Bike Check: Ibis HD3
Being the owner of a mountain bike company, I get a lot of questions from customers and friends about which bike is the best. Of course, it depends on what you like to ride, where you like to ride, and how you like to ride… there’s a bike out there for everyone.
That said, we all have our favorites and mine- currently, at least- is the Ibis HD3. The HD3 is a 150mm travel all-mountain machine made by Ibis that features their smooth DW-link suspension and 160mm of travel up front. For such a “big” bike, I personally think the HD3 climbs as well as any trail or all-mountain bike I’ve ridden, which is why I’m not afraid to take it on all-day epics in places like Park City and Crested Butte. Additionally, it is quick-handling and has the travel needed to make any trail in Sedona or St. George fun as well.
When it comes to building up a bike, there are tons of options in today’s market… front forks, drivetrain, brakes, dropper post (yes or no?), wheels, etc. I thought I’d break down my personal HD3 with a little narrative on the important parts and why I chose what I did:
Frame: Ibis HD3, size large
- The Pike is time-tested and one of the best performers on the market. It’s laterally stiff and has a progressive feel in its travel, which makes it feel both plush at the beginning of the stroke and bottomless at the end.
- Plain and simple, the best value for your money. They have unmatched stopping power, don’t break the bank, and last forever. Enough said.
- Personally, I’m a huge fan of the wide-rim trend that started about 18 months ago: a wider rim lets you run slightly wider tires at lower pressures, which gives the bike a smoother feel while riding through rough terrain. Plus, the 741s aren’t super beefy at 1750g. Eventually I may upgrade to a better hub (like some I-9’s), but for now these are fantastic.
- I gave the “plus sized” tire movement a shot and I wasn’t a fan. My personal sweet spot for tires is around 2.5″, and they don’t get much better than the Maxxis Minion DHF. I like the combination of durability, grip, rolling resistance and weight (940g for a 2.5″, 850g for the 2.3″). I’ve ridden these tires on the rocky trails around my Boulder home, on smooth singletrack of Crested Butte, and in the high-desert of Sedona; they kill it everywhere, and they last forever. I prefer the Maxx Terra EXO casing, with a 2.5″ WT (wide trail) up front and the 2.3″ in the rear.
- OK, I’ll be honest with this one… it’s what came with the bike. Dropper posts are all the same- they work fantastic until they don’t work at all. I’ve had hit-or-miss luck with my posts lately, having to rebuild two Reverbs and two Levs. The Lev Integra performs well (when it’s working), and everyone loves to have a dropper post on their bike. That said, I also ride a Mojo 3 without a dropper, and I’m slowly getting used to it!
- For me, the XT-level drivetrain is the best bang for your hard earned buck. Sure, you can go lighter with something like XTR, XX1, or even the electronically-activated Di2. That said, I like the feel of Shimano drivetrain parts and I know how to maintain them, so that’s what I put on all my bikes (and our demo bikes).