Ibis Exie: Blazing a New Trail and Thinking Green

Ibis is a brand we love due to its long commitment as an upstanding company that doesn’t just do it like everyone else. Their dedication to design, customer service, support of advocacy efforts like Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship and now sustainability with the Exie is commendable. The Ibis Exie is blazing a new trail and thinking green with a bike that is literally built by the sun’s power!

What’s different about the Exie

It’s a completely new Ibis with 120mm front/100mm rear travel made in Ibis’s environmentally friendly new facility in Northern California.

“The ener­gy effi­cien­cy of our self-heat­ed, low ther­mal mass tools allow us to use the sun to pow­er the entire facil­i­ty. The 282 pan­el solar sys­tem cur­rent­ly gen­er­ates 60% more pow­er than we use, which is fed back into the local grid reduc­ing the need for non-renew­able ener­gy gen­er­at­ed elsewhere.”


 

The Exie definitely climbs as well as expected!

Ibis Exie | 120mm front/100mm rear travel | MSRP SRAM XO build $9,199 

👍

  • Very light 4.6lbs frame/23.7 lbs complete without pedals
  • Precise handling that corners super well and is very agile
  • Super smooth and capable DW Link rear suspension
  • Lots of room inside the main triangle for 2 bottles, bag or tool wrap

👎

  • A little expensive – but it’s a sweet sustainably made in the US-made bike!
  • Rekon Races aren’t my favorite tires but are suitable for the intended purpose of this bike.
  • Less than tidy cockpit due to the lockouts

How does it ride?

I haven’t ridden many 100mm travel bikes in the past few years. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a quick, light, and fast bike. As shorter travel bikes continue to get slacker, longer and heavier I have started to wonder how much further bikes can go?

Initially (before riding), I thought the Exie was a little short on travel and conservative on geometry, and I wasn’t sure about the remote lockouts. My initial impressions after riding the bike for a few weeks were pretty off base. The bike is nimble, efficient, and fun in different ways than slightly longer travel bikes. The lockout is lovely when trying to mash up those long climbs or on smooth sections of fire road.

If I had to describe the Exie in one word, nimble would be it.  The bike corners so well and was super easy to put exactly where you want it. The ability to carry speed was noticeable compared to a slightly longer/slacker 120mm travel bike.

How does it climb and descend?

Climbing aboard the Exie is just what you would expect from an efficient suspension system, and lightweight and agile handling.  The bike has loads of traction and can get around the tightest switchbacks with preciseness and up the gnarliest sections of climbs with ease.

Descending aboard the Exie was pretty surprising given that the bike only has 100mm of travel out back. As long as the downs weren’t too long or rough, the bike’s ease of hopping or turning around the roughest sections was a snap. 

When is new school geometry too much?

This is a question I found myself thinking about as I descended some of my local western North Carolina Pisgah terrain. The Exie has the ability to change direction with the preciseness and confidence that I haven’t felt on bikes for a while. As I’ve stated, the bike rails corners, even with the minimal knob Rekon Races front and rear (unless riding on wet leaves :) I found myself corning faster and faster. As long as descents weren’t too receptively rough and I picked good lines, I felt comfortable on even trails mostly ridden by much longer travel bikes.

Do many new school geometry bikes place too much emphasis on being long and slack? After PR’ing a few twisty downhills that I’ve been down many times on a wide variety of bikes, I’m starting to think so. With a 67.2 degree headtube angle and 1158mm wheelbase on my medium, it is a fair bit different than my current Stumpjumper. Almost 2 degrees steeper headtube and 2 inches shorter wheelbase.

What stood out to me though is the bike’s ability to remain composed at speed and in the rough. This may be due to its precise and agile handling when needing to change lines, or maybe I assumed that 100mm of rear travel was going to be harsher.

Does the bike really need the lockouts?

If you are running the bike full plush to fully utilize every millimeter of travel, you might want to use the lockouts on the big smooth climbs and out of the saddle bursts. I however found that I almost never wanted to use the lockout when on-trail. With that in mind, I believe I’d rather have the bike with no lockouts. This would tidy things up a bit without two extra cables and the remote lever. 

Ibis Exie vs Ripley V4

The Ripley is a bike that I’ve personally ridden/owned way more of than any other bike and I love it. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll own another one.

The Exie frame is one pound lighter, and as a complete bike with the Fox 34 Step-Cast, wheels and tires, it is over 2 pounds lighter than an already light Ripley. That weight savings is easily felt going up and flows through the tighter trails with a little more ease than the Ripley. On the other hand, when it gets rough and you’re tired at the end of a ride, the increased travel of the Ripley really makes for a more comfortable and controlled ride.

Final Thoughts

The Exie has in many ways opened my eyes to how far modern bike geometry has changed. It’s less than super slack and long-wheelbase help the bike flow effortlessly through tighter trails. It’s also more than capable for many riders’ needs on milder to moderately technical terrain. The DW-linked rear suspension does a great job of staying glued to the ground when you want it to most.

This Ibis Exie is a lightweight, efficient, nimble and most of all fun ride on a wider variety of trails than any 6″ travel bike to me. There are lots of good choices out there, but where the Exie really stands out in my mind is the combination of it being the current most sustainably manufactured choice in a short travel and amazing riding bike.

Looking to pull the trigger on the Exie from one of our sustainably minded partners? You can find the Ibis Exie at Jenson USA

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ryan

    Thanks for the review Chad. The Exie is/was on my short list of new bikes. I’ve been racing XC the past few years on the Scott Spark RC World Cup. It’s earned me several top spots on the podium, but for our rugged courses in WV, it’s a bit rough as an every day race bike. So I’ve been looking at these longer travel XC bikes (I read your other article on this as well). The Exie was on my short list, with the new Scott Spark running 120mm F/R. In the end after so many glowing reviews, I went with the V4 Ripley. I think it will be much more enjoyable to live with over a strict race bike and my custom build should have this bike in the 24-25lb range. I don’t think I’ll lose a ton on the climbs but it will be much faster and more enjoyable on the techy rock gardens and steep descents we have.

    The saying goes, get the bike for the trails you ride and WV trails are on the more rugged side, even for our XC courses. I don’t think I would have been upset with an Exie and if they were available anywhere, I might have pulled the trigger, but the Ripley feels like the right choice (still haven’t ridden it yet).

    1. Chad Davis

      Hi Ryan, I totally agree with your thinking, especially if WV courses are anything like they were when I use to race there in the 90’s. We have a pretty rough one coming up this weekend (ORAM) that I believe I’ve decided to even just race my Stumpy on despite the 10,000+ ft of road/gravel climbing. I believe the Exie would do fine, but even on less long rides, I do start to notice the lack of travel on the long rougher downhills.

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