Compare-O First Look: Ibis Ripley

29er Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014

This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–http://reviews.mtbr.com/category/enduro-compare-o-2014

In the rapidly changing bicycling industry, six years is a veritable lifetime — unless we’re talking about the Ibis Ripley.

In the same amount of time most manufactures pump out two, three, even four new model lines, California-based Ibis stumbled through a clunky development process that included a revamped design, a factory switch, and myriad other delays.

Indeed, it became a running joke that the existence of this bike—named after Robert Ripley, creator of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”—was, drum roll please… Not to be believed. But finally, in the time it took Barack Obama to win two presidential elections and launch a healthcare website, the Ibis Ripley finally made the transformation from idea to actuality.

The finished product is what Ibis bills as an 120mm trail bike that steers and handles like a 26er, but maintains the roll-over-anything benefits that come with its 29er wheels. To achieve this, Ibis utilized a truly out-of-the-box dw-link suspension design, where traditional links have been eschewed in favor of a pair of eccentric pivots that rotate on beefed-up BB30 bearings. In turn, these compacted pivots permit shorter chainstays and a stiffer swingarm—and they won’t get all gunked up if you happen to ride it through a mud puddle.

Other showroom floor highlights include lowered standover, bottom bracket and handlebar height, which are claimed to give this bike a more snappy, agile feel. Or at least that’s what the marketing material says. But, as you’ve surely already guessed, we’ll need to find out for ourselves if we believe it or not.

Spec Highlights

The Ripley’s two eccentric links reside inside the seat tube, which helps keep weight down and provides more tire and front derailleur clearance—if you actually need one. Our test rig did not, and was instead equipped with an e*thirteen 32t single chainring, SRAM’s XO1 11-speed rear derailleur, a SRAM 11-42 cassette and SRAM XO1 shifter. The Ripley also has room for two (yes, two) bottle cages, one on top of the down tube, the other underneath.

The spec on our test rig includes lightweight Stan’s ZTR Arch EX wheels and 2.25” Schwalbe tires, which has us wondering is this isn’t more of an aggressive XC bike than a true trail tamer. What’s going to happen during high speed, aggressive cornering?

That XC’ish notion is reinforced by the 120mm Fox 32, which is definitely on the small end for this test. It will be interesting to see if the bike gets overwhelmed when things get rowdy. (The Ripley frame can also be built up with a 140mm travel fork with 34mm stanchion, which will slacken the head angle from 70 degrees to 68.5 degrees.)

The upside of that weight-conscious parts spec, a wispy weight for a size Large 29er with 120mm of travel. No question that if this bike can hold up to a little downhill pounding, it’s going to be a true all-around assassin, capable of tackling a huge variety of terrain.

No arguments with the choice in dropper posts. It’s the ever-reliable KS Lev with its ultra-easy-to-operate actuation lever.

The parts package on our tester is rounded out with Shimano XT brakes (160 rear/180mm front) and a 12x142mm rear end that employs a Maxle axle.

2014 Ibis Ripley Key Specs
  • Weight: 26.45 pounds (size large)
  • Wheel size: 29 inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Travel/Suspension: Rear 120mm/Fox Float CTD Adjust Factory Series with Kashima coating; Front 120mm Fox Float 32 CTD  with Kashima coating
  • Drivetrain: E*Thirteen TRS+ cranks w/32t Guidering M, SRAM X01 11-speed rear derailleur, SRAM 11-42 cassette, SRAM XO1 shifter
  • Brakes: Shimano XT 160 rear/180mm front
  • Seatpost: KS Lev
  • Wheelset/Tires: Stan’s ZTR Arch EX 29er/Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25” snakeskin tubeless rear, Nobby Nic 2.25” snakeskin tubeless front
  • Bars/Stem: Ibis Hi-Fi Carbon bar 740mm/Ibis 3D Forged
  • Bottom Bracket Type: E*thirteen BB92/Press GXP
  • Head Tube Angle: 70 degrees
  • Seat Tube Angle: 73 degrees
  • Chainstay Length: 17.4 inches
  • Bottom Bracket Height: 12.9 inches
  • Bike MSRP: $5529
  • Frame MSRP: $2900 with Fox Float CTD Adjust Factory Series with Kashima Coat

For more information visit http://www.ibiscycles.com.

Read our Bottom Line Evaluation of the Ibis Ripley here.

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.

Compare-O First Look: Ibis Ripley Gallery
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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 Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures in British Columbia, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, and Peru among many others. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in January, 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and edited a book on cycling tips. When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying the great outdoors with his wife Lisa.


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