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The wait is over.

If Ibis was to blindly follow industry trends, we'd have half-decade old Ripley's on the dirt. But, those bikes would have been lost in the extended list of long-wheelbase, four-inch-travel, full-suspension 29ers that are already crowding the bandwagon. Instead, Ibis stuck to its goal of eliminating the yawn-inducing handling and overly-stable traits that haunt full-suspension 29ers. Not surprisingly, Ibis was successful, and we now have the lively, 120mm-travel Ripley complete mountain bike with a Shimano XT build kit.

Scot Nicol's engineers set their sights on applying the advantages of larger wheels to a playful trail bike. To do that, they'd need a lightweight and nimble chassis that took advantage of all modern standards. With monocoque carbon fiber already mastered, the lightweight-chassis box was an easy one to check. But, in order to achieve nimbleness -- a mystical trait lost to wheelbase-stretching linkages and front derailleur placement -- the team had to push boundaries.

So, they enlisted the help of a suspension specialist that goes by the name of Dave Weagle. Yes, the same Dave that brought DW-Link magic to the Mojo. This time around, though, suspension linkages were the focus of scrutiny, as they are a main contributor to elongated chainstays. Mr. DW had his work cut out for him if he was going to retain the lauded characteristics of his original design in a compact package. What he came up with is a twin-eccentric system, that's optimized for 32-34t front chainrings. It provides the same anti-squat pedaling efficiency and active motion that initially crowned Weagle as the suspension guru.

It's no secret that the Ripley is overdue, and one cause of that extended development period was due to fine-tuning the eccentric bearing system. In fact, Ibis concurrently designed two systems -- one exploring long-life, lightweight, and adjustable bushings, while the other used proven, but heavier, angular contact bearings. In the end, steel balls triumphed over the bushings, and Ibis focused on refining the interface to reduce weight and complexity. The result is a durable system that uses standard bearings for serviceability. It's simple to disassemble and reassemble, with only a minute weight penalty. And while this is the first 29er Ibis, and the first to receive an eccentric suspension design, those aren't the only Ibis-firsts for the Ripley. Its carbon structure is also the first Ibis to use a micro balloon foam core.

Forming monocoque carbon fiber structures without voids requires molds, both internal and external. And like the Mojo SL-R, the Ripley uses an internal bladder in order to create a smooth, joint-free layup. But, in tighter areas, where complex shapes are required, it's impossible to use bladders. This was the case for the Ripley's swingarm uprights and clevis (the component connecting the swing arm to the shock). To solve this problem, most manufacturers will use either foam or aluminum for the structure that the carbon is laid over. This adds significant weight to a frame, and extra weight was not within the Ripley's design parameters. Ibis' solution to this problem, the micro-balloon or microsphere core, not only added strength and rigidity to the Ripley, but it also tipped the scale to half what traditional foam cores would. This undoubtedly contributed to the Ripley's feathery five-pound weight, but, as stated before, Ibis also wanted a nimble 29er. And while DW's eccentric design opened up the door to this goal, geometry would be an essential part to the Ripley's objective.

Ibis set out to produce a bike that handled how it felt a 29er should handle by placing riders on multiple bikes with Anglesets. Afterwards, trail options were explored. Not 'trail' in the sense of singletrack, but 'trail' as in the relationship of steering axis, offset, and tire contact patch. It's a measurement used frequently within competitive suspension design in motorsports, but has seen little publicity among mountain bikes. After quantifying the independent observations of the riders, Ibis found that the Ripley rode best with the 70 degree angle from 120mm travel forks with a longer rake. Unfortunately, though, that was a competitor's exclusive during development. Luckily, due to the Ripley's extended time in the incubator, the exclusivity recently ended, and now the FOX Racing Shox 32 FLOAT 120 G2 CTD found on this Ripley gives it the handling characteristics collectively preferred by Ibis' pro riders.

With the Ripley right, Shimano XT components step in to complete the quintessential trail bike. This includes the front and rear derailleurs, shifters, and brakes. For the crank, Ibis went with an e.13 with 24/34t chainrings. The Ripley rolls on Stan's NoTubes ZTR Arch wheels with Specialized Ground Control and Fast Trak tires. Finishing the build are Ibis-branded Lo-fi carbon bars, alloy stem, seatpost, and saddle.

The Ibis Ripley Shimano XT Complete Mountain Bike is available in four sizes from Small to X-Large and in the colors Blue and Matte Black.

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Ibis Ripley / Shimano XT Complete Mountain Bike - 2014

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Here's what others have to say...

Unanswered Question

Can this bike get swapped to a 140mm fork before shipping? Or would I have to build one up?

5 5

One Sweet Ride

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great all around bike with the pike 140 up front. Climbing is amazing and depends great too. Not much you cannot do on this bike.

5 5

MTBR Enduro Compar-O Best Climber 2014

5 5

Singletrack Magazine's Best Bike 2013

5 5

Race Bike Efficiency/Trail Bike Manners

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I just recently purchased this bike after much debate over several brands.Being in the bike industry I have the opportunity to demo many bikes and after riding several models the Ripley rose to the top. This bike performs extremely well over various types of terrain and conditions. Its light weight and very responsive. The unusually short wheelbase (close to a 26" bike) makes it ridiculously flickable and fast in twisty singletrack, big wheels and all! Even tight uphill switchbacks are no problem. I chose to match the frame with the 120mm G2 Fox fork which matches the 120mm of rear travel giving the bike a more balanced feel from front to back. Its a bike you can certainly be deadly on the race track with but feel at home doing long,epic rides with your buddies on the weekend. If you have the means I highly recommend picking one up.
If you have specific questions on this bike i can speak from experience.
Hit me up with questions or if you need guidance

Race Bike Efficiency/Trail Bike Manners

Anyone have a weight on the build up offered...

Anyone have a weight on the build up offered here?

Best Answer Responded on

My buddy just weighed his on my scale at 25.8. It's a medium with xo1 drivetrain and ks lev dropper post, candy pedals. Really nice bike.