Firstly bit of background…..I’m a big Turner fan ever since getting a Horst-Link 5-Spot 6 years ago, so much so that my son’s middle name is Turner! I’m also a big fan of the DW Link, having bought an early Ibis Mojo, and I agree with the hype that it is the “best” suspension design out there for all the reasons that have been discussed at length on various forums. I sold the Mojo after about a year as the medium frame was a bit too small for me, and I’d already cracked 2 rear triangles, so when Turner adopted the DW Link I was first in the queue for a 5-Spot, which I’ve been running for over 18 months. However, when Ibis announced the HD, I was very keen to try it, to see if it offered the best of both. I therefore got my local Ibis dealer (Head for the Hills in Dorking) to get 2-Pure’s demo in ASAP!
Now to the comparison of the 5-Spot vs Mojo HD, and some observations vs a standard Mojo.
I chose an area of the Surrey Hills I knew well, and that contained a decent mix of trails, from twisty singletrack, steep stuff, and a short section of rocky downhill, as well as plenty of climbing. For those that know the area, I rode around the Judge’s Seat area for much of the test.
I started off on the 5-Spot (a large), which is set up with Float 36, a CCDB shock, Mavic SX wheels, and Rubber Queen 2.2” tyres, which weighs in at 30lbs. I rode for an hour to get the feel of the bike again, as I’ve recently been riding my hardtail rather than full suss.
I then switched over to the HD (a medium), which was set up with Talas 36, Fox RP23 shock, Crank Bros Iodine wheels, and RQ 2.2” tyres. I was a bit disappointed to weigh the bike also at 30lbs given the carbon construct, and the fact that the 5-Spot was running a coil shock. The HD frame is listed as being over 1/2lb lighter than the 5-Spot, so I guess there is scope to build it lighter, but it’s never going to be a major difference.
The first thing you notice is that the HD feels slightly more sprightly when setting off up a climb or picking up speed – it’s not a major difference, and after a short while the weight kicks in to remind you that you’re not on a lightweight flyer.
The second thing you notice is that the HD is not as plush over small hits such as tree roots. This could well be down to the coil on the 5-Spot – I did think about switching the 5-Spot back to an air can, but decided I wanted to test them both as I would usually ride them. Ibis and DW say the HD has been designed around an air can and don’t recommend a coil, but I do wonder what the HD would be like with a coil, especially one of the quality of the CCDB. Interestingly I think Lopes has been running a Mojo + coil recently.
Once picking up speed, the HD feels a bit more planted than the 5-Spot, whilst still feeling very flickable and agile. I think this comes from the bottom bracket being around ½” lower than the 5-Spot; wheelbase of both bikes is very similar.
Dropping into some steeper trails, the HD gives more confidence to carry greater speed into the corners and rail through them. The head angle is about 1.5deg slacker on the HD, and the front end over ½” lower, which combined means your weight is over the front more, and you find you’re on the power quicker out of the corners.
Through undulating twisty singletrack, both bikes pumped well through the dips, but the Mojo seemed able to maintain more speed – a characteristic I remember of the regular Mojo.
Dropping into a high-speed rocky descent, both bikes feel very controlled and solid. The HD doesn’t necessarily feel it has 20mm more in travel, but also the CCDB doesn’t shine through as much here, so perhaps the two were cancelling each other out.
After a couple of hours on the HD I then went back to the 5-Spot and rode for about 15 mins, just to confirm my thoughts. This emphasised something I’d felt all through the test, in that on the 5-Spot I felt I was sitting on the bike, whilst on the HD it felt I was sitting in the bike, which I generally prefer. This is undoubtedly due to the higher BB and front end of the Turner, and whilst this could be changed with shorter-travel forks, this would emphasis even more the difference in head angle.
It’s worth noting that despite the talk about being able to throw an HD down a downhill course, it doesn’t give you the confidence to hit jumps and drops the way something like an Intense Slopestyle or SX Trail does, so it’s no substitute for a playbike or downhill bike.
As a comparison to the standard Mojo, the weight makes itself obvious when sprinting and climbing, and it doesn’t feel as nimble flicking from side to side, but on the positive side, the slacker angles give you more confidence on steep and/or more technical terrain, although putting longer forks on a standard Mojo may get you some of the way there – that would be an interesting test.
So which is better? For me, the HD wins as tested above, despite the suspension not being as plush, as it’s a more confidence-inspiring bike that encourages more speed into most situations. Throw into the mix you could run it with 180mm forks, or swap out the link and shock to run the rear at 140mm / 68deg head angle, then you have a bike that is also more versatile. It’s a bit disappointing it isn’t that much lighter, but then you have the regular Mojo for that.
Is it worth the upgrade? I don’t know – I’m still pondering that. There are more and more bikes on the market at around the 150mm travel and slacker head angles, so I’m keen to see what else is out there. However, as a bike to cover so many bases, the HD pretty damn awesome; I can imagine running it at 140mm around Surrey Hills one minute, then at 160mm for a trip to the Lakes, then sticking some 180mm forks on it for a trip to the Alps. There aren’t many bikes that could do that, let alone be an awesome ride at the same time!