Bike Check: Innes Graham's new Ibis HD6

Innes Graham and his Ibis HD6 in Innerleithen

After a couple of seasons racing Nukeproof Bikes it’s all new for Innes this year, as he switches onto a new custom built Ibis HD6 changing everything from frame and wheel size, to suspension linkage and build kit. 

With a varied calendar ahead for the year covering everything from National Series Enduro racing to the multi-day alpine Stone King Rally and his home based mix of performance coaching and crazy gaps he once again needs a bike that can adapt to almost anything. It’s no easy task for a bike to be comfy and reliable enough for daily use but still have the sharpness and suspension to be raced flat out under someone who can ride it like Innes does, so the Ibis has a big task ahead!

Innes riding the Ibis HD6 on the IXS cup track in InnerleithenWith a few weeks of bike time behind him now, we caught up with Innes to get his view on his new bike and how the many changes are working out so far.

You’ve made the move up to size Large this year after a couple of seasons riding Medium bikes. What drove that and how is it working out so far? 

I’m 182cm tall, so the size charts of Ibis and Nukeproof (Innes has spent the last two years racing a Mega 290 and Giga 297) place me on the tall end of their Large frames. Ibis actually have my height as also being appropriate for their size 4 (XL) bike. I’ve generally ignored the charts in the past and gone with a Medium (Innes has also spent a lot of time on a BMX) but considering the HD6 is a mullet which creates a slightly more agile and manoeuvrable bike, I thought that might let me upsize to the S3 (Large) while still keeping the bike lively enough. So far so good! We’re a few riding days in now and I'm pretty comfy already. I did start out with a 35mm Burgtec stem to bring the bars back a bit while I got used to the size but I think I’ll go back to my usual 42.5mm as I’m finding the short stem a little twitchy and the extra bike length doesn’t seem to be a problem at all.

Ibis HD6 custom build in Innerleithen

Obviously a different linkage to get used to for you too moving onto the DW link Ibis. Does it feel much different?

I don’t have a bad word to say at all. If we look back at the success the DW link has had over the years, first with the legendary Iron Horse/Sam Hill era and more lately the Atherton / Charlie Hatton and Andi Kolb domination, you can’t argue it as entirely faultless on descents and it climbs absolutely perfectly too.

How is it being back on an MX setup again coming from a 29’ bike? I remember you thinking that the full 29er carried speed a little better on flat sections when you started out with your last bike?

I think the idea I had in my head of “bigger is better” when it comes to wheels and “29ers don’t fall into the holes as much” still stands but honestly the fun factor and agility of the 435mm rear end is hard to match. I think I can ride any bike and will always just tune in to the good bits and love it for that. It’s always a case of  trade offs and over a whole trail or race it evens out most of the time with the MX bike probably being faster when it’s steep and tight.

Maxxis DH Tire on Reserve HDWheels and Tires?

Maxxis tires in DH casing, both are Maxxgrip. We've got an Assegai out front and a DHR II on the rear, on a Reserve HD 30 wheelset with Cush Core in both for extra insurance. I can be quite hard on wheels so this should hopefully be a pretty fit and forget combination. The setup feels really good to ride with a nice balance between support and comfort. The Maxxis DH tires are as good as it gets and the Reserves have a great reputation for durability which should be a big help for multi day races like Stone King and keep day to day faff to a minimum.

Where have you ended up with suspension settings?

I go for quite a neutral feel, fairly soft but with support. For rebound I’m just middle ground, not dead but not super lively either. Settings are:

  • 180mm Zeb Ultimate Charger 3 (all clicks from closed): 1 token / 58.5psi / LSC 7 / HSC 4 / RB 13
  • Float X2 Factory (all clicks from closed): 160psi / LSC 4 / HSC 17 / LSR 10 / HSR 4

Fox X2 Factory on Ibis Hd6

Hayes brakes are new for you too I think? 

HUGE change. The word “unstoppable” perhaps isn't a great one to describe brakes but honestly, they are simply amazing so far. I struggle with arm pump and with most brakes, even when they’re really high quality ones, lever throw can be something I get a little frustrated by (Innes rides with his levers held part way through the throw and just off the bite point while he descends). The Dominions are so light you hardly feel yourself on them and yet the power is absolutely there when they engage.

Hayes Dominion Brake on Innes Grahams Ibis Hd6Your cockpit setup is a little unusual for a taller rider?

Yep - we touched on it above, but I think I'll go back to a 42.5mm stem to slow the steering response down a touch. I ride a full Burgtec cockpit, their shapes just work really well for me. For the handlebar, a Carbon Enduro bar cut to 730mm with 30mm rise has been my go to for a while and I’ll be sticking with that for the time being. Grips are just normal Burgtec Bartender in super soft, love them for the extra comfort. I’m on quite a short crank too,  SRAM XO Alloy cranks in 165mm this time which i'm stoked about. I seem to wear through cranks like nothing else so after 6 months of Scottish mud and rain I'm going to be thankful of that decision. Always looking out for the future me…

Burgtec Cockpit on Innes's Ibis HD6

At least your dropper is longer, looks like you could maybe almost have gone even longer still though?

That's right. I knew I liked the drop of the One Up post in 210mm as I’ve used them on previous bikes so I played safe and stayed with that in the end. I thought about the new 240mm option (the HD6 has good seat post insertion and Innes has long legs) but without asking anyone about it, I imagined it might possible take more servicing from the extra leverage and I also don’t mind the saddle being slightly higher when it's down.

Crank Brothers Mallets are quite a long term thing for you aren’t they?

Been on them since day zero. I raced my first ever DH race on Mallets and never needed or wanted to try anything else. The (Crank Brothers) shoes pair fantastically with them too.

Innes riding Gold Run at Innerleithen on the Ibis HD6

Anything else in particular standing out on or about the bike so far?

It’s still early days, but I’ve already got a bit of riding in, plus a race weekend and there’s not a bolt come loose which is encouraging and a good sign! The bike is absolutely silent while descending which I love. The frame is super low slung which feels amazing when tipping it in and moving about on the thing. Overall it's an absolute belter. I’m loving this bike.

Full Bike Spec

Frame: Ibis HD6, Size Large, Lavendar 

Fork: Rock Shox Zeb Ultimate, Charger 3, 180mm travel

Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory, 230 x 65mm

Wheelset: Reserve HD30, 29’ Front, 27.5’ Rear. XD. Fillmore valves

Tyres: Maxxis Assegai DH Maxxgrip, 29 x 2.5’. Maxxis DHR II DH, Maxxgrip 27.5’ x 2.4

Inserts: Cush Core Pro, front and rear.

Brakes: Hayes Dominion A4

Rotors: Hayes D series 200mm front and rear

Cranks: SRAM XO T-Type, 165mm

Chain: SRAM XO T-Type

Cassette: SRAM XX SL T-Type

Rear mech: SRAM XX SL T-Type


Chain device: Hope SGS

Seatpost: One Up V3 Dropper, 210mm drop 

Saddle: Burgtec Cloud

Handlebar: Burgtec Enduro Carbon - cut to 730mm

Stem: Burgtec Enduro MK3 - 35mm

Grips: Burgtec Bartender Pro, Super Soft

Mudguard: Mudhugger Evo Long

Innes on Innerleithen DH trails on the ibis HD6

Interested in trying an HD6? We’ve Medium and Large demo bikes ready to go in Innerleithen and a range of build options in stock. 

☎️ 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.