Mtbr visited Ibis headquarters a few weeks ago and the place was buzzing with excitement. There were a lot of new faces, as they have added key members to the crew. Everyone was eager to show off their new bike, the Ibis Ripmo, a long-travel 29er with 145 mm of rear and 160mm of front travel.
“The bike was almost ready last year,” said Ibis lead engineer Colin Hughes. “But we noticed bike geometry trends were changing so dramatically that we took a step back and made a few key changes to the bike.”
Hughes went through all the changes with us and then president Tom Morgan took us out for a ride. This will be the first of two stories on the Ripmo, with this one covering an overview of the bike and the second one our ride impressions and a detailed Q&A with the engineers.
Introducing the Ripmo
The love child of a Ripley and the Mojo HD4, the all-new Ibis Ripmo is a big wheeled all-mountain bike with a massive sweet spot. It’s ready to take on Whistler, conquer a long, epic ride, putter around at a local trail or even do some laps at the pump track on the way home. With a sub six-pound frame and 145mm of efficient dw-link rear wheel travel (160mm front), this is the most versatile bike Ibis has ever built.
It also marks a dramatic shift at Ibis’ approach to geometry. They remember the days when the first ibis FS 29er was introduced, the Ripley. It was short and steep as it cradled 26er riders with quick bikes into the new world of 29ers. Now, they’re jumping in head first into the rowdy world of mountain bikes and all-mountain 29ers. The reach is nearly an inch longer than the EWS Team winning Mojo HD4, with clearance for a 170mm dropper and beyond, and a pedal-friendly 76° seat tube angle. The end result is a bike that’s ready to rally, while still maintaining lively handling and eager climbing.
The long-travel 29er is a puzzle with so many conflicting requirements competing for space in the front and rear triangle areas. Every company chooses its priorities and compromises and makes their best attempt to fit everything in.
Ticking off the boxes, other features include 2.6″ tire clearance, short chainstays, a threaded BB, sleeved internal cable routing, and the ability to run both a piggyback reservoir shock and large water bottle. They are also allowing the longest dropper post with a seat tube that’s the shortest we’ve ever seen on a bike of this travel.
And the final requirement after everything is shoehorned in is it has got to look good. They’ve achieved that with the magical powers of designer Roxy Lo. And it still looks like an Ibis, maintaining the brand’s reputation for fluid bends and iconic tube shapes.
- 29″ wheels
- 145mm dw-link rear travel
- 160mm front travel
- 2.6″ tire clearance
- Carbon fiber front and rear triangle
- Available in sizes S-XL for riders between 5″ and 6’6″
- Claimed frame weight from 5 pounds w/out shock, 6 pounds with Fox DPX2
- Complete builds from 28.1 pounds
Mountain bikes were derived from road bikes and the sport’s geometry lineage shows it. But in the last few years, in the all-mountain bike category, mountain bikes have diverged to forge their own path with longer and slacker cockpits designed with the dropper post in mind. It makes bikes descend better but the question is, how far can it be pushed? Ibis felt they were at the limits of that trend until they began experimenting with seat tube angles and fork offset.
By making the seat tube angle a steep 76° (and even steeper for the Small size), Ibis put more weight over the front tire. This keeps the front end from wandering or washing out. Moving the seat tube forward also required pushing the front end forward to keep the top tube numbers static, resulting in the longer reach.
In addition to the steep seat tube, the Ripmo also uses a fork offset that is shorter than traditionally used. That makes a 65.9° head angle feel like 64.5° without increasing the wheelbase. You get the stability of slack head angle without giving up your ability to go around tighter corners.
The Ripmo geometry enables a new level of confidence and speed, bringing the stability of the EWS Team Championship winning Mojo HD4 to 29er wheels.
Bushings where you need them, bearings where you don’t
Engineers will tell you that bushings are lower maintenance, stiffer, lighter, and more affordable than bearings. The key is to only use them where it makes sense.
Bushings work best in applications with high loads and minimal rotation, two things ball bearings don’t like. That’s why suspension manufacturers use them for shock mounting hardware and why Ibis has used them for the past years on their Ripley, HD3, and HD4 clevises.
High loads and minimal rotation describe the Ripmo lower link pivots so Ibis is introducing a new link featuring IGUS bushings. The new link is 80g lighter than its ball bearing equipped equivalent, while also being torsionally stiffer. The bushings are shielded from spray and protected by airtight seals to ensure longevity.
So what do you think? Since Mtbr has ridden every long-travel 29er contender in the market, we didn’t expect to be wowed. But we came away impressed. And to our delight, Ibis marketing manager Saris Mercanti sent us home with a bike. Stay tuned for part 2 of Mtbr’s Ibis Ripmo coverage, including first ride impressions.
For more information, visit www.ibiscycles.com