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  • Writer's pictureMo Awesome

Ibis Cycles HD6 First Ride Impressions

Let me start off by saying this is not a bike review, it's simply my thoughts on a bike after the first ride. You never get a second first impression so I feel pretty obligated to write these thoughts down. I do feel like first ride impressions are very important, especially when it comes to trying to figure out who a bike is for. The one thing that always has remained the same throughout my years of testing is that if I hate a bike on the first ride, that normally doesn’t get better. It’s kind of like the corny saying, it was love at first sight (Hannah if you are reading this, it really was). So did I fall in love with the HD6? I did but I also didn’t, it was very weird. But also very interesting!

Ibis Cycles HD6

So let’s start off with what the Ibis HD6 is. The Ibis HD6 is a 165mm mullet enduro bike, with a 64 degree head angle, dw-link suspension design, and a beefy build to match its aggressive geo. If you are familiar with Ibis bikes, then it's basically as if the Ripmo and the HD5 had a baby. The build sent to me for testing is their SRAM GX build kit with upgraded carbon wheels. I actually have a few issues with the build itself, primarily how heavy certain parts are and where I would immediately make changes if this was my own bike. But once again the purpose of this article is not to go into detail about the components on the bike, but rather try to write the thoughts and feelings I had during my first ride. 

Ibis Cycles HD6

It’s been raining an unusual amount in SoCal and most of our local tracks are closed so I made the drive to San Juan trail in San Juan Capistrano. San Juan is a big, switchback filled, out and back trail in our national forest. Now surprisingly, this would actually be my first real ride on a dedicated mullet bike, the mullet being 29 in wheel up front and 27.5 in wheel in the back. After getting the bike setup for myself, I started the climb up what would be a long 6.5 mile climb to cocktail rock. If you have ever climbed San Juan trail you know the trail is filled with sharp 180 switchbacks and almost instantly I felt like I was no longer on a 29er, even though the front wheel clearly was. The 27.5 rear wheel made a lot of these switchbacks much more manageable than usual, something I was worried would be an issue due to the 64 degree head angle. One at a time I cleaned each switchback with ease and actually felt like I had more traction and ability to put power down on a smaller wheel than with my traditional 29ers. 

Another thing I noticed is that this was clearly an Ibis, pedaling efficiency was insane, and it was climbing amazingly for a 165mm travel bike that weighs a ridiculous amount with the build that was sent over. I'm actually scared to weigh it, Maxxis double downs and a Fox 38 aren’t exactly my style. But even with this overly beefed up build kit and a Fox X2 with seemingly no climb switch, the bike pedaled so insanely well it had me very confused in how they always seem to make their bikes climb amazingly. Traction was also plentiful especially on the techier climbing bits and I'm stoked to put some more time on this bike uphill! 

Ibis Cycles HD6

Now after getting to the top and contemplating life (it's a pretty big climb from the parking lot) it was time for the fun part and where the HD6 bike specializes in. And just like what I expected from a bike with so much travel and such beefy suspension, the bike did insanely well on the tech. The top part of San Juan is extra spicy right now, and the HD6 made those chunky, sharp-rocks filled sections feel almost as smooth as the bottom straight-aways. I felt like I could roll over anything and the front end of the bike definitely felt like a 29er. The bike is insanely fun downhill and I found myself so stoked to be out on the trails, ripping corners and having an awesome time hoping we beat the sunset! 

What was interesting was the mullet experience. Pretty much the entire downhill I could tell I was on a mullet, it never really became second nature. There were a lot of benefits here including being able to quickly whip the rear end of the bike around for tight corners and throw a little bit of steeze on certain off chamber sections. But there was also a bit of awkwardness to where I felt like my body was struggling to find the sweet balanced spot when in a downhill position. If I had to use one word to describe how I felt on the bike I would say “unbalanced” comes to mind, something that I am sure goes away with time…hopefully. I also noticed a bit of confusion from my body in regards to the bottom bracket height. My eyes and upper body felt like I was on a 29er, but my pedals miss-timing their positions and clipping a few rocks clearly were on something more in line with a 27.5 bike. Looking on paper the bb height difference doesn't seem as drastic in comparison to some other 29ers, however I think suspension set up is going to play a big role in getting this bike set up for myself in the future.  

Ibis Cycles HD6
The Traffic Cone Orange color is luminary!

So with that being said, first ride impressions. It pedals insanely well. It’s very capable downhill. It needs to go on a diet and shed some weight because it’s rider is not entering any world cup enduro races any time soon. And finally, it's going to require a bit more fine tuning with the suspension set up than other Ibis’s I have ridden in the past.

Full review coming soon! 

-Mo Awesome


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