Released in the spring of 2018, the Ibis Mojo 3 has been called the "Swiss Army Knife" of trail bikes, and the moniker is well-deserved. With 130mm of rear travel paired up with a 140mm front fork, the bike can handle anything you throw at it: 30+ mile all-day epics, technical lines in Moab, or a quick lunch ride on your local loop.
The Mojo 3 has been a regular in the Chasing Epic demo fleet for the last three years, and in 2018 it'll hold its place among a few other choices as well; regardless of what else we have available, the bike continues to be the most asked-for that we carry. We run trips to a variety of destinations that push the bike to its limits: Sedona, St. George, Moab, Fruita, Crested Butte, Angel Fire, and Park City - so we feel somewhat qualified to give the bike a layman's review for anyone wondering if it's the right bike for them. Here goes.
There's no two ways around it- the Ibis Mojo 3 is beautiful. The bike is a stunner, and gets looks from everyone else on the trail wherever you go. The DW Link is known to provide a solid and progressive climbing platform, and we agree completely. The geometry of the Mojo 3 was somewhat forward-thinking two years ago when it was released, but these days it sits firmly in the middle of what's considered a trail bike: 66.8* HTA, 73.6* STA, and a 438mm reach for a large frame. Speaking of a large frame- the bikes tend to run a little small, so definitely consider sizing up from what you're used to.
It's pretty simple, really: the bike climbs well. The DW Link performs admirably and provides a nice platform for you to hammer up steep, technical climbs or hours-long mellow spins. We've done it all with the Mojo 3, and we've never felt out-gunned. Unlike reviews you read on big-time media sites like Pinkbike and Bike Magazine, we prefer to use the climb switch on the rear shocks. Why would bike companies spec their bikes with shocks that have them, if they didn't intend for them to be used? When you flip the Fox EVOL CTD shock over to "Climb", the bike is a rocket on the climbs. Sure, you lose a tiny bit of traction, but you gain immense amounts of pedaling efficiency. We don't recommend using the climb switch when you're in rocky terrain, but in places like Crested Butte and Park City where you've got 4-5 mile climbs on relatively mild singletrack, flip it and forget it until you're at the top.
The word that comes to mind when describing the descending ability of the Mojo 3 is "playful". It's more than capable with its 140mm of travel up front and 130mm in the rear, but you can really toss the bike around when you get into tight, techy sections. Whereas the bigger brother- the Ibis HD3 (or new HD4)- is meant to plow through rock gardens, the Mojo 3 is meant to pick your line and flick the bike through with ease. And it does an amazing job of it- the bike feels lighter than the 28 lbs our XT-level builds come in at, and it's one of the most playful bikes we've ridden in the last few years. We regularly have customers ride the bike in Moab, Sedona, and St. George and no one has ever asked for a bigger bike to handle trails like Porcupine Rim, HiLine, or the Zen Trail.
I'll be up front about it- I'm not a fan of plus tires. We don't run any of our Mojo 3 demos as plus setups, and we don't plan to in the future. There are a couple of reasons for this: first, the bikes are currently spec'ed with 2.6" Maxxis DHFs on the front and rear. Combine these tires with the 35mm internal width of the Ibis wheels, and you're virtually in plus territory already. You get the durability and performance of a wider tire without having to push the limits at 3". Secondly, the durability of plus tires just isn't where we want it to be. We have hundreds of rider days a year in some of the roughest terrain in the southwest, so we want tires that will last when we're riding all day long.
We love the bike. Every Chasing Epic client that rides the bike, loves it. Going back to our introduction, we truly see it as a "Swiss Army Knife"; a true do-it-all option in today's ever-increasing world of specialized bikes. Sure, you can get more downhill performance out of a 160mm travel bike. And you can climb faster with a hardtail 29er. But if you want a bike that does everything well and doesn't compromise, the Mojo 3 is where it's at.