Well, we’re bloody stoked to bring you another edition of the build series. We’ve been hustling with brands in between riding trips, writing assignments, print deadlines and the rest. This time, we’ve got the new Ibis Mojo 4 frameset paired with SRAM’s AXS. Both the frameset and groupset are on point for the current times, however, the frameset is bucking some recent trends, as it is 27.5” - not the commonly seen 29er. But, more on this later… With a few ride trips lined up for the bike once it was complete, we were pretty excited about putting it together and immediately got underway.
Most of us don’t get to ride exotic locations very often, and I can count the number of times I have done so on somebody else’s exotic bicycle on one digit. Well, three, if we individually count the three days from the recent trip I took to Marlborough Sounds with NZ Mountain Biker. Learning I could join the junket, without needing to lug a bike along, was a huge relief. I have disliked sending my bike over the airport baggage check-in threshold ever since I watched a couple of big fellows off-loading bags from the conveyor belt to their little trailer on the tarmac many years ago. If they had been attempting to explore the performance envelope of the suitcases they were hurling around, they could not have been more comprehensive. If it must be done, package well. If it can be avoided, even better.
Getting to try the new Ibis Mojo with a deluxe build kit was just one of the things I was looking forward to down south. Ibis is one of the real bedrock brands of mountain biking. While Specialized was working out how to mass-market the new sort, several small operations were making hand-built steel frames and pushing the sport forward. Scot Nicol founded Ibis 38 years ago, after working on hot rodded old Schwinns, then learning at the workbench of Joe Breeze. Scot is one of the company’s owners, and still works at Ibis.
The Ibis Mojo 4 is a mid-travel trail bike with 27.5” wheels. Sporting 130mm of rear end travel, with a 140mm Pike up front, this carbon framed beauty has the Dave Weagle designed DW-Link rear end that allegedly provides all the good things we look for in a suspension platform. It is damped by a Fox Float DPS EVOL. The frame design of the Ibis Mojo is one of the more recognisable shapes around. Created by Ibis partner Roxy Lo, the swoopy look of the Mojo has survived through a half dozen iterations. Roxy Lo was hired as designer from outside the bike industry, and the view she brought to frame design was fresh. It still is – and the process of creating the frame is interesting. Weagle provided the suspension kinematics on paper, and Lo used those fixed points and movement arcs to draw the shapes that became one of the most influential designs of the modern era. The lines remind me of the Schwinn cruisers that became the ‘klunkers’ of early mountain biking, rendered in carbon fibre. There was a Mojo made of steel in the Ibis line-up as far back as 1991, but the first carbon Mojo landed in 2006. New Zealand was one of the first places in the world to see the product - there was an example on display at the ’06 Worlds in Rotorua. At the time, the industry commentators struggled to come up with a tag for a 140mm-travel rocket ship that could go uphill like an XC bike. They settled on “all-mountain”, a new term coined for this very bike. Ibis was not the first to the carbon dually party, but their take on the way a bike can ride - and look - has driven the performance and aesthetic goals of a lot of bikes since the first Mojo arrived.
Words: Gary Sullivan Images: Cameron Mackenzie