We never, ever want to wish this upon anyone, friends or enemies, but if you had to choose only one bike, could you do it, and what would it be? Tough to answer, trust us we've pondered the question long and hard, but gun to our head if we had to do it, it'd be an Ibis Hakkalugi MX. It's simply a bike that crosses over and blurs the lines of what we think a bike should be able to do well. This discipline shattering whip furthers its versatility with the ability to run 700c and 650b wheels so we'll let you cheat a little and have one bike but you can have 2 wheelsets. The original Hakkalugi's were more or less a pure 'cross racer, but the geometry tweaks and the dual-wheel size persona lets this bike shine while hopping barriers in the fall, or racking up some bikepacking miles on densely covered forest service roads in the spring. A workhorse of a frameset needs an equally stellar build and that’s exactly what you get with the 2018 Hakka MX Disc Ultegra Di2 Complete Bike.
As we touched on above, the older 'lugi's were 'cross weapons that we're still apt crossing over into gravel and road rides, but both the geometry and tire clearance had a muddy foothold in CX. The Hakka MX (or Monster Cross) does indeed take queues from the OG Hakkalugi, (and older Ibis bikes, we're looking at you Handjob) and extends its range, making it more of a complete all-rounder far outside of the earshot of ringing cowbells. The term monster cross isn't quite in the vernacular as frequently, with the advent of newer industry terms like "road plus" and "gravel grinders," but we always remember monster cross as stuffing the fattest tires and widest bars on our 'cross bike in an attempt to make them indestructible and the ultimate all-terrain vehicle. Leave it to Ibis, who's first steel Hakkalugi in 1997 was part cyclocross bike, and part touring bike complete with eyelets for fenders and racks, to perfect it in 2018. Aside from hanging with the guys with single-digit fat percentages racing up the tarmac or flying down trails that are best served riding in a suit of armor and a full-face, the Hakka is happy to oblige to all of your two-wheel adventures.
Ibis has a joke that steel is real…real heavy, and its mountain bikes have been built exclusively from carbon fiber for several years now. Its expertise with the material allows it to build a stiff, light, durable, and responsive frame. A tapered headtube provides the perfect foundation of unyielding stiffness needed for excellent tracking, hard braking, and out of the saddle climbing. The included ENVE fork contributes to the stiffness while working in tandem with the frame to absorb the jolts from washboard descents and all the rocks and roots found off the beaten path.
We tend to geek out on bottom brackets, and Ibis has given us plenty of fodder here. Ibis made the conscious decision to uses a threaded T47, which provides an oversized, threaded shell and cup that is easier to install and maintain and less likely to develop an irritating press-fit creaking, popping, and squeaking. A wider range of crank diameter spindles can be used without sacrificing bearing diameter and larger spindles forced in a standard diameter threaded shell. The bigger shell also yields larger contact areas between the tubes, offering greater drivetrain rigidity.
Internal cable routing works with mechanical or the excellent electronic Ultegra group we have here, and it keeps cables and housing from contamination, snags, and preserves the bike's clean line while allowing for dropper post routing. We could go on and on waxing poetic on Ultegra Di2 but the bottom line is it flat out works. Its precise, durable, and lightweight. Build it up once and keep the battery charged. Seriously, that’s it. It does receive the electronic XT rear derailleur to accommodate the massive 11-46 rear cassette. Rear, removable, fender mounts at the bottom of the seatstays and the rear of the bottom bracket shell will come in handy during a muddy gravel race, winter training, or commuting. This model runs one-by, but if you feel the need for a front derailleur, a standard 34.9mm clamp does the trick but please note that only a mountain Di2 front derailleur will communicate with the XT rear, no road front derailleurs.
- A gravel grinder with a do -it all attitude
- Longer and lower geometry for stability on gravel and dirt
- High-modulus carbon fiber frame is light and responsive
- ENVE fork tames terrain and provides stiffness for bar-torqueing
- Disc brakes offer excellent all-weather braking on all terrain
- Choose traction or speed on trails and fire roads
- Shimano Ultegra one-by drivetrain for racing and adventuring
- Clears 700c x 40mm or 650b x 2.1in tires