2018 Ibis Ripley LS first ride review

Now with clearance for a 2.6” tire

29er All Mountain Trail Plus
The new V3 version of the Ibis Ripley LS retains the same geometry and kinematics. The big difference is the improved tire clearance.

The new V3 version of the Ibis Ripley LS retains the same geometry and kinematics. The big difference is the improved tire clearance.

The Ripley LS is one of those bikes that is universally loved. It’s fast, it’s nimble and surprisingly capable. The new V3 version keeps the formula intact, right down to the suspension kinematics. The difference? It now has more tire clearance.

Traditional tires are generally max out at 2.4-2.5". Plus size tires can vary between 2.8-3.25"

Traditional tires are generally max out at 2.4-2.5″. Plus size tires can vary between 2.8-3.25″


When WTB drew up the first plus tire, their concept was to produce a larger volume 27.5” tire that had roughly the same external diameter as a 29er. The hope was these tires would work within existing 29” mountain bike frames, which would allow riders to experiment with different wheel sizes.

The idea caught on like wildfire and like many brands, Ibis set out to meet this demand by creating a new swing arm for their 29” platform, the Ripley. At the beginning, they planned on building in clearance for around 3.25” tires, but as samples trickled in, they found they preferred 2.8” tires. Beyond that the bike stopped feeling “normal.”

When they decided to drop compatibility for bigger volume tires and focus their efforts around the tires they liked, they ran into a problem. You see, 2.8” tires don’t have the same outside diameter as a 29er. They’re about an inch smaller. Once their engineers factored in the overall diameter and tire sag, they felt that the bottom bracket on a plus/29 compatible bike would sit too low. So halfway through redesigning the Ripley swing arm, they scrapped the plans. Instead, they focused their energies on making the Mojo 3 and HD3 plus compatible.

Fast forward a couple years and tire manufacturers started to develop a new crop of tires that straddles the standard 2.3″ category and plus market. Designed around modern 35-40mm wide rims, these tires offered the same benefits of plus while feeling more like traditional tires. When Ibis started receiving their first tire samples, they felt it was time to drag out that partially completed rear triangle and get back to work.

Check our ‘tell all’ article about 2.6 tires HERE.

Ibis Ripley V3 vs V2 Clevis Position

The V3 LS moves the Clevis back and down to help increase tire clearance.


When the original Ripley was launched five years ago, it was targeted towards the XC/Trail market. Back then, tires were a lot smaller. The largest tire it was intended to work with was a 2.3”.

Since then, rims and tires have obviously grown bigger. The problem the engineering team faced when trying to increase tire clearance was the clevis mount, which coincided with the widest part of the tire. This point was dictated by the suspension design. To create more clearance, Ibis had to move the clevis pivot back and down.

This adjustment only affects the pivot on the shock driving link, not the link that affects kinematics. If you’re on a V2 Ripley LS, you won’t notice a difference in pedaling efficiency or suspension performance when hopping on a V3. Ibis actually claims you’ll feel a bigger difference from swapping your standard Fox shock to the newer Evol.

The V3 Ripley LS drops compatibility with SRAM 2x FD and Shimano Triples.

The V3 Ripley LS drops compatibility with SRAM 2x FD and Shimano Triples.

In addition to the changing the clevis pivot, the whole swing arm was redrawn. In the process, they removed most of the legacy front derailleur (FD) support. The V3 Ripley is now compatible with only two front derailleurs: Shimano side swing and Di2. They almost removed FD compatibility altogether but found they weren’t going to gain additional performance by removing it. Plus, the high direct mount makes a nice chain guide mount, which is what most riders are using it for.

The other minor change is that the upper eccentric has been made wider. It now visually matches the lower eccentric. Despite the changes, the weight and overall stiffness are essentially the same between the V2 and V3 chassis.

The V3 Ripley LS has clearance for upto a 2.6" Schwalbe tire.

The V3 Ripley LS has clearance for upto a 2.6″ Schwalbe tire.

Tire Clearance

With all of these updates, the new rear triangle now has clearance for the new generation of mid plus (or plus-minus) tires, which are designed around wide rims. The bike will come stock with Schwalbe 2.6” rubber mounted on Ibis’s own rims, but there’s plenty of clearance for 2.5” Maxxis Wide Trail tires. The bike will not fit 27.5”x2.8” plus tires. That’s intentional.

Ibis Ripley Schwalbe 2.6"

When setting up 2.6″ tires for the first time, take the tire pressure you’d normally run in your plus tires and add two.

Recommended Air Pressure

The rule of thumb for setting up 2.6” tires is to take the air pressure you’ve been running in your plus tires and add 2 PSI. Most riders should find their ideal pressure falls between 15-20 PSI, but that will vary with weight, terrain, and riding style.

The new V3 is available in two colors, Vitamin P and....

The new V3 is available in two colors, Vitamin P and….

On the trail

On the trail, the Ripley LS behaved exactly as advertised. It’s a playful little bike that will keep you grinning from bottom to top (and back down again). The bottom bracket is curb scrapingly low, so you will scrape a pedal here and there, but the minor inconvenience pays off every time you slap into a berm.

Despite the larger volume tires, the bike didn’t feel noticeably different. Whether pointed down loose chutes or dancing through rocks, the larger volume tires offered more traction and stability than expected. Despite the clown shoe size footprint, the tires didn’t feel vague or springy. They actually feel a lot like a 2.3” or 2.5” tires, except better.

The other color is Ti-Ho Silver.

The other color is Ti-Ho Silver.

A lot of readers interested in this bike are probably cross shopping between models like the Santa Cruz Tallboy or the Pivot Switchblade. For some, the ability to swap between plus and 29er will be the deciding factor in their purchase. After spending some time on 2.6”, we think it might be worth trying before making a final decision. This platform seems to offer many of the positive attributes riders associate with plus, while still handling like traditional tires. And it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than two sets of wheels.

The key takeaway from all this is that the new Ripley is now more capable than ever. From the beginning, it was always intended to be a cross country/trail bike, but riders have always pushed its boundaries. When Ibis first introduced the updated LS geometry, they moved the bike further in line with how riders were using it. By adding the ability to mount larger volume tires, they’ve done it again.

The Shimano XT equipped Ripley LS we tested weighed 28.28 lbs (12.84 kg).

The Shimano XT equipped Ripley LS we tested weighed 28.28 lbs (12.84 kg).


The V3 Ripley LS is available now. A frame only (with shock) will set you back $2,999. For an extra thousand dollars, you can have a complete SRAM NX or Shimano SLX build kit. The Deore XT equipped model we rode retails for $6,099 (although you’ll have to add another $800 for the carbon wheels.)

The Eagle equipped version of the Ripley LS weighed 27.30 lbs (12.39 kg).

The Eagle equipped version of the Ripley LS weighed 27.30 lbs (12.39 kg).

Their most expensive kit features an SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain and will set you back $6,599.

To learn more, visit www.ibiscycles.com.

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  • Frank says:

    I’m pretty interested in this bike for endurance racing, but 27-28 pounds seems like a lot for a $6000+ bike. Is there an way to lighten this thing up? Maybe the carbon wheel set, 2.4 XC tires… anything else?

    • Steve says:

      If you are looking to do cross country style endurance racing, then get rid of the dropper post, go to a smaller tire size like a 2.25 in the rear and maybe even in the front, and Rocket Ron’s instead of Nobby NIc’s. These changes alone could drop 1.5 lbs. You can go carbon rims, but you can also save lots of money by just going with some American Classic Wide Lightnings (1565 grams for the set), that will actually stretch those new 2.25’s. Do this an it is quite possible to get this bike down to 25.5 lbs, give or take a few ounces.

      • Marc-Andre says:

        Steve is absolutely right. I have a Ripley V1 with Enve wheels DT180 hubs (I know I went crazy!), no dropper post, Thompson Elite seat post, Fizik Tundra saddle, Sram 1×11 XO, Shimano XT brakes, Rocket Ron in the front and Racing Ralph in the rear and I am at 24.5 pounds.

    • david says:

      I think if you get some carbon wheels (quarter pound) and a regular seatpost (three quarter pound) that’s about all you can do. If you do much else your really doing the bike a disservice, at that point you might as well get a different bike. I have been riding heavier and heavier stuff lately and I’m just getting faster. Don’t worry about weight too much. But I really do like getting carbon rims…

  • OK says:

    Can somebody explain how the front deraileur will work if it’s connected to the link that moves whan riding??

  • Philo says:

    From Ibis website:

    “The Shimano side swing front derailleur moves all the pivots and cable anchors forward away from the tire and the cable path off of the seat tube. This allowed us to rework the right upright to give more tire clearance. A swingarm mounted front derailleur is always in the right place in relation to the chain and chainrings so front shifting is more consistent throughout the travel.

    This mounting system also reduces chain slap since the chainstay can be located further from the chain. Also since the derailleur is moving with the chain there will be no chain rub at the extreme ends of the travel, particularly problematic with lower chainstay bikes and the smaller chainrings found on many 29ers.”

    It may help to look at photos which you can find by googling.

  • Bob says:

    “For an extra thousand dollars, you can have a complete SRAM NX or Shimano SLX build kit.” No, not that I can find, if you want Shimano then XT is the only build offered on their site.

    Looking through the other replies has given me the motivation to buy a frame and build it up myself.

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