Ibis Ripley: First Impressions – Sea Otter 2013

29er All Mountain Trail

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.

First Impressions
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!

Ibis Ripley: First Impressions – Sea Otter 2013 Gallery
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Ibis Ripley at Sea Otter Front Angle Viewpoint

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Ibis Ripley Sea Otter Rear Shock Closeup

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Ibis Ripley at Sea Otter

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • jeremy says:

    Thanks for the post, hoping for some more ride reviews. I rode a Mojo for 5 years and have been on a Superfly for the last few years. I took a chance and ordered a Ripley based on my past experience with Ibis. I went xt with the 140. The stock wheels are for sale, ordered some Roval 29er carbon’s for more stiffness and a little lighter. I am hoping it’s comes in a little lighter than 27, no drop post and wheels but some real tires!

  • david says:

    Yes. I Rode it and felt it to be front end heavy and the pivots were creaky as well. Didn’t feel like 120mm travel and it felt sketchy at speed.

  • dizzle12 says:

    any actual weights? I just built up a 26″ bike with similar components (5.5 lb frame weight)- and it weighs in at 27 lbs with mostly xtr

  • matt says:

    Stupid raked fork = no buy. Why?

  • derby says:

    Demoed the Ripley with 120mm fork at Sea Otter, where 120mm is more than enough travel for the technically easy sandy singletrack and fireroads with very few bumps other than beginner’s downhill skidding created stutter bumps.

    The front end with a steeper fork with 120mm travel gripped corners very well, much better than any previous 29′ers I’ve demoed, but still not as balanced in handling as similar high quality bikes with smaller wheels. The greater traction of the bigger wheels exaggerate the rear weight biased trail bikes normal tendency to wash the front tire first. As usual, a more aggressive front tire tread or wider front rim than rear rim making more front tire cornering bite would help balance the handling.

    The suspension rode very smooth, and pedaled in and out of the saddle with immediate acceleration response, never breaking traction under power on the sandy hardpack. The Ripley is in a top class of it’s own in all the 29′ers I’ve ridden.

    BB is very low but pedal clearance was not a problem on the easy Sea Otter trails. Manualling the front wheel up to get over obstacles was not needed anywhere, but lofting the front wheel or doing a stoppie was nearly impossible, as with any 29′er.

    29′ers are not for my interests in technically difficult trails, where 650b wheels handle obsticles and corners much better and roll nearly as well. But the Ripley is a stand out quality 29′er for light weight 120mm travel for many riders, from road riders beginning to ride off road to elite XC racers. Excellent Ibis!

  • Gator says:

    Rocky Mountain 999 Element will eat it up!!! Also 1lb lighter.

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