Mountain Bike Review: Ibis Mojo 3

Ibis Mojo 3 mountain bike review

I had the good fortune of attending the ROAM Festival recently in Sedona, AZ. Roam Bike Fest is a three-day gathering (aka party) of female mtb riders, influencers, and play makers, all here for one purpose: to have a ridiculously fun weekend exploring, learning, and shredding trail in a world-class riding destination. More on ROAM here

 

A party it was indeed! And the fact that some of the top bike companies were in attendance with their top-of-the-line mountain bikes to demo was just icing on the cake. I was able to demo 2 bikes per day on the knarliest trails Sedona has to offer, and came away being most impressed with the Ibis Mojo 3.

 

Ibis Mojo 3 Review ROAM festival

ROAM Festival Sedona in November 2018; Photo: ROAM Festival

 

Released in the spring of 2018, the Ibis Mojo 3 could in fact be the Quiver Killer. It descends with the stability and confidence of a bigger-travel bike, yet climbs like a billy goat. Read on to see how this machine has accomplished the impossible!

THE HISTORY:

Many of you know that the Ibis Mojo has been a known name for over a decade. Let’s first take a quick walk down memory lane…

 

The story of Ibis and how Roxy Lo came to be their head designer have been told elsewhere. When Roxy was asked to join Ibis and design a groundbreaking carbon monocoque mountain bike, she had never designed a bike in her life. Ibis was re-launching itself after filing for bankruptcy in 2001 by the investors that founder Scot Nicol had trusted to move the company forward. He returned to his beloved company in 2004 with fellow industry colleagues Tom Morgan and Hans Heim. Their mission: to build “a bike that’s completely different and coming out of left field”.

 

Enter Roxy: a designer who was working for Pottery Barn at the time. She had designed for a variety of non-bike companies here and abroad, but was searching for something different. When the Ibis team looked at her work – and the fact that she had no pre-conceived notions of how a bike frame should love - and asked her to take on the challenge. At that time, there had not been a dual-suspension, carbon monocoque mountain bike yet, so why not gamble the re-launch of your entire company on this woman?!

 

Ibis Mojo 3 Review Roxy Lo couch

Roxy Lo at Ibis Headquarters in Santa Cruz, CA; Photo: Brian Vernor

 

The Mojo not only was the first monocoque FS, but offered 5.5 inches of travel yet climbed like a race bike. This bike changed the public's perception of Ibis from a brand of quirky rides to one known for pushing the edge of mountain bike design, the first in a long line of innovative rides by the company. Since those early 2000s, Ibis could have followed the rest of the bike industry with ‘innovations’ that barely tipped the scale; but electric lights did not come from the continuous improvement of candles, and Ibis’ R&D always stepped outside the box in design, capabilities, and aesthetics.  And over a decade later, the new Mojo 3 has arrived.

 

Ibis Mojo 3 Review Roxy teaching at ROAM

Roxy Lo teaching a class on how to design a bicycle at the ROAM Festival Sedona; Photo: Lauren Costantini

 

THE BIKE:

The combination of 130mm of rear travel paired with a 140mm fork and 27.5 wheels (27.5+ compatible) is a perfect combination in our books. The geometry of the Mojo 3 is a true trail bike: the head angle measures in at a not-too-extreme yet very effective 66.8 degrees. A 73.6 degree seat tube angle is also not too extreme, and the chainstays measure 425mm inches yet can still fit a fat tire (more on that below).

 

Roxy works closely with suspension wizard Dave Weagle - who continues to license his DW-link suspension designs to Ibis - on the kinematics. The extra mid-stroke support of the DW-Link allows a low bottom bracket height for excellent handling without pedal strikes.

 

Ibis Mojo 3 Review black frame

The Ibis Mojo 3 with DW-Link suspension; Photo: ibiscycles.com

 

As an example of Ibis’ pushing the proverbial envelope, the Mojo 3 solves the 27plus versus 27.5 tire buying dilemma: it’s designed to accept standard 27.5 tires and 27+ tires on the same wheels. The frame and fork will fit “real” 2.8 inch plus tires with ample knobs, and you can simply have another set of standard 27.5 tires on hand to make it another bike completely, but with the same geometry and handling characteristics. We love options like this!

 

Ibis Mojo 3 Review full bike

The beautiful aesthetics of the Ibis Mojo 3; Photo: ibiscycles.com

 

When Roxy joined Ibis, she made sure that people who weren’t normally able to access Ibis products could access them. “I’m only 5’1”, so I literally could not find a bike to fit!” she said. However, when asked about the trend of female-specific frame geometry, Lo says: "We aren't a specialty frame manufacturer and we don't have the time or desire to pander to women with stereotypical colors, superficial marketing trends or model names. We never exclude women when we make our models, so saying we need to consider making female-specific frames implies we don't already."

 

And here’s one way they accomplish this: as many of my petite riding friends know, lighter riders benefit from a custom tune in order to keep the suspension performance consistent. At lower shock pressures, there’s less rebound force that needs to be controlled. As a result, standard shocks tend to be overdamped for smaller riders. So Ibis developed a shock where riders who weigh less than 135 lbs (61 kilos) can maintain the plush feel of the Mojo 3 that everyone else enjoys, called the "Roxy Tune" - available as a no cost option. SCORE!!

 

Ibis Mojo 3 Review ROxy Lo and Tom Morgan

Roxy Lo and Tom Morgan, President and co-owner of Ibis – making bikes for all sizes! Photo: Saris Mercanti

 

THE RIDE:

 

“Nimble yet massively capable”.  

 

The DW Link remains firmly planted without excessive pedal bob and provides a solid and progressive climbing platform that we have grown to love – it literally propels you up-and-over rocky terrain. Flipping the Fox Float Performance shock over to "Climb" mode provides an even-more uphill worthy experience, especially on the long, mellow fireroads or smooth singletrack climbs.

 

Ibis Mojo 3 Review descend

The Ibis Mojo 3 in action; Photo: ibiscycles.com

 

Being a smaller rider, I’m not a fan of plus tires since they add quite a bit of drag while pedaling. But what makes the Mojo 3 an awesome 27+ trail bike is that, while it performs like a 27+ bike with all the additional traction, it doesn’t feel like one. The feel of the bike is ‘flick-able’ and ‘playful’ in the truest sense of the words. Thanks to short stays, fairly neutral geometry and a light weight, we found ourselves churning up the loosest, slipperiest ascents and uphill rock ledges with confidence.

 

Fully capable of handling the Sedona rocky downhill terrain with a rare combination of confidence-building stability and playful agility (we rode more of the HiLine descents than we have on any other bike!), the Mojo 3 also handled fast flowy downhills and corners like it’s on rails, while still being flicked around tight switchbacks.

 

Ibis Mojo 3 Review send it

The Ibis Mojo 3 in action; Photo: ibiscycles.com

 

And everyone agrees that this is just a beautiful bike. “I like making the bikes look like they are leaping forward because that's how the suspension technology makes me feel when I ride”, said Lo.

 

With the recent announcement that Ibis has begun in-house carbon frame manufacturing of their small Ripley LS (soon to grow to other bike models) from their Santa Cruz, California facilities, their bikes are only improving: the California-made Ripley’s take 40% less time to produce than their regular counterparts, and are roughly 150g lighter."As we reduce labor time here and as Asian wages go up, the delta between the two becomes less and less and manufacturing here starts to look more viable ... any time we can be more in control of our destiny, that's good for the company.” said Scot Nicol.

 

Ibis Mojo 3 Review carbon lab Saris Mercanti

The new Carbon Lab at Ibis Headquarters – made in the USA! Photo: Saris Mercanti

 

THE VERDICT:

 

The original Mojo’s pioneering design has been carried through and improved upon for a 2018 work of art that does not sacrifice climbing capability or descending confidence, giving us a playful and fun ride.

 

As Roxy said: "We want our bikes to fit our riders like a glove and deliver the best performance possible. When those two things happen, people have fun, which is our ultimate goal,"

We couldn’t agree more!  

 

 Sizes: S / M / L / XL

MSRP: $2833 USD (frame only), $4099-9399 complete depending on build

www.ibiscycles.com

Ibis is our premier bike rental for all Sacred Rides Boulder rides! Join us for an amazing day on the trails on an amazing bike at boulder.sacredrides.com!

Facebook comments