Ibis HD5 X01 AXSCheck Out the Full Specs and Review
Mountain bike trends are a funny thing. Spend any time in this world, and you’ll end up with well-earned whiplash trying to keep up what cuff-length socks the cool kids are wearing and what wheel size we’re all supposed to collectively deem outdated. Just a few years ago, 29-inch wheels were quickly pushed aside by a world of 27.5-inch bikes that inspired 2017’s great overuse of the word ‘flickable’. This year, the Mojo HD5 is one of just seven of them that made the Bible cut.
The much-anticipated successor to the HD4 may have stuck to its wheel-size roots, but the geometry and suspension saw significant rejiggering. As expected, the geometry was modernized to fit with today’s ‘longer, slacker, steeper’ ethos. The headtube was slackened to 64.2 degrees and paired with a reduced-off- set fork to maintain the stability of a slack head angle without having a front wheel that’s out in the next zip code. The seat angle got 2 degrees steeper, bringing it to 76 degrees, and the reach grew across the board, with the large size seeing a bump of almost 20 millimeters. But numbers are just numbers until you hit the dirt, until the punchy climbs are done and dusted, the berms have been railed and hairy sections successfully navigated with skill (though ‘sheer power of dumb luck’ is an acceptable descending technique as well).
The most interesting change to the HD5 is the introduction of Ibis’ new damping philosophy, Traction Tune, to the DW-link platform. By relying on the linkage itself to achieve pedaling efficiency, lighter compression and rebound tuning can be had without suffering from the dreaded pedal bob. Lighter tunes have been historically geared toward lighter riders, but the suspension concept here aims to bring the improved ground-tracking benefits of faster rebound and compression to a wider audience.
Our testers ran the gamut between biggest, big, and “Can you get that off the top shelf for me?” The fly-weight of the group definitely noticed the traction benefits, especially through rock gardens and punchy, rooty ascents. A tester who generally runs his compression wide open could choose to back it off even further or throttle it in, achieving the ability to tweak the tuning to his bike-nerd content. The largest (and rowdiest riding) tester chose to run his compression damping on the slower side. While we were all able to adjust our suspension to our professionally nitpicky likings, those who run their compression toward the open side may reap the biggest benefits from this change.
Another standout of the HD5 is its pairing of 153-millimeter rear travel with a 170-millimeter fork. Ibis’ theory is that, if you compare the pure vertical movement of the wheels, an over-forked bike will be more balanced. On the trail, the theory seemed to pay off, creating a bike that seemed magnetically drawn to kickers and booters. One tester said it had the cornering traction and rollover of a 29er. Of course, being able to fit 2.6-inch tires doesn’t hurt on that front.
It’s easy for the small changes to get lost in the mix, but a few little improvements go a long way. Dropper capability has been increased, allowing some riders to run up to 175 millimeters on a medium frame or 150 millimeters on a small. On the maintenance side of things, Ibis’ Internal Cable Tunnels make routing easy from end to end, and the lower suspension link now features bushings instead of bearings.
The updates on the Mojo HD5 seemed uniquely aimed at paying dividends in fun. Perhaps even more so than those on any of this year’s other bikes. Whether we tester-types are crushing sandos after loops or pounding old seasons of “Letterkenny” like they’re new flavors of La Croix, we can’t help but nerd out on the nitty-gritty. For years, as bikes have morphed from 26-inch to plus-size everything, we’ve sat around getting granular about suspension, nitpicking cable routing and trying to figure out what next year’s “most-overused word” will be (FYI: This year it’s ‘kinematics’). At the end of the day, trends will come and go, but bikes designed to be fun will always in style.
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