I know this is the Schwinn forum, but I thought this might be of interest to the folks here who might wonder how their vintage Schwinns compare to the new stuff. This is a bit long, so be warned.
The Ibis van came to my local trail, so I thought I'd try out a DW Link bike finally.
Ibis Mojo SL – 140mm rear travel
Fox Talas fork – 110/130/150
Stan’s Flow wheels
Stylo OCT crankset
SRAM X9 driveline
WTB Rocket V saddle
Kenda El Moco 26x2.35 DTC folding tires WITH tubes
Avid Elixir CR brakes
Pretty decent components. Bike fit pretty well, but the guy offered to change anything, including the stem, so I had him put the longest one they had in the box on – it was a 90mm, 10 more than what was on it. We also dropped the stem one spacer. SMART move, that’s for sure. Bike was surprisingly light, given the non-weenie build and long travel. I stopped several times on the lap to make adjustments. The rear brakes were whooped – even with the pad engagement “out” as far as possible, I was hitting my fingers before the brakes would really come on, so I had to adapt with more front braking. Dialed in the seat height along the way, and also blipped the rear shock down one quick blip
- Bike lands really nicely off jumps. It made me smile over the fun jumps on the trail. It lands markedly better than my bike.
- Rear triangle is noticeably stiffer laterally than my Banger. This is the biggest shortcoming of my Banger IMO.
- I ran the Talas in 130 mode since I couldn’t figure out which way was 110 and which was 150. Yeah, I know, I’m a dunce, but 150’s way overkill for this trail. I wanted to see what effect the head angle had, but I settled for the 130 setting since middle was middle and I wouldn't have to figure out which way was 110 and 150.
- Steering was pretty good – not too twitchy, not too slow. Bike was probably slower-steering than my Banger (69.5° HA), but definitely not like the Trance X1 I demoed earlier in the year.
- El Moco – too heavy. 2.35 tanks that I felt pedaled like molasses and were sorta spooky at certain lean angles. These tires didn’t feel like the ticket for this particular trail. The DTC 60-ply 2.35 folding isn’t listed at Kenda’s site, but the Stick-E one is in the high 600’s/low 700’s for weight. Yeah, them’s ain’t light, plus the weight of the tubes.
- I had to granny gear all over the place because I just couldn’t maintain speed with this setup. For reference, I never have to granny on this trail on my own bike. But I believe that would go away with lighter tires/no tubes, etc. Ibis advertises a 5-lb weight figure for the frame, 2 lb lighter than my bike, so it isn’t because the frame is heavy. Ibis also advertises a 25-lb “rational” build weight, which I can believe.
- Suspension is hard to put my finger on. Bike was plush over, say, 3” roots or trees down across the trail, but not really plush when rolling. Some of this is due to my not having my excellent saddle, but some of it is the bike. They put too much air at first – I checked the rear sag, and it wasn’t enough, so I blipped it. This helped a lot.
- Looking at the rear suspension, I saw bob (I left ProPedal off) but didn’t feel it.
- The Talas generally felt good, but the bike had an overall harshness about it. Could be tire pressures – I wasn’t able to check them, and they likely set them for demo-day reliability.
- Once I learned what grip I had and how hard I could push the Mocos, I found that the bike handled in a this manner: You lean in, it loads up and takes a set, compressing the rear. Then it fires you out of the turn with great speed and you can pedal like mad. My red Banger did this, and I have not been able to make the blue ones do it. I really like this trait.
- The bike never felt like it had 5.5” of travel. By that I mean it never felt like it ran out of travel, but it also seemed to not really compress that much at any time. It could just be that the suspension worked very unobtrusively. I checked the sag ring – I used much of the travel, but not all. Of course, 5.5” is overkill for the trails here. This is both good and bad – it never felt like it ran out of travel, certainly, and that’s good.
- Frame and fork felt very structurally stiff; never noticed any flex, other than some occasional weirdness in the back, which I attributed to the DW links moving around. This "weirdness" was very minor, though.
Based on reviews, I expected the bike to be more plush than it was. I think the DW Link did pedal efficiently and that the crap feel was 100% due to a heavy tire/tube setup. I’m not in love with the styling of the bike, but I think it is a good bike worth considering. For the price and travel, the weight is rather light, and it does cost less than many other frames out there. Slap my Rovals on there (which are technically an All-Mountain wheelset in spite of their lightness) with light tires and it could be a whole new ballgame.
I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but this is already a book. Bottom line: Like all the other demos I've done, this bike does some things better than mine and some things worse. None of the "better" were worth the cost of getting a new $2k frame, though, so I'm still happy with what I have. But if you're starting anew, the Mojo is certainly worth a look.
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Thread: Another Demo Day - Ibis