We won't shake our heads at aggressive enduro fiends, in fact, we find some of our best days take place riding enduro with our crew, but there's something to be said for all-mountain and trail days with your friends, weaving through dense pine forests, climbing shady switchbacks, and snacking on gummy bears and beef jerky on a strategically placed log that oversees a winding canyon below. For those of us whose rides might take us beyond the beaten enduro path and into the seldom rolled singletrack, there's the Ibis Mojo 3 Carbon NX Complete Mountain Bike. The Mojo 3 captures a sweet spot in trail bikes, with more aggressive descending prowess than the quick rolling Ripley, and a pedal platform to crush the beefy HD4, landing us with the right amount of get-up-and-go to power up to the top of the trail, and the slack and plush feel we want for gobbling up rock gardens when we point it back downhill.
The Mojo 3's spirited kick starts with the shock tune and DW-Link suspension. Ibis claims it tuned the shock so its initial stroke rides on the "plush" side, but our firsthand experience with the bike tells us that generous small bump compliance doesn't keep it from feeling firm off the top. It's responsive and changes direction quickly while navigating switchbacks at climbing speeds, and the anti-squat pedaling platform maintains past the sag point. The shock's tune doesn't require a high damper handicap, a fact that Ibis credits to the shock rate and DW-Link's steady pedaling platform. Since it naturally reduces bob without needing a damper handicap from the shock, DW-Link's ramp-up stays smooth throughout its suspension arc. It also suffers less heat build-up than heavily dampened models, so its ramp feel isn't significantly affected during hard, fast descents where the shock is working overtime.
It wasn't specifically built as a park bike, but spending a few minutes on it makes it obvious that the Mojo 3 is fully capable of getting rowdy. Ibis describes the shock's tuned ramp-up characteristics as "robust." We describe it as the kind of big-hit confidence that can often be the key element in determining which side of the ragged edge you find yourself on. By outfitting this Mojo 3 with moderate 2.5in tires, you'll enjoy confident traction and a deeper travel feel than you might expect from other 130mm suspensions. Regardless of the tires you choose to run, the shock tune and suspension keep the bottom bracket height at the sag point the same.
The frame itself is what you'd expect from Ibis: a full carbon monocoque affair that incorporates the construction pedigree of the HD3 but at a drastic weight savings, shedding a claimed 0.4lbs compared to the enduro brute. The final product is actually the seventh carbon lay-up schedule that Ibis tested —yet another indication that the Mojo 3 was carefully and meticulously developed rather than being rushed to market in order to capitalize on the 27.5+ hype.
In Ibis' own words, the stubby chainstays and low claimed frame weight make the bike feel "taut," and we think that's a wonderfully succinct way to describe the responsive aggression the Mojo 3 exhibits on the kind of climbs that would send the lumbering gravity crowd in search of a chairlift. When run with a 140mm fork, the Mojo 3's 66.8-degree head tube is on par with standard slack enduro standards and situates it squarely at the foremost tip of the advancing sea of all-mountain machines that drop in as well as they climb out.
The tapered head tube further increases stiffness up front, which makes for yet better tracking across terrain, and the inclusion of Boost rear spacing let Ibis slam the rear wheel up for the above-mentioned stubby stays—which are approaching XC standards—while still leaving room for tubby tires and a front derailleur. That clearance also means that the frame is compatible with tires ranging from beefy 2.8in plus-sized down to 2.3in speed demons. As an added touch, the stock wheelset's 34mm internal width will run the range of those tire widths so you can swap between standard and plus-sized tires without shelling out for a whole new set of wheels.
- Ibis' trail machine is ready to tackle beyond the beaten path
- DW-link suspension soaks up rocks and roots with 5-in of travel
- Boosted rear spacing allows you to run 27.5in and 27.5+ on one wheelset
- Tackle bigger lines with long and slack geometry
- Wide Ibis rims support a plush 27.5+ tire
- Carbon construction reduces weight and increases stiffness
- SRAM's NX drivetrain keeps pricing in a budget-minded spot