This is kind of a cheat as far as product testing goes. Holy cow it was a while ago; but some of you loyal fans may remember back around Christmas 2014, I won a pretty substantial prize from Fat Cyclist. Unbeknownst to me, for every copy of his latest book a person pre-ordered, they were entered into a drawing sponsored by SRAM and Ibis Cycles with proceeds of the book going to World Bicycle Relief. I failed to notice any of this going on as I just wanted to order the book for Brad for the holidays.
Long story short, I won my choice of any bike from the Ibis stables. After a ridiculous amount of deliberation, I decided on the Mojo HD, mostly because it would be a bike that I would never purchase for myself. Then, I went through the painstaking task of browsing the SRAM catalog and deciding on my components, wheelset, fork, etc.
Like a kid in a freaking candy store.
It took a few months for everything to get settled and delivered, straightened out and all. My health declined. I changed meds and I then I found myself a few days before my 30th birthday eating burritos with my good friend Todd at TFK Wheels here in Portland, Oregon while he ran the internal housing for the SRAM XX1 groupset. Brad and I had the majority of the bike built up, but there were a few things that we didn’t have the tools readily available. Todd’s knowledge and expertise makes me comfortable to have him work on any bike in my stable.
We go out to ride on April 17th. Here in Portland it ended up being a gorgeous, cloudless day in the high-60s. For my first full-suspension ride and to work out any of the kinks, Brad and I decide to head up to Powell Butte Nature Park, which is just 12 miles from downtown Portland (or 7 miles from my place, which is really more important.) I was stubbornly sure that I had been there before, but when we arrived at the parking lot, all that certainty went down the drain, because it was obviously unfamiliar. This then led to awkward feelings regarding the fact that I have lived in Portland for as long as I have and not been to this fantastic park I immediately fell in love with.
So, how was the ride?
You have to remember it was my first time out on this bike. There was a lot of stopping for adjustment. We didn’t install the Rockshox Reverb Stealth seat post for my first ride, so I just ended up using a post I dug out from our parts bin. That probably wasn’t the best idea as it wasn’t keyed in to my specific height. I ended up stopping about half a dozen times to adjust my height and do saddle adjustments alone.
I am in love with the XX1 groupset. There was a slight shifting learning curve, but I have to tell you – the only other SRAM shifter I’ve used in the last couple years is the Apex, that albeit are road shifters, but comparatively – the XX1 is so much easier to understand and remember – smooth and rapid transitions, which are super important when you’re mashing through gravel and dirt.
It’s super nice.
Good suspension starts at the wheels and this bike is decked out with a set of carbon-tuned ROAM 60 wheelsets, mounted with a set of Maxxis Minions provided by Ibis. Once I got the ‘air pressure-to-terrain ratio’ figured out, the riding was comfortable and smooth. Despite my personal comfort, the seizure alert watch I’m beta-testing for Empatica alerted Brad 17 times of an “unusual activity” – yeah, it’s called physical exercise.
More on this newfangled seizure alert watch in another blog post, so stay tuned for that.
Nothing about the bike wasn’t amazing. (Did that make sense with the double negative? Uhhhh. yeah.) I tire a little easier than I used to, and am a bit out of shape, so we only did a couple hours or riding, maxxing out at 4.73 miles, according to Brad’s Apple Watch. We stopped a lot so I could fiddle things. We didn’t bring any water with us, not realizing that the parking lot is actually kind of a hassle to get to from trails.
What I need to tweak: my pedals. I love iSSi pedals and have been in the process of upgrading a lot of my older clipless pedals over to them. I personally purchased a set of the Off-Road Warriors to complete the bike. I did not adjust the spring tension at all after or before they were installed. That’s a typical thing for me to realize when I’m panicking downhill at high speeds on switchbacks and unable to brake because I can’t unclip.
It’s the little things.
I was given a saddle from Ibis which I ended up using. First and maybe last time for off-roading. I personally like narrow saddles with little to no padding. This saddle just seemed a little more like it would enjoy life on one of my road bikes instead of pummeling my crotch. Though this situation may be alleviated once the dropper post is installed.
Looking forward to bring you more bikey news from BIKELEPTIC HQ as the weather gets nicer to stay tuned!