Review: The NEW Ibis Ripley, A Perfect Van Bike

Ibis Ripley

Frequently, reviewers talk about the “quiver killer” or the one bike do-it-all wonder.  I refer to this as my “van bike”, the one bike that I have room for in the sprinter van.   This needs to be my ride any trail, xc, endurance or enduro bike.  More specific bikes have great appeal to me,  but so do a bed, a quasi kitchen and room for another person along with her bike and gear.

The Ripley has caught my attention since its announcement several years ago, yet my brief first ride on the bike 2 years ago proved to be not quite the bike for my van.  I point mostly to the previous generation Fox CTD rear shock and 32 fork as the main culprits.  Fast forward to the new Ripley and things are MUCH more to my liking!

The opportunity for the NEW Ibis Ripley to prove itself came last summer at the Vail Outlier Festival (top photo).  The 2nd gen Ripley is now offered in two geometry’s, the standard original geo and the new LS.  The LS (long and slack) has a longer top tube and wheelbase, slacker head tube angle and lower bottom bracket height.  Both standard and LS geometry updates also include: Fox DPS EVOL shock, threaded BB, increased tire clearance, internal cable routing, shorter seat tube and increased rear end stiffness.

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Ibis Ripley
The change to the new Fox DPS EVOL is fabulous on the Ripley!

Ibis Ripley

My standard geometry demo was shocking in contrast to the first ride on the previous generation Ripley.  The plushness of the new Fox Evol rear shock and Fox 34 fork were the first things that stood out.   It also felt very composed, capable and FUN with its quick and precise steering on the Outlier Enduro course.  Intrigued with how well the ride went in Vail, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just the wicked fall colors that were creating the zen experience.  A month later, my new Ripley was packed into the van for a few thousand miles of adventures stretching across the southern US from coast to coast.

Ripley on Torry Ridge

 

Key Details:  Ibis Ripley Standard Geo – Medium 120mm rear travel, 130mm front.

MSRP: $5800

Build Kit: Shimano XT 1x, Rock Shox Pike RCT3

Weight: 27.1lbs with pedals.

Build: Ibis nailed it here. The XT 1x build kit is easily my favorite in this price range. Read more: The NEW XT.  A wide Easton ARC 30 wheelset, KS Lev dropper, and Ibis carbon bar combine to make a smart high quality build while keeping weight very low.

The Ride:  After 4 months on the Ripley riding a huge variety of terrain raging from gnarly east coast rock gardens to Sedona’s steep and punchy trails, I am quite happy with this rig.  The transformation from the original Ripley with a few seemingly small upgrades has made a HUGE difference in my enjoyment of the bike.  Fantastic pedaling, fun, fast and agile are the first thoughts that come to mind.

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Ibis Ripley
2.35″ tires on the wide Easton ARC 30’s have plenty of tire clearance. I was able to run a 150mm dropper with the new shorter seat tube. This is quite nice on the steeper terrain.

Out of the saddle the bike’s rear end hooks up amazingly well and without unwanted movement that would require the use of the shocks dampening lever.  The Fox Evol sits fairly high in its travel with good mid stroke support, yet ramps up quick for those big hits.  The quality of the 120mm’s of rear travel combined with 130mm up front is a match that makes this an incredibly versatile machine.  The bike climbs as well or better than any short travel bike I’ve ridden yet has great confidence when things get gnarly.

The super agile turning is one of the things that stands out on the Ripley.  I would be willing to bet that you could tell people this is a 26″ wheeled bike and they would believe it.  It turns that well!  Ibis made this magic combination of reduced trail, 51mm offset fork, shorter wheelbase and not too slack 69.2 degree head tube angle.  The HT angle strikes a great balance of nimbleness in the corners and confidence as the trail turns steeply down.

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Ibis Ripley
The uber clean suspension design hides the eccentric pivot inside the frame. Cable routing is fantastic with large removable port doors for easy cable changes.

Dislikes: Other than the stock 2.25 Schwalbe tires which I traded out for some wider 2.35’s, no.  Nothing against the Schwalbe tires, but the wider 2.35’s seem to match the 30mm Easton rim profile a little better.

Verdict:   The Ripley strikes an amazing balance in its well designed package.  It’s a lean, mean trail eating machine that corners amazingly well and demonstrates agility similar to smaller wheeled bikes.   The geometry and suspension work amazingly well on everything that I can throw at it without me ever thinking I needed more or less of a bike.  It is now my “van bike” and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Ric

    Great review! I just purchased my own orange Ripley in medium. I’m stoked by your review.
    Thanks

  2. Chad Davis

    Thank you Ric, the orange is fantastic and very photogenic. You will love it!

  3. Ro Dex

    i still ride the original V1 Ripley. I’ve put on an angleset to slacken it out and it’s been great. but the angleset always clicks and needs readjustment every other ride. I’m putting in a regular headset now to not deal with that headache but then always have this thought of missing out on a slacker ha. More of a nagging thing for a more modern geo than real riding needs/concern, but still nagging me.

    How do you feel about the original geo now that you have an LS?

    1. Chad Davis

      I don’t feel the difference between the two geometries is night and day different really. I’d say the biggest improvements come from suspension performance. Honestly, when I rode the original geometry bike I decided it wasn’t the bike for me since it leaned so hard towards being XC with 32mm Fox fork and older gen low air volume Fox Float shock.

      The V3 is really the bike I wanted when I was first demoing the V1 – a bike that was quick handling and fun but a little more confident, plush and stable. More of a trail bike that could be at home on wider range of terrain.

      Compared to V1, the Ripley V3 does remain quick handling and playful, but the latest Fox DPS Evol (and Fox 34) makes the bike much more fun in the rough. The added ½ lb to the frame and eccentrics increases stiffness a good bit and internal cable routing and tire have also been greatly improved.

      This may not be the case with your angleset, but I’ve noticed that the stock Cane Creek headsets are one of the main sources of creaking/popping noise on the Ripley. Making sure adequate grease is under the top cap totally eliminates noise.

  4. Vic

    They had to increase the stiffness around the eccentrics because they reduced the size of the stays to allow for more tire clearance.

    I for one prefer the OG geo to the new, to my liking it’s easier to have a playful ride on a size that doesn’t try to reach Elon’s starman.

  5. Chad Davis

    The stays are also beefed up on newer versions compared to V1. I really liked the OG geometry as well when on the tighter trails. As the trail opens up and gets rougher/faster the new geo is very welcome though. The reach (size) really didn’t increase much (roughly 1cm) going to the LS and compared to many of the new trail bikes is still on the smaller side. A 1cm shorter stem helps offset the 1.5″ wheelbase increase with quicker steering response. Overall I feel the V3 is more versatile on a wider range of trail while loosing a little agility. I suppose the OG would be the better XC machine though – 1/2 lb lighter and super quick handling.

  6. Douglas Gardner

    Just picked up my V3 Ripley a few weeks ago and it’s a blast. I’m coming from a 2012 Niner RIP 9 which is also a great bike. The Ripley geometry suits me better on the climbs and my local trails don’t need the longer travel of the RIP. I do miss the point and shoot downhill of the RIP but the contemporary suspension with the DW Link are so good. The 2.6 tires roll terrific and the Ripley is very nimble. I ride a lot of different bikes when I travel and the Ripley I rented this past summer was the first bike that felt head and shoulders superior to the rest on the flowy terrain I prefer. On my home trails the V3 fits perfectly.

    1. Chad Davis

      We agree with the awesomeness of the Ripley. With todays popularity of long travel, it’s likely that many folks are over biking themselves for the few trips they do and the rest of the time are lugging around a slug. Enjoy the Ripley, it’s a great one!!

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