Spotlight: 2010 Ibis Tranny Single Speed

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Enter the Tranny

The latest ‘plastic’ innovation of Ibis is in the form of a hardtail called – in characteristically phallic Ibis marketing fashion – the Tranny; a double entendre of sexual and functional nature. It can serve as a singlespeed, a geared bike and a travel bike – featuring a rear triangle which disassembles for airline fee-free packing. It can even serve as a cyclocross bike – weighing in at an unbelievable 16 pounds when outfitted with a rigid fork and stupid-light Schwalbe tires. And no, this isn’t a 29er. Nicol and his crew, at least for now, are dedicated to the 26 inch wheel. And I’m glad. This bike chews up 29ers and Hakkalügis them out, including full-suspension 29ers.

Where do I begin with the Tranny? Since swinging my leg over the wheel of this unmitigated speed machine six months ago, I haven’t touched another bike. Road bikes, ‘cross bikes and full-suspension mountain bikes have all collected copious dust in the garage. The Tranny – particularly in single speed guise – is all I need in a mountain bike.

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The Tranny will change your life. It will encourage you to be a better, fitter rider. It will get you up hills that no other single speed can. It will push you into corners and down descents you’d never attempt on any other hardtail. It will blow your mind with its acceleration. It will piss off all your friends who only wish they had a sub-20 pound bike with a 100mm Fox fork and 15mm thru-axle – especially the ones on 29ers who you drop cold on both climbs and descents. In short, this bike will go down in history as one of the legends.

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About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.


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  • francois says:

    I think you have to detail the bling spec on that bike.

    Where’s my 29er?

  • Kurt Gensheimer says:

    Here’s the detailed build spec sheet per Ibis’ website. Scroll to the bottom for the SS version:

    http://www.ibiscycles.com/mountain/tranny/parts_pick/

  • Serge says:

    Great review! Now can we can one that is unbiased?

  • Kurt Gensheimer says:

    Hey Serge,

    I first rode this bike 6 months before I bought one, and my initial impressions of the bike haven’t changed one bit. I hemmed and hawed about forking over the money forever as I am a thoroughly cheap bastard. I kept telling myself, “my 1993 Fat Chance Yo Eddy! singlespeed is good enough”, but I couldn’t get the way the Ibis rode out of my head. So I finally broke down and bought it, much to my riding buddies’ chagrin. You can call it biased, but I call it the best bike purchase I’ve ever made.

    Kurt

  • Andrew says:

    While I appreciate the review it comes off as more gushing then analytical, but I am glad you like your new bike.

  • DJ says:

    I worked in shops from 1993 until 2007. Function is the only thing of importance – it’s what seperates bicycle lovers from every one else. A bicycle like this flys in the face of fucntion, unless your function is to exploit the need for weight-weenies and tech-talkers to brag in the parking lot. What happened to Ibis?

    Since I know you didn’t pay retail and I’d be surprised if you even paid employee purchase, I think it’s telliing that you still said that you had trouble justifying the price. The weight quote speaks for itself.

  • Kurt Gensheimer says:

    How do you figure this bike flies in the face of function? I’m a huge believer in the mantra “form follows function”. This bike functions better than its form. It looks great, but it functions better. Yes it’s light, but you don’t have to count grams to get this bike under 20 lbs. It has a 100mm Fox with a 15mm thru axle fork and it’s still sub 20lbs.

    Regarding price, like I said, I’m a cheap bastard. But there are plenty of people out there who don’t even flinch at $4K for a bike.

  • TimmyC says:

    How does this bike fly in the face of function? It’s the most functional hardtail on the market. It’s a geared hardtail. Its a travel bike that I have personally packed and put on an airplane 4 times with no charge. Its one of the most insane singlespeeds ever conceived without some stupid concentric bottom bracket that changes your saddle position and creaks. I hear you can slap 700c road wheels on it. I’ve even seen one with a coaster brake on it and a 120mm front fork. Here’s a tip. Go ride one if you get a chance. Go ride it in a place reserved for a cross country softail. You opinion will change. I would love to hear on what your definition is on a functional mtb bike. Time for a beer. Cheers

  • DJ says:

    IMO, I don’t think carbon is a good material for a mountain bike, mostly because I’ve seen alot of them break. Carbon bars and seatposts need to be replaced after a single crash according to various manufacturers. A mountain bike gets abused and steel, aluminum and titanium all are more survivable than carbon in terms of impact. Spend your money as you wish, but don’t expect everyone to agree with you. I mean you obviously don’t agree with me and I’m defending the position of the paying customer. By the way, during my bike shop years I had thousands of happy customers who I never over-sold, and rarely gave a discount to.

  • Kurt Gensheimer says:

    DJ, I totally understand your POV with the carbon issue. I ride a steel road bike. I have a 1993 Barracuda A2X. It was the biggest reason why I was very hesitant to give up my Yo Eddy! singlespeed. So for me, making this move was a big step. We’ll see how it plays out. The bike might last forever, it might last 2 years. I don’t know. But what I do know is that 1) Brian Lopes trusts this bike 2) Scot Nicol doesn’t make a crappy product and 3) the bike has been incredible so far.

  • TimmyC says:

    I have to disagree with you on Carbon being a poor choice of material for a mountain bike. I’ve seen road bikes with extremely thin tubes fail before my eyes as well. However if a carbon mtn bike is designed properly it will usually hold up as well as any other material. You still see plenty of Kestral hardtails that are over 10+ years old and beat to crap. But are still rolling just fine. I cant say that with at least three Alloy/steel frames that Ive owned over the past ten years. Bottom line is shit breaks when its not taken care of. On the subject of the Tranny I’ve crashed on rocks mind you more than a few times with zero impact damage. Twice last weekend at Skyline park when I ran outa talent. And saw the downtube take a direct hit with not so much as scratch. In my opinion this frame is tough. I have ridden over 8000 miles on mine and though the clear coat has glossed abit the bike feels and looks the same as when I purchased it. Thanks for your response however you still havent offered a response to functionality.

  • Darren says:

    Seriously you can build a $500 frame to weigh that much. What you are telling us is that the bike compponents weigh sub 20 but what does the frame weight??? According the ibis website The Tranny frame weighs about 1350g (this is usually for medium, expect to add at least 50gram B/S factor to that) which is not exactly record breaking. The frame is 400+ grams heavier than the 2010 Cannondale Flash or the Scott Scale Limitied. Not sure on Specialized HT weight, but you did mention the price, keep in mind specialized offer a lifetime warranty, tapered head tube, the lightest (standard type) forks on the market, BB30 bottom bracket (cannondale too), in house cranksets and RWS wheelsets so you dont have to have stupid 15mm hubs but have the same stiffness

    Cannondale also offers a lifetime warranty which is not offered by Ibis.

  • David Belden says:

    I paid full retail for my Tranny about 6 months ago and I think the review is spot on. I ran it as a single speed for a few months and was astounded at how fast it was and how easy it is to climb on. Now I have it set up as a 1×9 with a 36 up front and a 11×34 in the back. I race Cat 1 XC and if I can’t climb the hill with a 36×34 it means I can run up it just as fast. But unless it’s over 20% the Tranny just gets up and goes. It’s pretty amazing. As for going down, with a 100mm fork the Tranny descends much more confidently than I’d expect from a hard tail. It’s angles are a bit more slack than a Scott HT (twitchy) or a Trek HT which I think helps make it stable at high speeds. Yet it’s still fine on tight single track.

    As for the strength of carbon, I’ve been beating on carbon mountain bikes for about 8 years now and I broke one of the early Trek Fuel bikes, but it was the sole aluminum part of the bike that broke, not the carbon. If you lay up the carbon properly it can be built to be incredibly impact resistant. I was talking to a few industry guys at the Ashland Super D last weekend and they were saying that the Santa Cruz Blur LT Carbon did better on stress tests than the much beefier aluminum Nomad did. Hence the new carbon Nomad. I’ve sold all of my Ti and aluminum bikes. I only ride carbon now. I really think the question of whether carbon is strong enough for mountain bikes is a moot point now. Yes, we all saw plenty of broken bikes of all types in the early 90′s. But it’s 2010 now. Carbon doesn’t fail any more often that any other material. I’ve been beating on my Mojo (which I also paid full retail for) for 4 years now with no problems. And I’ve crashed it plenty of times on rocks in Tahoe and Downieville. It has about 5,000 miles on it and it’s happy as could be.

    So yeah, I’d say the review is spot on… and I don’t race for Ibis.

    David
    http://www.outdoorgearadvisor.com

  • terrence says:

    It is hard to take a review seriously when it drools and gushes all over itself.
    It just sounds like propaganda.
    I don’t disbelieve that ibis makes a great product-I own an old school mojo, but really we are all adults here aren’t we…

  • DK says:

    This review sponsored by: …?

  • Joel says:

    Kurt,
    What’s with your disdain for 29ers? I’m gonna guess that you are a short guy, and you are just frustrated that you can not find a 29er that will fit you. However, don’t give-up — frame builders are recognizing the (Exponential) growing demand for 29ers from riders of all heights.
    A 29er does everything a MTB should do (Traction; Riding over obstacles; Slow speed — and high speed stability in technical terrain) — better then a 26″!
    “Hype?” 29ers are here to stay! Join us, and ride into the 21st century of Mountain Biking!
    MTB.2

  • The Dude says:

    Joel,
    Not as nimble or quick to accelerate, and def isnt as stable at low speed. Traction is all about tires friend, fatter and lower pressure. Does have better rollover and ability to keep rolling fast at speed, so its good for racerboi’s.

  • Rider says:

    Ridiculous. Pure propaganda and hyperbole.

  • Joel says:

    The Dude,
    Yes you are correct — not as nimble in some situations. However, the 29er is more stable at low speed: Because of the BB drop in relation to the axle line, you have a relatively lower center of gravity. If you don’t buy that, the bigger wheel will continue to rollover in slow technical terrain, when the smaller wheel would have been stopped/blocked by an obstacle. Also, the bigger wheel has a larger tire patch/contact zone = greater traction. That is undeniable!
    MTB.2

  • Keith says:

    I may have missed something, the title says spotlight and not review. And yes since the author spent $4500.00 bucks, he is probably going to be biased as most of us would. With that said I found the information useful and the blog banter intertaining.

    I do have issue with the price, WTF cost so much? A value shopper could buy the frame and build a superior rig for under 3K… At least what I would consider superior. I would be flipping pissed off if I paid $4500 and got the cheese headset. Also what’s up with 660mm bars on a ss. Go wide with something that can be cut down to suit the rider.

    As for the 29er debate. It is good to have options… I have been riding and racing a Niner ss all year and been geting some of the best race results in years, but I miss riding 26er… Results are cool, but I would rather enjoy the ride,, which for me is pumping, carving, manualling, and standing sprints out of the turns. So I will be adding a new Tranny to the fleet. Just the frame I already have enough cool stuff to hang on it without spending $4500.

  • michaelm2fscomp says:

    Hey guys,

    N.B.: Lopes had his rear triangle bonded to his front triangle.

    - Brian Lopes Ibis Tranny Podium Bike
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VEDt9z2RFQ
    .

    I’d feel hella safer knowing that, too (Read: Author’s bla-bla about Lopes’ 30 foot drops).

    Just thought I’d contribute that what could be an important practical & safety-related note.

    I enjoyed your article.

    Regards,

    MD

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