The Ibis HD6 is the latest from one of our oldest and most popular brands. With 165mm of DW Link suspension in the back, a 180mm Fox 38 fork up front, coil-compatibility and long, slack geo, it’s very much an enduro/park bike. If you’re a rider who’s been dreaming of a longer-travel Ibis big-mountain/freeride bike – consider your wish granted. The lavender HD6 our test monkey, Danny Mac, rode for this review is pretty sweet looking, too. Keep reading for our first impressions of the new Ibis HD6 enduro bike.
It’s been over three years since Ibis introduced the HD5. With 153mm of rear-wheel travel, 27.5 wheels and a slack 64.2° head angle, the HD5 was a very progressive, state-of-the-art, all-mountain trail bike in 2019. All-mountain and enduro bikes have changed a lot in that time, though. Travel has increased, most riders prefer faster-rolling 29er wheels and enduro bikes are much longer and slacker. The Ripmo V2, introduced in early 2020, was a step in the right direction but still more of a long-travel trail bike than a proper park bike or World Cup enduro rig. With longer, slacker geometry, considerably more travel and a mixed-wheel setup, the new Ibis HD6 puts Ibis right smack in the middle of the big mountain enduro bike game.
Our Ibis HD6 Test Rider: Danny Mac
To get a feel for the new Ibis enduro rig, we gave it to local freerider and OTE employee, Danny McAtee, a.k.a. Danny Mac, a.k.a. @official_danny on Instagram. Danny and Photo-John took the HD6 out to the Grafton Downhill for a shakedown/photo ride. One of the reasons we wanted Danny to check out the new HD6 is he rides a custom mixed-wheel HD5 with a 26-inch wheel in the rear and a 27.5 wheel up front. His old-school freeride style of riding made him a 26-inch “fo life” rider and the HD5 mullet was his trail bike compromise. We wondered how he’d feel on a stock mixed-wheel enduro bike with “proper” geometry. Danny is also ridiculously talented rider who makes any bike he rides look good. And that’s exactly what he did with the HD6.
Riding Grafton Mesa On The Ibis HD6
Our test track starts on top of Grafton Mesa with a mix of dirt singletrack, rock features and a few steep slickrock moves thrown in for good measure. The Grafton Downhill-proper is an old pioneer logging trail that drops off the side of the mesa. After 100 years of weather and erosion it’s pretty much all rock and very technical. Danny was popping off every little bump, gapping the rocks and generally seemed right at home on the bike. And the deeper into the ride, the more he liked the HD6.
Danny did say the HD6 was taller than he’s used to (the 26-inch wheel on the back of his HD5 makes the bottom bracket really low) but that didn’t seem to slow him down. If you compare the HD6 to current enduro race bikes, the travel and geometry are pretty comparable. The HD6’s BB is height is 345mm, head tube angle is 64°, chainstays are 435mm and the wheelbase on a medium is 1228mm. That makes it a bit longer and slacker than the Rocky Mountain Altitude and the Pivot Firebird, two bikes that have done very well in World Cup enduro racing.
Pedaling The Ibis HD6
Like all Ibis full-suspension bikes, the HD6 uses the DW Link suspension system. The DW Link is revered for its pedaling efficiency so you know the HD6 is going to pedal well. Grafton is pretty much a downhill affair so we didn’t really test the bike’s climbing prowess. However, based on the uphill pedaling he did do, Danny said, “Climbing the HD6 feels effortless. Not only is this bike light but it’s unimaginably snappy for a 165mm enduro sled.” We’ve also been reading some early HD6 reviews and they all talk about how well the HD6 climbs. The NSMB HD6 review actually says, “The Ibis HD6 is the best pedaling enduro bike I’ve ridden, ever.” And that’s coming from a North Vancouver, British Columbia rider. If anyone knows about challenging climbs, it’s mountain bikers from Vancouver’s North Shore.
We didn’t go to Grafton Mesa to see how well the HD6 could climb, though. We went to Grafton for the nasty downhill. It’s steep, rocky and undeniably technical – a real test for any gravity-oriented bike. Danny loved it and the HD6 passed with flying colors.
Danny: “I expected the new HD6 to feel more like a downhill sled, but I was so wrong! The suspension platform is supportive enough to not blow through the rear travel on harder hits, but snappy enough to keep the bike playful and poppy over slower rough terrain. Having the mixed 29/27.5 mullet wheelset gave me confidence coming into new rollers and I never felt my front wheel bind up in holes between rocks.”
He even stomped a couple mini-Rampage lines at the bottom of the downhill. His final ruling: “If I needed one bike to pedal and descend on techy Southern Utah trails, I would choose this weapon. The Ibis HD6 is the perfect balance between climbing and descending – this bike is unreal!” In fact, after this test ride, Danny is seriously considering buying an HD6 and making it his daily driver. Could you use a Southern Utah freerider, Ibis? Danny needs a bike sponsor!
Demo The Ibis HD6 In Southern Utah
If this Ibis HD6 first ride review has you wondering if the HD6 is the right bike for you, don’t take our word for it. Ride the bike yourself and make up your own mind. The Ibis HD6 is available in our rental fleet, now. Come to Hurricane and take it out for a lap on Grafton or a day on Gooseberry Mesa and decide for yourself. Go to our rental page and reserve your Ibis HD6 demo day, now.