There were some seriously cool demo bikes available at the Melrose Fat Tire Festival including none other than the Ibis Mojo SL-R, the newer 140mm ‘little brother’ of the Mojo HD. There are relatively few (in any!) chances to demo an SL-R in Victoria, and with Ibis one of the festival sponsors there was nothing else to do but take one for a spin!
After 18 months on my Mojo HD I was more than a little curious to see how the SL-R compared, especially given that its geometry is essentially identical to the more XC suited (and reasonably older) Mojo SL.
First impressions after back to back runs down Dodging Bullets?
The SL-R feels like a light, stiff, tight, nimble, responsive race whippet. Like the kind of bike you’d want if you were racing XC, 6 hour, 12 hour etc races. Get out of the saddle and it wants to go. But it’s not without compromise – with its steeper head angle and shorter wheelbase the SL-R isn’t the confidence inspiring Mojo HD at speed. On a HD you can relax and enjoy the fun, the faster you go the better the HD feels. It just hunkers down and wants to go. On the same descents the SL-R felt twitchy and nervous… flighty is another word that comes to mind.
Something that really did stand out on the SL-R was how noisy an MTB drivetrain is without a Shadow Plus derailleur. I’m super happy with the XTR Shadow Plus upgrade on the Mojo HD, and great to see that technology trickle down in 2013 components.
The SL-R test ride left me a smile on my face, wanting another go, and wondering what the bike would be like with an angleset installed to slacken the head angle a little and perhaps as importantly set up to suit me – bars, stem, dropper post, tires etc. Maybe I’ll get to back to Melrose sometime and take one out for a few days for a better look see.
No sweat though – my HD is just such a fun bike to ride and perfectly suits what I ride for… fun! 🙂