DV9 Ibis Hardtail Mountain Bike Review – My First Ride, Thoughts & Reflections

DV9 Ibis Carbon Hardtail Mountain Bike – 29 in wheels, 2020 model. I took this on my climb up Frey Gulch road in Keystone, Colorado.

I recently purchased a DV9 Ibis NX carbon hardtail mountain bike. I am a Summit County, Colorado “local” at this point (I am from to northern Wisconsin originally) and I was really looking to improve my climbing efficiency. I traded in a serious enduro (the Scott Genuis 2019) for a hard tail. This is a review of my first ride with some thoughts & reflections on bike life.

I am happy to report overall no drama. I will write an entirely different post on the psychology of why I switched from all mountain enduro to hardtail, but simply put I wanted more climbing ability. The DV9 delivers in that aspect.

My new DV9 Ibis Nx Carbon Hardtail.

My First Ride on My DV9 Ibis

This is an extremely light weight bike at 26 lbs carbon fiber featheriness. I selected an easy ride that I was familiar with that incorporated pavement, gravel, and some single track downhill).

As I started to climb I noted the typical discomfort that comes with all climbs initially (cardiovascular). However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was climbing a whooping 3 gears higher than I did the week before on my enduro. I was SHOCKED. While I did not necessarily feel like I was that much more efficient, I knew that between the 1×11 & 3 gears higher had to be faster than slogging in my granny gear on the enduro bike the entire way.

What really surprised me was the efficiency on flats. I never gave much thought to flats ever, except here in Summit County, Colorado to be thankful for them. The DV9 Ibis literally peddled itself over them.

I was comfortable with the geometry. I purchased a large uni-sex frame. Besides peddling efficiency this was the second reason I switched bikes – the cockpit on the enduro felt very small. I am 5’9 and the large Ibis from my initial reaction seems to be the right size bike.

Climbing is Where the DV9 Ibis Shines

No surprises here, this bike climbs very efficiently. I look forward to using it as a tool to climb more for exercise over the next few months. On my old enduro bike I was feeling so discouraged I rarely rode it last summer.

If you have some experience in riding mountain bikes, I would recommend the carbon hardtail. I imagine it would not be comfortable if you were entirely new – the carbon does give a bit of vibration that other materials would not.

DV9 Ibis was Pleasantly Manageable on Downhill Single Track

The section of down hill single track I rode was a small section of dry loose gravel in a pine forest. The 29er wheels do help to keep the bike tracking downhill. I did note that it feels slightly less maneuverable compared to the enduros 27.5 wheels, but reminded myself to use those larger wheels as the absorption and try not to “think as much”.

I found if I kept myself in an athletic stance I did not have issue with the loose gravely single track. If I got lazy on the downhill or overused the back brake too much, the tail of the bike would skid or slide out. In these situations I reminded myself to fall back on mountain biking 101 that I will link to here : 3 Essential Mountain Bike Skills for Beginners.

I am curious to see if I can handle more chunky downhill on this bike but I am going to take my time. I have spent two years on an enduro that could absorb just about anything, and I am replacing that with absorption from my ankles, knees, hips and spine. I am treating myself like a total beginner, and working that progression again. I do want to get better at climbing and I believe this bike can help me be a better rider.

A Note to Female Riders

I feel like the mountain bike industry is guilty of the “pink it and shrink it” phenomenon we see in other outdoor industries. When I purchased that enduro bike it was entirely too small – about two frame sizes two small. When you shop for a frame really assess your torso length versus your legs when you sit on a bike – do not get caught up in “I am a size medium”. Thats what I did – I was very wrong.

When making a decision on hardtail versus full suspension you must know yourself. In my opinion, as a former instructor, and having worked with all walks of life know your strengths psychologically and physically.

What I know about myself: I am flexible and strong physically, I am not typically scared to “downhill things” because I skateboard and down hill ski. I know I get frustrated easily, and often climbing – a weaker cardio capacity.

That is my profile – what do you know about yourself? I hypothesized a hardtail is an ok bet for me because of that profile – I feel confident I can teach myself the downhill skills to handle a hardtail. I hope I am right – we will see!

Are you good already at climbing? What is your downhill experience? If you do not have a background in down hill anything I would steer you away from a hardtail. I have seen plenty of women at the downhill park who could not grasp the idea that you have to stand on level pedals in the gravity line. This typically ended poorly. It certainly does not mean you cannot learn it but recognize for what it is – you will have to learn to use your body as a suspension. I am curious to hear from other women on this topic! What has been your experience?

I also feel like the hardtail might have a season for you in your biking career. I started on hardtail, moved to enduro, and now I am experimenting again. I have a hunch I might be a candidate for cross country suspension bike next year. The hardtail forces people to learn some difficult lessons, and I believe they can be an amazing tool.

Another lesson I learned in the last few weeks, is stand in your decisions and confidence. When I told other Colorado people about my hard tail decision I received a lot of doubt. Which is why I want to be careful what I share and write here – know your own needs and ability!

Bike Commuting Lifestyle and the Intersection of Mountain Biking

In the last few months I have been converting from using a car to go to work and transitioning to only using my electric bike. This lifestyle shift has been compelling in many aspects – including my decision to try hard tail mountain biking.

I have had people engage in conversation with me then say things like “well I can not bike commute because…”and that is fine if that is their truth. I see them, and validate it – it is a curiosity they feel the need to share a “why not” with me – I am not the fossil fuel police! I have also had people completely convert to car free and share their experiences with me – which is such a celebration.

Through bike commuting I have learned in a short few months it is worth shaking things up and trying the new thing! No one took my car from me, I can always drive it I want. I can be brave and try the hard tail, and sell it next week for a suspension bike if I change my mind.

Bike commuting has also inspired me to really look at how I spend my time. I really do want to spend more time climbing this summer (on single track) and improve my mountain bike skills and capacity.

Final Reflection & Thoughts

I love having this blog to journal on! I am excited to be sharing my experience with the DV9 Ibis – I have named her “Nectarine”. She has a lot of orange and black and I am slowly going to add some other pink colors in to make it more “peachy” colors.

Through radically changing up some of my lifestyle habits I am finding new energy to challenge myself in different ways. I am journaling, bike commuting, and now taking on a summer of climbing on a hardtail.

I am passionate about helping others challenge their own lifestyle – if you are a new mountain biker check out this article to help you find your flow and get started: Learn How to Mountain Bike: Beginner MTB Tips From an Instructor. I regularly post about bike commuting & Colorado adventures + lifestyle. I have two additional posts specifically about mountain biking I will post the following two Mondays – “My Own Psychology Challenges with Mountain Biking, and Limiting Belief Systems” as well as “SMART Mountain Bike Goals for Summer of 2022”.

I am always happy to connect with people about bike commuting, mountain biking or otherwise. Leave me a comment! Happy Biking – Emily

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