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Razor-sharp handling meets ridiculous levels of traction and control. It’s dumbfounding, actually
Our virtual mechanic is pretty fast. He's also sometimes kind of lazy. He'll swap out frame colors and show you your drivetrain upgrades but he says it takes too long to change brakes and things. He's doing his best but please excuse any irregularities you may notice...
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If you're trying to see some bigger images of the Mojo 3 click on the 'GALLERY' tab below. That's where the nice big images should be.
You could call it the baby brother to the Mojo HD3 or the successor to the Mojo SL/SL-R. Either way, it’s a good thing, and maybe it's our most versatile trailbike ever.
You can run 2.3, 2.5 or 2.8 Plus tires on the Mojo 3, all with the same wheelset and without compromise.
The Mojo 3 shares a lot of DNA with the HD3. Where the HD3 is big and burly, the Mojo 3 is light, taut and energetic. The latest generation of the dw-link gives the bike its amazing climbing and descending abilities.
Low, long and slack best describes the geometry, with the added bonus of extremely short chainstays. Notably, it’s not so slack that only a few World Cup Downhill pros can use it to its full capacity. The bike is nimble yet massively capable.
The Mojo 3 also features a Boost swingarm, which yields stiffer wheels and a stiffer frame. A highly evolved carbon layup makes the frame as stiff as an HD3 at just under 5.5 lbs (with shock, size medium). Boost also allowed us to fit 2.8” tires in 425mm chainstays and if you like, you can run a 2X front derailleur.
Suspension techology, drivetrain performance, materials technology and carbon frame construction have all enjoyed tremendous advances in the last few years. All of us who ride have benefitted greatly.
The newest and we think most exciting areas of innovation now are wheels and tires. They are also the biggest story in this bike so we've devoted an entire section one tab over to the right. For the other areas of innovation in the Mojo 3, read below. Or, just read the one word review from Mike Levy at pinkbike:
If you want a more wordy quote, we offer you this:
It’s like a switchblade covered in Velcro. Razor-sharp handling meets ridiculous levels of traction and control. It’s dumbfounding, actually.
The Mojo 3 enjoys the latest and best ever refinement of the dw-link. Dave Weagle has managed to add more anti-squat support further into the travel. Combined with the excellent Fox DPS shock with EVOL sleeve, the bike performs beautifully through the mid stroke, remaining smooth and predictable through the entire range of travel. The bike sits high in its travel with no wallow in the middle of the range, meaning we can maintain a low bottom bracket height for excellent handing without pedal strikes.
photo by Andrew Railton
Geometry on the Mojo 3 has been further refined and modernized from its sibling the Mojo HD3. With the aid of the 148mm Boost swingarm, we have reduced the chainstays to 425mm, while at the same time accommodating 2.8 Plus tires AND maintaining 2X compatibility with our removable front derailleur mount. The modern trailbike geometry we employ is longer in front, shorter in the rear and lower and slacker. With the RockShox Pike Boost fork, you're served up a stable yet maneuverable 66.8º head angle.
Worldwide, in the trail bike segment of the market, ~130mm of travel is the largest selling category. It's the right amount of travel for the largest number of people.
Since our dw-link bikes tend not to get stuck in the middle of their travel and have a very linear feel to them, the available travel feels consistent, predictable and more usable. This characteristic has been further enhanced by the very excellent Fox DPS shock with the EVOL sleeve and the Mojo 3 tune we've developed with Fox. Read more about the shock tuning in the setup tab to the right.
photo by Andrew Railton
The Mojo 3 started down the development path as a non-Boost bike, before there was any traction for yet another standard. By going to the Boost standard in the swingarm, we've shortened the chainstays to 425mm, and at the same time increased the stiffness of the swingarm by 20%. We only gained 6 grams in the switch to boost. Conversely, getting that stiffness back with non-Boost would have cost us 80 grams. Bear in mind too, Boost not only got us these weight and stiffness benefits, we were also able to increase the clearance to accommodate the 2.8 Plus tire size. There are numerous tangible benefits to the Boost standard.
Roxy, our frame designer is a shade over 5' tall, let's call her 5'1" with shoes on. Tom Morgan, our President is 6'6", barefoot.
Combined, they make sure that our bikes fit people throughout the size and gender spectrum. Here's a snap of Roxy on her small Mojo 3 near Santa Cruz.
As with our previous three models, we start by molding a sacrificial mandrel in exactly the shape that we want the inside of the frame to be. That becomes the 3D template for the bladder that holds all the carbon preform before it's laid into the mold. This allows the lay-up to be done in one piece, with no joints anywhere. The result is a more precise structure that eliminates the need for additional foam or filler to mold the complex shapes. What that means for you is a lighter and stronger frame, critical factors in hitting our targets for weight and stiffness.
We worked very hard on our shock tune for this bike, so we have devoted a whole section to shock tuning, found on the far right tab called Setup. Here's another picture, unrelated to anything.
photo by Andrew Railton
We run tapered head tubes and steerers in all of our bikes as they deliver an exceptionally rigid front-end platform. The ZS56 lower headset allows for a bigger gap between the top tube and the down tube which results in a stronger front end with no weight penalty. It's particularly effective on the small and medium.
You may use several different Cane Creek headsets or the Chris King InSet 2 headset.
There's a lot of versatility with the cable routing. You can run full housing or interrupted housing. Interrupted housing using our available cable stops will allow you to save about 55 grams of weight over a fully run housing.
If you peek under the upper link at the back of the seat tube, you'll see a small aluminum piece bolted on. That’s a cover plate that replaces our direct mount front derailleur adapter. If you’re running 1X you’ll use this plate, and if you want to run XTR 2X or XT 2X, there’s an extremely clean derailleur mount that bolts on.
The bottom bracket is threaded 68mm with ISCG-05 capability. Available as an option is an ISCG-05 adapter, allowing you to mount a chainguide should you desire.
If you ride in rocky environments we have available an optional polycarbonate guard that bolts on under the down tube, providing an extra degree of protection.
We've made a provision for a water bottle on the inside the triangle and on the L and XL one below the down tube. It’s best to use a side-loading cage if using a large bottle inside the triangle, such as this one from Arundel.
TRACTION FOR DAYS
The first thing many people will notice is that we’re running Plus tires on the bike. What’s not immediately evident is that you can also run standard 27.5” tires. In other words, you can choose either normal tires or 2.8 Plus tires with the same frame and wheelset.
If a rider wants a fast/light setup or there is already plenty of traction in his/her area, a 2.2-2.4 tire will be great. Also, wide tires don’t work as well in the mud so if you’ve got sticky mud, take the plus tires off (We're talking to you, U.K!). You’ll have huge clearance for your thinner mud spikes. All of our initial testing was on 2.35/2.25 tires and with those size tires, the bike rips.
Need something a little burlier? We have been working with Maxxis to make a wide-rim specific tire, and they have released the Minion DHF WT 2.5. For our 35mm inner width rims (741/941), this is the tire we’ve been waiting for. The side knobs are much more supportive and cornering confidence is increased immensely. We’ve been riding everything from familiar local trails to all-day rips in Downieville and Tahoe on these tires and are super pleased. Note that the Mojo 3 will be shipped with any of the three tire options, those living in rockier terrain will probably want the beefier Minions.
Quite a few people have asked us why we didn't make this bike also 29er compatible. This is a good question that deserves a detailed answer.
In 2014 we started a project that would make the Ripley both a 29er and 27.5 Plus bike, because Plus tires were supposed to be about the same outer diameter as 29er tires. Then reality happened. When we got our early Plus tire samples and started measuring, we found that all of the tires measured smaller than what the tire companies said they would. And when we rode a bunch of the Plus tires, all the ones we liked were the shorter ones.
Then reality happened
One thing that's not talked about much is that tires have their own sag, which is is a real number at our preferred pressures (12 psi for Roxy, 14 for Colin, 16 for the 180 pounders and 18 for the Clydesdales). When you measure the static BB height, it's slightly higher with the 2.8 plus tires. When you measure BB height with your weight on the bike, it's the same as with 2.3" 27.5 tire.
When we realized this real-world scenario we decided not to convert the Ripley and looked at the Mojo 3 frame instead. It works really well with "regular" 27.5 tires, which means you can choose different tire sizes with the same wheelset and no frame or fork modifications. And it is an absolute bar-dragging game-changer with the 2.8 Plus tires.
Note that the 2.8's are an inch shorter than the 29er tires. In order to fit 29er tires the chainstays would have to get significantly longer. The Mojo 3 enjoys 425mm (16.7") chainstays. We think it's probably the shortest plus bike chainstay out there. The bottom line is that it's a better 27.5 plus bike because it's not also a 29er.
We also think that while it sounds nice, in actuality not many people are going purchase two wheel and fork setups. If you had the wheels and fork lying around, that would be one thing. Since the modern bikes are switching to boost now, most people are not likely to have a spare boost anything lying around.
Here’s what AJ had to say:
You look at those big tires and you think “pig”. Then you stomp on the pedals and your preconceptions get left back there in the dust. Yeah, the Mojo 3 is stable and controlled, but this thing absolutely rips.
We’ve been riding plus-sized tires on different bikes… We tried a few different 3.2”, 3.0” and 2.8” tires and found a whole new ability to attack rough terrain.
Rider feedback told us that the plus tires get bouncy and really heavy as they get bigger, so we have come to the opinion that 29" plus and 27.5 x 3.0-3.2 is a deal killer for most people.
Looking to find a good balance of everything, the sweet spot for traction, bump absorption, lightweight and fast rolling is around 2.5-2.8. Big enough to get the benefits of greater air volume and traction, but not inherently bouncy or heavy. With a lightweight 2.8 tire the bike’s capabilities jump a level while the weight/climbing/speed/rolling resistance drawbacks are minimal.
An undamped spring is the enemy of control.
Wide is good but too tall is bad. Tall is just an undamped spring and those become a handful at speed. They do float along absorbing things at low speed but it all falls apart once you try to go fast over rough terrain.
After riding quite a few plus bikes, our engineer Colin commented “They’re really fun...until they’re not”.
We understand the appeal of trying to get around having hydraulic damping, it’s expensive and requires periodic service, but in terms of control at speed, there is no substitute. On a side note, loaded mountain touring is gaining popularity, this is a perfect application for the bigger plus tires.
We’ve found that the numbers printed on tire sidewalls mean very little when it comes to height. The Schwalbe and Maxxis 2.8’s are only 0.15” taller in section height than a 2.3 tire whereas 3.0’s are 0.4” taller. That means with the 2.8’s you get the added traction but without bounce and vagueness in corners. They also allow for those short 425mm chainstays which would not be possible if we tried to fit bigger than 2.8’s.
They're just like normal tires...with more traction
Both the 2.8 Schwalbe and the 2.5” Minion WT tires feel very fast on this bike while descending. So we set out to see if one tire was better than the other in a quantifiable way. We did speed runs down local trails comparing one tire setup to another not just in terms of feel but also for time. While both offer tons of traction, the tires feel different on the trail: The Minion WT’s are very stable and gives a supreme confidence to the rider. Banging through berms and sharp direction changes are where this tire sets itself apart. The 2.8” Schwalbe, with its bigger casing and air volume, loves to plow through anything on really rough terrain. Although the tires felt totally different, we were surprised that they actually gave the exact same times on multiple runs, they just got there in totally different ways. The Maxxis would be faster in directional changes and windier sections, while the max speed would be higher with the plus tires. It really comes down to personal preference and riding style to determine who picks which tire.
At the pressures we normally run on the 2.8" tires (13-16psi), wide rims are mandatory.
Some people, including us, have been mounting 27.5 plus tires on 29ers. This is in fact how we did some of our Plus tire testing. As mentioned above, we’re not big fans of the 3.0 or 3.2” plus tires. The 27.5 plus tires we like are significantly smaller in diameter than 29” so swapping 27.5 plus wheels with 29" wheels on a bike designed as a 29er will lower the bottom bracket height half an inch. The good handling 29ers these days already have low bb’s so mounting a 2.8 Plus tire would be a serious pedal-striking compromise.
One final note on our the plus setup for the Mojo 3: ln in terms of downhill capability, on all but the biggest hits, it feels like the 130mm travel Mojo 3 with 2.8” tires is roughly equal to the 150mm travel Mojo HD3 with 2.3” tires. The big tires make the bike descend like a bigger bike. The difference is the Mojo 3 handles uphill and corners better due to lighter overall weight and lower BB. It’s a ripper.
|C-to-T Size||A||366mm (14.4")||419mm (16.5")||476mm (18.7")||520mm (20.5")|
|EFF Top Tube||B||580mm||600mm||620mm||640mm|
|Head Tube Length (4mm stack of lower cup not included)||C||85mm||105mm||117mm||132mm|
|Seat Tube Angle||E||74.6º||73.6º||73.6º||73.6º|
|Head Tube Angle||F||66.8º||66.8º||66.8º||66.8º|
|BB Height (with Nobby Nic 2.8)||335mm||335mm||335mm||335mm|
|BB Height (with 2.35" Nobby Nic or 2.5WT Maxxis Minion)||330mm||330mm||330mm||330mm|
|Sizing Guide (rider height)||152–165 (5'0"–5' 5")||163–175 (5'4"–5' 9")||175–188 (5'9"–6'2")||183–198 (6'–6'6")|
|Max Insertion (mm)||155||185||230||275|
Measurement from center BB to center of saddle rail (mm) for the Fox Transfer
Measurement from center BB to center of saddle rail (mm) for the KS Lev Integra
Measurement from center BB to center of saddle rail (mm) for the Rock Shox Reverb
Sorry, no build kit info for the Mojo 3.
Here’s a little bit about our approach to shock tuning.
Our goal was a suspension feel that is initially very plush (as this increases traction at slow speeds and in corners) but also can take up huge hits without the rider losing control of the bike.
We started with a shock with very low compression damping so that we could isolate the air spring characteristics. We tried a wide range of volume spacers, in not just the positive air spring but also the negative spring, until we had a supple initial feel with a robust ramp to control the deep part of the stroke. Once we finalized the air spring rates, we added damping and A/B compared different tunes until we liked what we were riding. Because the air spring is now so well matched to the suspensions leverage ratio, and DW link pedals well without a bunch of damping to prevent bob, the compression damping can be very light. This makes the suspension more effective and gives a smooth controlled feel. You also get more consistent suspension performance because the shock does not become underdamped as it heats up less under heavy riding.
A good number for starting sag measurement on the shock is 13-15mm.
In testing the prototypes, we found that lighter riders (like Roxy) could benefit from a custom tune in order to keep the suspension performance consistent with riders in different weight classes.
Because of the lower air pressures that a lighter rider will use, the air spring does not push back in rebound as hard as for a heavier rider. This leads to an over damped condition for the lighter rider. We also wanted to maintain the very plush initial feel of the Mojo 3 and so both the compression and rebound damping circuits were tuned by lowering the damping effects.
The end result is that we are offering a "Roxy Tune" as a no cost option with either the frame only or our build kits. Riders below 135 pounds or so should choose this option.
At the opposite "Clyde" end of the spectrum, the heavier rider can remove one or two o-ring negative volume spacers to achieve extra bottom out resistance.
If you already have your shock and want to change to the Roxy Tune, here's the information you need.
The Roxy tune has a different shim stack configuration on the main piston. It has lighter valving to match the low spring force that a light rider will use.
To convert, a shock must be completely disassembled and rebuilt to the Roxy spec. Special tools and high pressure nitrogen are needed which means it’s not something the average consumer can manage on their own. Consumers can send their shocks to an authorized FOX service center and have the shock revalved if they wish. Revalving an existing shock costs the same as a normal shock service (it’s the same level of disassembly). FOX has the Roxy shock drawings on file; their service technicians can look up the valve codes if you want to do a conversion.
Mojo 3 standard valving:
· Compression light
· Rebound medium
· Climb firm
Mojo 3 Roxy valving:
· Compression extra light
· Rebound light
· Climb firm