Gettin’ Dirty with the New Ibis Hakka MX

Is it one’s riding that evolves first? Or is it the bike that is the catalyst for evolution? Bicycle design, much like one’s riding style, evolves over time, triggered by a series of environmental or equipment changes. Perhaps your everyday singletrack just gets tiresome and you’re looking for a way to change it up, or maybe your road bike gathers dust during ‘cross season. At some point, riders look for excuses to shake things up, as a break from the painful monotony of riding bikes by the rules and luckily for us, the offerings from companies follow suit, evolving their lineup in the same sequence.

A number of brands have taken a look at their ‘cross bikes and asked what the next step in evolution would be, or perhaps, what it should be. What seems like ages ago, we were all riding singletrack and fire roads on 32mm tires, burnin’ brake pads as our cantilever or v-brakes smoked our sidewalls. Then came disc brakes, which offered more control, options for larger tires and other benefits. All the while, frame builders were experimenting with multiple wheel size options, brought along by the popularity of disc brakes. Soon 27.5″ (650b) wheels began popping up on drop bar ‘cross bikes, yet these weren’t really “cross” bikes anymore. They had evolved past that.

Ibis recently took a long hard look at their classic ‘cross frame, the Hakkalügi. These frames started out as steel, cantilever bikes, marked by classic Ibis stylings and most notably, the Mike Cherney fabricated “hand job” cable hanger. Like Ibis’ mountain bikes, once carbon fiber became the preferred material, the Hakkalügi went through the motions, too. Carbon canti, then carbon disc but the whole time, these bikes stayed true to classic ‘cross frame tire clearances and geometries, always feeling like outliers in the brand’s catalog. Ibis knew it was time for a change.


Hakka MX with 700c wheels

Hakka MX

The Hakka MX is the next step in the evolution of the Hakkalügi. Constructed using the same standards as Ibis’ mountain framesets, the Hakka MX is a lightweight, monocoque frame, built around wheel size options and has a very high degree of shredability. Thanks to the newly designed chainstays, the Hakka MX has clearance for a 45mm tire on a 700c, or a 2.1″ on a 27.5″, depending on tire tread. It’s also dropper-post compatible, utilizes a T47 bottom bracket, is Di2 compatible, has a 142mm thru-axle rear, and integrated fender mounts on the rear triangle. The Hakka MX uses a 1.5″ tapered head tube, with the ENVE ‘cross fork, which has enough clearance to pack in some thick rubber and is designed to take a beating on the race course, singletrack, or on a bikepacking trip. All this, with a 7-year warranty.

Whatchamacallit?

Is it “cross,” “road” “all-road,” “groad,” or is it a “gravel bike?” Call it whatever you like, the Hakka MX can be all that and more. Ride it with a road wheelset to your ‘cross race, swap wheels and race. Or take it bikepacking. You can even use it as a disc road bike. There’s nothing stopping a Hakka MX owner from changing it up to keep things interesting.


Hakka MX with 27.5″ wheels

Geometry is Everything

Yet, geometry is entirely subjective. My observation with modern disc brake-equipped, drop bar bikes is they take one of two lineage splits: classic ‘cross geometry, or classic road. There are permutations, naturally, but many companies use these basic points as a starting ground and go from there. When you look at the numbers, it appears Ibis blended the two typologies, resulting in a bike that has reliable control, yet is snappy where it needs to be. The chainstays measure 430mm, with a 70mm bottom bracket drop and a 72º head tube angle in the size 58cm that I rode. A lot of bikes float around this general area, which ultimately means we’ve finally begun to figure out what makes a bike a true “Swiss Army Knife.” As for fit, the Ibis’ stack is on-par with other production size 58cm frames I’ve ridden.

Frame Design

In my opinion, the Hakka MX, unlike the other Hakkalügi frames, looks like it belongs in the Ibis family, not that it just had to be there. Integration into the lineup comes from the frame’s body language. With a shaped, dropped chainstay, a sculpted bottom bracket cluster, smooth lines at the head tube, a seat cluster with style and the lean, clean dropouts, the Hakka MX has pulled the best parts from the Ibis catalog, sans linkage or suspension design. The internal routing is clean, especially when the frame is equipped with Di2. The entire package is tight, with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. It comes in either this bright, modern “Fireball” red or blackened out in “Coal.”

Then there are my only points of critique. For a frame that’s so elegantly designed, the rear fender mount “integration” is hardly that. Sure, I love the nod to the classic canti cable hanger, the “hand job” – HELL YEAH, CHERN! – but the seat stay fender mounts look like the little plastic nubs you snap off from the fuselage while building a model airplane. There has to be a better way. When matched with an ENVE fork, which doesn’t have mounts at all, it leaves you wondering: do you have to buy two different types of fenders? I’m asking because I never run fenders on my bikes and do not live in an area where they are necessary but as an honest query, if you have to run a clamp-on fender for the front, why not just leave the rear triangle fender mountless to run the same type of fender on both wheels? Or at least integrate the mounts on the inside of the seat stays. Again, this is a very minor detail, but I felt like it was necessary to note. Luckily, the seat stay mounts disappear in the cassette cluster, visually.

Componentry

The Hakka MX comes in two complete build kits, along with a simple frameset offering. Di2 integration is so clean and simple, it begs the question: why wouldn’t you run Di2 with the XT derailleur? Not so fast… Di2 is one of those things I love to have on review bikes but would probably never put on one of my own. I’ve been in the absolute middle of nowhere enough times with someone who has a Di2 bike, only to watch their batteries unexpectedly die and the day’s stresses compound ad infinitum. On a bike like this, it probably means you’re on a dirt road, at high elevation, with no cell reception and not a soul for miles. This sounds like Di2 fear-mongering, and perhaps my experiences have given me some form of electronic post-traumatic stress, but still.

Yet, it just feels so damn good, from the shifting to the hydro disc feel and the setup. Oh, the setup is so easy! Especially for a ‘cross racing bike, it’s nice to not have to worry about derailleur cables gettin’ gunked up, throwing off your shifting. In fact, the shifting never changes. It’s always consistent, which is so convenient. Yet, after switching between SRAM’s 1x system with Shimano’s Di2 XT integration, I’ve noticed one thing: the cassette. The jump from the 10th cog to the 11th – 46 tooth cog – is very drastic. Also, not having a 10t cog in the cluster makes a big difference when it comes to descending on sealed roads. With SRAM’s 10-42 cassette, it’s nice to always have that 10t to klunk into, leaving you the ability to go to smaller rings up front for even fewer inches while climbing. No matter how small of a ring I go to on the front, the 10t cog always seems to be just enough for that particular bike.

Luckily, the Hakka MX comes in two options to settle this dispute: SRAM Rival1 with Stans Wheels, Ibis post and stem for $3,299 or Shimano Ultegra / XT Di2, Easton carbon post and stem and Ibis carbon wheels for $6,499. Ibis went with Praxis Works for their cranksets and bottom brackets, resulting in a damn fine overall package with that beautiful, mudered-out crankset. Or, if you prefer to build it yourself, as a frameset for $1,999.

Still Tippin’ on 700?

If you’ve yet to party with a 27.5 ‘cross bike, you’re missing out. In fact, when Ibis sent their new 700c carbon disc wheelset over to test on the Hakka MX, I really didn’t want to swap them out. The Hakka rips on 27.5 and merely rides on 700 and no, that’s not a critique of the bike as much of a statement for what a difference bigger tires on smaller wheels make. At this point, I don’t know why any company wouldn’t make this an offering. All of my disc brake, drop bar bikes are tippin’ on 27.5 now. Why? It’s just better. More tire, more volume, more traction and that means more vibration absorption on rough roads or trails. As for the wheels, I’m a fan of Ibis’ carbon wheel offerings and they gave me no issues during the review period. They set up tubeless easily, have external spoke nipples, making on-the-trail maintenance – if you ever need to – a sinch and they look great. Case closed.

The First Descent

Long ago, I realized I’m not a great climber, nor will I ever be. I can hold my own, but I’ve come to accept that it’s not my strong suit. Thus, I really don’t gauge a bike’s prowess by its ability to climb or associate going up a grade with any number of adjectives. Rather, for myself, a bike truly comes alive and earns its adjectives on the descents. That’s when a string of words come into play: shreddy, snappy, zippy, sprightly, and lively come to mind. The Hakka MX is stable in the sense that it’ll correct itself under you when you need it to, yet it won’t pull away from you on tight turns.

However, one of the unpredictable side effects of the Hakka MX being so closely tied to the Ibis MTB genealogy is the not so much in the design, but the material. Coming from steel and titanium bikes, it’d been a while since I’ve ridden a carbon ‘cross bike. Initially, with the 27.5 wheels, I kept feeling like I had to air down more and more to soften the ride. On 700c wheels, I learned to take the grip it and rip it approach because there wasn’t enough volume in the tires to air down anymore. Carbon fiber is stiff. Which is great for a road race during a sprint and for full squish mountain bikes with inches of travel to spare, but it takes some getting used to on a drop bar platform. After a few rides, it wasn’t as apparent and I got used to it.

Take Away

Call it a “gravel,” “cross,” “all-road,” or just a “road” bike, the Hakka MX is whatever you want it to be, whether that’s one of the above, or all. It’s a lightweight, snappy, well thought-out, modern update to a timeless classic that fits right in with Ibis’ current mountain bike lineup. It shreds on the new 27.5″ wheel option and even though I’ve yet to strap bags on it, would make for a worthy dirt road bikepacking tourer. The size 58cm I reviewed weighs 20lbs on the nose as photographed (with empty bottles). While calling something a “Jack of all trades and a master of none” is not necessarily a compliment, the Hakka MX has evolved past that, which will result in a quiver coup d’etat.

See more information at Ibis and holler in the comments with any questions!

  • David Fischer

    I was waiting since eurobike for this! But I just ordered an open U.P….

    • There are a lot of great options out there. The UP is one for sure.

      • David Fischer

        Yup, but there is something special about the Ibis brand, can’t quite put my finger on it. I would consider sending the open back if I could get the Hakka in a reasonable time frame here in Europe. Great photos as always John!

        • Ibis has just been around for so long and have remained independent. All of their bikes are as amazing as the people who work there / are involved in the brand.

        • Andy Moore

          They’ve had Mojo for a long time, even if they used Morons for their tubes. :P The combination of amazing quality design/details (esp the handjob and those welds, back in the day!) and that sense of self-deprecation and humor goes so far in the frequently ever-so-serious bike industry.

      • Brendan VDB

        Not forgetting the Norco Search. Our own fork with flat mount fender mounts and more. Loving these bikes and glad there are more and more options.

      • Simon Jay

        So, now you’ve ridden both the Ibis and the U.P. If you had to choose…???

        • I have ridden an up, but not more than a few minutes and it had a Lauf fork on it, so it’s hard to tell.

      • Ron Reed

        I actually like the geometry and sizing of this bike better than the UP. I rode an UP (original flavor) and it was alright, not bad. Then I test rode a Scott CX 10 and it was true love, unicorns farting rainbows and a chorus going hallelujah.

  • Christopher Robert Yankopoulos

    This thing looks ripper but I’m a little bummed about the mismatched brakes. Flat mount rear and post mount front is a real bummer. I’ve been waiting for this guy to come out and really wanted one as it checks all the boxes but man that bothers me. Yet, it looks soooo capable. Great write up John.

    • Well, ENVE hasn’t updated their CX fork to be flat mount. I kinda feel like the frame being flat mount is most important, but then again, things like this don’t really bother me.

      • Christopher Robert Yankopoulos

        Agreed. Frame is important and if, sorry, when ENVE updates their fork one could swap out if it did bother them. I’m just a nerd.

        • nateking

          kind of odd they didn’t figure out a solution with a fender-capable fork like the Spork.

          • Well, it’s hard to do large quantities of forks for these frames with a brand like Rodeo Labs. ENVE sells to consumers without having to “introduce” a new – to the consumers – company, I’m not sure how many forks they’d be able to supply Ibis, nor could they beat the ENVE pricing. And if they’re offering a 7 year warranty, will Rodeo Labs still be around? There are many factors.

          • Insomuch as I can’t predict the future I have no idea if we (Rodeo) will be here in 7 years either, but we’re about to start year 5 and we’re only gaining steam. I’m not sure our fork would be optimized for this bike either way. We didn’t shoot for 2.1+ at 650b with the Spork so the Ibis frame and our fork would be mis-matched in terms of clearance. Selling forks to someone like Ibis would be a bit of a strange philosophical question for us that we’ve yet to answer. We sell well over half of our aftermarket fork volume to other builders but they are all small builders and we like that. It feels good to give small brands access to something good because we ourselves are a small brand. I don’t think Ibis is a huge brand but they are many orders of magnitude larger than we are, and the idea of selling a Spork to someone like them feels … meh. If they can invest six figures on a carbon frameset why not go a bit further and develop their own fork that is matched to their frame instead of pairing with the ENVE which to seems odd with post mounts. Nobody has any doubts about the ENVE being an excellent (class leading in many ways) fork so maybe it was just easier or even lest costly from a development point of view for Ibis to go with a sure thing. Whatever the case, this bike looks rad and I wish them much success with it. I’ve been a fan of Ibis since the ’90s. I’d love to have an old school Ibis, a Moots, and a YETI in my dream garage.

          • I hope you didn’t take my “7 year” thing as a dig at all, I was just saying it could have been a concern. xoxo Also, I totally agree that they could make a fork, like what Santa Cruz did with the Stigmata.

          • It felt like a dig for sure but we’re used to that. Any sane person is going to going to be skeptical of a new brand. How old do you have to be before people finally relent and give you the benefit of the doubt? No idea, but we’ll be ok with the support that we already have.

          • Yeah, I know you read the site and I’ve posted your products before, so I didn’t intend for it to be negative, was just trying to post from a different perspective. Again, 100% respect for Rodeo Labs. :-)

          • xoxo

      • Dom.T

        The fork can always be swapped out. Shimano wise, Ultegra upwards are now only available in flat mount. You can’t work flat mount backwards to fit IS or post mount. Nice bike though. Always liked Ibis.

  • Jon B.

    It could only be radder if they were to do up a Chris McNally ltd. edition.

    • Funny you should mention Chris. He was the only other person to have a Hakka MX during this testing phase. Pretty cool.

  • breed007

    OMG the black frame looks so good.

  • Ben Black

    I’m not normally one to hate and I’m well aware of the old adage that: ‘everything has already been done’ especially in the bike industry. But this just seems like a lazy copy of the Open U.P. The dropped chainstay, the seat stay junction with the seat tube, the paint job, a whole lot of similar features and the laziness just extends to things like the mudguard mounts that you mention. I understand this happens with products all the time but it just seems more of a shame because Open really did something fairly innovative and I like the way they operate as a company in general. I’m a long time fan of the site and I completely get that you have to ‘sell your soul’ a bit and push products to pay the bills to be able to fund other really awesome features and content but this just glorifying a fairly mediocre attempt at capitalizing on someone else’s design.

    • The dropped chainstay was not an OPEN innovation, just to be clear. As for the other details, they look like the rest of Ibis’ designs, IMO.

    • The dropped chainstay was not an OPEN innovation, just to be clear. As for the other details, they look like the rest of Ibis’ designs, IMO. See attached https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c03e15b028945a87110c4b9b4cd07a53b9840e76bf3a328ef08d65e7e024dd9b.jpg

      https://www.ibiscycles.com/images/uploads/visualiser/titles/mojo3-title-310116.png

        • Ben Black

          Sure I can totally accept that, but what I was trying to get at was more the overall concept of what Open was going for with the U.P, the chainstay being just a part of that. Like I said ‘everything has already been done once already’ and paint schemes are no exception but Ibis could have at least differentiated this a bit in that regard (I’m saying that even though I love the colour myself!). I will reiterate I am a big fan of the site and will continue to be, but this one just struck a bit of a cord with me so I felt the need to comment, which is after all the purpose of the discussion feature right?

          • For sure, I’m just trying to respond to your concerns. :-)

          • Ben Black

            Fair play, I apologise for asserting that you got some form of financial remuneration for reviewing products! I only assumed as much because it just seems to me like that would be the logical way of it.

          • Yeah I’m not sure what other sites do but the only money I make is from the ads and any commercial photo work I take on. I keep things pretty transparent when they come up in discussion. And i try to be succinct in replies, so apologies if the brevity comes across as negative. It’s not my intent. 😘

          • Gerard Vroomen

            Thanks for defending us :-) but in this case I wouldn’t worry. I think Ibis would be the first to acknowledge the U.P. if asked, in fact even though we don’t really know each other, Scot Nicol sent me a nice note after our introduction in 2015 that he thought it was the highlight of SeaOtter that year. And my answer was that I was sure they were too busy with MTB but we’d love to see them jump on board with GravelPlus and we’d gladly tell them what we’d learned. That never happened, but it’s not a fierce competition either. This is an industry with a lot of nice people doing nice things. And some assholes. Almost like any other industry I guess.

    • Will Kramer

      Ben, I agree with you up to a point. Given an unlimited budget, I’d have already purchased an Open U.P. But if I can roll this rig through our sandy gravel roads for $3.3K I’m already having the conversation in my head with my wife explaining why I need another bike.

      • Gerard Vroomen

        Not quite 3.3k but you can build up a classic OPEN U.P. for 4k, just like the complete 3T EXPLORO Rival that is shipping now.

        • The 3T is ridiculous, IMO. Too racey. Too oversized. Too Italian road racer. The Open has more elegance and way better proportions. Just my input.

          • Gerard Vroomen

            Hi John, perfect then. No point having two bikes liked by the same people.

          • hah! ;-)

        • Will Kramer

          Thanks for the heads U.P. GV.

    • Gerard Vroomen

      Thanks but don’t worry! I’ve learned long ago that the more people copy something, the more successful the original is. And the past few months are showing that already. Plus it’s normal that designers inspire each other. Some are more inspired than others, but that’s life. And secondly, it’s easy to bend your chainstay a bit, it’s hard to actually make a frame function as well, just like when lots of people were curving seattubes like a P3 but those bikes still didn’t fit or ride the way they should have.

      And finally, the R&D on developing the original U.P. is paid off by now, so we can offer the classic U.P. as a $2600 frame and people can build it up at or under 4k if they want. Still a lot of money, but quite competitive with the copies. So it’s all good. Of course it’s cheaper still to not spend much on R&D at all and just wait and copy, but where’s the fun in that?

  • Funky Ballerina

    So the bottle hits the frame and doesn’t sit all the way down in the seattube mounted cage?

  • I read this article in my head with the voice of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City. A++

  • Sean

    Hard to tell from the pics but it looks like it can’t take much bigger than a 40T sprocket up front?
    Also, is the fender mount removable?

    • The fender mount is an eyelet on a nut, which theoretically, I could try to remove that nut but I’m not sure. I’ll ask Ibis.

    • Roxy Lo

      The largest single ring is 48T, and it fits every road double combination offered (50/34, 50/36, 36/52, 53/39). Fender mount is removable, as well as the eyelets.

      • Sean

        Thank you! I’ve found my new bike!

      • Good to know!

        • Roxy Lo

          :)

  • Rich

    Why are all these new monstercross style frames (ibis, open up and many others) set up to run bigger tires with a 27.5 instead of just a 29 wheel? Is it because bike makers think shorter chainstays are better and thus you want to squeeze in the smallest wheel possible? What’s the advantage of only providing clearance for the smaller 27.5 wheel? Does the advantage erode as the frame size gets larger (ie for taller riders)?

    • I think the appeal of a 27.5 wheel with a 2.2 tire is you can maintain frame geometry akin to a normal 700c bike and still pack in the added bonus of a bigger tire. Otherwise, you’re in monster cross (29er 2.2″) territory, which has issues of crank / chainring clearance as well as fork options. There aren’t a whole lot of rigid 29er forks out there. Also, at that point you might as well take one of the few 29er rigid forks and put it on an XC frameset with drop bars.

      If you haven’t ridden a 27.5 ‘cross bike, you should try it. I was immediately sold on my Crema and the ride quality of a smaller wheel, bigger tire. I’m also 6’2″ with a 36″ inseam and ride pretty large frames.

      • Gerard Vroomen

        And it’s not only the chain stay that gets longer, it’s also an issue of toe overlap for the bottom half of the size range. This issue is much smaller on a 29er mountain bike since the front-centers are longer, but even there, a small frame with 29er wheels is usually only small in name, not in fit (simply because the headtube sits too high).

        And of course with 650×2.2 being similar in size to 700c cross tires, having a similar geometry also means you can swap back and forth as you want without changing the handling characteristics very much.

        • Exactly. Thanks for doing a better job explaining. :-)

          • Rich

            Thanks for the insight. Very interesting. As usual, i guess it comes down to what you want to get out of a particular bike. Imagine that! :) For me, I’m not all that interested in futzing with wheel changes to make a one quiver bike. If I want a road bike, I’ll probably just ride my road bike. If I want my mountain bike, I’ll pull my mountain bike out of the man cave. What intrigues me about these bikes is the ‘tweener stuff — riding rough terrain where a regular cross bike with ‘big’ 40mm tires gets thrown around uncomfortably, but where it is still mellow enough that you really don’t need a suspension fork and heavier MTB to go out an do a nice long mixed terrain ride. Basically that’s exactly the kind of off road riding we have here in Marin County. We don’t really have “gravel” — instead we have long, painfully steep, rocky and rutted fire roads, connected by short stretches of pave, leading to semi-techy rooty trails through the redwoods, punctuated by heinous sections of tooth rattling cow pasture land (think Marin Headlands, Fire roads on Mt. Tam, Bolinas Ridge trail, etc.) Sure, I could (and do) ride my 29er hardtail on these rides, but often that’s overkill and it would be nice to have a drop bar set up for the mellower “gravel” sections and to extend the ride on longer stretches of road. So while these do it all 700/650 bikes intrigue me, I’m captivated more by something more on the burlier end of the cross bike spectrum. Kind of like the drop bar Moots featured here recently (http://theradavist.com/2017/11/drop-bars-make-it-hot-mikes-moots-mooto-x-rsl-dirt-drop-mtb/#1), or better yet, what looks like a more “road-oriented” frame in the Baxter (http://moots.com/wp-content/uploads/BRENTS-BAXTER-90-1-1200×853.jpg). These run the Enve MTB fork, which is a half pound heavier than the CX fork but allows for the bigger tire clearance if you want to go there. But yeah, to Jon’s point above, if you go that big in a 29er you are basically riding a drop bar mountain bike :-) So I’m thinking Titanium custom frame with drop bar cockpit, but with 29er clearance in bigger tires, MTB fork with MTB gearing, maybe even a dropper post. Kind of like this https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b8ec4aa6ffba83b9a8cadaad7717fdc7b7544b10160a9a6041daaec9d832ee4a.jpg

    • Jon Severson

      First off monstercross is a bike between a cross bike and a 29er. Throw on a 29er tire and it’s now a drop bar mountain bike. Which isn’t a bad thing as companies like Salsa and many builders have shown us, but you go that big it’s a mountain bike no matter what. Changes how a designer designs it.

      Sticking in that 40mm tire range keeps to the road heritage it’s trying to preserve. Throw 27.5 wheels on it and you can create a road bike that can do mtb things really well yet still rides like a road bike when ya throw road wheels back on.

  • Ceol Mor

    I’ll always love my old Ibis XS that I bought in the early 90’s, but I just don’t identify with the company anymore. I do wish them great success, but now you’ll find me drooling over the latest Soulcraft… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae5d263f391f74dcb98da8dac4d6cbc3452276a85f25e84b0eacc8f60852589b.jpg

    • That is awesome.

      • Andy Moore

        I will always a huge weakness for Ibis steel. So fucking HOT.

  • Area45

    It’s definitely a cool looking bike and having more options like this is a good thing. Having said that, the fender thing seems like it could have been an easy fix, or just leave it off like you mentioned. Also, any bike that doesn’t have a 3rd bottle mount is suspect in my opinion. It’s like they’re saying “get out there, ok, whoa, not that far!” As others have mentioned I think the Open U.P. seems like a more well thought out package than this one. I’d love to ride either one though and I’m really happy about the 650b large volume frames popping up.

    • Yeah, the third bottle cage is a bummer. I wish they could figure out a way to make the internal wiring / Di2 port on the underside of the downtube support a cage and a bottle. It’d be so easy (says the guy with no engineering background) ¯_(ツ)_/¯

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8bc5ab398db0458a80b6003ee72bea3f9afea59ee3211551e1c53555dbcf9b28.png

      • Area45

        haha. I actually had to look at the website to figure out what that was. I was hoping those screws might be spaced to do double duty. My first touring bike had a 3rd bottle cage so I’m just wired to think that if Novara had them on their touring bikes in the ’80s there is no reason why bikes today can’t have them. Having said that my OAC Rambler doesn’t have one either, but the USB solves that problem on steel frames. I guess you can’t have it all right? Good seeing you tonight BTW.

        • Totally. Nice seeing you and your safety suspenders! That made my evening.

  • Harry

    One reason this is better than the Open U.P: T47 instead of BBRight

  • Matt

    Ceol and (I’m guessing) Ben’s comments reflect their 1990’s MTB universe.
    Not a bad thing.
    I can relate to this brand and era having owned the original (purchased @ Mill Valley Cyclery).
    Scot Nicol was aggressively innovating during this decade. Ultimately he cemented his place in cycling lore and we should all have great respect. His designs and aura were a clear separation from the builders of the time. It was exciting to watch.
    The vibe seems to find a flow through the brand today…..like everything else, it’s just different now. I’m guessing decisions are made by committee, foreign production challenges/lead times and increasing competition can’t be easy.
    My hat is off to the brand – this rig looks solid…..nice work and review.

    • Ceol Mor

      My Ibis was the first serious mountain bike I owned. I purchased it at the old Wheelsmith bike shop in Palo Alto and it was cutting edge at the time. Fully loaded with Suntour XC Pro microdrive and a threadless headset, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. I’ve been a hardcore mountain biker ever since. You do have me pegged — I’m a sucker for steel bikes from that era and remain a fan of hand built frames from small makers today as a result.

      Ibis is a much bigger company today with an entirely different focus. They no longer make frames by hand, in house. The frames are made overseas in factories that produce frames for many other bike companies. That’s not a bad thing, it’s simply not what gets my heart racing. Just like Sierra Nevada Brewing still produces great beer and I enjoy drinking the stuff, they’re one of the big guys now. I like the little guy. I’m going to drink Bike Dog (https://bikedogbrewing.com) when I can.

  • Peter Chesworth

    Love this style of bike. Another small step away from racing road bikes and racing mountain bikes, towards bikes made for fun.

  • Jon Severson

    Just disappointing they put all that effort into the frame having fender eyelets only to stick that fork on there with no such provisions for such. The black frame you can just sell it off and get something that does, but that beautiful red you’d ruin it almost swapping it out.

    Not sure how this could happen. Seriously. All this goodness and then they threw on that fork?? And on the website you’re encouraged fo consider buying cheap snap on fenders?? But have to buy a pair to get one that works up front but then a rear that wouldn’t work well on the frame??

    Love this frame, always wished for the old bike to come with room for bigger tires. But man, the fender snafu is a bummer.

    • TelemarkTumalo

      Agreed John. Overall, that Enve fork is a good choice for a Cross bike, but clearly Ibis intends for this bike to adapt to fenders. Either Enve need to come up with integrated fender mounts, or Ibis need to go with a different fork. Strap on fenders suck.

  • Andrew Mc

    Patiently waiting for the Jeff Kendall-Weed video featuring the new Hakka…

  • I think this review may have convinced me to give 650b wheels a try on my next CX bike…

    That Enve CX fork, according to Enve, will fit up to a 650×2.0 tire, is that a 2.1 Thunder Burt wedged in there?

    • It’s not wedged by any means. There’s more than enough room. I have a WTB Nano 2.1 27.5 in mine.

      • Hmmm…very cool. Thanks John.

        • You’re more than welcome to come by GSC and check it out before making the jump.

  • Jonathan Gresley

    LOL, it looks like you edited the color to make it look more red and less (Open UP) orange. Personally, I would love to see it in orange, despite all the haters.

    • I edited the color to be more true to the actual frame color. Had nothing to do with the Open. Scot from Ibis emailed me asking why it looked so orange in my review, when the color is more red. I was editing it best of my ability when I realized I was using a Canon pre-set which desaturates the red – Canons shoot with a lot of red in RAW. I went back and re-color corrected it, but didn’t bother photoshopping the lower steerer in these shots. When you look at the Ibis product shots, that’s the true color. I was having issues getting it to look right in post. :-)

      https://s3.amazonaws.com/ibiscycles.com/general/di2port_fendermount.jpg

      • Jonathan Gresley

        I feel your pain. I hate how reds get distorted through digital photography / different color profiles / image compression. It seems like it definitely affects the warm tones the worst.

        Rad bike. Really like where the do it all / B-road / gravel bike trend is going. But, I will likely pull the trigger on something in steel.

        Great work JW. Love the site

  • Jon W

    The OPEN Cycle guys must feel honored… Imitation is the highest form of flattery after all.
    I don’t like to see all these copies of the U.P. but that’s the way of life I guess. People see cool things and want in on it.
    This one is doesn’t look to have much class or quality.

    The Mk1 U.P. takes it’s place in gravel folklore……

  • AaronBenjamin

    I’m glad to see Ibis continuing their all-integrated, smooth sexy and sleek design approach with this bike. It fits the brand again. Although I kinda wish they would update the Tranny.

  • Greg Evans

    So what brake caliper is actually used on the front? There is no post mount DA or Ultegra level caliper available.

    • Paul Monaghan

      Yeh it seems strange to bring a new bike to market and then use a fork with post mount brakes. This bike ticks a lot of boxes but I don’t want to paint myself into a corner with what brakes I can use. The 2018 Specialized Diverge is another bike I really like but I’m struggling to get over how they have managed to make it so heavy.

      • Gene Selkov

        For some reason, Specialized decided to use their heavier 9R carbon for all levels (except 11R S-Works). Traditionally, their mid-level bikes use 10R. I don’t have exact specs, but usually there’s a ~200g difference between every “R” level.

        Still a crazy fun bike to ride!

    • Gene Selkov

      Looks like an RS785.

  • TelemarkTumalo

    Oh Man! What to do? I have a 2016 Disc-o-Lügi. I swore it was the end-all for a do it all bike. Now this Häkka MX comes along. Thanks a lot Scot!

  • M Freund

    Did you happen to pop that Di2 Battery cover off? I going to buy a frameset and swap over my existing Di2 group. Wondering if it uses a seat post style battery or the older bottle cage style? TIA

    • AaronBenjamin

      Almost all newer Di2 bikes have wiring/mounting for internal batteries, and knowing ibis they are all about the integrated approach. I’m sure you could do external if you wanted to though.

      • M Freund

        Thanks for the reply. Maybe I should have been more clear. On the Ibis website it states. “We also have a slick Di2 battery mount for complete Di2 integration.”
        Was wondering what thats about. Actually got my frameset today and saw for myself.
        Not as impressed as I was hoping, but it works.