• NZ Mountain Biker

BUILD SERIES: Ibis Mojo x SRAM AXS Pt. 3

This is a review of the bike, so I will not rant on about this set-up, except to say that once I got used to it I stopped thinking about it. I didn’t change anything except the seat height - the frame size was large, so I am lucky my shorter-than-average legs were able to reach the drivetrain with the seat post at its lowest position. In fact, it was the perfect height, and the extra length provided by the bigger frame size meant my longer-than-average torso felt about right on it. The tall head tube put the bars at a higher relative position than what I am used to, and that took a short while to get used to.


By halfway up the first climb, I felt right at home. The climbs we tackled later in the day were much worse - long sections of both our Queen Charlotte days ran right along the top of a ridge, and some sections were stupidly steep. The Ibis ate this stuff up. When I got off and walked the bike it wasn’t because the bike was not up to the task.

The bike has a 76.6-degree seat tube, which puts the rider in a good position over the bike for climbing - scooch forward on the saddle and the front end will stay planted until you run out of gears (or willpower). Heading back down towards sea level, the bike immediately felt very comfortable. The head angle of 65.4 degrees keeps everything calm and predictable. The DW-Link rear end works with what Ibis call ‘Traction Tuned Suspension’. The best way I can describe the ride is floating, like a hovercraft. It felt bottomless, and definitely as though there was more to the travel than 130mm.


One aspect of the bike that I thought about before saddling up was the wheel size - I had done three years on a 29er, and the conventional wisdom states that the bigger wheels roll over stuff better, provide more traction and allow more wiggle room in uncharted territory, which is where we were going. I need not have worried - in practice there was nowhere the wheel size felt like a liability, and the slightly smaller hoops may have been more playful, whatever that means. The three days of the test period covered an amazing variety of terrain and trail surfaces, and some of it was downright dangerous. By the time we were on the really challenging stuff, I had complete faith in the Mojo and it never let me down. I aimed it where I wanted to go, and that is where it went.


Rider: Liam Friary – I might be the publisher of this here magazine, but I don’t get aboard too many test mountain bikes. My interest was piqued when the Ibis Mojo 4 was touted. I liked that the bike was short travel, 27.5” wheel size (which is what’s on my current bike) and that it screamed playfulness.

I ventured down to Rotorua straight after our trip down south. The extensive trail network would be an ideal testing ground for the Mojo. Immediately, I could feel the bike’s superb pedalling efficiency. I meandered onto some single track climbs and the rig simply ate up anything in its way. The ease of manoeuvrability was also noted. The power I was generating went straight to the pedals - this was helped by the 76.6 seat angle, which put me in a powerful position. I was impressed! But was more impressed about staying on the bike throughout uphill technical sections, which I sometimes struggle with. The rig just ploughed through and kept me moving forward. On the ups, most of the time, I’d leave the FOX DPS rear shock in ‘Trail’ mode and didn’t even think to switch it over to ‘climb’ mode – which pays tribute to the bike’s incredible climbing capability. Especially the V5 DW-link – the thing doesn’t bob. It’s just so damn efficient!


On the downs, the rig’s ability came into its own. It sucks up anything with ease and lets you add flair on the trail without making you pay for it. Again, on the super technical trails, I sometimes struggle but this rig ate em’ all up and kept me upright. I was fooled into thinking I was a better rider than I actually am. The bike’s capability far exceeds the 130mm travel that it has. It’s predictable at speed, stable, and keeps you on course – point it where you want it to go, and it will go! The short chainstays got me in and outta’ turns super quickly – it feels snappy. It’s lively, light, nimble and offers a ton of confidence with its superb traction. It sticks you to the ground and ramps up quickly, avoiding harsh bottoming out. I for one have been super impressed with this bike and, after the awesome time spent riding it in Rotorua, won’t be giving it back anytime soon.


Words: Gary Sullivan & Liam Friary

Images: Cameron Mackenzie