Compare-O Bottom Line: Highly versatile Ibis Ripley eschews convention to splendid results

29er Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014

Photo by Tyler Frasca.

Just The Way You Want It

Like more and more mountain bike companies, Ibis offers its flagship model with a variety of build options. Frame and rear shock run $2900. Our test model was $5529 complete with Shimano XT brakes, KS LEV dropper post, and SRAM’s XO1 drivetrain spinning an E*Thirteen TRS+ w/32t Guidering. Less and more expensive options are also possible.

Our testers had no major parts complaints, save for the more XC-oriented Stan’s wheels and Schwalbe Racing Ralph/Nobby Nic tire combination. The alloy hoops were seen as a “nod to the bike’s XC race heritage, and could be a little flexy.” The tires simply “didn’t have enough tooth for our dry and dusty test loop.”

We also encountered a tiny amount of flex in the 32mm Fox fork. But this can be addressed with a 140mm Fox 34 (also compatible with the Ripley). Fox also makes a 120mm/140mm Talas specially for this bike (as opposed to the standard 110/140).

The KS LEV received its usual love among our testers, with one calling it his absolute favorite. “It’s infinitely adjustable, no play, and a great lever shape and action.”

It’s also worth mentioning that if you opt for a 1×11 build, Ibis has just started selling a front derailleur mount cover for five bucks. This helps clean up what one of our testers called the only blemish on an otherwise aesthetically clean package.

Photo by Tyler Frasca.

Cable Cobwebs

Like a number of bikes in this test, the Ripley’s cable routing could use some work. When installing cables, it’s necessary to lock the casings together near the front of the shock to keep them in place while riding. Otherwise they can slide as the suspension cycles. Previously Ibis had specified a zip tie to solve this issue, but zip ties are prone to slipping, making it a band-aid fix at best.

But again Ripley has conjured up an on-the-fly fix, designing a small aluminum clamp about the size of a sugar cube that locks the casings in place. These “Cable Dice” started shipping with frames on February 1 and can be bought online for $9.

And while we’re nit-picking, the black with green paint scheme of our test rig just didn’t pop. We’d love to see some different — and brighter — color options.

Photo by Tyler Frasca.

Who’s This Bike For?

The short answer: Anyone who likes riding mountain bikes. A little longer: It’s most likely a candidate for the recovering cross-country racer who wants to rail turns like runaway train, and still be able to hammer on the climbs.

The Last Word

The Ripley is an extremely versatile 29er that’s truly overcome the stigmas long associated with larger wheels. Yes, it’s capable of steamrolling over everything in big-hooper beast mode. But it also responds to a more gentle touch, and loves to pick and flick its way up or down the trail. Of course the 120mm of travel wont be enough from some riders, but for those who get over the number, the Ripley won’t disappoint.

The Good
  • Quick, nimble and fast handling
  • Great dw-link suspension
  • Great climber
  • Versitile personality
The Bad
  • “Only” 120mm of rear travel
  • Cables need taming
  • “Meh” graphics
  • Flexy wheels and fork
Price and Trickle Down Versions

Ibis Ripley as tested: $5529
Ibis Ripley frame set: $2900 with Fox Float CTD Adjust Factory Series shock
Ibis Ripley XT build: $5599
Ibis Ripley XX1: $6999
Ibis Ripley Special Blend: $3950

2014 Ibis Ripley Key Specs
  • MSRP: $5529
  • Weight: 26.45 pounds (size Large)
  • Wheel size: 29
  • Sizes: small, medium, large, extra-large
  • Color: blue; black and green
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Fork: Fox Float 32 CTD 120mm with Kashima coating
  • Rear Travel: 120mm
  • Rear Shock: Fox Float CTD Adjust Factory Series with Kashima coating
  • Headset: Cane Creek 40: ZS44 1 1/8″ top/EC49/40 Traditional 1.5″ bottom
  • Handlebar: Ibis Hi-Fi Carbon bar 740mm
  • Stem: Ibis 3D Forged
  • Grips: Ibis
  • Seatpost: KS Lev
  • Brakes: Shimano XT 160 rear/180mm front
  • Brake Levers:
  • Shifters: SRAM XO1
  • Front Derailleur: n/a
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM X01 11-speed
  • Cassette: SRAM 11-42 cassette
  • Crankset: E*Thirteen TRS+ w/32t Guidering M
  • Rims: Stan’s ZTR Arch EX 29er
  • Hubs: Stan’s 3.30 6-Bolt Disc Front QR front / 15mm; 3.30 6-Bolt Disc Rear QR or 12×142 rear
  • Spokes: Stan’s 32H Three Cross
  • Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25” snakeskin tubeless rear, Nobby Nic 2.25” snakeskin tubeless front
  • Bottom bracket type: E*thirteen BB92 Pressfit GXP
  • ISCG Tabs: No
  • Chain guide: No
  • Head tube angle: 70 degrees
  • Seat tube angle: 73 degrees
  • Chainstay length: 17.4 inches
  • Bottom bracket height: 12.9 inches

For more information visit

This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympics, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the Mtbr staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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  • Ian says:

    Every test of this bike is in light XC build. Can someone build it with AM wheels : flows ex or wtb i25 s on Chris kings and 34 fork at 140 or pike and really take it through paces on some rocks. Love the bike and hear it can handle the burly parts but have not seen it. Also hear that 2.3 tires rub seat tube in the back. Tell me it is not so and I can use my beloved HR2 2.35

    • DP says:

      No you can’t…. Because Chris King at least to the best of my knowlege still won’t accommodate xx1 which is absolutely what this bike wants. Furthermore the beefed up light bicycle carbon rims are another must have. I have ridden 120 and 140 forks. I went 140 I had the fox and switched to the pike which is light years better and couples better with the 120mm rear because the fox mid stroke support is garbage. With the 140 front this is a bike I would take anywhere that I would pedal up. I never ride my hardtail and am selling my bigger hit bike.

  • Andy B. says:

    Hey Ian, these guys tried the 34 but I don’t think it was a Talas judging by their complaint of balance being thrown iff though it’s not clear.

  • phil kaznowski says:

    I just built this bike with a 140 Fox Float, the bike felt rock solid and perfect for rough all mountain terrain (Lakes Basin).

  • Motivated says:

    What’s the real max rider height for the XL – when I was considering this bike the ETT was a very short 625mm, but indicated fit up to 6’6″ rider – does not jive. I never test ride one.

  • manchvegas says:

    2.35 HRs wont fit. I run mine with 2.4 xkings an it doesnt rub. I also tun mine with 140mm 34 fork and have raced some gnarly enduro. Itll do the job pretty well. I want a little more travel for northeast enduro.. but the bike will handle just about anything you throw at it.

  • Benja says:

    It’s funny how Ibis bikes kind of stump a lot of the market. Ibis is not a marketing-centric company. They make great bikes that they would love to ride. Sure sometimes they respond to the demands of the market, but their bikes don’t fall into the nice marketing categories that the bigger brands prop up to move units. Anyway, the Ripley is a good example of that. Is it an XC bike? Sure. Enduro? Sure. The HDR is somewhat similar; it doesn’t fall into neatly defined categories. But all their bikes reward the rider in spades. And yes, the Ripley deserves a 34 or Pike.

  • bigfoot jr says:

    “Effective last January, all Ripley frames are now shipped with a beefier lower eccentric core and new titanium bolt, which besides addressing the over-tightening issue, increases lateral stiffness by 10 percent claims Ibis. These updated parts can be retrofitted on older Ripley frames, and are available on the Ibis website for $35.”

    Wow….They spent 5 years designing this bike?!?!!

  • Jimbo says:

    I have the Ripley built with a 140mm Talas and Sram XX1. The bike can handle anything you throw at it. Super efficient climber and is bomber on rocky, technical DH’s. I would recommend carbon wheels to reduce flex in hard, fast corners. My previous bike was a Nomad. Didn’t think it was possible to have a better bike. The Ripley is better. This bike could win Downieville.

  • Alan says:

    I also own an Ibis Ripley and couldn’t be happier. My build is with the Pike Solo 140, Enve AM rims (Butcher 2.3′s F/GC 2.3′s rears), XX1, and have both a Pushed CTD and X-Fusion Microlite (Still haven’t picked a favorite). This bike is capable of anything I’m willing and able to throw at it. Bottom line… I purchases this bike believing it would be the best all around bike for my style of riding. Ibis has delivered!

    I’ve also been impressed with both Ibis’s customer service and product. Great job Ibis.

  • r1Gel says:

    How is the test bike’s build different from the standard XT build? Why is it $70 less?

    • r1Gel says:

      Correction — just realized the test bike has an X01 build. Still, there’s a $400+ discrepancy between the quoted price and what’s in the Ibis website.

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