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Ibis is pitching the all-new Mojo 3 Carbon Mountain Bike Frame as the "little brother" of its Mojo HD3 enduro sled. While this comparison might initially strike you as being overly restrictive and prohibitively niche, the opposite is true. The Mojo 3 tempers the extremes that make the HD3 so good in apocalyptic terrain in favor of a chassis that's lighter, more playfully agile, and still capable enough to handle everything this side of gravity loops. It's Ibis' nod to the 140mm Mojo of old, and — despite its shorter travel and steeper geometry — it's actually more versatile for more riders than the HD3.
The HD3 was designed for the athletes operating at the tippy-top end of the enduro rankings; the Mojo 3 was designed for everyone else or, in the enthusiastic words of Ibis' founder, Scot Nicol, "ME!" If you happen to clean the steppiest lines like they're paper-smooth fire roads, then you don't need us to tell you that the HD3 is probably the right ride for you, but if your ambitions and local trail furniture aren't all World Series fare, then the Mojo 3 is far more appropriate — and fun — choice. And when we write "fun," we don't mean it's for casuals only. Rather, we mean that our own hyperbolic, expletive-laden reactions of pure joy at testing this bike are unprintable here.
The Mojo 3's spirited kick starts with the shock tune and DW-Link suspension. Ibis claims it tuned the shock so its initial stroke rides on the "plush" side, but our firsthand experience with the bike tells us that generous small bump compliance doesn't keep it from feeling firm off the top. It's responsive and changes direction quickly while navigating switchbacks at climbing speeds, and the anti-squat pedaling platform maintains past the sag point. The Mojo 3 wasn't specifically built to be an XC race bike, but we'd gladly line up with it.
It also wasn’t designed as a park bike, but spending a few minutes on it makes it obvious that the Mojo 3 is built to get rowdy. Ibis describes the shock's tuned ramp-up characteristics as "robust." We describe it as the kind of big-hit confidence that can often be the key element in determining which side of the ragged edge you find yourself on. When run with the plush cushion of 2.8in tires, the travel feels around a full inch deeper than it actually is, and tire traction enjoys a similar boost. Regardless of the tires you choose to run, the shock tune and suspension keep the bottom bracket height at the sag point the same.
The shock's tune doesn't require a high damper handicap, a fact that Ibis credits to the shock rate and DW-Link's steady pedaling platform. Since it naturally reduces bob without needing a damper handicap from the shock, DW-Link's ramp-up stays smooth throughout its suspension arc. It also suffers less heat build-up than heavily dampened models, so its ramp feel isn't significantly affected during hard, fast descents where the shock is working overtime.
Two years ago, five-inches of travel would have caused most grizzled trail denizens to nod knowingly and declare, "yeah that's a trail bike, bro." As we've alluded to above, nothing could be further from the truth with the Mojo 3. In Ibis' own words, the stubby chainstays and low claimed frame weight make the bike feel "taut," and we think that's a wonderfully succinct way to describe the responsive aggression the Mojo 3 exhibits on the kind of climbs that would send the lumbering gravity crowd in search of a chairlift. But we've also seen a steady stream of recent releases that challenge this trail axe axiom. When run with a 140mm fork, the Mojo 3's 66.8-degree head tube is on par with standard slack enduro standards and situates it squarely at the foremost tip of the advancing phalanx of all-mountain machines that drop in as well as they climb out.
One unfortunate side effect of this kind of trending uber-trail geometry is that most slack, low bikes running five inches of rear travel and 27.5+ tires are also ditching the double drivetrain. But not the Mojo 3. Ibis insists that there's still a place for an extra chainring while navigating this brave new world of ever-blurring boundaries, and the Mojo 3's removable front derailleur mount means those of us who aren't quite ready to commit to chain ring monogamy can still go to the dance with multiple partners.
The tapered head tube further increases stiffness up front, which makes for yet better tracking across terrain, and the inclusion of Boost rear spacing let Ibis slam the rear wheel up for the above-mentioned stubby stays — which are approaching XC standards — while still leaving room for tubby tires and a front derailleur. That clearance also means that the frame is forward compatible with the kind of 2.5 and 2.6in trail tires that we think are going to dominate the market in the years to come. Ibis agrees with that assessment, and over the two years of development it poured into the Mojo 3, its own in-house testing suggested that any tires bigger than 2.8in became bouncy, unwieldy, and too sloppy for anything other than bikepacking and snow rides.
The frame itself is what you'd expect from Ibis: a full carbon monocoque affair that incorporates the construction pedigree of the HD3 but at a drastic weight savings, shedding a claimed 0.4lbs compared to the enduro brute. The final product is actually the seventh carbon lay-up schedule that Ibis tested —yet another indication that the Mojo 3 was carefully and meticulously developed rather than being rushed to market in order to capitalize on the 27.5+ hype. It's fair to say that the original Mojo re-invigorated the Ibis brand in 2005; we can see the Mojo 3 not only having a similar impact on Ibis, but on the industry as a whole.
- Item #IBS002D
- Q & A
Favorite trail bike I've ever ridden
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Setup: Fox factory, 34 fork, xo1 eagle, Guide RSC brakes, i9 Backcountry 360 wheels, Maxxis Rekon 2.8 tires.
I'm going to preface this review by saying that I have always been an Ibis fan, and loved the snappy, nimble feel their bikes provide. When I heard that they were making a shorter travel version of their HD3 with plus tire compatibility and shorter chainstays, I got myself on the wait list and picked up a frame.
This is the first plus tired bike I have owned, but I have ridden quite a few and this bike in particular stood out to me for one simple reason: It doesn't feel like a plus bike. Let me clarify, you get the velcro like grip that the plus tires provide, without the somewhat sluggish feel that some of the longer travel plus bikes tend to have, especially leaning the bike over when connecting switchbacks on a windy descent.
I will say that this bike is not a "lean back and hold on" trail slayer. It is incredibly light and nimble feeling, and requires you to be a bit more precise about your line selection. Should you do that though, you will be rewarded with an incredibly lively and nimble feeling trail bike with grip for days. This thing wants to be airborne, and is absolutely the most playful trail bike I have ever ridden, even with the wider 2.8 tires.
Still very nimble on the climbs though! With the DW suspension, I never found myself using the climb mode on the shock, opting most times to leave it in trail mode, and opening it up fully for the downhills. Pedal bob stayed at a minimum, and I never felt gassed because of the bike at the end of a long climb.
I would happily recommend this bike to anyone, and would be happy to talk about the details and pick out a killer component setup to make this bike sing. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you might have!
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
My setup: Large Mojo 3 with Fox Evol and Fox 34 Factory Fork, Ibis 738 wheels with 2.8 Rekons, 1 X 11 RF Turbine and XT derailleur, cassette and brakes.
Coming from a 17 year old Ellsworth Truth, this bike continues to amaze me. The build quality is second to none and the service through CC has been top notch. I'm 5'9'' with a long torso and a call to Ibis led me to order a Large. This size fit me perfectly. A few adjectives that I would use would be snappy, agile, playful and confidence inspiring. I am already making it up climbs that I wouldn't have attempted in the past. While descending, the M3 is not as plush as I would have hoped, but it is more than capable of handling anything I can throw at it. I'm still dialing in the suspension, but I suppose all of that nimbleness comes at the cost on the descents. Regardless, I am very happy with the bike. As far as the + tires go, I'm a believer. The traction afforded is INSANE!!! Those nice XT brakes don't get near as much use as the stoppers on my previous bikes. You can just lean into corners and it will bite much harder than you've ever thought possible. I may be faster on a 9er, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have as much fun!
I had the great fortune of meeting Scot Nichol at a recent Cyclofest and had the chance to discuss my bike, setup and mountain biking in general with him. He was in the pits, wrenching on demo bikes with all the other guys. You could tell that biking is this guys life and that he enjoys every facet of cycling and takes pride in his product. That's the kind of guy that I want to buy a bike from!
Stud Of A Steed
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Whelp, I'm sold. This very likely will be my next bike. I'm 5'11" and have an inseam of 32" and rode a large frame. While I didn't get to climb as much as I would have liked, I was more than impressed with the downhill performance for a trail bike.
In all honesty, most modern bikes these days don't really have straight up pros/cons so I'm going to switch it up from my normal format. Things that stood out on it:
-I was worried you'd get the rotational forces feel on the wheels that fat bikes get. I rode the 2.8" Knobby Nics and the worry for not being able to turn once you pick up speed washed away. They're definitely noticeably bigger, but the bike feels great with them. I would like to try the bike out with smaller tires as well, I'd imagine its just as fun and may feel a bit faster.
-For being as slack as it is (66.8 degree headtube angle) it felt very nimble and could whip it around tight switchbacks both down and up. It just feels straight up snappy.
-While it doesn't have a bottomless feel (I didn't expect it to, its a 130mm bike), the bike would definitely be able to take some relatively big hits, especially smoother stuff. I definitely rode through some chunky areas and the bike handled it great, possibly due to being as slack as it is.
-I didn't get to climb as much as I would have liked, but was a huge fan of the DW-Link Suspension. Snappy uphill and plush downhill.
Things I would change (personal preference on these more than anything):
- I'd bump up to a 34t chainring. Half because I ran out of gears on some downhills, half because I like a good sufferfest on the uphill.
- The dropper post didn't have any issues, but I like the "front derailleur style lever" and wouldn't mind that.
Just wanted to drop a note that I did end up buying this bike despite test riding many others.
Things I changed from this build for my own personal bike:
- X01 cranks
- Fox 36 with travel dropped to 140mm
- Ibis 742's with DHF & DHR tires
-RaceFace SixC bars
If you want to talk shop about the Mojo 3 or look into getting it custom spec'd best for you, don't hesitate to reach out and I'd be happy to help!