Long Termers: Ed’s Ibis Tranny

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In my last post I was building up this XC race bike build and ever since then I’ve been riding it. The weight conscious will be interested to know that the bike you see weighs 22.8lb or 10.3kg. This includes pedals and inner tubes. That’s light enough for me, but you could go tubeless or put carbon cranks on and so forth to get the figure even lower.

I’m more used to riding All Marketing bikes, which weigh around the 30lb mark, so the lightness of the Tranny, especially on climbs was marked. I actually wanted to ride this bike up the biggest hills rather than finding an easier way round and I enjoyed big ringing the bridleway tracks rather than just mooching along them in search of the next technical descent lines. Not that the Tranny is only good for ‘boring’ trails, it loves to be pumped through the bumps and dips and razzed round the banks and corners. It’s not a bike for the super steep or the radical rocks though, because of its geometry, and if you want to ride these places you would be better served elsewhere in the Ibis range with a Mojo HD. This won’t be news for those of you that ride specific XC bikes, but it is an important consideration if you are in the market for a Tranny. The Tranny is best put to use, going as fast as you can, pedalling hard everywhere, until your legs snap and your lungs pop. I made an effort not to turn this build into another Calderdale bike and the build reflects this. In this post I’m just going to look at the drivetrain.

I’ve been very impressed with the Shimano XT 10 speed drivetrain. Shifting is lighter at the lever than the 9 speed XT that I have on another bike. With 24, 32 and 42 tooth chainrings up front and 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 28, 32 and 36 tooth cassette sprockets at the back there is a gear for everything from ‘broken and far from home’ to ‘I am the king of speed’. The transitions between chain rings are very smooth and I did tend to change between front rings more often than usual which helps keep an even pedalling cadence. Did I really just say that? With the 36 tooth ring on the cassette you can climb anything in the 32 tooth middle ring, but that is missing the point, as you get very efficient ratios by not just using the granny ring as a last resort.

I’m a big fan of Shadow rear mechs. It makes such sense to have a vulnerable and expensive component as tucked away and out of danger as possible. Response at the mech has been great and this has included plenty of riding in the wet and muddy. By chance I read the instructions that comes with the 10 speed chain, not something I normally do! Turns out you have to run the chain a specific way round. No idea what difference it makes, but again the whole system has worked smoothly and efficiently for me, so make sure you read your instructions if you decide to invest. There is no sign of wear yet on any of the gear teeth.

So do you need to change to 10 speed? Not really because the 9 speed stuff is going to carry on being produced and it works just fine. Having tried it though, I am sold and I would want to have it fitted if I was buying a new bike, and I would spec it if I was building from scratch. It’s a small step, but it is definitely in the right direction.

10 speed chains will run on a single 9 speed chain ring, so even though it is not being marketed in this way, there is nothing to stop you buying the components you need to run a 1×10 speed drivetrain. To me and I’m sure many others, this is a pretty exciting idea. That 36 tooth cassette sprocket with a 34 tooth single chain ring and chain device is going to make the All Mountain flexible-but-simple-drivetrain-of-the-future dream come true.

Drivetrain prices:
M771 XT 10 speed 11-36 cassette £64.99
M770 XT 10 speed chainset £209.99
M771 XT 10 speed front derailleur £34.99
M773 XT 10 speed SGS Shadow rear derailleur £69.99
M770-10 XT 10 speed Rapisfire shifter pods £99.00 for the pair
HG94 10 speed HGX chain £39.99

That’s all for now. I’ll update again soon with a review and details of the wheels, tyres, pedals and the rest.

Ed Oxley

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Comments (0)

    I have my tranny 1×9 at the mo (coz the trails on a recent trip were just beyond me to grunt up singlespeed) and I would very much like to fit it up 1×10 (11-36) … if only they did the 10sp mechs in rapid rise Dammit! Actually, I’m enjoying the 1×9 so much I don’t want to change it back….

    are you using a 120mm fork? I would have thought that would make it just slack enough (what, 69/68 deg-ish) for more vertical stuff, but even though I have a beard it’s nowhere near as bushy as yours so I defer to your OP

    DAMN – I’ve just built the girlfriends bike up with this drivetrain and didn’t read about which direction the chain should go (like any bloke I threw the instructions away).

    Which way should it go????

    freegan bikefascist – It’s got a 100mm fork at the moment. It did have a different 120mm fork in an earlier build, which I did like for the reasons you mention. Go big with the beard!

    oxnop – as you’re looking at the chain fitted to the bike, you should be looking at the side with the lettering.

    “All marketing bikes”. Nice.

    A 29er Tranny would sell by the bucketload I reckon.

    I’m not convinced 10speed chains can cope with the wear and stretching induced by offroad use. I use 10 speed on road bikes and have found chains wear out significantly quicker than 9spd – ie needing to change road chains every 6 months compared to every 2 years! So in my book this indicates for offroad duties it’d be hard to expect chains to last more than a 8 weeks of hard use.

    Interested in this post Ed. I have seen a couple of Trannys locally one in the bronze/orange and one in the green, both of which look great. I was under the impression that the Tranny was something of a Trail HT rather than aimed to be XC. I’d be interested to see a a side by side review of a Tranny and an On-One Carbon 456. (I’d actually be interested to see a review of a C456. Seemed to be lots of hype prior to that bikes launch but since then it seems to have gone very quiet, though there is a mini review in the latest WMB).

    speaker2animals you should have a look through Eds previous reviews – he has tried the Tranny in a variety of guises!

    I have just picked up my tranny and yes the front is steep, however I have the fox 831’s set at 100mm, i’m going to have them converted to 120mm asap.

    I have a heavy build but it only weighs 25lbs. Should be recieving the 2011 xtr stuff on thursday, going to give it a good ride at surrey, and I took it to the local jump spot last saturday, seems to hold up well.

    Hi, Ed

    I see you have the same wheelsets as mine (cb cobalts in champagne). Couple of weeks ago while doing xc, the rear hub kept slipping while I was pedaling until it eventually stopped spinning. Took it to the shop and they replaced the cassette body assembly with a new one (the one with a hexagonal shaped inside). Now my wheels are working properly, but I still worry that they fail again in some epic ride next time.

    Did you have any problems with your cobalts?

    bike looks very cool, ye im running 1×8 right now, not sure i want to go back to triple rings

    acid boy, the problem you had with your wheels i had, and i think a lot of crank bro wheel owners have had, but the new part seems to sort the problem out and i have had no further problems for the last 6 months

    acid boy – No problems here

    thanks, elbry & ed. hope it does hold up.

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