Posted by Logan Watts
Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Ibis. My first major mountain bike investment was in a 26″ Mojo HD, which I practically sold my soul for back in 2008—the one that went on this bikepacking trip before I even had real bags. That bike’s long gone, but I’ve been ogling the Ripley for two years now; the third generation Ripley LS looked quite nice, and Chris’ Nepal-themed Ripley was unreal. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to stop by Ibis HQ in Santa Cruz to have a peek at the latest iteration of their do-it-all 29er platform, which was officially released today. Color me intrigued. Here are all the details. But first…
Debuting as a full-suspension 29er platform back in 2011, the Ripley is now in its fourth iteration. While it pays homage with the Blue Steel color scheme, it’s a long way away from the model year 2000 soft tail above, as seen in Ibis’ in-house museum of mountain bikes. The latest Ripley is even quite a departure from more recent Ripley LS (2017). In short, the V4 Ripley features an all-new, ground-up redesign inspired by Ibis’ well-received Ripmo. Here’s what else is new:
- Ripmo inspired chassis shares similar stiffness and lower link design
- It’s now .65 pounds lighter than the Ripley V3, according to Ibis
- Headtube is one degree slacker, now 66.5°
- Seat tube is three degrees steeper, now 76°
- Chainstays shortened by 12mm, now 432mm
- Reach increased by an average of ~45mm across all four sizes
- More progressive suspension kinematics
- Removable ICSG 05 mount
- In-frame molded cable tunnels
- 1x-specific design
- Quick Highlights
- Angles (large): 66.5° Head tube, 76° Seat tube
- Chainstay: 432mm
- Bottom Bracket: 73mm threaded
- Hub Spacing: 148/110mm BOOST
- Frameset Weight: 5 lbs / 2.27kg
- Seatpost Diameter: 31.6mm
- Max tire size: 29 x 2.6″
So, what’s this bike all about? According to Ibis, “The Ripley is our snappy, flickable, playful, fast, lightweight, and versatile 29” trail bike. Its combination of modern geometry, a stiff lightweight carbon chassis, and 120mm of ultra efficient DW-link travel, means it’s equally happy popping off bonus lines as it is crushing all day epics.” That last bit is what makes it relevant here, I suppose. There’s a lot to like about short travel 29ers—full-squish bikes with less than 120mm of rear suspension. Bikes such as the new Salsa Spearfish, Yeti’s SB100, Santa Cruz’s Blur and Tallboy, the Juliana Joplin, and Ibis’ Ripley offer lightweight suspension for comfort and pedaling efficiency, and large diameter tires for extra rollover. All this adds up to less rider fatigue during long days on rugged singletrack and mixed terrain. As such, short travel 29ers are often the weapon of choice for events like the Colorado Trail Race, the Arizona Trail Race, and the Highland 550. They’re also a blast on the trail.
What sets the Ripley apart from the other bikes I mentioned? First, it’s the only one built around and shipped with 29 x 2.6″ tires. I’m a big fan of this tire size. The extra width and volume offers some of the traction, float, and suspension benefits of plus tires, while maintaining stiffer sidewalls and not going off the deep end with weight and drag. There’s a little bit of magic that happens when 29 x 2.6″ tires are paired with short travel suspension, at least in my opinion.
As for suspension, the Ripley has 120mm of rear travel provided by DW-link linkage, a well-loved platform that can also be found on Pivot and Turner bikes. Up front, the Ripley sports a 130mm Fox 34 fork with a 44mm offset, a departure from the often used 51mm offset fork. Ibis claims this adds stability while allowing the Ripley to have a slacker 66.5° head angle. Speaking of angles, on paper, I was equally impressed by Ibis’ move to steepen the seat tube by a whopping 3°, giving the Ripley a longer reach and a modern, progressive geometry.
The Ripley is available in sizes S-XL, with the M-XL compatible with 170mm+ droppers, and the small with 125-150mm posts. Other features include a polycarbonate downtube protector, molded rubber swing arm protectors, 203mm max rotor size, and a single bottle cage mount inside the lower triangle with full-size bottle capability. While I was a little bummed that Ibis ditched the mounts under the downtube, and larger frame space, the new design actually looks like it could fit an adequate pair of custom frame bags, the bottom being a bolt-on design.
Moving toward MUSA Carbon
Over the past year, Ibis has been manufacturing the size small Ripley V3 in their Santa Cruz factory. The carbon layup mold shown below left does just that. That said, the new small Ripley is currently made overseas. Ibis is in the process of developing its Carbon 831 lab to produce a few US made models that will be built entirely in house.
The new Ibis Ripley is available as of today in Blue Steel or Matte Braap with a seven-year frame warranty and a lifetime replacement on bushings. It’s available as a frame only for $2,999, or in several builds, including the low-end NX for $4,099, the GX for $4,899, or the ultra-high-end XTR for $9,399. Learn more over in the video below and at IbisCycles.com.