After departing from a snowstorm in Colorado, I was thoroughly enjoying the lovely 70 degree weather at Sea Otter. My impressions of my short ride on the Ripley is that it seemed much smaller than a 29er, and it felt light, quick, nimble, and flickable.
The long-anticipated release of the Ibis Ripley 29er was officially broadcasted to the world in mid-March, and Sea Otter was the first time I got to ride one. It was initially announced back in the summer of 2011, and has been in the design phase for five years. They have gone through many iterations of the frame, changed factories, and spent a lot of effort working out the kinks of the innovative internal dual-eccentric dw-link suspension linkages.
The DW-Link Ripley has 120mm of rear travel, and is approved for 120-140mm front forks. It has a tapered headtube, two water bottle mounts, press-in bottom bracket, internal top tube cable routing, 142mm rear, integrated direct mount front derailleur, comes in Black and Blue, and the frameset retails for $2899.99. They finalized the geometry with a head angle of 70 degrees with a 120mm fork and 68.5 degrees with a 140mm, and chainstay length at 17.5″, bottom bracket height (w/ 2.1″ tires) at 12.8″ with 120mm fork and 13.25″ with 140mm, and weight is 5-5.2 lbs.
The frame looks very nice in person, and it has the typical swoopy and sculptured Ibis lines, making for a stunning and beautiful frameset. The bike felt pretty light, and with the component’s spec’ed it was probably around 27 lbs. The frame felt nice and stiff, and the new eccentric linkages did an excellent job of pivoting, and they were silky smooth without any binding or notchiness. The bike had a tad more squat than my old Mojo Carbon, but it felt pretty normal to me since I ride my current Mojo HD with a lot of sag and low shock pressure. Out on the trails around Sea Otter I was amazed how fast the bike felt, and it just seemed to accelerate through most everything, including the dreaded stutter bumps. On occasion, I could feel the bigger wheels, especially when you got them up to speed or rolling over things, but it really felt like a 650B on steroids. The Ripley darted in and out of the trail, and it was easy to toss anywhere, and worked well in corners, berms, climbs and most descents. The suspension absorbed things nicely, without diving into the terrain, offering good composure and stability, though as set up, it felt more x-country than All Mountain. There was one uber steep climb that it did fantastic on, where the bike stuck like glue, and I could pedal up without having to apply much power, something most 29er’s would feel sluggish on. I used most of the travel, especially out of the 120mm front fork, but the local trails aren’t the burliest and most technical for pushing the suspension to the limit. When I was spoke with co-owner Hans Heim, he said that he substantially decreased his usual lap time on a local trail when riding the Ripley, compared to the Mojo, which really highlights the quickness of this frame.
I am looking forward to some more in depth and long term testing of the Ripley on my local terrain, especially in a 140mm front mode. Excellent job Scott, Colin, Hans, Roxy and Tom!