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The Ibis Mojo makes a great case for the validity of the 27.5 trail bike, with a nimble, poppy bike that’s happy to take on anything.
This review first appeared in Singletrack World Magazine issue 135
- Bike: Ibis Mojo 4
- Tested by: Singletrack for Singletrack Issue 135
- Price: £6,499.00 (for the carbon wheel option, £5,799.00 without) at time of review
- From: Ibis UK, ibiscycles.co.uk
The original (carbon, 26in) Ibis Mojo heralded the triumphant return of the brand in 2005 and the model has stayed in the range ever since, not getting a 29er sibling (in the Ripley) until 2013, around the time that the Mojo moved to 27.5in wheels.
Ibis has brought out more 29ers since, but has maintained the love for the 27.5in Mojo with this, the Mk4 Mojo.
With the Ibis Ripley (and DV9 hardtail) taking on any shorter travel, hard and fast trail duties, the Mojo is free to do what it was always meant for, which is to be an all-round, fun-times trail bike. Featuring a 140mm fork and 130mm of DW-link rear suspension and a weight bang on 28lbs, it’s a bike that can lend itself to most trail ambitions, whether that’s as a ‘best bike’ for weekends in the rough and tumble of the Lakes, Peaks and Scotland/Wales, or as an all-rounder for woodsy riding and even the odd bit of racing.
At its heart is the wonderfully sculptural full carbon Mojo frame. When it first appeared, a dozen or more years ago, Ibis said the Mojo was the first commercial, monocoque full-carbon frame available, using the advantages of carbon to create a frame completely unlike the ‘tubes and joins’ of carbon frames up to that point. Even today, most carbon frames follow the straighter lines of traditional bike frames. There’s definitely no mistaking the Mojo for any other brand, that’s for sure.
Recent Ibis 29ers like the Ripmo and Ripley have seen a rethink of the frame dimensions, dropping the top tube way down to allow for the new generation of very long dropper posts. The Mojo’s seat tube now measures a diminutive 368mm on a Medium. Along with the modernisation of the frame are the inevitable ‘steeper/slacker/longer’ adjustments to the geometry, with a seat angle of 76.6°, head angle of 65.4° and a reach on our Medium of 460mm. If you’re after even longer reach, the dropped top tube offers no impediment to a size-up if you want it. The Large has a reach of 485mm with a seat tube of only 419mm, so it’s possible to just shop by reach and, unlike some other designs, the organic shape of the Mojo frame expands well to bigger sizes, without the need for awkward looking seat tube supporting struts.
The DW-link suspension has been the heart of the Mojo since it came out. It features an anti-squat design that resists pedal bob without having to overly damp the shock, leaving it ready for bumps, while sitting up and getting on the power when under pedal pressure.
The 130mm of rear travel is delivered by the upper links moving on bearings and the lower links, which don’t move significantly, on bushings. While the frame is guaranteed for seven years, the bushings are guaranteed for life. There’s a matched pair of Fox Factory fork and shock. Hard-charging riders might be surprised by the Fox 34, but Ibis will simply point them to the chunkier Mojo HD5, which is made for that kind of behaviour (though its geometry is looking a little long in the tooth now).
The components feature a common combo of SRAM transmission (GX Eagle in this case) and Shimano brakes (SLX). They all play well together and the monstrous 10–52T cassette provides no excuses for not climbing anything, while the snappy, easy power of the brakes promotes late braking and a little bit of hooliganism in every ride. There’s a BikeYoke Revive Dropper fitted, which is a nice change from the usual ‘cheapest on display’ that even some top end bikes seem to get skimped on. (There is a 113kg limit on the post, mind, so careful on the mid-ride pies.) Oh, and you can fit a decent sized bottle in the frame (though you will repeatedly bump your shock lever if you’re not careful).
Ibis was one of the first companies to drive the wider rims revolution and the Ibis S35 rims feature an asymmetric rim profile with a 35mm internal width – good, Ibis says, for 2.35 up to 2.8in tyres and featuring licensed Stan’s BST profiles for good tyre seal and security. Here, they’re fitted with a pair of chunky 2.6in Schwalbe tyres and still there’s room for mud around the BB and chainstay areas.
The frame features internal cable routing, apart from a small hop above the BB shell as the cables leave the frame and enter the chainstays. The ‘Blue Dream’ colour looks very ‘Ibis’ and the matching blue and orange details on frame and forks help tie the look of the bike together like Lebowski’s rug. The underside of the downtube features a rubberised protective layer to protect against rock strikes.
We had a few riders on the Mojo, some old Ibis fans and some new to the brand. The overall feedback was one of a fun bike that’s great on the technical bits. The appearance of a 27.5in wheeled bike among a pair of 29ers took a bit of getting used to, especially as nearly all our (non e-bikes) for the last year have solely comprised wagon wheelers.
A couple of riders initially thought the Ibis felt cramped, but a look at the geo shows a (decent for M) 460mm reach, so it must have been the 76° pushing riders forward and weighting the bars. After few minutes, though, the bar position on the Mojo feels like a natural extension of your shoulders. A sub-30lb bike always has a good, sprightly feel, though the girthy tyres on wide rims initially gave a bit of a tractor look to the proceedings.
The best bit about the ride of the Mojo is how unobtrusive it is. The bike picks up speed without fuss and there’s no need to reach for lockout levers or wonder whether you have the right geometry or suspension travel for the section ahead – the Mojo just gets on with things. Climbing is fun as long as you put some effort into it. The DW-link suspension gives great traction; the bike sits up and powers up oddball rocky steps on demand. A less enthusiastic approach brings in a little more choppiness as the suspension settles into the holes, but it’s a hill climbing beast if you have the mind for it. The wide rims and 2.6in tyres put down quite a broad footprint, which is probably fine in arid, rocky terrain, but during the winter months we had the bike, that fat rubber squirmed in the mud and slid more than it bit in. Given more time on the bike, it would be interesting to try a pair of ‘old-fashioned’ 2.35in tyres to see if that precision returns.
The SRAM GX gears give a positive, percussive feel to gear shifts and the ludicrous 52T biggest sprocket on the XD cassette leaves no excuses. The brakes are sharp and the Shimano lever is one of those ‘just right’ shapes of the modern world, along with the Lego Millennium Falcon and the Walnut Whip. Even a lack of tool-free reach adjust isn’t an issue once you’ve set them to your desires.
We have several technical trails around here, both up, down and along, with multiple choice, rocky ‘problems’, and the Mojo lapped them up. The smaller wheels give it a nimbleness, despite the ‘as slack as a reasonably recent downhill bike’ head angle, and the modern, forward-biased seated position gives a great control over the bars. Little hop-up weight shifts were as easy as drop-offs and abrupt direction changes. While the marketing and magazine world seems to have turned away from 27.5in wheels in recent years, the Mojo is a great champion of the benefits of those nimbler wheels. Winding it up to speed was easy enough, though rival big wheelers do have an advantage, both in straight-line speed and in skipping over bumps and holes. This is where the nimble flickability becomes less of an advantage and a little more bike-muscling and body English was called for to keep a descent smooth and flowing.
While some riders wanted to see a Fox 36 up front to be able to substitute finesse for muscle power, that would just push the weight up and you’d miss the fun of a sub-30lb bike. And, again, see the Mojo HD5 for that kind of behaviour. The Mojo 4 does a good job of hitting the ‘all-round trail bike’ sweet spot for this size of wheels. It really is an all-rounder: perfectly capable for all day in the Peaks, or for after-hours fun in the woods, or for riding endless singletrack a little too fast for comfort until your legs fall off.
If we had to find fault, there’s not much to pick holes in that you couldn’t sort out with a component change. Everything worked well. The internal routing does favour US-style brake hoses, with two holes on the left and one on the right of the head tube. Apart from that, what’s not to like?
Using our (completely unproven) theory that a 29in wheel conveys a 20mm travel advantage, it’s on par with the other bikes here. The Mojo 4 is a bike that rides as well as it looks. The Ibis organic frame design has few rivals, and the suspension performance is well up to its looks. It faces stiff competition, though, not least from its own range – either the 27.5 HD5 or the 29er Ripley.
The Mojo 4 takes that original, truly groundbreaking Ibis design and brings it bang up to date, with slightly more modern geo, a seven-year warranty and a playfulness that only 27.5in wheels can give. Whether that’s enough to stop the global slide to 29, we’re not sure.
Ibis Mojo 4 specification
- Frame // Ibis Mojo full carbon with DW-link suspension
- Fork // Fox Float 34 Factory 140mm
- Shock // Fox Float Factory DPS 130mm
- Hubs // Ibis
- Rims // Ibis S35 Carbon
- Tyres // Schwalbe Hans Dampf/Nobby Nic, 2.6 Addix Speed Apex
- Chainset // SRAM GX Eagle DUB, 32T
- Rear Mech // SRAM GX Eagle
- Shifters // SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed
- Cassette // SRAM XG1275 10–52T
- Brakes // Shimano SLX M7100, two pot
- Stem // Ibis 31.8mm
- Bars // Ibis aluminium, 780mm
- Grips // Lizard Skins Charger Evo
- Seatpost // BikeYoke Revive
- Saddle // WTB Silverado
- Size Tested // Medium
- Sizes Available // S, M, L, XL
- Weight // 12.7kg/28.0lbs
This review first appeared in Singletrack World Magazine issue 135
Members only: Full bike datasheet for the Mojo 4 below
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|Tested:||by Singletrack Magazine for Singletrack World Magazine Issue 135|
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