Ibis HDR 650b
When I returned the Ripley to the Ibis tent Scott Nicol (the founder and CEO of Ibis) was setting up bikes and there was just one or two bikes in the tent and it happened that one was the HDR….in a size large. Score. I’ve always been partial to smaller, boutique brands partly because I like having something that isn’t as common, but also partly because of the personal attention and passion that a hands on bike company owner like Scott Nicol, Dave Turner, or Noel Buckley have. He’s a very nice guy and worries the details. It was cool to meet him and chat with him a minute about the Ripley and the HDR.
The ride only added to my desire to own an Ibis at some point. They have really done an amazing job on this bike. Like the Mojo HD I rode a few years ago, the frame shape is beautiful, stiff, and efficient. People have griped that the frame is heavy for this short of travel (130mm) but it felt plenty light to me and it felt like it had enough travel for me.
I did a bigger solo loop on this one that had a good mix of fast and swoopy, and slower and techy/chunky with a few higher speed descents mixed it. It was a very well rounded bike and like the Mach 6 I rode at Interbike felt like it could do both the lighter XC trail days and the nasty chunk fest days equally as well. It carved and cut much like the Ripley but felt like it extended into the rough realm very competently as well. Plus you can easily convert it back into a 160mm 26” bike to really extend its range without too much trouble making it a very versatile bike.
It looked good in black with the green highlights, although this particular demo looked like it had been around the block a few times. The fit was good and I felt the same thing that I did at I-bike when I stepped off a bunch of 29ers and got on a 27.5”. It felt like a small wheeled 26er. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve been more than mildly positive about the in-between wheel size for a few years now but after riding a ton of them the effect has kinda been watered down some. I still like them, think they offer some advantages over 26”, I have no problem with the industry going all googoo over them, have no problem buying one, just don’t notice the differences over the 26 as much as I did. I suppose if I had been riding mostly 26 inch bikes then stepped onto a 27.5 I would notice the difference more.
Whatever. All I know is this is one rocking good bike. Does it topple the Mach 6 off its ‘Favorite Bike’ throne? Not quite but it sure makes for a crowd there at the top of the heap.
Scot took some extra time to get this CCDBA set up for me. More bikes were showing up with this shock this year and it certainly adds to the bling factor, but it is so hard to get it set up just right that a quick test ride may leave you unimpressed. I’ve spent 6 months tweaking mine and it’s still not shock nirvana but it’s better than when I started. Knowing this, I tried not to let it flavor my overall impression of the bike. None of the CCDBA’s felt appreciably better than a standard RP23 at the show…. Some felt worse.
Looks like there’s pretty good tire clearance for these Pacenti 2.3 Neomotos but this tire looks like it’s fairly worn.
Next Bike: Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt »