I had the awesome opportunity to demo some amazing new bikes recently at Dirt Demo Days at Santa Teresa Park in San Jose, California. This steep and very technical park was a perfect place to test the limits of these new models. Here is a virtual demo experience in case you are interested in one of these bikes, and to reinforce the value of a bike demo - if you're in the market you got to do it!
I have to say they are all beautiful specimens, each with their own special qualities, and it was very much like playing the dating game to have to choose one of the three.
First up, Bachelorette #1...
Ibis Mojo HD4
Stability & Speed
The HD4 features a completely redesigned geometry with a focus on stability and speed. Definitely an Enduro champion rig! Stability is a perfect word for how this bike handles in rock gardens, off-camber jumps and extreme conditions. Given my experience riding many different bikes up here in this park, I know that the Mojo HD4 would also excel in my favorite trails in Santa Cruz such as Sweetness and Mailboxes.
This bike feels like it's a part of you and would fly and do just about everything you would want it to or were capable of in any Enduro riding environment. Truly an all-around bike that does it all.
The Fox Float X2 shock was beefy and absorbed everything that it hit and soaked up whatever I jumped. I didn't even have to lock it out on the climb and it rode like a champ in the mud....Amazing. The Fox Float DPX2 shock was simple to tune for rock Gardens and then a couple clicks for the big jump of the park. The upgrade Fox Float X2 option may be a plus with a climbing switch, although this shock was amazing.
I trusted the refined carbon layup and the frame stiffness was a plus in precious handling. It can take big hits like a pro. The 64.9 degree head tube angle is a happy medium. Normally I prefer more slack although it works with this bike's 30% stiffer upper link, 40% stiffer lower link to create a confidence in the saddle that is actually more aggressive than it looks standing alone. What an adaptive piece of engineering! Also the 27.5" wheels take up to 28" tires!
And next up, Bachelorette #2...
Specialized S-WORKS Enduro 2018 29er
A Thirsty Horse on a Mission
I cannot believe it is a 29er! The "Purple Haze" S-WORKS Enduro 29er caught my eye. I cannot believe how amazing this bike rides, I never wanted to ride a 29er now I want to buy one!
At first I thought the Wu dropper seatpost was set up incorrectly as it looked like it was angled for a dirt jumper. The seatpost was slightly challenging to get used to on the climb but impressive in the descent. At times I caught myself pushing for more drop yet I was fully positioned perfectly while going through some of the gnarliest rock gardens of the park. The Wu dropper does not have the extension of other seatposts but I found it stable and solid.
The first time I sat on the saddle a Tech came up reached under me and bled the Ohlins shock. I was shocked to hear and feel the blast as he said it "was self-adjusting the sag to my rider weight." He had me bounce up and down a couple more times and bled it one more time and a little more came out. It was super trippy and a little drippy! The Ohlins shock when fully dampered climbed up the incredibly steep Santa Teresa grade like a Thirsty Horse on a mission! I opened it up and then sent it down Rocky Ridge full speed. Gliding over rocks, launching over obstacles, tail whipping over things I see every ride but now had the ability and confidence to Rock! The Ohlins smooth and subtle performance is a key component to why the 2018 Enduro is a dream bike in my opinion.
Flip Chip Advantage
More Aggressive Geometry
S-Works vs. Pro
And last but not least, Bachelorette #3...
Springy Little Billy Goat
The Transition's Giddyup 2.0hhh suspension and Enduro Max Bearings were unbelievably responsive, quiet, and I believe durable, which is something many bikes lack as they creek and don’t respond the same further down the trail. For the Scout you have different packages as far as suspension is concerned. I rode this model with the same Fox shock and fork as the Ibis Mojo HD4 mentioned above, with the same exceptional results. The “12x 148 boost rear-end” is not only a key aspect of the “SBG” but had me feeling I was sitting over the rear wheel in just the right spot. A small amount of increased chain stay gave very efficient climbing and stability.
Some extra perks are the extra long seatpost insertion, molded rubber frame protection, rattle-free cable routing that makes this a good long term lover, especially since on occasion, I like to put in a standard seat post for bike parks and high altitude riding.
The Scout is an awesome mid-travel bike and excellent for a rider at any level. I believe you will truly grow as a rider with this bikes wide range of assets.
Scout vs. Patrol
with same wheel size, for me I could see the Patrol would have just that added travel to give me the confidence to push harder and really Send-it. Also to the Patrol's echoing reputation that it "compensates for a rider's skills" by helping you rollover what a smaller travel bike might hang you up on. This coming from an passionate Patrol owner that said "it's simply is just a little more of the same bike, I love it and can keep up with anybody on any trail."
Dirt Demo Dating Game Summary
To wrap up, here's a summary of Pros & Cons and the nickname each one earned -
Ibis Mojo HD4
Specialized S-Works Enduro
Choose your mate -
They were all impressive rides, but IF you have to choose one to enter into a serious relationship with, ask yourself these questions -
- Want a 29'er with superior handling in any terrain? The S-Works Enduro 29er is for you.
- Looking for a classic all around Enduro champ? The Mojo HD4 is the answer.
- Want a bike that blows your mind in ability to do whatever you want on command? Go for the Scout!