It’s that time again – I need a new bike. I love my Ibis, but I have changed since I got it in 2013 [I’ll get to that in a bit]. The marketplace has changed a lot since then as well – there are so many excellent bikes out there right now that I’m spoiled for choice. This is both good and bad, as the huge selection is great, but I love to analyze and research my bike purchases ad nauseum. The Internet makes it too easy. From suspension linkage analysis to previews of everything coming down the pipe, it’s easy to nerd out on this stuff.
Let’s go back in time a little…
Before the HD, I had a Titus El Guapo. The Titus was a departure from my previous XC-ish bikes. I was getting [somewhat] better at descents, but still feeling a bit squirrely when things got steeper and/or rougher. The EG was a revelation – the downs got smoother and faster without any improvement in my riding technique, and it climbed well enough. Success! I was able to buy speed, and more importantly, fun. Pounding down eroded trails like Cox Hill and Prairie View was much more enjoyable than it had been on a racing hardtail. Over the 4 seasons I rode the Titus, I found the bike’s limits, or rather, my limits in combination with that particular bike. Descending was great, but I was not super-confident at speed, due in part to the slightly steep head angle. Climbing was decent, but the RP23 shock wasn’t super-supportive without lots of pressure [pedal strikes vs a harsh ride], and… **** it, I just wanted a new bike.
The Ibis Mojo HD immediately appeared to be a good match. The effective top tube, head angle and BB height all looked good. I could transfer most of my parts to it from the EG, which was a major bonus. It’s also very sexy, if you like the whole art in form+function thing [which I do!]. The clincher was an impromptu test ride on somebody else’s Mojo SL-R. The bike wasn’t set up for me at all, with nowhere near enough pressure in the fork or shock. Still, I felt instantly at home, and loved how it rode. I followed it up with a quick rip on a S**** C***. Yeah… no. FFWD a month or so, and I was building up my new HD frame in the basement.
Both the Titus and the Ibis are 6″ travel bikes built with confident descending in mind, and the Ibis is also a very capable climber. That said, bikes have evolved, and I like to think that I’ve evolved a bit too. In the next part of this series, I’ll look at some of the new trends in bikes, like low/long/slack and plus-sized tires.