The New Ibis Ripley
First Ride on the V4
Words By Drew Rohde | Photos by Lear Miller & Saris
With tons of rave reviews of the Ripmo, Ibis went back to the drawing board when it came time to redesign the Ripley. To all of the OG’s out there, you’ll probably agree that Ibis has a legacy in the history of mountain bike brands. The Ibis Ripley has also earned quite a reputation over the years and it has come a long way since it was first introduced back in 2011. Using much of the same technology developed around the Ripmo, the brand is about to stoke both new riders and Ibis-lifers alike.
Days before the mountain bike industry traveled to Laguna Seca for the annual Sea Otter Classic, Ibis sent a vague email invite to, “Come ride something new.” A handful of the usual bike media hacks showed up early for some breakfast at Ibis’ Santa Cruz, CA headquarters. It was great to see the usual suspects and catch up after our winter break. We loaded our plates and took guesses on what we’d soon be riding.
Scot Nicol, Ibis founder, made his way into the breakfast circle and started herding the cats into thei Ibis “Hall of Fame.” It was truly an impressive hall, lined with beautiful collector bikes hanging multiple rows tall on each side of the room. At the front of the room, on full display was the new Ripley.
Standing next to the bike was Colin Hughes, the engineering manager of the new bike. After some quick introductions, Colin got right into the thick of it while walking us through the development of his new baby. V4 is definitely the most capable and well-rounded Ripley yet and it’s readily evident just by looking at the tough, yet beautiful frame.
The New Details
After learning so much about stiffness, modern geometry and frame development with the Ripmo, Ibis chose to ditch some of their traditional features for modern-day performance. Below are some charts and information from Ibis highlighting the changes to the V4 Ripley.
Longer reach numbers across the board. A front triangle that is ready to rip thanks a much stiffer layup, that is over half a pound lighter than V3. Frame weight is 5lbs (w/out shock).
Ibis ditched the cartridge bearings in some of the pivots with bushings to increase time between service intervals and further reduce weight. Along with sizing growing thanks to the longer reach, Ibis has significantly shortened seat tubes and stack height for a much lower center of gravity. By ditching the concentric pivots, Ibis was able to drop weight and make room for 185mm dropper posts. Riders can now chose their frames based on reach not seat tube height.
The Ripley still packs 120mm of rear travel with a 130mm fork but it’s going to feel much different than previous generations. Ibis has given the new Ripley a more progressive spring rate.
Ibis will be offering the Ripley frames for $2,999 and completes starting $4,099 with a SRAM NX build. Mid-range bikes are priced from $4,899 to $6,699 and the top tier bikes go from $9,199 to $9,399.
After our presentation the crew set us up on our test bikes and we got to bounce around in the parking lot before heading out for a nearly three hour mission in the hills of Santa Cruz. We rode everything from flowy campus trails to steep, loamers and even some dry and dusty rock gardens with sizeable drops and step up jumps.
It was definitely a ride that exemplified the versatility of the bike. We pedaled up paved road climbs and dropped into DH trails we’d be happy shuttling on a big bike. In retrospect, it’s pretty amazing to look back and realize how far 120mm bikes have come in the last decade. There was a time when riders really had to choose a bike’s travel based on their discipline.
A downhiller would never chose a 120mm as their primary bike because it’d just be way too sketchy going down hill. And an XC pinner would never ride a 160mm bike because the efficiency and climbing position would just make them feel too slow. Now we’re at a time where we’ve got DH-bike confidence and geometry with XC-efficiency and Ibis is blending that in a short travel package. Ibis has done a really great job of making a short travel bike attractive to a long time gravity fiend who’d gladly sacrifice hill-climbing performance for downhill performance.
On the tight, twisty trails the Ripley is an absolute shredder! I was riding trails I’d never been on before and had ultimate confidence in the handling. Besides the 800mm bars, I had no hesitation about cutting inside and leaning the bike over as close as I could to the local shrubbery searching for maximum cornering speed.
When it came to the steep chutes the Santa Cruz woods are known for, I was equally confident leaning back and carving down the hill and yanking off lips. It’s not a perfect bike even though I like it very much. DW-Link bikes have a very distinct feel in my opinion and while they offer lots of benefits, they tend to feel a little harsh on square-edge hits at speed.
There were two specific incidents on our test ride where I felt slightly out of control and like I was a passenger getting bounced around trying to focus my eyes on the catch berm I was trying to make it to. Luckily I just pointed and hit the berm and was able to regain composure but there was no denying when this bike hits its limit, it’ll let you know! Granted, it’s a 120mm bike and we were throwing ourselves down legitimate downhill trails. It was also our first ride aboard the bike and perhaps with some tuning and a volume reducer we could have slightly improved it’s big hit capabilities, but we won’t know ‘til we get our long-term tester.
The Wolf’s First Impression
To briefly summarize the Ibis Ripley V4 in a few short sentences, I’d have to touch on a few key things. It’s a bad ass looking bike that is competitively priced for such a boutique brand. The frame is very stiff and has a really great feel and spot-on geometry. Ibis has created a very capable trail bike that offers pedal-friendly efficiency with downhill-mined confidence. While it’s a truly impressive machine 90% of the time, that last 10% gets real bucky real fast. Ultimately no combination of features can make up for running out of travel and if you’re a rider who constantly looks for the fastest, rockiest and root-filled trails you can find, you’ll probably be better off on the longer travel Ripmo. If you’re an all-around trail rider, someone who loves big days in the saddle with fun descents or live to shred the heck out of flow trails, the new Ibis Ripley is a ripper. We are very excited to get one to test on our home trails.
For more information visit, ibiscycles.com.
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