By Adam Newman, photos by Nathan Kraxberger
One of the most anticipated and long-awaited bikes in years, the production version of the Ibis Ripley is here. Built around 120mm of rear travel through a dw-link suspension and a full carbon construction, it’s sure to be one of the most sought-after bikes of the spring.
Rather than redesign the very popular Mojo series around 29-inch wheels, Ibis CEO Hans Heim says they knew that to make the best possible bike Ibis needed to start with a clean-sheet approach.
:I think we set the bar pretty high for this one with our previous bikes," he said. "You can’t follow bikes like the Mojo and HD with ‘Hey, we jammed larger wheels into it!’ We wanted the Ripley to stand on it’s own, optimized for the larger wheels with dialed geometry, suspension kinematics, gearing, fit, etc."
In an effort to make it as versatile as possible, Ibis settled on 120mm of rear travel and a 120mm or 140mm fork and, naturally, a dropper post. Weighing in a just 5.2 pounds with the Fox RP23, the frame also sports a 142mm Maxle rear end, internal cable routing, BB92 bottom bracket, high direct-mount front derailleur, a 12.8-inch high bottom bracket, and a 70 degree head tube able with the 120mm fork installed.
Ibis says they began working on the Ripley’s eccentric dw-link suspension way back in 2007. It was originally designed as a 100mm XC bike, but as development continued, tastes changed and designer Dave Weagle (of the dw-link) was able to accommodate.
Weagle was able shrink the basic function of the Mojo bikes’ down to two eccentric pivots, first designed with angular contact bushings, but ultimately with cartridge bearings. The cartridge bearings are stronger and stiffer, easier to service, and only a few grams heavier than the bushing system. According to Ibis, the bearings in the frame are standard BB30 bearings, while the ones in the swingarm are identical to skateboard and rollerblade bearings. While it isn’t essential to remove or install the bearings, Ibis will soon be offering special tools to do just that.
While experimenting with geometry, Ibis build several prototypes with different head tube angles, bottom bracket heights and chainstay lengths. Ultimately the 70 degree head tube angle was chosen to retain the long front center, while a 51mm offset fork is used to put the trail numbers in line with the Mojo SL and Mojo HD bikes. This offset is better known as the Gary Fisher/Trek G2 geometry, and the Ripley performs best with the proper fork, Ibis says.
Customers can choose from countless different build configurations on the Ibis website with drivetrains from Shimano or SRAM. A frame and shock package is also available for $2,899.
Stay tuned for more as we hope to get our hands on a Ripley as soon as we can.