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Ibis Hakka MX Rival Review

The Ibis Hakka MX is a very lightweight, uncompromisingly stiff, fast, and efficient gravel bike.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $3,399 List | $3,399.00 at Competitive Cyclist
Pros:  Very lightweight, fast, nice build
Cons:  Can feel harsh over the rough stuff, narrow non-flared handlebar
Manufacturer:   Ibis
By Jeremy Benson, Dillon Osleger  ⋅  Nov 7, 2019
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 5
  • Downhill - 30% 8
  • Climbing - 30% 9
  • Versatility - 20% 7
  • Weight - 10% 10
  • Build - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Ibis Hakka MX is a high-performance gravel machine that earned our Top Pick for Racing for its uncompromising efficiency. This carbon rocketship is the lightest model we tested with a very stiff frame that flies both uphill and back down. This bike is snappy, quick, and responsive with surgically precise handling. The modern gravel geometry feels dialed and comfortable for any length ride or race. The Rival build we tested is solid and lightweight and offered at a respectable price point considering the performance of this bike, plus you can choose the wheel size that best suits your needs. Our biggest gripe with the Hakka is that the frame is so stiff that it can feel a little harsh compared to some of the competition, a trade-off for its race-inspired feel.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $3,399.00 at Competitive Cyclist$3,599.00 at Competitive Cyclist$2,800 List$1,499.00 at REI$1,850 List
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Star Rating
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Pros Very lightweight, fast, nice buildLightweight, nice build, excellent bland of frame stiffness and compliance20mm of Future Shock suspension, light and stiff carbon frameInexpensive, versatile, many frame mount optionsInexpensive for carbon, compliant seat post and handlebar
Cons Can feel harsh over the rough stuff, narrow non-flared handlebarExpensiveNon-tubeless tires, 2x drivetrain, limited tire clearanceHeavier than the competition, budget build2x drivetrain, non-aggressive tires, quirky geometry
Bottom Line The Ibis Hakka MX is a very lightweight, uncompromisingly stiff, fast, and efficient gravel bike.The Stigmata is a well-rounded high-performance gravel machine and the winner of our Editor's Choice Award.The Diverge Sport is a reasonably priced, versatile, and comfortable carbon gravel bike with a unique front suspension design.The Salsa Journeyman is an affordable and highly versatile entry-level gravel bike.The Revolt Advanced 3 is a complete carbon fiber gravel bike that retails for less than most carbon frames.
Rating Categories Ibis Hakka MX Rival Santa Cruz Stigmata Carbon C... Specialized Diverge Sport Salsa Journeyman Apex 1 700 Giant Revolt Advanced 3
Downhill (30%)
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8
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9
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8
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8
10
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7
Climbing (30%)
10
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9
10
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9
10
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8
10
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8
10
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8
Versatility (20%)
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7
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8
10
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8
10
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9
10
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7
Weight (10%)
10
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10
10
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9
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7
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6
Build (10%)
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6
Specs Ibis Hakka MX Rival Santa Cruz... Specialized... Salsa Journeyman... Giant Revolt...
Measured Weight w/o pedals 18 lbs 13 oz 19 lbs 2 oz 21lbs 5 oz (with tubes) 24 lbs 5 oz (with tubes) 22 lbs 7 oz
Frame Material Carbon Fiber Carbon CC Fact 9r Carbon Aluminum Advanced Grade Composite(Carbon)
Wheelsize 700c or 650b (tested) 700c (tested) or 650b 700c (tested) or 650b 700c (tested) or 650b 700c
Frame Size Tested 58cm 58cm 58cm 57cm Large
Available Sizes 49, 53, 55, 58, 61cm 52, 54, 56, 58, 60cm 48, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm 50, 52, 54, 55.5, 57, 59.5cm XS, S, M, ML, L, XL
Wheelset Ibis Alloy 733 27.5" rims with Ibis hubs WTB Asym i23p 700c rims with DT 370 hubs DT R470 Disc 700c Wheelset WTB ST i19 TCS 2.0 700c rims with Novatec hubs Giant S-X2 Disc 700c Wheelset
Front Tire Schwalbe Thunder Burt 27.5 x 2.1" Maxxis Ravager EXO 700 x 40c Specialized Sawtooth Sport 700 x 38c WTB Riddler Comp 700 x 37c Giant Crosscut AT 1 700 x 38c
Rear Tire Schwalbe Thunder Burt 27.5 x 2.1" Maxxis Ravager EXO 700x40c Specialized Sawtooth Sport 700 x 38mm WTB Riddler Comp 700 x 37c Giant Crosscut AT 1 700 x 38c
Shifters SRAM Rival 1 SRAM Rival 1 Shimano 105 SRAM Apex 1 Shimano Tiagra
Rear Derailleur SRAM Rival 11-speed SRAM Rival 22 Long Cage 11-speed Shimano 105 R7000 lond-cage 11-speed SRAM Apex 1 Shimano Tiagra
Cassette SRAM PG 1130 11-42T 11-speed SRAM PG-1150 11-42T 11-speed Shimano 105 11-34T, 11-speed SRAM PG 1130, 11-42T Shimano Tiagra 11-34T
Crankset Praxis Zayante Alloy 40T 175mm Easton EA90 175mm Praxis Alba 48/32T SRAM Apex 1 X-Sync, 40T FSA Omega 48/32T
Bottom Bracket T47 Threaded Easton BSA Praxis PF30 not specified Shimano Press Fit
Fork ENVE G-Series Carbon Santa Cruz Carbon Specialized FACT Carbon Fantail Deluxe Carbon Giant Advanced Grade Composite
Seatpost Ibis Aluminum 31.6mm Easton EA50 27.2mm Specialized Carbon, single-bolt, 27.2mm Alloy 27.2mm Giant D-Fuse Composite
Saddle WTB Silverado Pro 142mm WTB Silverado Pro Specialized Body Geometry Toupe Sport, steel rails, 143mm WTB Volt Sport 142mm Giant Contact (neutral)
Handlebar Ibis Flat Top Alloy Easton EA50 AX flare Specialized Adenture Gear Hover, 12-degree flare Salsa Cowbell Giant XR D-Fuse, flared
Stem Ibis 31.8 Easton EA50 Specialized Alloy Salsa Guide Giant Contact
Brakes SRAM Rival 1 flat mount SRAM Rival 1 flat mount Shimano 105 R7070 flat mount TRP Spyre-C mechanical Giant Conduct hydraulic disc
Measured Effective Top Tube (mm) 573 573 575 568 575
Measured Reach (mm) 392 390 390 380 392
Measured Head Tube Angle (degrees) 72 72 72.5 70 71
Measured Seat Tube Angle (degrees) 73.5 73.5 73.5 73 73
Measured Bottom Bracket Height (mm) 276 285 268 279 282
Measured Wheelbase (mm) 1040 1038 1025 1060 1046
Measured Chain Stay Length (mm) 430 425 422 440 425
Warranty 7-years Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Hakka MX is a very lightweight and stiff carbon gravel bike that sacrifices a little comfort for pure efficiency.
The Hakka MX is a very lightweight and stiff carbon gravel bike that sacrifices a little comfort for pure efficiency.

Should I Buy This Bike?


Ibis redesigned their Hakka cyclocross race bike a few years back to modernize its geometry to meet the demands of the growing gravel riding scene. In doing so, they created the Hakka MX, a highly versatile bike that is suitable for everything from hardcore gravel racing to bike packing adventures. The MX stands for "monster-cross" and makes light of the fact that they offer it with 700c wheels and tires, or a 27.5" x 2.1" monster-cross setup. The Hakka is built around a very lightweight and stiff carbon fiber frame that is incredibly fast and efficient with a snappy and race-inspired feel. The frame's stiffness gives it surgically precise handling, though at times the lack of compliance can feel a bit harsh compared to the competition, a tradeoff for its unparalleled efficiency. The Hakka's geometry is in line with modern gravel bike trends and this bike is comfortable for casual group rides and 100-mile endurance races alike. The Rival build we tested comes nicely equipped and is generally ready to race right out of the box. Our test bike came with the 27.5" MX wheel and tire combo, though we had the chance to test it with the stock 700c wheels and tires as well. We feel the Hakka is a great choice for aspiring or current gravel racers or anyone seeking a very lightweight and efficient bike for their adventures.

The lightweight and stiff carbon fiber Hakka MX frame.
The lightweight and stiff carbon fiber Hakka MX frame.

Frame Design


The Hakka MX features a full carbon fiber frame with an ENVE G-series gravel-specific carbon fiber fork. This frame is impressively lightweight and ultra-stiff. It has an oversized bottom bracket and sculpted chainstays to accommodate tires up to 700 x 40c or 27.5" x 2.1". The fork has clearance for up to 700 x 50c or 27.5" x 2.25" tires. It features 12mm thru-axles, flat-mount disc brake mounts, and fender mounts front and rear. It also has internal cable routing with the ability to work with any drivetrain configuration as well as internally routed dropper seat posts. The Hakka MX comes in 5 sizes, 49, 53, 55, 58, and 61cm.

We measured our size 58cm test bike and found that it has a 573mm effective top tube length and a 392mm reach. The head tube angle was 72-degrees with a 73.5-degree seat tube angle. The bottom bracket sat 276mm off the ground with 430mm long chainstays and a 1040mm wheelbase. Our test bike tipped the scales at just 18 lbs and 13 oz set up tubeless without pedals.

Design Highlights

  • Carbon fiber frame only
  • Frame weight of only 1000-grams
  • 700c or 27.5" wheels
  • Tire clearance up to 700 x 40c or 27.5" x 2.1"
  • Threaded bottom bracket
  • Frame and fork only for $1,999
  • Complete builds ranging from $3,399 (tested) to $4,399 with the option to upgrade to carbon wheels for an additional $800

The Hakka MX is a little less forgiving than some  but it is an absolute rocketship on the descents.
The Hakka MX is a little less forgiving than some, but it is an absolute rocketship on the descents.

Downhill Performance


The Hakka MX is straight-up fast. On the descents, it excels on smoother and more manicured gravel conditions with razor-sharp handling and uncompromising precision. The carbon frame is very stiff, giving this bike its impeccable handling and responsiveness, though this stiffness results in a somewhat less forgiving ride quality than some of the competition. We had the chance to test the Hakka MX with both of the stock wheel and tire combinations available on the Rival build, though most of our time was on the 27.5" setup.

The Hakka is fast on the descents  although the stiff frame transmits a little more feedback than some of the competition.
The Hakka is fast on the descents, although the stiff frame transmits a little more feedback than some of the competition.

The lightweight carbon fiber frame of the Hakka is STIFF. This is without a doubt the stiffest frame of all the models we tested, and this works a bit of a double-edged sword for this bike's downhill performance. On the one hand, this bike is fast, it accelerates like no other and has razor-sharp handling. On the other, the limited compliance of the frame does little to absorb vibration and road chatter which can make it feel a little harsh over the rough stuff. On mellow singletrack, smooth gravel, or pavement, this bike is an absolute rocket down the hill without outrageous power transfer, efficiency, and a race-inspired feel. It's also super fast over rough gravel, you just feel the feedback more than you do on other more compliant frame designs. The geometry feels dialed and comfortable, almost identical to the Stigmata but with a slightly lower bottom bracket, touch longer chainstay, and slightly lower front end. Testers found this geometry allowed for a relaxed enough position for all-day comfort with the ability to get down into aggressive attack position when needed.

During testing, we had the chance to try both of the stock wheel and tire combinations offered for the Rival build. Not surprisingly, the 700c wheels and tires offered a distinctly racier, faster, and more refined feel. This would be our choice if splitting our time between pavement and gravel, if our typical gravel rides were relatively smooth and buffed, or if racing the Hakka in some endurance gravel events(which we did). The 27.5" wheel setup is a bit slower rolling, but provides heaps more traction as well as dampening in the form of air volume. This would be our choice if our gravel roads were rough or chunky, if we planned to ride any singletrack, or if we were planning on doing any bike packing. We like the fact that Ibis gives you options when you buy, helping to ensure you get the right setup for your needs. Ibis also gives you upgrade options to get carbon wheels at an additional cost.

We found the 27.5" x 2.1" wheel and tire setup provided a smoother and more comfortable ride on rough roads and trails.
We found the 27.5" x 2.1" wheel and tire setup provided a smoother and more comfortable ride on rough roads and trails.

Our testers were generally impressed with the Rival build on our test bike. This component spec is quite similar to the Stigmata we tested and works well for the intended application of the Hakka. While the build isn't high-end or especially fancy, everything works well and doesn't compromise the overall performance of the bike in any way. Our only real gripe with the build we tested was the narrower non-flared stock Ibis Flat-Top handlebar. While this handlebar provides a relatively comfortable place to rest your hands, our testers much preferred the feel of wider bars with flared drops. Ibis does give you the option of upgrading your Hakka with an ENVE G-Series gravel bar for an additional cost, and the handlebar would be the first upgrade we'd make to enhance the downhill performance of this bike.

Whether you're just cruising or trying to beat your PR on your favorite climb  the Hakka is light and fast with no wasted energy.
Whether you're just cruising or trying to beat your PR on your favorite climb, the Hakka is light and fast with no wasted energy.

Climbing Performance


The Hakka MX is a very fast and efficient bike on the climbs. This is thanks to the bike's lightweight as well as the stiffness of the frame that allows for very direct transfer of your power to the drivetrain. Sure the frame transmits a little more feedback than some, but there is absolutely no loss of power when pedaling this bike. If you're interested in going uphill quickly, the Hakka has you covered.

The very nature of rigid bikes makes them all quite efficient when climbing, but few can match the Hakka in this regard. Our test bike weighed less than 19 lbs complete with 27.5" wheels and girthy 2.1" tires. This was the lightest bike we tested and you can feel the difference over the course of long and short climbs. When you get on the gas the bike responds immediately whether you're grinding it out in the saddle or punching it up a short rise. It has a very snappy and lively feel due mostly to the stiffness of the frame. You don't need to be a racer to appreciate this bike's climbing abilities, those who take a more casual approach will still be rewarded by its efficiency over the course of any length of ride.

The Hakka's climbing efficiency is unparalleled.
The Hakka's climbing efficiency is unparalleled.

The Hakka's geometry is generally quite comfortable for climbing with a properly steep seat tube and a moderate length reach. Whether settled in for a long slow grind with hands on the top of the bars or down in the drops sprinting uphill for glory, the modern gravel geometry works well. The components are generally dialed for the climbs as well. The SRAM Rival 1x11-speed drivetrain has plenty of range for just about any pitch of climb and you don't need to fiddle with any pesky front derailleur. Testers found that they preferred the 700c wheels and tires for smoother road surfaces, though the 27.5" setup was great for rougher roads where the benefits of additional air volume were more appreciated.

The 27.5" setup on the Hakka give it a somewhat more forgiving ride feel and enhance its singletrack riding abilities.
The 27.5" setup on the Hakka give it a somewhat more forgiving ride feel and enhance its singletrack riding abilities.

Versatility


The Hakka gets a nod for its versatility right off the bat due to the fact that it is offered with either 700c or 27.5" wheels. This gives the consumer the ability to select the wheel and tire setup they prefer depending on their intended use. With such a lightweight and stiff frame, the Hakka works well for road rides, and with the big tires you can rip this bike around on some mellower singletrack trails. We've also seen some custom builds with short-travel suspension forks and flat handlebars to create a super lightweight hardtail. While the frame and fork don't have mounts specifically for bike packing accessories, we have seen many Hakka's loaded up with handlebar, saddle, and frame bags for bike packing adventures.

We had the chance to test the Hakka with both of the stock wheel and tire configurations. Both have their distinct advantages  and we appreciate the versatility and options.
We had the chance to test the Hakka with both of the stock wheel and tire configurations. Both have their distinct advantages, and we appreciate the versatility and options.

Weight


Our size 58cm Hakka MX takes top honors for its impressively low weight. At just 18 lbs and 13 oz set up tubeless without pedals, the Hakka is the lightest bike in this test, coming in 5 oz lighter than the next lightest model. This is especially impressive considering the fact that this is the entry-level Rival build. This is primarily the result of the ultra-light 1000-gram frame weight and modest but lightweight component spec. Climbs feel easier and this bike feels incredibly lightweight and fast underneath you. For the price, this bike is very lightweight, and we'd imagine that anyone building up their own dream build on a Hakka frame could make one significantly lighter.

The Hakka is a very attractive bicycle with a quality build that's ready to shred.
The Hakka is a very attractive bicycle with a quality build that's ready to shred.

Build


The Hakka MX we tested comes with the SRAM Rival build. This is far from the flashiest component specification, but it is lightweight and functional and helps to keep the price of this lightweight carbon bike from being completely astronomical.

The SRAM Rival 1x11-speed drivetrain works quite well. Our testers prefer 1x setups for their simplicity.
The SRAM Rival 1x11-speed drivetrain works quite well. Our testers prefer 1x setups for their simplicity.

Groupset


Our test model came equipped with a full SRAM Rival kit which includes the drivetrain and the brakes. This is a 1 x 11-speed drivetrain that pairs a 40-tooth front chainring with a wide range 11-42-tooth cassette. Ibis chose stiff and lightweight Praxis Zayante Alloy cranks with a 30mm spindle and a threaded bottom bracket. The SRAM Rival hydraulic disc brakes are flat mount with 160mm rotors front and rear.

The Schwalbe Thunder Burt 27.5" x 2.1" tires have loads of air volume and relatively low rolling resistance. We did find  however  that they are somewhat easy to puncture.
The Schwalbe Thunder Burt 27.5" x 2.1" tires have loads of air volume and relatively low rolling resistance. We did find, however, that they are somewhat easy to puncture.

Wheels/Tires


When you buy a complete Hakka MX you have the option of standard 27.5" or 700c wheels and tires. We bought the 27.5" wheeled version which comes with Ibis branded 733 Alloy rims laced to Ibis hubs. These rims have a 29mm inner rim width which pairs well with the 2.1" Schwalbe Thunder Burt tires. These tires have lots of air volume and a semi-slick tread that features very low profile center tread with some slightly more substantial cornering knobs. If you opt for the 700c wheels you get the same Ibis hubs laced to a set of Stan's Grail Alloy rims with Schwalbe G-One 700 x 38c tires mounted to them.

The stock Flat Top handlebar is okay  but we'd much prefer a wider flared bar for gravel riding.
The stock Flat Top handlebar is okay, but we'd much prefer a wider flared bar for gravel riding.

Cockpit


The cockpit features a handful of house-branded Ibis components. The Ibis Flat Top alloy handlebar is a relatively standard non-flared drop bar with a wide "flat-top" that is quite comfortable. The bar comes wrapped with basic EVA bar tape. The handlebar is clamped to an Ibis alloy stem that comes in a 70, 80, 90, or 100mm length depending on your frame size. The seat post is an Ibis aluminum in a 31.6mm diameter and 350mm length. Our test bike came with a WTB Silverado Pro saddle in a 142mm width, and you have the option of a WTB Koda Pro in a 150mm width if you prefer a wider and softer seat.

Build Options


The Hakka MX is offered as a frame only with the ENVE G-Series carbon fiber gravel fork for $1,999 for riders who want to create their own custom dream build. Otherwise, Ibis offers it in two complete builds including the Rival build we tested. The Rival build can be purchased with either the 27.5' x 2.1" wheel and tire combo we tested or with Stan's Grail Alloy 700c wheels for the same price. Ibis also provides upgrade options for several components including the handlebar, stem, seat post, and wheelset at an additional cost.

The GRX build is the other option that retails for $4,399 and comes with the Shimano GRX gravel-specific groupset. This build has a full GRX 1x drivetrain, GRX brakes, and comes standard with an ENVE G-Series gravel handlebar, road stem, and carbon seat post. It can also be purchased with either the 27.5" or 700c wheels with the option to upgrade to carbon rims in either wheel size.

Testing the Ibis Hakka MX.
Testing the Ibis Hakka MX.

Suggested Upgrades


The Hakka MX with the Rival build is very capable and ready for just about anything straight out of the box. Testers did feel, however, that the stock Ibis Flat Top handlebar was a little narrow for their preferences and the lack of flare made it somewhat less comfortable than the wider flared bar that came on the Stigmata, for example. The handlebar would probably be our first upgrade on this bike, and it's also an upgrade option if you configure your component specification on the Ibis website.

Testers also found that the stock Schwalbe Thunder Burt tires that came on our test bike weren't the most durable. If you ride seriously rough and rocky roads or trails you may find the limitations of these tires quickly. Tires are an affordable upgrade and will be a necessary purchase eventually if you ride with any frequency anyway. Beyond that, the Hakka is about as ready to rip as we'd expect for the price.

Value


At a retail price of $3,399, we feel that the Hakka MX Rival is a very good value. This is a high performing lightweight carbon rocketship of a bike that is equally at home toeing the line at gravel races as it is casually spinning out the miles on paved or dirt roads with friends. We think the price to performance ratio is quite high with the Hakka MX, and we would recommend it to anyone who is seriously considering getting into the gravel racing scene.

The Ibis Hakka MX is an excellent gravel bike and a great choice for racers or casual riders who prioritize lightweight and efficiency.
The Ibis Hakka MX is an excellent gravel bike and a great choice for racers or casual riders who prioritize lightweight and efficiency.

Conclusion


The Hakka MX is a high-performance carbon fiber gravel bike that is very fast and efficient. The Hakka's stiff carbon frame makes no compromises and this is the lightest and fastest bike we've tested. This bike is quick and ultra-responsive with razor-sharp handling, though it sacrifices a little in the comfort department as a result. Considering the race-inspired performance of the Hakka we feel that the Rival build we tested is a solid value and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who seeks efficiency and a top-quality ride.


Jeremy Benson, Dillon Osleger