Ibis HD6 First Ride Review

Ibis HD6 First Ride Review

A long established and super high quality Californian bike brand, Ibis have been producing mountain and gravel bikes almost since the inception of the sport. Over the years they’ve set true benchmarks with the original Mojo HD standing out as one of the first carbon trail bikes to gain mass acceptance, combining a mix of cutting edge performance and a unique appearance that defined the brand for many years.

While their bikes have been a less common sight on Scotland's trails recently they have very much remained at the sharp end of the sport with successful world level Enduro and XC race teams, including a win at our home EWS Tweed Valley for Bex Baraona in 2021 aboard the Ripmo. The direct product of the race circuit and feedback from the pro team, the new HD6 is the most capable bike they’ve ever made, built for the harsh demands of the EDR world cups. We’ve been itching to get out on one and see how it goes outside the racetrack on our local trails under regular riders. 

Ibis HD6 demo bike at Innerleithen

With a 180mm fork, 165mm rear travel, a dedicated MX wheel setup and a low slung, straight tubed frame the race intentions of the HD6 are clear from the outset.

 Quite light for a big enduro bike, the frameset weighs just 3500 grams making build weights under 15kg easily achievable. Suspension duties are handled by the DW link platform which aims to strike a balance between support, sensitivity and traction while up front you’ll find a regular cupped headset opening up flexibility for anglesets and insurance against worn bearings. Seat angle is a modern 76-77’ and the chainstays are a shortish 435mm which we’d expect to keep the bike fairly lively. 

Root drop on Gold run at Innerleithen

That should result in a very versatile platform, light and comfortable for big days out while able to perform almost like a mini DH bike on the downhills. Without the sprawling wheelbase of some of the very long bikes which only come to life at high speeds the HD6 also promises a wider usage range, and seems like it should fit and ride better on the tighter UK off-piste trails.

Building the bike, the quality is obvious with everything lining up perfectly and smoothly and with tube in tube construction present fitting brake hose and cables is a painless process. 

Ibis HD6 top tube logo

The real value bike from the range, our demo bikes are the GX build which features a carefully min-maxed parts kit chosen to deliver maximum descending performance while keeping the price sensible. 

Fox Factory X2 on Ibis HD6

Suspension is supplied by the benchmark Fox 38 Factory out front at mighty 180mm travel, while an X2 Factory shock controls the 165mm of DW link rear travel. Brakes are the top end SRAM Code RSC, which like the suspension are almost unheard of on bikes at this price. 

Code RSC brakes on our demo bike

Wheels are another no compromise area, with the new Ibis Send rims on all models. With a lifetime warranty behind them they should be super tough, while a unique hollow box section beadwall protects tires from pinch punctures and damage.

 Elsewhere the build kit is simple, delivering functional performance while keeping the overall bike cost down. SRAMs GX drivetrain is a well known workhorse, an NX chainset provides a simple and robust crank and a house brand aluminium 31.8mm cockpit aims to give a comfortable ride. 

Neil riding the HD6 on Gold Run at Innerleithen DH trails

Right from the car park it’s obvious the HD6 is not a one trick pony. The seated position is comfortable, with the 76’ seat tube angle on the Medium placing the rider in a good place to sit and apply power without being so steep that the bike feels odd to pedal on the flat. The light (for an enduro bike) weight is quite noticeable as the angle kicks up too, it’s a nice change to be riding a longer travel machine that is this happy to head up the hill. The DW link suspension seems to strike a decent balance, sitting up well in the travel while still staying active enough to keep traction and comfort intact when faced with ledgy or rougher sections.

Descending, the bike is one of the easiest to ride we’ve tried in recent times. The suspension feel is very neutral, with the bike absorbing hits well, maintaining good traction and not requiring anything unusual of the rider as it works through the travel. There’s a good amount of support to push against and for a long travel bike it’s easy to unweight and move around on trail so slower or awkward sections are handled especially well with an agility that is quite rare in this travel bracket. Similarly it seems to work better than many when the trail flattens slightly with the low pivot DW link doing a good job of generating speed from rider input.

Neil riding the HD6 on Deer Hunter at Innerleithen

It’s simply a comfortable, undemanding bike to ride that lets the rider just focus on the job at hand and one that seems to work well across quite a wide range of speeds and trail types. 

Another interesting comparison is to look at how the HD6 compares to the EWS winning Ripmo. While both have seen success on the world race circuit, they are worlds apart in how they ride. With dual 29’ wheels, less suspension travel, a shorter wheelbase and steeper angles the Ripmo is decidedly more all round in nature, climbing and rolling faster than the HD6 in mellow terrain. On slower, picky descents and when pumping through flat sections it needs less rider effort to handle, but the HD6 is simply massively more forgiving and faster when the speeds and angles increase and gravity is on your side.

Neil riding the HD6 on Old Gold run at Innerleithen DH trails

Overall, the HD6 feels like a thoroughly modern and competitive MX enduro bike, ready to go toe to toe with any of its competitors. It’s light, lively, responsive to ride and capable enough to take on a massive mix of gravity trails, while standing out from the crowd. 

If you want to have a go yourself and see what one of these can do then we’ve got both Medium and Large bikes ready to demo here and a trail network outside our front door that can really do them justice.

Click here to book a test ride

Email: shop@tweedvalleybikes.co.uk

Tel: 01896 831429

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.