For years, Ibis bikes have been lauded for their ability to float over terrain — up and down, dry and wet, rocky, rooty, steep, gradual, smooth or decimated. It doesn’t matter, our bikes hover indifferently up, and hover indifferently down.
And all of our suspension bikes rely on the dw-link platform to do this. You gain pedaling efficiency though pivot placement alone — no reliance on shock tune necessary here. This means that unlike many other suspension layouts, our bikes don’t require overdamped compression to control pedal bob. Ibis kinematics do the hard work, shocks can breathe more freely.
Because we don’t need excessive compression damping, we’ve pushed our suspension partners to develop lighter compression tunes. These lighter tunes make it easier for the rear wheel to get out of the way, allowing the bike to better absorb an impact. But as we went progressively lighter, we found the shocks couldn’t rebound as fast as they could compress.
Bikes could soak up hits but couldn’t push the wheel down fast enough to track the backsides of bumps, rebound was lagging. If the suspension doesn’t move fast enough to track terrain, the wheel gets hung up and you lose speed, steering, and braking control.
Time for science: We recorded over a thousand DH runs using data acquisition from Motion Instruments, quantifying critical wheel speed in both directions — compression and rebound. We ran multiple shock tunes (from six different manufacturers) through the wringer analyzing data, going back to the drawing board, and honing in on what wheel speeds should be.
"Predictable handling is a good thing."
And as we refined rear-shock tunes, the data also proved we needed to custom tune our forks. We don’t want to have the back of a bike doing something different than the front, we needed to balance the suspension and keep the bike chassis flat relative to the ground. This keeps geometry consistent and gives you predictable handling. Predictable handling is a good thing.
The result of all this testing is something we call Traction Tune. This new tuning philosophy delivers unparalleled traction and control. It’s like high-end motorsports aftermarket tuning except that it’s built into every Ibis. And it’s not just at speed through rough terrain that you’ll notice it; you’ll also find it easier to lift the front over obstacles, sit back into a manual, and bunny hop. It needs to be ridden to be understood, it’s significant enough that it feels like you’ve found hero dirt that gives you more grip yet somehow doesn’t slow you down. We had to relearn braking points on our favorite trails. Simply put, Traction Tune unlocks speed.
It’s how suspension should be and we’re thankful we invested the time in close analysis and continual refinement. The end product is more than worth it.