Posted by Logan Watts
UPDATE: View the full Ibis Hakka MX review here. If you’re at all familiar with the world of cyclocross, you’ve likely heard of the Ibis Hakkalügi, a CX bike introduced in steel back in 1997 and reinvented several times since. The ‘Lugi was originally designed as a dedicated cross bike, but folks have pushed its limits as a gravel grinder and even as a light bikepacking rig over the years. To take this versatility of their flagship ‘cross bike up a few rungs, the Santa Cruz based company today unveiled the latest in the Hakkalügi lineage, the Ibis Hakka MX. The MX stands for Monster Cross, in case you didn’t guess. In essence, the Hakka MX is a gravel bike. Nonetheless, it’s also a Swiss Army knife of a bike made to tackle flowing singletrack, long dirt roads, cyclocross, and according to Ibis, it makes a great road bike too. The Ibis R&D crew has even logged quite a few bikepacking trips on it already…
- Frame/fork: Monocoque Carbon
- Angles (58cm): 72° Headtube, 73.5° Seattube
- Stack/Reach: 599mm/391mm
- BB Drop/Chainstay: 70mm/430mm
- Bottom Bracket: T47 Threaded
- Hub specs: 12x142mm / 100x12mm Thru-axle
- Seatpost: 31.6mm
- Max tire size: 700x42mm or 27.5 x 2.1″
- Price: $1999 (frame/fork), $3299 (Rival 1)
We had the opportunity to catch up with Ibis founder, Scot Nicol to take a peek at the Hakka MX in bikepacking mode. Artist and long-time Ibis collaborator, Chris McNally was giving it a shakedown amongst the hills and folds of the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina. So we caught up with the two of them at camp after day one of the New Belgium Ramble Ride.
The Hakka MX is indeed an impressive bike in the flesh. Aside from its curvaceous frame, the 27.5×2.1″ tires are the first thing to stand out. I’ve been impressed with Ibis’ commitment to wide rims, and the 29mm inner width Ibis 733 rims certainly give the Schwalbe Thunder Burts a robust stance. The frame itself also has a nice stout appearance with beefy tubes that crescendo into interesting curves at either end, including the ever so slightly arched seat stays and fork, as well as an elegant drop chainstay.
When tossed into the ‘gravel bike’ category, and more specifically the full carbon gravel bike sub-genre, the Ibis Hakka MX might draw comparison to the likes of Bombtrack’s Hook EXT-C, the 3T Exploro, or the Salsa Warbird, all rigs with a road-inspired geometry fit for speed and agility. Geometrically speaking, the Hakka MX has a wheelbase slightly shorter than the Salsa Warbird and longer than the 3T Exploro, and a stack height that splits the difference as well. By the numbers I would place it somewhere in between the distance gravel racer and road bike turned dirt trixter. In all honesty, it looks like a fun bike that’s a nice blend of controlled comfort and snappy prowess. A good evolution from a classic cross bike to something that fits how people are riding gravel bikes these days. As Chris put it, “I have been a long time fan of the versatility of the Hakka(lugi). I have owned and loved every iteration of this bike. The Hakka MX is the multitool of bikes, a fix for any problem, dirt, trail, hobo path or road. If I ever was forced to choose just one bike… actually I cant answer that question.”
How is the Ibis Hakka MX different from the Hakkalugi?
Other than tire options — which we’ll get to — the frame was completely reengineered with minor geometry tweaks and updated standards. While the ‘Lugi has 135mm rear dropout, the Hakka MX gets a 142x12mm thru-axle. In addition, the Hakka MX has full internal cable routing, keeping things clean and tidy throughout. This also leaves the option for a dropper post, should that be of interest… Ibis also notes a nice hack, enabling a front Ultegra shifter lever to perform the dropper actuation.
Like its predecessor, the Hakka carries over a few choice features, such as a beefy 31.6mm seat post and a tapered head tube. And, it has a few more new tricks, including a Di2 battery mount, a threaded T47 bottom bracket (as opposed to PF86 on the ‘Lugi), and removable fender mounts on the seat stays. The T47 BB is a welcome change. For those unaware, the T47 is a relatively new oversized threaded BB standard designed to accommodate larger BB shells and serve as an alternate to oversized press fit BBs. As for the Di2 mount, I would’ve preferred to see a bottle mount on the downtube instead… in addition to bosses on the fork (hint, hint, Enve).
As with many gravel bikes coming out these days, when it comes to tire clearance, the Hakka has options. As Scot put it, “For bikepacking, and everything else, I think having a lot of tire and wheel choices is key. The Hakka MX will accept 27.5 x 2.1 tires, which is a nice choice for trouble free but efficient bikepacking.” As mentioned, Chris’ Hakka was set up with 2.1″ Schwalbe Thunder Burt mountain bike tires mated with Ibis’ mid-wide assymmetric 733 wheelset, which is also what Ibis specs on the Rival 1 complete build. With a 29mm inner rim width, it’s clear Ibis is dedicated to wide rims. And the beefy Thunder Burts transform the Hakka MX into a mixed terrain beast. In 700c mode, Ibis states the Hakka will accommodate tires from 23mm up to 40mm. I am guessing 42mm would be a safe bet. Ibis’ standard tire for the 700c option is the Schwalbe G-One (700 x 40mm).
Ibis Hakka MX Rival 1 Build
- Fork ENVE CX Disc Fork, Thru Axle
- Wheels Ibis 733 Alloy, 32 hole, 27.5 or Stan’s Grail Alloy, 32 hole, 700c
- Tires Schwalbe Thunder Burt 27.5” x 2.1” or Schwalbe G-One 700c x 40mm
- Brakes SRAM Rival
- Cranks Praxis Zayante Alloy 172.5, 24mm spindle, 40t Alloy Ring
- Rear Derailleur SRAM Rival
- Shift Levers SRAM Rival
- Cassette SRAM PG 1130 11-42T
- Chain CN PC1110 114LI W/ PowerLock 11Speed
- Headset Cane Creek 40 Headset, IS41/28.6 IS52/40
- Grips Black EVA Bar Tape
- Handlebars Ibis Flat Top 7075-T6 42 or 44 cm
- Stem Ibis 31.8mm (70, 80, 90, 100mm)
- Seatpost Ibis 31.6 x 350 L, 7075
- Saddle Ibis custom saddle, CrMo rails
The Ibis Hakka MX is available in 49, 53, 55, 56, 58, and 61 cm sizes, with either a Fireball (shiny red) or Coal (matte carbon black) finish. It can be bought as a frame/fork for $1999, or in several complete builds. The baseline Rival 1 build, as specced above, will retail for $3299. Learn more at IbisCycles.com.