Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Fragglepuss The Chaste
Joined
·
2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So a child's size handful of you know that I had an issue with a cracked swing arm on my Mojo discovered while on my way to race the Tears, Fears and Beers event in Ely, NV a couple weekends back. Long story short, it was discovered late on a Friday night. I wasn't able to race. I panicked as I had two races coming up the following weekend and ended up with a brand new Tracer VP frame. Little did I know Ibis would turn a replacement swingarm around in a milisecond. Great customer service from those guys. They definitely went above and beyond and will get my business again in the future.

So here's my take on the two bikes after riding and racing each for a bit. Obviously the Tracer VP for only a couple weeks, but still. I have to say that I'm blown away by my findings as the assumption I had turned out to be the exact opposite.

With all of this, keep in mind that I'm not challenged height wise and come in at 6ft 4in tall. So most bikes tend to fit on the small size. This comparison is for the XL size in both frames. Exact same build kit.

Fit: I have to give the nod to the Tracer VP. With this frame I gained a half an inch in the top tube department. Slightly lower bar height. And a ton more standover room. Even being so tall, the Mojo's top tube was extremely tall and adding the cable routing it offered even less room. The Tracer's standover feels quite a bit more comfortable as I'm not thinking about hitting my garbage should I have to dismount on something steep and sketchy. The added half inch in the cockpit also helps a bit when climbing as I'm in a more natural position without having to run a long (read: unstable) stem.
I would venture to say that if I fell into the 6ft 2in realm my sentiments about the Mojo's fit as far as the top tube is concerned would be a bit more favorable. However, that would make the TT height feel even more high.

Climbing: Again, I have to give the nod to the Tracer VP. This just blows me away as I was under the impression that the Mojo would be a better climber. Could just be because the bike seems to fit better, but I would venture to say that the VPP2 suspension just works better both in and out of the saddle when climbing. With both bikes, I normally climbed with the Propedal turned on. I really needed it on with the Mojo, especially when standing. I don't find myself turning the Propedal on all the time on the Tracer as the suspension tends to firm up a bit more when out of the saddle and hammering.

Descending: Again, I have to give the nod to the Tracer. Just kidding. Seriously though, I have to say that the Mojo is noticeably more plush than the Tracer VP. When you consider that I'm running the Tracer in the 6 inch travel mode and it comes with the Fox HVRP23 in the Low Tune vs. the Fox RP23 Medium Tune on my Mojo, it speaks volumes for the DW Link. The Tracer definitely has a sweet spot in it's suspension that takes a while to find. It feels ok on medium hits, but on small or high speed hits it pales in comparison to the Mojo which has a more consistant feel throughout it's travel.
Having said that, I would give the Tracer a bit of a nod as it is quite a bit more stable on steep stuff. This is primarily due to a slacker head angle and lower stand over. Bottom bracket height on both bikes came in at 13.7-13.8 inches.

Bike Setup: This is a toss up. I wasn't too impressed with the cable routing on the Mojo's top tube and having to add another cable to hold the rear derailleur/brake housing together behind the seat tube. I also had some issues with squeaking coming from the cable stops on the Mojo. The Tracer offers about a hundred different cable routing options and has tabs for a Gravity Dropper style seat post. My only issue with cable routing on the Tracer was a VERY tight fit with the front derailleur housing coming through the upper linkage.
Originally I ran into some issues with chainguide compatibility on the Mojo. The large diameter of the down tube, coupled with a low driveside chainstay limited the number of guides unless you wanted to go to town on a grinder. I settled on the Blackspire Stinger, which worked fairly well while in the middle ring or bigger.
Running a guide on the Tracer is almost impossible. Right now I have the Stinger installed but all it's doing is keeping the chain from slapping the lower suspension linkage and provides literally no tension on the chain. The driveside chainstay is just way too low and there is little room for anything down there in the way of a chain guide.
The Mojo gets the nod for rear tire clearance. It just has a hair more space down there over the Tracer, which I've also noticed on some of Intenses other bikes. The way Intense designs their swing arms doesn't allow much room.

So there it is. I can't really say I like one bike better than the other as there are trade offs on each I like/dislike. At this point, I'd have to say that the final decision may just come down to customer service which would have to be just amazing to keep up with Ibis. I just hope I don't have to go there.

Speculate away....

2009 Tracer VP:



2008 Ibis Mojo w/Lopes Link:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,494 Posts
Good observations, slc. I figured the Tracer would be a solid climber. I take it you did not feel much pedal feedback- one of the worst things about the old VPP designs. That is good to hear. Now it is time for a new 29er from them.
 

·
www.derbyrims.com
Joined
·
6,766 Posts
I'd agree for standing and pedaling the Tracer VP has more suspension counter bob reactivity than any dw-link I've ridden with similar travel. And I'd put the new version VPP at the top of XC racing acceleration performance, the most resistant to bob when standing or pedaling hard while seated, without firming up a platform shock. The dw-link is more bump compliant and slightly higher in traction when pedaling hard, but I'd guess racers trade off some rough and loose trail traction for hardpack acceleration performance.

I demoed a new Tracer VP for a short time over loose gravely dirt looking for holes and bigger rocks to test the feedback. The handling felt easy and familiar, very quick to find confidence. The new version VPP is much better than the prior version, the noticeable pedaling extension and drop suspension reactivity in the middle and granny ring with each standing pedal effort is gone or far reduced with the new VPP design. Braking is still stiffening and much like a monopivot in rear brake traction, only average. The Mojo is far better hard braking in my opinion.

Testing rear wheel flex of the new Tracer showed more lateral and torsional flex than the Mojo before the Lopes link. Not a deal breaker unless racing duel-slalom.

Intense finish design work has always impressed me, and they build some of the lightest frames in aluminum of anyone. And my experience with 5 years owning the earlier Tracer horst link found excellent customer warranty service when I needed it for a cracked seatpost failure.

If Intense offered a dw-link design with the new Tracer's handling and sizing I would have stayed with them. I have no regrets and only top praise after 3 years going with Ibis and the Mojo.
 

·
Fragglepuss The Chaste
Joined
·
2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
derby said:
Testing rear wheel flex of the new Tracer showed more lateral and torsional flex than the Mojo before the Lopes link. Not a deal breaker unless racing duel-slalom.
I also noticed this and forgot to mention it in my write up. There is a bit more flex in the rear on the Tracer VP. A friend who owns an Intentse Slope Style mentioned the same thing on his bike. This is the first Intense I've owned, so I don't have a history to compare but seems like a common complaint with the brand.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
37,932 Posts
derby said:
and they build the lightest frames in aluminum of anyone..
Heh, that sounds kind of similer to the Tony Ellsworth quote I posted on the suspension board.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,494 Posts
Buzzkill!

slcrockymountainrider said:
I also noticed this and forgot to mention it in my write up. There is a bit more flex in the rear on the Tracer VP. A friend who owns an Intentse Slope Style mentioned the same thing on his bike. This is the first Intense I've owned, so I don't have a history to compare but seems like a common complaint with the brand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
I just got a Mojo SL and have been riding a Tracer VP for a while. I didn't notice any flex in the rear while riding, it's a great bike, descends and climbs well but can blow threw it's travel easily. Hopefully the Mojo will best it when I get out on the trail.
 

·
Fragglepuss The Chaste
Joined
·
2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Flyer said:
Buzzkill!
Perhaps. But it's not enough to ruin the experience on the bike. It wasn't a complaint so much as it's an observation. Without the Lopes Link, the Mojo feels the same way. I think that the flex issue would have been a problem on both bikes had I not been running the EX1750 wheelset and bigger RWS axle. That hub/axle adds a lot of rigidity to the rear of the bike. Couple that with a LL on the Mojo and you've got a fairly solid rear end.

My dilemna is: do I prefer a bike that climbs better or descends better? Oh well, still searching for the Holy Grail of frames but it seems like I'm getting close.

Have to say that the Mojo is definitely on my top 5 favorite bikes now. We'll see how the Tracer VP measures up after a couple more months on it.
 

·
Fragglepuss The Chaste
Joined
·
2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
rideronthestorm said:
I just got a Mojo SL and have been riding a Tracer VP for a while. I didn't notice any flex in the rear while riding, it's a great bike, descends and climbs well but can blow threw it's travel easily. Hopefully the Mojo will best it when I get out on the trail.
Throw the bike into a corner and it will flex. I guarantee it. Same thing with the Mojo even with the Lopes Link and RWS rear. It is much more pronounced on the Tracer.

I'll have to disagree with the Tracer blowing through it's travel. Despite it feeling not as 'plush' as the Mojo, I still think it uses it's travel fairly well. On a lot of bikes you have to run a rediculous amount of sag to use up it's travel on anything other than big drops.
 

·
Founder: Dirty3hirties
Joined
·
2,031 Posts
I like the write up....think you were trying to be as objective as possible, offering praise and criticism for both bikes. I was surprised at some of your opinions (as you yourself were) but that's fair.

Most surprising was the Tracer's tire clearance. I don't think the Mojo has "a lot" of room. It's good enough I gather. But the Tracer is billed as a full 6X6 bike and with that label, you expect the bike to be able to handle a 2.4 tire easily. While the Mojo does not have the greatest clearance, it was designed with a little different intent (albeit you and I both had a 160 fork on it).

Secondly, the flex. I'm not too familiar with the flex issues with Intense's bikes but I have read a few threads regarding it. I figure with a chance to squash those "issues", this would be the bike to address it.
 

·
Fragglepuss The Chaste
Joined
·
2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
_dw said:
I'm curious to hear if you have ridden a Pivot Mach 5 or Turner 5 Spot. Have you?
_dw, I'm assuming you're refering to the new DW Link 5 Spot? Unfortunately, I have not owned the newer version of that bike but briefly had an '08 5 Spot early last year through a grassroots sponsorship deal with Turner. I turned around and swapped it out for an '08 RFX within a month and used that bike for Super D and some 'normal' DH races last season. With both bikes, there was little to no flex in the rear. My only real issue with both bikes was the tallish head tube lengths and I would have prefered the BB on the RFX to be a bit lower. Other than that, they were both solid builds.

I've heard some good things about the Mach 5 as a good friend of mine who races endurance-XC events (he was recently profiled in an issue of MBA) is seriously considering that bike along with the Mojo for next season. He's tested all three: Pivot, Mojo and new 5 Spot and he quickly ruled out the 5 Spot as he felt it had a dead spot in the travel. I haven't thrown a leg over that bike so I'm not certain what he's talking about. He did give rave reviews of the Mach 5 though. It will be interesting to see which one he ends up with.

On a side note; I know things didn't end too well with Iron Horse, but I have to say that my Sunday was probably the funnest, best performing bike I've owned to date. The suspension was just amazing. It really put me in as a big fan of the DW Link. The Mojo solidified my sentiments. Prior to this the old-old version of the Nomad was my tell-all bike. If this new generation of the VPP on the Tracer VP doesn't gel with me (I still have high hopes) I'll be going back next season and try a Pivot or another Mojo. Perhaps an RFX if Turner gets the BB below 14inches and keeps the head tube a respectable (read: shorter) length. Right now the 5 Spot as it sits just isn't catching my eye other than it aesthetically it looks beautiful.

Pictures are good.







Airborne Mojo:

 

·
Fragglepuss The Chaste
Joined
·
2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
ddraewwg said:
I like the write up....think you were trying to be as objective as possible, offering praise and criticism for both bikes. I was surprised at some of your opinions (as you yourself were) but that's fair.

Most surprising was the Tracer's tire clearance. I don't think the Mojo has "a lot" of room. It's good enough I gather. But the Tracer is billed as a full 6X6 bike and with that label, you expect the bike to be able to handle a 2.4 tire easily. While the Mojo does not have the greatest clearance, it was designed with a little different intent (albeit you and I both had a 160 fork on it).

Secondly, the flex. I'm not too familiar with the flex issues with Intense's bikes but I have read a few threads regarding it. I figure with a chance to squash those "issues", this would be the bike to address it.
Thanks ddraewwg.

Like I mentioned, my perception of both bikes was completely the opposite and was actually hoping that the Tracer would be a more 'plush' ride in the rough stuff. Not the case.
I was aware of tire clearance issues on the Tracer from friends who currently own the bike and from a Thread or two on this website.
A few times I ran a Maxxis 2.5 Highroller rear and had adequate clearance with that tire on the Mojo. Of course, Maxxis tires tend to run on the small side and I wouldn't consider it a true 2.5. Had I used another brand, say like Intense's 2.5's, it may have been a different story.

As far as flex goes, I can't say it really bothers me too much. It's definitely noticeable on both the Mojo and Tracer, but after a ride or two I just started to tune it out. Coming off of an RFX last year and a Nomad the year prior I would have thought that it would bother me as both of those bikes were solid. Besides the flex issues, I'd almost want to say that the new Tracer VP feels/performs a bit like the '07 version of the Nomad-a bike I really liked.

I guess the point I was trying to make with this comparison was just how differently the VPP and DW Link feel based on my body type and riding style. The VPP being a bit more firm and the DW Link more plush and consistant throughout it's travel. Like my old Nomad, the Tracer took a bit of time with a shock pump to find it's sweet spot. The Mojo was quite a bit easier and user friendly to set up.
Keep in mind that both suspension designs don't really like to be ridden in the small ring. If you're hammering in the granny gear they both perform horribly. If you're trying to compare both designs riding in that gear you won't notice a difference. Both really come alive in the middle ring and bigger gears where you can benefit from their intended performance.

Anyway, just my two cents. Others are going to have completely different experiences on each bike. However, I feel that I've owned enough bikes (including a few 29'ers) to make a fairly educated take on each.
 

·
Let's fly!
Joined
·
433 Posts
Mtb Action Mag said something about VPP having "chain feedback" when descending and braking. Did you experience anything you would call "chain feedback"? What is that? Does the VPP design have smooth suspension performance under braking?
 

·
Fragglepuss The Chaste
Joined
·
2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
MultiRider said:
Mtb Action Mag said something about VPP having "chain feedback" when descending and braking. Did you experience anything you would call "chain feedback"? What is that? Does the VPP design have smooth suspension performance under braking?
MR,

I haven't noticed any brake jack or the like on the Tracer yet. Doesn't mean it's not there, but I haven't noticed it. Only quirk I've noticed with both suspension designs I mentioned above: pedaling in the granny gears doesn't really engage the VPP or DW Link suspension the right way and it just feels sloppy. I did experience a very small amount of chain feedback, 'bob', kickback, what-have-you when seated and pedaling through rough, rocks/technical sections on both bikes when in the granny gears. But that's about it.

Compared to a run of the mill single pivot or Horst Link (FSR for all you Special-ed 'tards), it's night and day. IMO you have a lot less nonesense going through the suspension both in climbing and descending on the VPP or DW Link compared to the above suspension designs. I ran a Moto-Lite with a Roco for a while and despite that style of shock, the ride was super rough and I experienced a ton of brake jack. Might as well have had a simple single pivot.

Anyway....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,674 Posts
I have a Tracer VP and have to agree that it isn't overly plush with the rp23 on it. I don't think the bike and the shock in stock tune are a great match. This has been beat like a dead horse in the Intense forum. I ended up switching out for a coil shock and the bike has just come alive. The CCDB was the best upgrade I have ever made on any bike. The rear is almost too plush if there is such a thing.

I haven't noticed any jack or squat either when braking. Feels as active when braking as my old horst link bike.
 

·
Fragglepuss The Chaste
Joined
·
2,119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
smithrider said:
I have a Tracer VP and have to agree that it isn't overly plush with the rp23 on it. I don't think the bike and the shock in stock tune are a great match. This has been beat like a dead horse in the Intense forum. I ended up switching out for a coil shock and the bike has just come alive. The CCDB was the best upgrade I have ever made on any bike. The rear is almost too plush if there is such a thing.

I haven't noticed any jack or squat either when braking. Feels as active when braking as my old horst link bike.
That's kinda sad considering the Tracers, mine included, come with the HV RP23 in a low tune. The comparison I made of the two bikes was with the older, medium tune RP23 that used to come on the Mojo's. From what I understand, the Mojo's are now coming with the low tune and it makes a bit of difference.

Perhaps if I decide to hold on to the Tracer I'll look into a CCDB or PUSHing the RP23. Too bad Cane Creek stopped making Ti springs for the CCDB in the smaller stroke coils (they're still making them for the 3" strokers). Fox's new coil shock looks promising but we'll see what people are saying about it down the road.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Moving from an Intense 5.5 to a Mojo SL, the first difference I noticed was the climbing. Intense are definitely better climbers. When it comes to descending, I felt that the Mojo was better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts
Chain feedback feels like the rear suspension stiffen up when you are on the brake while decending. VPP2 was suppose to fix the chain feedback issue but from riding the Tracer VP for two days in Moab. I felt it was still there. To me, Mojo and Tracer VP climbs about the same. Spesh Horst link and Yeti single pivot climbs better IMO. Downhill, I still like my Mojo the best.

MultiRider said:
Mtb Action Mag said something about VPP having "chain feedback" when descending and braking. Did you experience anything you would call "chain feedback"? What is that? Does the VPP design have smooth suspension performance under braking?
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top