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We all might dream of dropping in and throwing down with the pointy end of the pro enduro field, but most of us also just want to have fun out on the trails and need a bike that doesn't pigeonhole itself into a specific discipline. The 2017 Ibis Mojo 3 Carbon Special Blend Complete Mountain Bike draws inspiration from its enduro sled HD3 cousin and offers a more versatile package that's lightweight, playfully agile, and can handle just about anything this side of gravity.
The Special Blend build brings this bike's legendary capability and SRAM's precise shifting to those of us whose bank accounts won't tolerate eye-popping top-tier build prices, with 2.35in tires to start you off with a balance of traction and plush for versatility across a range of terrain. As an added bonus, its boost axles widths allow the versatility to choose tires anywhere from 2.3-inches up to a plus-sized 2.8-inches in width.
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 experience with the bike is 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.
It wasn't built specifically as a park bike, but spending a few minutes on it makes it obvious that the Mojo 3 is designed 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. This Mojo comes outfitted with 2.35in tires, but can accommodate anything from sprightly 2.3-inchers all the way up to a plush, plus-sized 2.8. 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.
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. 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 sea of all-mountain machines that drop in as well as they climb out.
One unfortunate side effect of this kind of trending super-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-overlapping boundaries, and while this bike is kitted out one-by, the Mojo 3's removable front derailleur mount means you have options when it comes time to change out componentry.
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 compatible with tires ranging from beefy 2.8-inch plus sized down to mud-slicing 2.3-inch speed demons. As an added touch, the stock wheelset's 34mm internal width will run the range of those tire widths so you can swap between standard and plus-sized tires without shelling out for a whole new set of wheels.
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.
- A jack-of-all-trades trail machine
- 5in of responsive DW-Link suspension
- Long, slack geometry sends big lines
- Carbon construction reduces weight and increases stiffness
- Big clearance accommodates tires up to 2.8in
- Rims with 34mm internal width let tires sit wide
- SRAM's workhorse NX drivetrain balances budget and performance
- Item #IBS003A
- Q & A
Amazing, nimble trail bike
- 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! 801.736.6396 x2344 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stud of a Steed
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I'm 5'11" and have a 32" inseam. I'm often split between a medium and large, though more typically on the large frame side of things. I've paired this with a 35mm length stem and have 175mm cranks on it. It fits great. For my build (with a Fox 36 bumped to a 140mm travel, Raceface SIXC bars, X01 11sp drivetrain, Sram RSC brakes) it comes in at 27.98lbs. While my build is slightly different than this, it should be able to get some perspective on how the bike rides!
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 have the Ibis 742 wheelset and love them. I personally have the DHF 2.5 & DHR 2.4. This bike will have the 738 wheelset which is very similar in terms of rim width, though the hubs are different and they are aluminum. I love the way the wide rims feel, just can rally into berms and run a touch lower psi (though for me being at 175lbs and riding aggressively, I love a 24 front/27rear psi).
- 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 straight up 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. With that said, the bike handles chunky areas and the bike handled it great, possibly due to being as slack as it is.
- I've now spent a lot of time climbing on it and it climbs fantastic with the suspension wide open and is super-efficient
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! Feel free to give me a call at 801.204.4547 or you can email me at email@example.com