. KTM and other european brands started launching in between bikes and everybody wants them it seems.
No upgrades needed , cost more but oh my :-)
Just about every manufacturer has some fun bikes in their lineup but of course we get bombarded by EWS style bikes because they're obviously the latest and greatest (and most expensive) :-}
you want to ride a wal-mart bike, be my guest. You want to ride a motorcycle, hey, up to you. You want to bitch about the existence of a product you don't want to buy? Are you under the impression that someone is forcing you to buy an Ibis?
More generally, I think a lot of people would simply prefer to be over-gunned on a given trail than under-gunned if the penalty is only an extra pound or two.
So many options out there. Bitching about another high end bike being too costly when there are countless kick ass bikes available between $2500/3000 is pointless. Whatever happened to the old gag "buy a bike that cost more than your car"? Motorcycles aren't mountain bikes. Every bike you buy comes with the same motor. It's up to you spec it how you want it.
Some people just like to whine online I guess.
Shittest motorcycle I have ever had. Totally useless for 90% of people on 90% of roads. Horrible riding position, heavy as f*ck clutch.
Having said that, my Nomad is the best bike I have ever had. I would never swap it for a lesser machine. No way.
The average high end bike is only 30 point or less. Low end bikes have huge margin. The bread and butter of our industry, however, is parts and accessories. They used to be 100% mark up at retail but now most vendors are enforcing MAP which lowered the mark up ratio stabilized the pricing to be fairly consistent in value globally.
Again, cant compare to moto, because 1 moto generally doesn't use carbon outside their top tier race bikes. (which we are one of the only sport industries that offer that sort of tech on intermediate bikes.) And they produce a heck of a lot more bikes to offset mfg cost. Most of the moto biz is in asia where the demographic is 2000K or less bikes. not many people in Western countries want a 250cc street bike. So they sell 10's of millions of unit in asia and They don't have to rely on a huge mark up for Western market places. Thus a perceived disparity when comparing these to similar but very different industries.
Where we do get ripped off are the margins that the brands and distribution demand, the consumer pays for this which adds as much as 30% to the cost of the bike I would guess, there is more than enough volume in the component bits to negate any benefits derived from volume manufacturing, all the cost is in higher normalized margins and the cost of the brand, neither of which benefit the consumer...this can change and likely will with the rise of the direct to consumer model the price for which will be paid for by the LBS unfortunately.
Similarly, if enduro bikes have ventured too far toward the downhill end of the spectrum for your taste, get an all-mountain or trail (or whatever the next category down is called this season).
There was a time when every bike was too short and twitchy; at least we now have the option to buy a 150 mm gravity sled, if that's what a person wants. And this person does want, so I'm happy.
Curious about your opinion: if you had an HD3 and raced it occasionally, would you just slam an angleset it there to slack it out, and then take it out for "everyday trails"?
Curious if anyone out there has some first-hand experience with an angleset in their HD3 and if they're happy, or would make they just make the leap to the HD4?
Did you ever try a -1? (I'm assuming you're using a Cane Creek?)
Clearly this is just a question in principle since the Hd3 is still around at the moment, but like the standard Ripley I wouldn't be surprised if it quickly disappears now - everyone will go for the 4 as it is the newer, more capable bike...
Out of interest was it much of a night and day difference or was the change quite subtle?
Published numbers of the HD3(not 4) with a 160 fork are STA of 72.6.
I'm married, so being wrong is something I have plenty of experience with. Glad it's working great for you. Cheers!
I really prefer the HD4, plus the kit I was looking at yesterday was nearly 900$ cheaper than the same thing on the HD3 !?!?!? :O Don't understand why...cheaper carbon? But yeah, I'm afraid it would be too much of a enduro bike for me! Think it will be better with a Knolly even if they don't pedal as well...
Today's bikes are f*cking amazing, to be honest. Unlike ten or fifteen years ago when there were often genuine concerns, it's usually more a matter of explaining how a bike performs today than what's wrong with it... there's usually not much wrong with them! In my reviews, I want to tell you where it excels and where it doesn't, and more about the bike's personality and how it compares to others in the same class. If there's an issue, you'll hear about it, though.
I bought my Hd3 on the basis that it is fun for 95% of the riding I do. I'm crap at climbing, and there is lots of mellow rolling singletrack around me, so it seemed ideal. I didn't want too small a bike as I do ride tech stuff whenever I can, including uplifts and easier downhill tracks... This seems a bit like it would be a backward step for me, although I appreciate that as a company Ibis would likely lose custom without being seen to modernise it's geometry. Kind of sad really - like others have said it seems to be more about to end speed than fun these days...
So to borrow a skiing term the HD3 is more of a "quiver killer" than the HD4 which is evolved for specific terrain. Curious though if you would place the Mojo 3 as the new Ibis Quiver of 1. I have a HD3 your comments have reinforced my thoughts that this one is the one bike for me. But if I could have 2 bikes then perhaps...
This is exactly why I am a fan of doing formula bikes for competition, strict restriction on geometry and wheel size etc. Like in downhill skiing for example. So that this marketing does not feel like exploiting it for mass market products.
I do not need EWS frame any more than I need a FIS giant slalom ski.
i like long and slack and burly that pedals.
one bike to rule the mountain.
It seems like this is the first review I've read in a loooooooong time that doesn't claim the bike "climbs like a goat and descends like a DH bike".
Most bikes can be compared to their previous iterations, and it's at least a baseline for a more thorough, discernible critique.
My apologies, as "honest" and "objective" were perhaps the wrong words to use. I was looking for words that describe your fresh, unabashed, and constructive critique of a widely revered bike.
Somehow it was more... decisive... than a typical PB review.
I swear it was only 3 years before. This is one of the reasons I chose another brand. As bike prices climb to the stratosphere, companies should be ready to stand behind a life time warranty.
The HD3 and older Altitude are comparable (but the HD3 is a better climber), while the HD4 and newer Altitude are also comparable.
I have a HD3+ with a -1.5 slackset, it did lose some of its nimbleness and add height because of the external cups at the bottom of the headset. It didn't make it as confidence inspiring as a DH bike, so I'm not sure if it was a good trade off. I need to ride the HD4 and then compare, I'm sure they got it right and fits in with the new Ibis line up.
The new bike is longer, lower and slacker than its predecessor. This may come as a surprise, but this helps its downhill capabilities while making it slightly less playful and navigable through tight turns.
Bottom line: This is a mid travel trail bike. It pedals well, climbs well enough, and rips descents.
Honestly, having a lot of seatpost showing or a some headset spacers isn't a big deal to me. According to US Census data, people my height represent 0.1% of the population. So it would be pretty hard for me to justify to my colleagues the need for an even bigger frame. That coupled with dropper seatposts gaining ever more travel, means that longer seat tubes would be going against the trend. Also, we find that the effect of dropper seatposts has promoted a want for lower stack heights.
Santa Cruz is nailing it with their XXL offerings!
The trend of longer, lower and slacker isn't helping.
I knew the HD4 was coming out and it would have same geo changes but really Mike's review makes me happy and confirms my choice.
Ibis bikes but mostly ibis people are the best you can find so for you who relate to this and don't just follow the market trend this is your brand.
BTW if anyone want and L sized HD3 frame check it out here please : www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2188069
It brought up a great theory for recent trends in bike design. Did Strava kill 26" wheels? Is Strava still killing 27.5" wheels?
Would love to see when Strava went mainstream usagewise and how far possibly after that bike design began to move to larger wheels and "faster" times.
I can't help but think that if a bike designer set out to build a modern bike without the use of a stop watch...and only built and rode all the different wheel sizes for FUN and couldn't be timed, which one they'd choose to produce if that no other criteria.
That said, I'm a big fan of not using cone/collet style pivot hardware so prevalent nowadays. Anybody that understands bearing design will understand how the cone/collet approach can overthrust bearings and anybody that rides one of those designs a lot will know of the !@#$ creaks that can arise with the design. Kudos to Ibis for maintaining the tried and true bearing axle design.
I love my HD3 with a lyric 170 and the X2. But, I am moving to BC and am thinking of a more aggressive bike. I didn't like the nomad (couldn't really do anything other than go straight and was horrible and slow steep tech like the shore). Given that the numbers are similar I am concerned that this HD4 will also be too long to be a good sea to sky corridor bike. Thoughts on the longer bikes in the slow steep tech like squamish?
I believe there still is a market for the HD3 and I hope Ibis takes due care in reading these comments and supports it a while longer. The HD3 is so unique because of its geometry AND travel. However, my suspicion is that it will be gone sooner than later because it overlaps the M3 and HD4 way too much. I don't think they have the resources to support the M3, HD3, and HD4 in the same line-up.
As you've expressed, the HD3 has a fun factor many bikes in this class don't have. Truly a classic in my humble opinion so get them while you can!!
And howcom HD3's are not on sale yet!? The Ripley V2 are on sale, why not the HD3?
I have a HD3 with the x2 and lyrik at 170mm. Love it. One of the reasons I went with the HD3 was the nomad didn't fit me. Too stretched out. did the HD4 feel the same way at the 2014-16 Nomad
sad for chain and cassette, they should have made them full black too
Especially on the north shore trails?
My medium Jefsy 27 is the almost the same as a large HD 3 and has all of the nice ride charactersistics of the Ibis at 2/3 the price.
I was about to buy a H.D3 when YT announced the 27. Fantastic ride , I have the pro race which is 160mm and race Enduro on it (not very fast as I am 60 :-) )
It will be interesting to see how the tighty whitey crowd reacts to a 64.9* Head Angle... It's the first one I've ever seen that looks appealing as a real aggressive bike with a proper shock.
It's what dorks use to pay the rednecks that work for them...
Just design your bikes properly in the first place, this is pretty embarrassing.
Seems to be working just fine, and it looks great.
Apart from this detail making the Mojo one of the more distinctive and sculpted looking bikes...
It's structural effect is... certainly more than zero. I would like to see torsional, and also head-on rigidity tests with and without the connector.
To me at least, the connector has always made visual / design / engineering sense to keep the top and bottom of the frame moving (not moving?) in unison. Especially now that the significant rear shock loads are more directly transferred into what would be the middle of the downtube - if the connector wasn't there.
Yeah, even joeys know that your head has to be facing dead backwards to do a proper manual.
Dissapointed in you mike.