Mtbr has been testing the Ibis Ripmo for a couple weeks now despite a very rainy March in Northern California. Our biggest revelation is that it’s a very compelling package, as it does many things very well. Here’s a video of our impressions.
Descending and cornering, the Ripmo feels like an old friend. It has gobs of traction and controlled travel so the roughest trails we’ve found so far have not been enough to challenge the bike. What’s surprising is how playful the bike is even on easy trails. It’s easy to throw around and the low BB and top tube remind us of a dirt jump bike at times. We’re gonna have a second, extended stint with the Ripmo so expect more detailed impressions soon.
We did notice that the Ripmo climbs like a Ripley. It is heavier but the climbing position and suspension kinematics deliver a very efficient ride. It almost seems like it has an automatic platform mode actuated by the dropper post. The steep seat angle works in cahoots with the DW-Link suspension, unweighting it to deliver a stable pedaling platform. The Maxxis Aggressor tires complemented this quality with lower rolling resistance.
We threw a bunch of random questions at one of the most insightful folks we know, Colin Hughes, head engineer for this project and here’s what he revealed.
Mtbr: What took so long to get this much anticipated long travel 29er from Ibis out?
Colin Hughes: First, other trends kept getting in the way, namely 27.5, plus tires, and boost. We’ve been wanting to do this frame since 2012, but at that time consumers were in the middle of 27.5 mania. That’s ok though, advances in tech over those years made it a better bike than it would have been in 2014. Second, we delayed its release last summer to modify the molds to incorporate the steeper seat angles and even longer reaches.
Mtbr: How does this bike fit in and compete in this very hot category?
CH: The Ripmo has a unique combination of efficient long travel DW-link suspension, fully up to date modern geometry, 2.6 tire clearance, low weight, and the ability to hold a piggyback shock and a large water bottle inside the frame at the same time. There are a few frames that check some of those boxes, but nobody else has all of them.
Mtbr: How come only one exciting color?
Mtbr: How did your dealers react to this bike?
CH: Everybody loved it and it was exactly what they were hoping it would be.
Mtbr: What will your enduro team use for the races this season?
CH: They have the choice to use either (the Ripmo or 27.5 Mojo HD 4), but I think we’re going to see a lot of Ripmo racing this year. In fact, the reason why we launched it this week is because the team wanted to race it at the first EWS in Chile.
Mtbr: How does this bike behave with 2.6 tires? When is that an appropriate tool?
CH: 2.6 tires are great when you’re using it as a long travel trail bike or are riding it in loose conditions.
Mtbr: With a very short seat tube, how will this affect taller riders? Will the seatpost have enough extension? Will it be strong enough?
CH: The seat tube lengths are optimized it for 170mm dropper posts and those posts are very, very long. Extension will not be a problem, but even if it was you can just get a post with even more drop.
Mtbr: With a 76-degree seat tube, how does that affect climbing and bike fit? If the knee ‘plumb line’ goes ahead of the pedal spindle (classic fit) how will that affect efficiency and comfort?
CH: The plumb bob test is done on flat ground but most of your time pedaling a mountain bike is done climbing with your rear suspension sagging more than the front. This corrects for that. If you did the plumb bob test with a block under your front wheel to simulate climbing it would work out.
Mtbr: If steep seat angles are so great, how come you haven’t done it before? Will this geometry affect the future of existing models?
CH: With the seat that far forward it would be really hard to get behind the saddle descending if we didn’t have dropper posts. Now that long dropper posts are standard we’re free to make seat angles steeper. This is our geometry template going forward.
Mtbr: Why the new fork offset? What are the trade-offs? What led to this decision? What about compatibility with aftermarket forks or forks in someone’s garage?
CH: The new offset has the effect of giving you the stability and steering feel of a slacker headtube angle without making the wheelbase longer. That means you can go around tighter corners also. The way short offset forks are made is to use the 27.5 crown on a 29er fork. All the parts already exist and enough companies are starting to do it that I think it will become a more common aftermarket option. If you use a fork with a longer offset the bike will steer quicker. It’s not bad, but you’ll probably start thinking about anglesets.
Mtbr: How good is the X2 rear shock? Who is the right user for that as opposed to the DPX2?
CH: The X2 is great for its mid to bigger hit support and ability to be adjusted for riders who weigh more than the average 160-180 pounds we tune for. The DPX2 is great for anyone who just doesn’t want to mess with so much shock tuning.
To learn more about this exciting new bike, read the Ibis Ripmo first look article here.