Ibis Mojo 4 First Ride – Gooseberry Mesa

Posted on

Mountain Biking on Gooseberry Mesa's Famous Slickrock
Christine Harrington, riding the Ibis Mojo 4 mountain bike on Gooseberry Mesa’s famous slickrock.

The Ibis Mojo mountain bike is a classic. It’s arguably the original full-suspension carbon trail bike. The latest version, the Ibis Mojo 4, was launched recently and arrived at the shop a few weeks ago for our mountain bike rental fleet. As soon as we got our hands on the new Mojo we took it out to Gooseberry Mesa for an Ibis Mojo 4 first impressions ride: a classic ride for a classic bike, if you will.

The modern trail bike was born in 2005 when the original Ibis Mojo mountain bike was introduced. At the time you pretty much had two choices for full-suspension mountain bikes – XC or downhill/freeride – steep angles with short travel or slack and squishy. The Ibis Mojo changed that with 140mm of travel, a sleek carbon frame and slacker, more aggressive geometry than most early to mid-2000s mountain bikes. Fifteen years later (has it really been that long?!) we have the Ibis Mojo 4. Travel remains the same at 140mm but the new Mojo has been modernized with 27.5 wheels, an aggressive (for a trail bike) 65.4° head angle, increased reach and a longer wheelbase. The DW Link suspension has been updated, as well.

Beauty Shot of the Ibis Mojo 4 at Gooseberry Mesa
The latest incarnation of Ibis’s OG trail bike – the Ibis Mojo 4.

Our Ibis Mojo 4 first ride test pilot was sometime OTE, HU employee, Christine Harrington. She’s a registered nurse, a nursing professor and a serious ripper on a mountain bike. We chose Gooseberry Mesa as our first ride location for two reasons. Number one, it’s a Southern Utah classic. Gooseberry Mesa was one of the first designated IMBA Epic destination rides and people have been mountain biking there for over twenty years. It wouldn’t be unfair to say Gooseberry Mesa is the reason Over the Edge, Hurricane exists.

The second reason we chose Gooseberry Mesa is the terrain. It’s tough. There’s nothing mellow at Gooseberry. The rolling, chunky slickrock makes every trail a real physical commitment with punchy technical ups, surprise features and intimidating rollers. There are no big climbs or descents but there’s plenty of elevation change – it just comes in steep, 20 to 30-foot increments.

People ride all kinds of bikes on Gooseberry but there’s no doubt a quick-handling, efficient pedaling bike makes a difference. You want to be able to make precise turns, accelerate easily and handle chunky rock moves – all without wasting energy. It’s a lot to ask of any bike, really. But we had a lot of faith in the Ibis Mojo 4. Ibis has done a great job modernizing their bike geometry without sacrificing playfulness and 27.5 wheels help make the Mojo 4 an extra-nimble trail bike. Ibis’s take on the DW Link suspension smoothly and efficiently puts pedal power to the ground; and the new Traction Tune suspension makes the bike pedal even better by keeping the rear wheel glued to the ground – even on tricky dust-on-crust uphills.

Sunrise Mountain Biking at Gooseberry Mesa
Christine Harrington and the Ibis Mojo 4, rolling through Gooseberry Mesa’s Practice Loop, just after sunrise.

Christine was super excited when we asked if she wanted to be the first person to ride one of our new Ibis Mojo 4 demo bikes. It was early July and hot in the desert so we camped out at Gooseberry so we could get an early start. As planned, we pedaled out just as the sun started to rise and were on slickrock by 6:45 AM. We decided to ride the North Rim because it’s the perfect introduction to Gooseberry. You can start with the Practice Loop to get a feel for the slickrock and move on to Bowls & Ledges and North Rim proper when you’re ready for more. The North Rim trails aren’t as long and burly as the stuff on the South Rim but there’s plenty of punchy, tech bits to test riders of all levels.

Cloth Mountain Bike Trail Map
Gooseberry Mesa on our cloth Manky map. The Over the Edge, Hurricane Manky map doubles as a sunglass/goggle wipe and, unlike smartphone apps, it requires no mobile connection or batteries. Visit the OTE, HU web store to order your very own Hurricane Manky.

We started our ride on the Practice Loop, riding easy, rolling slickrock and sandy singletrack. It’s a nice, mellow warmup and gave Christine a chance to get a feel for the Mojo 4 and make a few suspension adjustments. Right away, she mentioned how well the Mojo 4 pedaled.

Steep Slickrock Mountain Biking at Gooseberry Mesa
Christine, on a steep slickrock roller at Gooseberry Mesa. The Ibis Mojo 4’s lengthened geo and slack head tube angle make it very confident on high-commitment lines like this.

After the Practice Loop we headed for an optional steep slickrock line we had in mind for photos. Christine hadn’t ridden it for a while and was a little nervous because the entrance is blind and the transition at the bottom is pretty abrupt. But she took a quick look at it, dropped in and made it look easy. Then she hit it four or five more times while Photo-John tried out different photo angles. It’s not the kind of move you associate a trail bike with but the Mojo 4 handled it like a champ. The old Mojo could handle it, too. But the rider would need to be more committed and able to finesse the transition better. The Mojo 4’s longer, slacker geometry makes the bike more confident and able to handle steep tech with a lot less effort and worry.  

Bowls & Ledges Trail - Gooseberry Mesa, Utah.
The Mojo 4 really shines on steep, loose climbs. The DW Link suspension paired with Ibis’s Traction Tune Fox fork and shock make it super efficient with outstanding uphill traction.

Next up was Bowls & Ledges. It’s a super twisty, chunky trail with lots of surprise ups and downs. It requires you keep your head up and really stay on your toes. Bowls & Ledges really let the Mojo 4’s modern geometry and DW Link suspension shine. We already proved the Mojo can handle going down steep stuff. Bowls & Ledges let the Mojo 4 show off its technical climbing ability. The DW Link suspension and Traction Tuned Fox dampers provide really efficient pedaling and fantastic traction – especially on steep, dust-on-crust climbs. You really have to blow it to lose traction with the Mojo 4. There aren’t any sustained climbs at Gooseberry Mesa but if you live somewhere where that’s part of the deal, the Mojo 4’s steeper 76.6° seat tube angle will make those long grinders much more comfortable.

Gooseberry Mesa is a Mountain Biking Playground.
Christine drops into a slickrock bowl on Gooseberry Mesa. The Ibis Mojo 4’s 27.5 wheels, short chainstays and stretched-out geometry make it both nimble and stable.

We finished up the ride with a short section of the North Rim Trail. It has great views of the town of Virgin, Hurricane Mesa, Pine Valley Mountain and Zion National Park. It also has some bigger, steeper rock moves we took advantage of for more photos. After playing on the rocks a bit we hit the White Trail so we could get back to camp before temps got into the 100s.

Christine Harrington rides the Ibis Mojo 4 at Gooseberry Mesa
Gooseberry Mesa is a slickrock playground. The more you explore, the more lines you see. It was the perfect testing ground for the new Ibis Mojo 4.

Christine really enjoyed her quickie test ride, calling the Ibis Mojo 4 a, “perfect mesa bike;” and comparing it to the Pivot Mach 5.5, another versatile 27.5 trail bike. Her main takeaways were the Mojo 4’s excellent pedaling ability and its maneuverability. She said it didn’t require a lot of effort to get it going and, “it wanted to pedal for days.” That’s the DW Link at work – smoothing things out when you want it to, and tightening up the rear linkage when you want to lay down the power. Maneuverability is also key for a good time on Gooseberry. The Mesa’s twisty, punchy technical trails reward smaller, more nimble bikes.  Christine found the Mojo 4 was very playful and fun to ride on the slickrock. Short chainstays, a relatively low bottom bracket and agile 27.5 wheels make the Mojo 4 a perfect match for Gooseberry Mesa.

A non-drive side detail photo of the DW Link suspension on the Ibis Mojo 4 mountain bike.
A non-drive side closeup look at the Ibis Mojo 4’s DW Link suspension. It’s smooth, efficient and able to tame big hits and rocky trails.

We have the Ibis Mojo 4 mountain bike available now for rent and for sale. For more photos, specs, geometry and pricing, visit our Ibis Mojo 4 bike page.

Ibis Mojo 4 Mountain Bike Glamor Shot
A glamor shot of the new Ibis Mojo 4 mountain bike with our test pilot, Christine Harrington.

Tags: , , , , ,