It’s important for you to know that I’m not a professional test rider. I’m not even an average test rider but, as with art, I know what I like.
When I first saw a white Mojo SL frame hanging in the window of a bike shop I knew I needed one. There was nothing I didn’t like about it. I already had a nice bike but I was always thinking about other parts for it, and now I had the chance to hand pick all the parts for this frame. So I went bling, but everything was chosen for practicality too.
If you ever get the chance to build a bike like this, do it. It’s quite an experience—reading reviews, looking at websites, colour coordinating and weighing the options, literally.
Bias aside, this bike rides like a dream. The Fox RP23 rear shock (which comes with the frame) and Fox RLC 140 mm fork (which I chose) are a perfect combination for the DW-Link suspension setup. After spending a year and a half on an S-Works Stumpjumper with Brain suspension, it was quite a change hopping on a bike with fully active and super plush suspension. The first ride got my mind spinning. It was so different to my old bike, and I knew I was in for a period of adjustment. That feeling didn’t last long though.
My first four rides were all in filthy conditions. The worst winter here in years wasn’t going to stop me riding, and I quickly realised this was the bike I’d been looking for all my life.
The Fox forks with 15 mm thru-axle are smooth and responsive. They work exactly how you want them to, and you can take big hits with ease and ride straight over smaller steps as though they’re not there. Ibis clearly didn’t just stumble upon the RP23—it’s perfectly matched to the DW-Link. Obviously, you can fiddle about with settings and air pressure, but I followed the factory recommendations and was instantly impressed by the ride quality.
This bike has a relatively short wheelbase with a low bottom bracket. This gives you a feeling of sitting in the bike. The 69° head angle is slack enough for all manner of downhill shenanigans, yet the bike is still an awesome climber, even on seriously steep terrain.
The component mix is important to the overall handling and look of a bike. The Cobalt wheels, Formula R1 brakes and SRAM XO drivetrain all complement the smooth, flowing lines of the Mojo. It’s a bonus to have a bike that not only handles well but also looks like it should be hanging up in an art gallery.
There was one last challenge that would confirm this was the right bike for me: the 2010 Single Speed World Champs in Rotorua. The idea of a full suss singlespeed had been thrown about more in jest than anything else, but after a very brief bout on a newly built-up rigid singlespeed, the idea of turning the Mojo into one resurfaced. I hit the Internet in search of the best way to do it and I came across the Yess tensioner. Then I hooked up an MRP Lopes chain guide, lost a whole bunch of excess drivetrain, and the transition was complete. At 11 kg including the Joplin seatpost it was a light, fast all-mountain machine that tore up Whakarewarewa like a cross-country racer. I was able to really hammer up 4WD roads and singletrack, and I had a ball throwing it over jumps and bumps. To hell with keeping it real—I wanted to have fun.
This bike has had numerous drivetrain changes over the last few months (2×9, 1×9 and 2×10) but I’ve now settled on XTR 1×10. Ultimately though, the Mojo SL works just as well with any component mix. It’s the rider that makes the biggest difference.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about where to go from here. What would I replace this bike with? What I’ve come up with is… nothing. I can’t guarantee that any other bike will be better than what I have for the riding I do. The Mojo inspires me when I ride it. I ride harder and faster than I ever have and that increases the fun level. And mountain biking should be all about fun. MIKE HUNN