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Bike Check: Andrew L’Esperance’s team-issue Ibis Haka MX

New Maxxis Factory Racing kit and bike for the Life Time series races

Andrew L’Esperance has a new team for 2022, joining Maxxis Factory Racing with Haley Smith. With the new team comes a very different race schedule. The Canadian racer is incorporating gravel racing with his cross country racing at the Life Time Grand Prix. A new team and new race discipline mean new bikes.

L’Esperance was kind enough to share the details of his new gravel race build, an Ibis Haka MX, and stare directly into the burning California sun at Laguna Seca Speedway while I took photos.

IBIS Haka Mx
Ibis Haka MX gravel bike

The most attention-grabbing, and the newest addition to the Maxxis team-edition Haka MX is, of course, that new Fox 32 Taper-Cast. L’Esperance’s Ibis was fresh from the mechanic stand where the gravel suspension fork was installed. The bright orange and Kashima gold of the Factory fork matches the Maxxis orange accents on the Ibis well. With this weekend’s Sea Otter gravel course sharing much of the route with Saturday’s Life Time GP XCO course, the extra suspension could be very welcome.

L’Esperance has his Haka MX set up with 700c wheels (it has the option to run wider 650b tires as well). The Shimano GRX Di2 electronic drivetrain is set up 2-by, giving a wide gear range and smaller jumps between gears. When you’re spending hours on hours on hours powering through the rolling hills of Unbound Gravel, you don’t want to find yourself between gears. A 4iiii power meter helps L’Espy further measure his effort.

Smaller, but not unimportant details include Enduro Bearings to keep the Haka MX rolling smooth. Easton’s slightly flared AX gravel bars for comfort on long days off-road. Stan’s Grail CB7 carbon fibre rims were wrapped in an unmarked prototype Maxxis gravel tire that looked a lot like an updated version of the Rambler.