No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you – there's a new Ibis in the world, and it has a straight top tube. Developed with input from Ibis' Enduro World Cup race team, the HD6 is sort of a mash up, a combination of elements from the ever-popular Ripmo and the HD5. It takes its place as the longest travel option in Ibis' lineup, with 165mm of rear travel, a 180mm fork, and a mixed wheel setup.
That 165mm of travel is still delivered by a dw-link suspension layout, which uses two short co-rotating links, but the configuration is different than what Ibis has used in the past. The upper link now sits in front of the top tube, where it drives a pint-sized yoke that's attached to the shock.
Ibis HD6 Details
• Wheel size: 29" front / 27.5" rear
• Carbon frame
• 165mm rear travel, 180mm fork
• 64° head angle
• 435mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
• Frame + shock weight: 7.7 lb (3500 grams)
• MSRP: $6,099 - $11,199 USD
According to Ibis, the HD6's suspension was designed to be sensitive off the top, with enough progression for big hits. Granted, that's typically the goal of all modern suspension designs, but it's a good one to shoot for. The bike is also air or coil shock compatible, allowing riders to choose which suspension feel they prefer.
There are four complete models to choose from, with prices starting at $6,099 and going up to $11,199 USD. The frame and shock only is $3,899 USD, and is available with either a green, purple, or orange paint job. Frame Details
It's amazing how much straight lines can improve a bike's looks. I'm a fan of the HD6's frame shape – the sharper angles and lack of swoopy shapes gives it a much more modern appearance. It's quite light, too, weighing in at a claimed 7.7 lb (3500 grams) for a size large with a Float X2 shock.
Cable tunnels run inside the frame to keep the noise down and simplify component swaps, and the universal derailleur hanger makes it easy to find a spare, or run SRAM Transmission.
The top of the downtube has a slight recess to allow for more room for a water bottle, and all but the smallest size can accommodate a 26 oz bottle. There are also accessory mounts on the underside of the top tube, and room for Ibis' Pork Chop frame bag.
Other details include removable ISCG tabs, generous chainslap protection, downtube protection, and a little flap over the lower link to keep rocks out. The frame is covered by a lifetime warranty, a warranty that also covers the bushings used on the lower link.Geometry
The HD6 may be bigger and burlier than anything Ibis has created in the past, but looking at the numbers it's actually not that
wild. The head angle sits at 64-degrees with a 180mm fork, which isn't super-slack in the grand scheme of things.
For comparison with other mixed-wheel machines, a Santa Cruz Nomad with a 170mm fork has a 63.5-degree head angle, as does a Canyon Torque; a Transition Patrol with a 160mm fork checks in a 63-degrees. Of course, slacker doesn't automatically mean better – there's certainly a place in the world for a slightly quicker handling long travel bike, especially for riders without easy access to super steep terrain.
The seat tube angle on the HD6 gets steeper as the sizes go up in order to keep taller riders from ending up too far over the rear axle when the seat post is fully extended, starting at 76-degrees for a size small and going up to 77.5 degrees for the XXL. It's a good tactic, although it's a little surprising Ibis didn't tweak the chainstay length too – it measures 435mm across the board. The 34.9mm seat tube itself is short enough to run long travel dropper posts without any issues.
Another number that's a little curious is the head tube length. The size large I've been testing has a head tube of 91mm; that's the size of a small headtube from most manufacturers. Shorter head tubes can be used to keep a bike's stack number in check, but in the case of a more gravity oriented bike like this, a higher front end tends to be beneficial, not detrimental. Build KitsRide Impressions
I know, weight supposedly doesn't matter (at least that's what the internet says
), but it sure is nice to have a bike with this much travel that doesn't feel like it's actively trying to pull you backwards down the hill. Even with dual Double Down casing tires, the size large HD6 I've been testing weighs in under 33 pounds (15 kg).
The HD6's pedaling manners are quite similar to that of the Ripmo – it's a great blend of being efficient and active, and there's plenty of support for out-of-the-saddle pedaling, along with good sensitivity off the top that helps provide more traction. The climbing position on the size large is comfortable for my 5'11” height; I mentioned the short headtube earlier, but with a stack of spacers under the stem and Ibis' 30mm rise bars I ended up in a fairly upright pedaling position, and it's worked well on the handful of rides I've taken the HD6 on so far.
When it comes time to descend, the HD6 is a very manageable, maneuverable bike. Oftentimes I'll find myself writing something like, “It needs the right terrain to come alive” when reviewing bikes in this category, but that doesn't apply as much to the HD6. Yes, it has a lot of travel, but it's not a big, sprawling beast. It's more of an enduro bike for the masses, one that's not overly demanding to ride, and doesn't require high speeds or an extra helping of aggression to deliver a good time.
Slower, more awkward sections don't stymie it, and it's easy to see how it would work well on tighter, trickier enduro race stages. The short back end makes manuals and jumping a breeze, although I do wish it had a chainstay flip chip – it'd be interesting to see how the character of the HD6 changed with longer chainstays. I'm also curious how it would perform with a slightly slacker head angle, although that's much easier to accomplish with an angle-adjusting headset. I'll add that to my to-do list and report back once I get enough miles in for a long-term review.
Photos: Lear Miller / Ibis