Last weekend, Carson’s newest bike shop Bike Carson-Tahoe hosted an Ibis Bikes demo up in Ash Canyon. We met at the bike shop, then shuttled up to the water retention basins above the water towers in Ash Canyon. Ibis was setup when we arrived, and had a stable of bikes in various sizes for us to ride.
The bikes primarily consisted of 160 mm travel Mojo HDs and 140mm travel Mojo SL-Rs. There were two hardtail Tranny models available as well, one geared, the other setup as a single speed. Not really knowing much about the models I’d be riding, I ended up with a Mojo SLR. Apparently the bikes had been in a lot of mud in Santa Rosa the previous day, so a little extra prep was needed on the drive trains to get rid of the grindage. I also swapped out the super long stem on mine for one half as long. While I was prepping my ride, my friend Mark was getting an HD ready.
We jumped onto some singletrack for a nice long climb to the top of the trail system. Along the way we got to do a few steep sections, some tight switchbacks, and a few rocks. The rep from Ibis recommended that we leave the rear shocks in full open mode, since the suspension platform is so stable. While we found this to be mostly true, Mark and I both thought our bikes pedaled better in the firmer pro-pedal mode for the mostly smooth climb. Due to the location of the rear shock, it was pretty easy to adjust on the fly while riding. We thought that the bikes climbed pretty well for a couple of bikes that looked like they were ready for some serious downhill.
And then it was time for some downhill. Ideally we would’ve hit the Creek Trail to get a better feel for the Mojo’s suspension, but it’s currently full of snow, mud, and ice. We opted instead for a long fast run, with a short rocky section near the end of the descent. For not having much time at all on my SL-R, I had a really good run. I spend most of my time on a fully rigid 29er single speed, so of course the Mojo felt a lot different. The Mojo’s suspension swallowed up most of the little bumps I normally catch air off on my bike. If I wanted to catch air, I had to remember to pre-load the suspension a bit before hitting the obstacle. Other than that, I felt at home on the bike, carving some pretty good turns. The rock section at the end was pretty short, but the bike handled it well and held its line.
Once back at the staging area, Mark and I traded bikes. We didn’t do another full loop, but we did enough to both agree that the SL-R felt like the better of the two bikes for the smooth and easy Ash Canyon trails. The 6 inches of suspension travel on the HD was overkill this particular application, and the burlier bike felt less nimble than the SL-R. Whereas the the SL-R felt like it would make a do-it-all trail bike, the HD definitely wanted something bigger to jump off of.
I also took the Tranny Singlespeed out for a quick spin on the fire roads. It felt pretty smooth for a hardtail, and was really light. If there was more time, it would have been nice to get some singletrack time on this bike.
Not only were the Ibis carbon fiber frames nice to look at, the bikes were also equipped with a lot of nice parts. Many of the bikes had Crank Brothers quick height adjust seat posts. Some were activated with levers under the seat, while others had a remote on the handlebars. I never experimented with mine on the short loop we did. All the bikes had fairly nice wheelsets, but some were rolling on uniquely designed Crank Brothers wheels. If you’re interested in seeing how an Ibis would look with the parts you want, the Ibis site has a cool interactive bike builder.
Big THANK YOUS to Ibis bikes for coming to Carson City, and Bike Carson-Tahoe for coordinating the event! And thank you Janice for the cookies!