This all-mountain machine proves that 27.5+ is here to stay
When the Mojo first hit the market in 2006, it was a revelation—lighter, stiffer, and bigger travel than anything else out there at the time. The SL version won Outside’s Gear of the Year a couple seasons later, and each iteration since—pretty much everything that Ibis touches, in fact—has been atop our list of favorites.
So in early January, we had high expectations when we received the Mojo 3, which went on sale to the public this week. Once again, Ibis did not disappoint.
With 130 millimeters of rear travel, the carbon Mojo 3 is Ibis’ first outing in the 27.5-plus-size realm. Ours was equipped with a 140-millimeter RockShox Pike—the standard in all-mountain bikes at the moment—putting the head tube angle at 66.8-degrees. Those numbers are pretty middle of the road, but the Mojo’s larger tires give the bike a much more aggressive stance than the figures suggest.
The bike was originally built around Maxxis’ 2.5-inch Minion DHF tires, but as the plus-size movement has spread, Ibis discovered that it could squeeze up to 2.8-inch Schwalbe Nobby Nicks in the frame. Our tester came with the larger tires, as well as the original spec Maxxis for comparison. Hung on Ibis’ own wide rims, with an internal width of 35 millimeters, both these tire setups have a broad, confidence-inspiring contact patch.
A lot of skepticism currently surrounds plus-size wheels and tires. The industry is promising added traction, control, and confidence from the new size, which mates three-inch tires to 27.5-inch rims for virtually the same circumference as a 29er—with a much bigger traction area. Dozens of new models built around the wider size are coming to market this year. Consumers, who are rightly tired of the constantly shifting standards, are skeptical that this is just another sell. There’s also been a confounding reaction, even within the industry, to label plus-size as something for novices—akin to training wheels. And the added weight is an automatic point of contention for some.
Take our word that the Mojo 3—and plus-size wheels in general—are not just for beginners. The additional traction and broader tire profile definitely give neophytes more confidence. But they did exactly the same for hardcore shredders. At the annual bike test, we saw a handful of DH racers—initially skeptical of plus-size wheels—won over by the new standard after they hurtled down steeps, drops, and loose chutes faster than they ever had before. And every single rider who tried both the 2.5- and 2.8-inch tires preferred the larger diameter.
Our Mojo 3, hung with XT parts, weighed a very respectable 27.6 pounds. And it’s even more versatile than you first realize, given that standard 29-inch wheels also fit: we loved it with Enve M60/Forty HVs mounted with Maxxis Minions. (Note: the Mojo 3 uses Boost hubs, so existing hoops won’t fit without an adapter like Lindarets Boostinator.) This iteration of the DW-Link suspension is the plushest we’ve tried: soft at the top of the stroke, which helps with low-speed traction and small bumps, but it also ramps up so that you never really feel like you’re getting through it all.
Our only objection: the rear tire clearance, which is so tight that the 2.8-inch Schwalbes rubbed on the inside of the rear triangle when pushing hard. That also means that most of the three-inch treads hitting the market are a no-go. We tried Specialized Purgatory tires out of curiosity, and they simply wouldn’t fit. To that end, while we absolutely love the way this bike rode, we’d prefer it to accommodate as many of the emerging options as possible, and right now, its tight rear triangle is limiting.
Nonetheless, we’d still recommend the Mojo 3 in a heartbeat. The suspension and geometry are dialed, the added traction makes you laugh out loud, especially on techy trails, and the details are gorgeous. If you live in a place with extremely loose trails (think: Arizona or New Mexico) and you favor bigger tires, it might be worth waiting for something with better rear clearance. Muddy climes could be tough because of the clearance, too. For many people, however, the Mojo 3 should prove an extremely versatile all-mountain bike that can do almost anything better than its predecessors.
Our Mojo 3, with the XT Werx build, including a 1x11 Shimano drivetrain, KS Lev dropper post, and carbon wheels, retails for $7,400. Depending on build specs, Ibis sells Mojos 3s ranging from $4,000 up to $8,900.