Photos: Josh Sawyer and Emily Walley
A community is a village, a town or a city, but a sense of community is not defined by proximity. It’s the nurse and the lawyer, the photographer, designer and the park ranger; it’s the social media specialist, the bike shop salesperson and the mom all pursuing a common goal.
A few years ago Jessica Klodnicki, Bell Helmet’s executive vice president and general manager, found herself standing alone at a bike shop. She’d expected to join a scheduled group mountain bike ride but no one else showed up. Ultimately, she made her connection, but the experience wasn’t what she’d hoped for. As a relatively new rider, she was looking for a group ride that was committed, organized and fun; she was seeking community.
If you mountain bike, you’ve likely heard a friend say, “I really want to start mountain biking, but…”
Fill in the blank: I don’t have a bike; I can’t afford a bike; my bike doesn’t fit; I don’t know what to look for in a bike; I don’t know the trails; I don’t have anyone at my level to ride with; I’m afraid to join a ride. And so on. These are huge hurdles associated with mountain biking. Whether the reason is social, economic or psychological, the barriers seem to be just a little bit bigger for women.
To mitigate some of these challenges and grow the sport of mountain biking among women, Bell Helmets has implemented the Joy Ride Ambassador Program. Historically, Bell has been perceived as a masculine company, but Joy Ride aims to open doors to the female consumer.
The program is motivated by and modeled after Girls Rock, a Santa Cruz all-women’s mountain bike group founded by Klodnicki not long after that lonely morning at the bike shop. With her tireless dedication and passion for the sport, an eager following of burgeoning and advanced female riders, and the support of the ever-present Santa Cruz bike industry, Girls Rock has grown from merely four women to 400 since the spring of 2014.
“It showed us that there was a real need for women of all levels, everything from beginner to advanced to come together and have the opportunity to ride,” said Klodnicki.
I spent this past weekend observing the Joy Ride kickoff with Bell’s Ambassadors and had the pleasure of meeting many of the Girls Rock members at social events. There was a unanimous wave of excited chatter about what has developed from four ladies in a parking lot.
As an outsider, I could see and hear the joy throughout the room. Girls Rock was certainly born out of desire and drive. Perhaps Klodnicki’s personal hurdles are what gives this program its energy. She wanted someone to ride with; she assumed other women did as well and she made it happen.
The Joy Ride Ambassador Program
With the support of Bell, eight women from Nashville, Tennessee, to Edmonton, Alberta, will build a community of female mountain bikers within their respective locations. Each ambassador is expected to offer a regular all-women’s mountain bike ride every month for one year. Bell wants to expand this program in the future, but it wanted to “start small.”
Inevitably, challenges will present themselves for each of these women and limiting the group size allows the company to be connected, involved and supportive throughout the ambassador process, seeing that each of these women succeed in their programs.
Bell received over 200 applications for the Joy Ride Ambassador Program, many hailing from epic ride destinations, but opted to move forward with some less-traveled locations. “We really wanted to find spots where there was opportunity,” said Klodnicki.
While Bell had several bike companies offer to sponsor the Joy Ride program, it declined, wanting to be flexible and keep doors open to all of the bike industry. Essentially, Bell chose not to team up with anyone so it could team up with everyone. Each of the Joy Ride Ambassadors is encouraged to do the same in her own community.
Ibis, Blackburn, Camelbak, Giro and Luna Bar all provided generous support for the kickoff weekend. While Bell certainly wants strong brand recognition at each Joy Ride event—the ambassadors have all received Joy Ride helmets, apparel and pop-up tents—the ladies were encouraged to seek support from everyone they know, including friends involved in other ambassador programs. It’s important to Bell that the Joy Ride program is all-encompassing.
The name “Joy Ride” and the associated apparel is the result of surveying 750 women about why they ride, their style preferences, wants and needs. Bell heard the word “joy” repeatedly throughout the process. You’ll notice that while the apparel has a feminine quality, it tastefully stands out from much of what you see for women. With the Joy Ride gear, Bell was striving for “purpose built while being aesthetically beautiful.”
The Joy Ride program is focused on the four following pillars:
1. Obsessed with dirt
2. Welcoming and inclusive
3. Fun! (and sometimes educational)
4. Organized, but flexible
Bell is providing a “prescriptive tool kit” for the ambassadors which included a vast array of suggestions for building a community: pre- and post-ride activities; educational programs; partnering with local shops, brands and businesses; giveaways; social media accounts; trail etiquette; volunteers and role assignments; ride levels and more.
Klodnicki emphasized the importance of the ambassadors dividing the women into self-identified ride levels. The ability to challenge yourself is present when you ride with others at a similar or slightly more advanced level than oneself. It’s the “if she can ride it, I can ride it” philosophy. I’ve personally found this beneficial to my own growth as a mountain biker.
Ultimately, these eight women must tailor their programs to fit into their respective communities. Terrain, weather, personalities, riding level and personal preferences will all be factors of how these programs evolve.
From frigid cold to unbearable heat to moisture, the fourth pillar: “organized, but flexible,” may be the biggest challenge for some of the ambassadors. For instance, after three weeks of 70 degrees and sunshine, Bell hadn’t expected a weekend of heavy rain and high wind. We spent the first day in Santa Cruz having a blast on the new Ibis Mojo 3 in a steady drizzle, but riding on day two was out of the question.
Meet the Joy Ride Ambassadors
A 20-year age gap spans the youngest and eldest ambassador. Through their diverse careers and backgrounds, they represent a small cross-section of the U.S. and Canada. While they have some connections, most of these women do not have a background in the bike industry. Perhaps this makes them a better fit for the ambassador role. A few of the ambassadors have already held their first Joy Ride and they were stoked to share their successes.
Isabelle Jacques, North Vancouver, BC: Isabelle raced mountain bikes as a kid, but was always training with boys. It wasn’t until a few years ago that she started riding with women and that’s when she saw her riding skills really progress. She’s a certified Professional Mountain Bike Instructor and enjoys sharing riding strengths with friends, i.e. swapping downhill techniques for cross country skills. “I find that this program is almost something I’ve been waiting for … let’s just get out there and have a good time.”
Samantha Jones, Kansas City, MO: When returning to her hometown of Kansas City, Sam was the only woman at the Lawrence MTB Club weekly rides. She started a Thursday night women’s ride, and the ride grew to 16 people before winter.
Nina Karpoff, Edmonton, AB: As a resident of Edmonton, Alberta, Nina’s mountain bike rides are currently challenged by cold temperatures and unfavorable trail conditions, but she left the Joy Ride weekend feeling prepared. In addition to being a skilled rider, she’s also a talented photographer. Be sure to follow her on Instagram.
Amber Krueger, Madison, WI: Amber lives 15 minutes from singletrack, but she expressed that Madison needed the Joy Ride program to encourage women to explore the area’s trails. She completed her inaugural Joy Ride event in February with a seasonally appropriate fat bike ride. Seventy women gathered at the Quarry Ridge trailhead for coffee and doughnuts before hitting the trails on Surly demo bikes. The trail offered a short loop for all riding abilities. As a representative of the midwest, Amber is one of the ambassadors that will be challenged by cold and wet trail conditions. As a Wisconsin native, I can appreciate the brisk, negative-8 degree event but Amber thoughtfully combatted the cold with a heated tent and a bonfire.
Karina Magrath, Coeur d’ Alene, ID: Karina is Professional Mountain Bike Instructor certified. She was accustomed to large women’s riding groups when she lived in Seattle, but the percentage of women on her Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, group rides was small. She’s looking forward to her August Joy Ride camping event at Farragut State Park, in Athel, Idaho. Women will ride from the campground to trails that offer opportunities for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. She’s already received 100 RSVPs.
Veronique Pardee, Tucson, AZ: It’s been over a year since Veronique and a fellow cyclist started the program In Session. The group was inspired by the Trek Dirt Series and developed from the realization that she hadn’t spent much time “sessioning” trail sections and features. She had up to 13 women at the rides and as they neared its anniversary, she wondered how it would grow. At Veronique’s first Joy Ride event, she gathered 55 women. She was really focused on the social aspect of this ride, so she shuttled people out and back from a local brewery where they were offered $1 post-ride beers.
Missy Petty, Knoxville, TN: Missy is a sponsored racer. Her home city of Knoxville won the Bell Built grant in 2015, and the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club is using the funds to build a gravity trail at Urban Wilderness. The location already has up to 40 miles of trail and this challenging terrain will offer Missy’s Joy Ride group trail access for all skill levels only a few minutes from the city.
Kendall Ryan, Richmond, VA: Kendall learned to ride from Luna Chicks, an all-women’s team, and she’s convinced that’s why she’s had such a positive riding experience. Richmond was the recipient of a Bell Built grant in 2014 for the Richmond Regional Ride Center, and they’re continuing to expand on this trail network of beginner and intermediate friendly trails.
Why do we need programs like Joy Ride?
The Joy Ride Ambassador program provides a sense of camaraderie and community. It fosters motivation, builds relationships and keeps people moving, but there’s more.
To get a little perspective on how the Joy Ride program would affect mountain bike advocacy at large, I spoke with Laurel Harkness, IMBA Region Director for Northern California. Laurel has been riding since 1987, but it was three years before she rode with another woman. For her, it’s inspiring to see a program like this and it’s a great gathering place for stories that she can retell at a later date. She also sees tremendous value in terms of hierarchy of engagement. It’s where beginners start.
“I see this demographic as being very important and untapped,” said Harkness. As a veteran mountain biker and a single mom of two kids who also ride, she represents a less-publicized demographic at land manager meetings and seeks to help change preconceived notions of who a mountain biker is. Her son rides to find the next best fishing spot and her daughter goes out seeking a great photo spot. Currently, IMBA memberships are 80-percent male and 20-percent female. Harkness would love to see that level out. A program like Joy Ride is the springboard.
Congratulations to this amazing group of women that will inspire, promote and grow women’s rides in their communities. These eight women are planting the seed for a future of ambassadors across the nation and, hopefully, across the world. Follow all these ladies on Instagram, check out their ride pages on Facebook, and be sure to attend a Joy Ride if you’re in their area.
Become an advocate for all women’s rides by helping Bell build a map. Drop a pin so you can connect with women across the U.S. and Canada; host a ride, find a leader, build a community.
This newest Mojo has almost nothing in common with the steel hardtail that first wore that nameplate. But like the original Mojo, the Mojo 3 is a pretty lust-worthy trail bike.
This bike doesn’t break any new ground for Ibis. It continues with Ibis’ successful combination of the industrial design ascetic of Roxy Lo, the smarts of Ibis’ in-house engineers and the proven suspension design of the Dave Weagle dw-link. And just like every current Ibis, the Mojo 3 is all-carbon, all the time.
Where the Mojo 3 really gets interesting is the tire sizes allowed by the Boost hub spacing. Besides providing increased frame stiffness, Boost allows for shorter chainstays, increased tire clearance, and room for a single or dual ring drivetrain.
Bikes like the new Santa Cruz Hightower are designed around 29 inch and 27plus wheels and, originally, Ibis was planning to do the same to its Ripley 29er trail bike. But after a few rides with 27plus tires on the Ripley, that idea was tossed out and the plus sizes tires where moved over to the Mojo 3 that was still in development. There are a few reasons for this.
- Even in the full 3.0 size, 27plus tires are still smaller in diameter than 29er tires.
- Ibis found the 3.0 to be too bouncy when ridden hard and likes the 2.8 tires much better. Those 2.8 tires are even shorter than the 27.5×3.0 tires.
- All tires have some sag, and at preferred riding pressures (12-18 psi) the 27plus tires are the same height as a 27.5×2.3 tire.
All this means that without any fork length or suspension chip adjustments, the Mojo’s bottom bracket height should be the same with a rider aboard, although static heights are different. Seems pretty interesting, to me.
Ibis has been on the wide rim kick for a while now, and its carbon 741 wheels pull triple-duty here, coming stock with either the new Schwalbe Nobby Nics 2.35, the new Maxxis Minion WT 27.5×2.5 WT or plus-sized 2.8 Schwalbe Nobby Nics. The carbon wheels are stock on some build kits; the other stock option are aluminum Easton Arc 30s. The 741 wheels are an upgrade option on any build kit for $1,400.
Also of note is the shock tune option for lighter riders. Named after five-foot-tall designer Roxy Lo, the Fox Float DPS can be order with a lighter rebound “Roxy Tune” for riders under 135 pounds at no extra charge. This shock tune, combined with a 27.4″ standover on the size small should make a lot of short-statured rippers very happy.
While this is just a 130 mm bike (with a 140 mm fork), it is slacker than a Mojo HD with a 150 mm fork, by a scant 0.2 degrees. It is also shorter in the rear end, with 425 mm chainstays to the HD’s 430 mm. Top tubes are the same, but the Mojo has a steeper seatube and more reach. The Mojo’s bottom bracket is also at a modern 335 mm, and is thankfully a standard threaded interface, not press fit. There are five sizes for riders from 5′ to 6’6″.
Ibis has an interesting idea here, and right now is the only company we know of with a bike designed to use 27.5 inch tires from 2.25-2.8 inches wide, with no adjustments to accommodate the change in static heights of the wheels. I’ll admit to being a little skeptical about this tire sag theory, but can attest to the amount of pedal strikes I’ve had on plus and fat bikes, even with what seems like normal bottom bracket heights. A proper test ride is in order, and one is in the works.
Ibis also is using either 30 or 35 mm internal width rims on tires from 2.35-2.8. I’m still surprised to see this, as it seems rim width should continue to increase as tire width increase proportionally, which would put the 2.8 on something more like a 40 mm internal width rim. Specialized goes even further, with its 3 inch plus tires on 29 mm internal rims. It seems now that the 29 vs 26 debate has ended, we can all get online an argue about rim widths. This is great, because I was getting bored trolling people about 31.8 vs 35 mm handler bars.
The frame (with Fox Float DPS shock) is $2,999. Complete bikes start at $3,999 for the Special Blend (available in June). Stay tuned. This should be a fun one.
The dealers below have the bike in stock. If you want one, get moving. Ibis will have a fleet of Mojos for test rides at Dirt Rag Dirt Fest in May. Ibis did a bang-up job with explaining the hows and whys of the new Mojo on its website. I recommend heading there for further reading.
Pro Bike Supply, Newport Beach California
Tracce Bike Shop, Genova Italy
JRA Bikes & Brew, Agoura Hills California
Fat Tire Farm, Portland Oregon
Sunshine Bicycle Center, Fairfax California
Trail Head Cyclery, San Jose California
The Hub Bicycle Service, Jackson Wyoming
River Rat Mountain Bikes, Fair Oaks, California
Sunnyside Sports, Bend Oregon
Pedal Pushers Cyclery, Golden Colorado
Tenafly Bicycle Workshop, Tenafly New Jersey
Elephant’s Perch, Ketchum Idaho
Cal Coast Cycles, San Diego California
Fanatik Bike Company, Bellingham Washington
B-Rad Cycle Service, Nelson New Zealand
Jenson USA, Coronoa California
Moto Ofan, Natanya Israel
Mountain Pedaler, Minturn Colorado
Mountain Pedaler, Eagle Colorado
Fullerton Bicycle, Fullerton California
Cenna’s Custom Cycles, Longmont Colorado
The Bike Peddler, Santa Rosa California
Bicycle Cafe, Canmore Alberta
Calgary Cycle, Calgary Alberta
Hank & Frank Bicycles, Lafayette, California
One of the more interesting features of Ibis’ Tranny 29 hardtail is its two-piece frame. Not only can it be taken apart to fit in a airline-legal bag, it can also be used to tension a chain for singlespeeding. Now you can take your Tranny fat-biking by replacing one piece of that two-piece frame with a Trans-Fat rear triangle available early next year. No Tranny? No problem. Get a complete Trans-Fat for $5,099 or a frame only for $1,700.
For $699, you’ll get a rear triangle with 177 mm spacing, a spacer kit to take the bottom bracket shell to 100 mm for proper chainline, and a 3 mm taller crown race. Of course, you’ll also need a RockShox Bluto fork with 120 mm travel, a crank with a 100 mm spindle and a set of fat bike wheels and tires.
Tire clearances are based on the Schwalbe 26 x 4-inch Jumbo Jim with an 80 mm rim. Geometry is very similar to the Tranny 29 with a standard 120 mm fork, except for slightly longer, yet still reasonable 17.8-inch chainstays. Ibis wanted to keep this Trans-Fat on the fun end of the spectrum so geometry is decidedly on the slacker side of the coin. The complete bike includes a dropper post, more evidence this is more of a trail bike and not a back-country explorer.
Some other features via Ibis:
- 3.25 lb carbon monocoque frame
- Designed to work with 120 mm forks
- Works with 4-inch tires
- Geared or singlespeed compatible
- Gates Carbon Belt Drive compatible
- Internal routing for dropper posts
- Clean, versatile multi-option internal cable routing
- Tapered head tube (suitable for various Cane Creeks & Chris King InSet 3)
- 100 mm BSA thread bottom bracket (with provided BB92 adapters)
- 177 mm x 12 mm Maxle rear axle
- 160 mm carbon fiber post mount rear brake mounts (we recommend 200mm/180mm rotors)
- Headset: IS ZS44/28.6 | EC49/40
- BB height w/ 4″ Jumbo Jim tires: 315 mm
- Geometry measured with 531 mm axle to crown fork and our 3 mm crown race
Current production run of Trans-Fats have been allocated to dealers already, so you best get on the phone if you want one. This first run will only be complete bikes in the orange/copper frame color. There will be another round of production in February 2016, which will include completes, rear triangle conversions and frames.
Ibis website has more information.
Last year, I reviewed the Ibis Ripley. I liked it well enough, but my tastes in mid-travel 29er leans towards low and slack, while the Ripley is more long-travel cross-country. I also got yelled at (via email) by for being too soft on the bike. Which was a valid complaint, as I had inadvertently cut a paragraph in editing that talked about my problems with the through-the-headtube cable routing, not super-stiff rear-end, and less-than-generous tire clearance in the rear end.
I did not know at the time that Ibis was working on an updated Ripley, but when I did, I was pretty stoked to see what Ibis had been up to:
From the Ibis website
– Two geometry options: The nimble geometry of the original or a new school long and slack version called the Ripley LS
– Internal cable routing using our flexible and easy to setup port system
– Increased tire clearance
– Threaded bottom bracket
– Seat mast lowered by 1/2” to accommodate today’s longer droppers
– Choice of Boost 148 (staring in November ’15) or 142mm x 12mm Shimano through axle (now)
– Stiffer eccentric cores
– New rubber molded chainstay and seatstay protection
– Two new colors (let’s call them “Tang” and “Black”)
I was very interested to try the LS version, and on a recent trip to Santa Cruz, Ibis was kind enough to loan me one of the few rideable production samples to take for a rip through some local trails.
Much better cable routing.
Plenty of tire clearance.
Is there a more elegant full-suspension design on the market?
Ibis branded handlebar, stem and wide carbon rims.
I’d ridden the almost exact same route the day before on a loaner Santa Cruz Nomad, so the baseline was set pretty high for the Ripley LS.
As expected, the short-travel dw-link rear end pedaled very well, and offered more small bump comfort than I remembered, perhaps due to the 2016 Fox Float DPS EVOL rear shock. Or maybe all those acronyms confused me into a state of befuddled compliance.
Other than one super-fun rock garden, there wasn’t much on this ride to test rear-end stiffness, and to be honest, I was too busy trying to find a clean line to worry if the claims of increased rear end stiffness were true or not. More riding is needed. More riding is always needed.
The long and slack geometry was very easy to notice, and to me, there is no question what option I would choose. What little “nimbleness” is given up with the increased wheelbase and front center is more than made up for with confidence when things get steep. The 17.4-inch chainstays are pretty middle of the road, and seem to offer a good compromise between stability, climbing ability and play-ability.
This isn’t meant to be a full review; we plan to get a bike in for a proper long-term relationship as our first date was quite intriguing.
Ibis is making a pretty bold move here, offering two geometry options for the same bike, especially considering how small its product line is.
I appreciate Ibis listing the geometries for both Ripley and Ripley LS in the same chart, making it easy to see the important differences.
More details, as expected, on Ibis’ website.
State with 130mm fork (537mm axle to crown)
|Nominal Size||Medium||Medium (LS)||Large||Large (LS)||X-Large (LS)|
|Seattube||A||419 (16.5″)||419 (16.5″)||470 (18.5″)||470 (18.5″)||521 (20.5″)|
|Toptube||B||587 (23.1″)||600 (23.6″)||607 (23.9″)||619 (24.4″)||640 (25.2″)|
|Headtube||C||94 (3.7″)||93||100 (3.9″)||102||107|
|Chainstay||D||442 (17.4″)||442 (17.4″)||442 (17.4″)||442 (17.4″)||442 (17.4″)|
|Standover Height (mid toptube)||745 (29.3″)||740 (29.1″)||745 (29.3″)||740 (29.1″)||750 (29.5″)|
|BB Height (2.1″ tires)||331 (13″)||325 (12.8″)||331 (13″)||325 (12.8″)||325 (12.8″)|
|Sizing Guide (rider height)||163–175 (5’4″–5′ 9″)||163–175 (5’4″–5′ 9″)||175–188 (5’9″–6’2″)||175–188 (5’9″–6’2″)||183–198 (6’–6’6″)|
|100mm KS seatpost minimum saddle height (center BB to center of saddle rail)||59cm||59cm||63cm||63cm||68cm|
|125mm KS seatpost minimum saddle height (center BB to center of saddle rail)||65.5cm||65.5cm||66.5cm||66.5cm||71cm|
|150mm KS seatpost minimum saddle height (center BB to center of saddle rail)||71cm||71cm||72cm||72cm||75.5cm|
The Ripley 29er is one of the youngest models in the Ibis line of full-carbon trail bikes, yet it has already earned a refresh to better match the desires of Ibis customers. The geometry of the standard model remains the same, but a second longer and slacker version, the Ripley LS, has been added with a longer front center and a slacker head tube angle, now at 67.5 degrees.
Both models receive an entirely new frame and swingarm, yet retain the dw-link suspension layout with tiny, internal linkages. Those eccentric linkages get an update in the new bike though, with some design tweaks that increased the torque spec on the shaft bolts. Along with a more robust carbon structure, Ibis says the new frame is 12 percent stiffer at the bottom bracket.
The cable routing has adopted the internal port system found on the Tranny 29 and the Mojo HD3, offering a selection of inserts for a clean look no matter what combination of drivetrain, brakes and dropper post you’re using. It also uses the new Shimano sideswing front derailleur cable routing, if you prefer to stick to two chainrings. The frame also features more tire clearance—something not surprising given Ibis is pushing the limits with its 40mm wide 941 rims.
Suspension is handled by new 2016 Fox Float products, including the new Float DPS shock with two internal pistons and both Ripley models will ship with a 130mm Float 34 FIT4 fork with the all new damper design.
The frame retains the 142×12 thru axle with Shimano threads, but the axle itself is a lighter and simpler bolt-on version. A quick release version will also be available. At the end of the year Ibis says it will start offering a second swingarm option with the 148mm Boost spacing, as well as complete wheel builds featuring its own carbon rims.
While many malign the new hub standard, Ibis is listening when it comes to bottom brackets. The new Ripleys will use a traditional 73mm threaded bottom bracket.
The standard Ripley should be available in early June with the new Ripley LS going on sale in early August. Both are $2,900 with the Fox DPS shock and available in “Tang” and black.
Photos by Justin Steiner
Anyone who followed the saga of the Ripley knows this bike wasn’t easy to birth. Between a completely new dw-link system that uses eccentrics rather than links and a switch to a different factory in the middle of development, to say this was a difficult labor would be an understatement.
Ibis stuck it out, and this bike is an impressive heir to the Ripley name, first used on a John Castellano–designed aluminum softail with 1.25 inches of travel. That bike was part of the pivotless craze driven largely by Ibis 1.0 and bikes like the pivotless 5-inch-travel Bow-Ti. Now executed in modern carbon fiber, the form factor of the Ripley has changed, but the ride remains the most important design criteria.
Ibis is no longer afraid of pivots, and the Ripley pushes the envelope again with the tiny eccentrics standing in for the links in the Dave Weagle–designed suspension. With the bike originally conceived as a 100 mm travel race-ready 29er, the eccentrics seemed like a perfect solution to the desired geometry, weight and performance goals. But after spending enough time on longer-travel trail bikes, Ibis deemed more travel was better and the whole system was rethought for this current 120 mm rear end.
The swingarm of the Ripley covers up most of the interesting bits of the suspension, but keeps with the Roxy Lo aesthetic shared by all modern Ibises: organic and flowing, yet purposeful and distinct. Hiding the pivots from sight also shelters them from much of the muck that ends up on the bike, which should help to extend bearing life. The bearings are off-the-shelf units, so no worries about replacement when the time comes.
The eccentrics do require extra attention when servicing, including using a thread-locking compound and lowering the torque on the bolts. There have been some running changes to the hardware and fastening torque over the first few years, but everything seems squared away now and my tester was click- and squeak-free.
Ibis has a big selection of build kits with 1x and 2x options from Shimano and SRAM and forks from RockShox and Fox. I rode the Shimano XT option with an upgrade to the Cane Creek Inline rear shock and Thomson dropper post. The 120 mm Fox Float 32 CTD fork can be swapped for a longer-travel 140 mm RockShox Pike or Fox 34—something I would recommend for bigger or harder-charging riders.
The geometry is an interesting balance between old school and new school. The head angle with a 120 mm fork is an even 70 degrees, chainstays come in at 17.4 inches and the bottom bracket hangs out at 12.8 inches. These numbers are pretty standard these days, but the 23.8-inch top tube and 16.3-inch reach are substantially shorter than many similar trail bikes, forcing me to use a 90 mm stem and 740 mm wide bars to create a proper-sized cockpit. The shorter top tube means the wheelbase, at 44.1 inches, is quite short for a bike of this size.
All that geometry adds up to a 27.2 pound bike that feels nimble and likes to be steered. Small inputs go a long way, giving the bike the feeling of a confident cross-country machine. The longer stem keeps some weight on the front wheel, and combined with a rear suspension that stays up in its travel, this bike climbs steeps with poise and confidence. On the flats, that same suspension is efficient enough to race cross-country, should the mood strike, and with a lightweight build kit it wouldn’t be at much of a disadvantage against a pure XC race bike.
While nimble in the tight and twisties, there is some confidence lost in the steep and treacherous. This is mostly due to the longer stem and shorter front center compared to other 29er trail bikes, but it is mitigated in large part with a dropper post.
On less steep, choppy terrain, the dw-link suspension works its magic, handling multiple hits in a controlled manner and using full travel with no harsh bottoming-out sensations. The fancy Inline rear shock allows tuning for more or less small-bump compliance, but compared to the most supple suspension designs out there, this one feels slightly harsh on smaller hits. This is a minor quibble, and the suspension character is very well matched to the nimble feel of this bike.
With most recently introduced 29er trail bikes taking their cues from the enduro-cation of geometry, the Ripley stands out as appealing to a rider who cut his or her teeth on bikes in the days of longer stems and steeper angles. A longer-travel fork would definitely make it a more aggressive descender without losing any of the snappy pedaling behavior that makes it such a joy to ride for hours at a time. If your shopping list includes choices like the Kona Process 111 and Transition Smuggler, this might not be the bike for you. But if you are considering the Scott Genius 29er or Trek Fuel EX 29, add the Ripley to your wish list.
My somewhat odd-sounding takeaway from my time on this bike: It reminds me of a hardtail. Once I got the suspension dialed to where I wanted it, I rarely thought about it anymore and flipped lockout levers only when I was on pavement. With complete bikes ranging from $3,950 to up in the $10K range (our test bike as shown retails for $5,580), the Ripley is in no way cheap, but it is very competitive.
- Price: $5,850
- Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
- Wheelbase: 44.1 inches
- Top Tube: 23.8 inches
- Head tube angle: 70 degrees
- Seat tube angle: 73 degrees
- Bottom bracket height: 12.8 inches
- Rear center 17.4 inches
- Weight: 27.2 pounds
I’m not sure about camping these days. I used to camp in the desert a lot on dirt bike trips but more often than not it was in a tent or the back of my pickup next to my parent’s motorhome so, while I could say I was roughing it, I had all the necessities like meals cooked by mom 20 paces from my tent. Really the only thing lacking was good coffee—my folks didn’t like the strong stuff so while the coffeemaker was always full in the morning it seemed to contain a watered down mix of cheap supermarket brew.
Once I moved away without the luxury of what amounted to a house on wheels I stopped camping completely. Heck, I live in the country so every day is camping, sorta. But then something changed three years ago when I joined the Dirt Rag family. These guys love a good campout and are ready to go at the drop of a hat. As such I’ve been forced back into it.
The problem is they’re seasoned campers with all the necessities. Sure, I have the bare essentials and can rely on past experiences to make it and have fun but there is one thing that seems to bother the troops about my presence: a lack of coffee making. I’ve tried various forms, including a nice glass press pot which I broke immediately so ultimately, during events like our famous Dirt Fest I’ve simple made cowboy coffee. While not always pretty it gets the job done and I’m pretty good at making it at this point.
But that changed a few weeks ago when I found a new favorite product. As I was gathering up stuff for a camping trip to a race in the Arizona desert Brian Siebert, owner of Canyon Coffee asked me if I wanted to try his Press-Bot, an ingenious way to get amazing coffee, save carrying space and not have to worry about filters or glass containers by making any 32 oz large mouth Nalgene bottle into a press pot.
The press consists of a thread on lid with a hinged plunger shaft and a winged aluminum filter. You start by putting ground coffee in the bottom of the Nalgene bottle. Then, fold up the wings on the filter and insert it into the top of the bottle. Lightly pull up to lock open the wings and then tighten the lock ring. Heat 32 oz of water (I used a Jetboil) to almost a boil then angle the filter so you can pour it in easily. Shake it up a bit, let steep for about four minutes and then press like any other press pot. Bam! A lot of coffee for me to share or hoard.
I like it because it’s based on a Nalgene bottle, which I can’t break and once it’s cleaned it doubles as my campsite water bottle (and carry on bottle if I’m flying somewhere). Canyon Coffee sells just the press for $25 or you can get a “gift pack” with the press, a Canyon Nalgene bottle and an insulating cozy for $45.
This year camping at Dirt Fest I won’t have to be a coffee thief anymore.
Race season is here
Our “sponsored” SoCal racer Lance Nicholls kicked off the season with a singlespeed class win at the first round of the Kenda Cup West. Congratulations my friend and here’s the report.
“Last weekend’s first round of the Kenda Cup West series presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group at Vail Lake in Temecula, California, was one to remember in not-so-sunny Southern California. With rain throughout Saturday evening and all day Sunday it made even the smallest obstacles challenging. This felt more like a ‘cross race than a cross-country mountain bike competition. The course was shortened to 7.2 mile per lap of mostly single track with the climbs being on access roads. The Cat 1/Pro field went off at 1:30 p.m. —I ride Cat 1 Singlespeed on an Ibis Cycles Tranny 29 with a Lauf fork and the Gates belt drive system.
My class went off six minutes after the pros, up a wide access road with some of the younger Cat 1 groups and after about 500 yards it funneled into a left hand turn into singletrack for the next mile or so. The next small climb we hit was a hike-a-bike and that set the theme for the day. I was the first singlespeed, running as much as I could to gap the others. With all the mud it was really taking a toll quickly on the chain driven bikes and they were dropping like flies everywhere. Not to say I didn’t have my issues either.
At about mile four I lost my belt due to extreme mud. After using what water I had to clean up the cog and belt to get it reinstalled I was down around nine minutes on the leader at the end of the first lap. Now knowing I was better off running the extreme muddy sections to preserve the belt, I only lost it once on the second lap but I was still five minutes back in fourth place overall.
Going into the third and final lap the rain was dumping and I was now able to ride through the lake-sized puddles to keep my belt somewhat clean but still running quite a bit. I caught third place about two miles into the lap. The way the course ran up and down the canyons I was able to spot second going down the canyon as I was going up. I continued to push harder on the descents through the parts that I could ride and with about a mile and a half to go my wife yelled, “One minute ahead!”
That gave me even more drive to hammer out the last section and I caught second place up the climb and kept my pace high through the next small valley.
Over a rise I found the first place rider and went by him as hard as I could, hoping he wouldn’t notice I was on an singlespeed. He did and it was on. I hit the last long hike-a-bike uphill, running as fast as I could get my tree stump legs to move. I glanced back and no one was there, riding the last bit praying nothing would happen and crossed the finish line with about a 35 second gap on second place.
This was by far the hardest test for me and the most rewarding at the same time. My wife played a big part by giving me split times every lap to keep me pushing.
The Mojo HD has been a successful bike for Ibis, with multiple wins under current team rider Anne-Caroline Chausson and former team rider Brain Lopes. But with 27.5 wheels now the norm for long travel bikes—and even though the previous 26-inch model was approved for use with bigger wheels—creating a chassis designed around 27.5 is obviously a good idea.
The new 150mm HD carries over most of the main design points from the previous bikes, with a full-carbon frame and swingarm, dw-link suspension, and distinct industrial design. The look is becoming less distinct as more and more companies adopt a similar appearance, but the original Mojo broke new ground in styling of full suspension bikes and influenced most of the industry.
But this bike isn’t just about looks. The geometry is slacker, lower and longer. The longer top tubes are offset with shorter chainstays, a slacker head tube angle and a lower bottom bracket—all in line with modern 150mm trail bikes. The tweaked dw-link suspension is claimed to be as efficient as the 120mm travel Ripley 29er, with a similar frame weight (5.9lbs), but a much more capable machine on the descents.
Size Seat Tube Head Tube HT length Top Tube Chainstay BB Stack Reach Wheelbase
14.5 74.1°/73.6° 67º/66.6° 85 580 430 340 577 415 1131
16.5 73.1°/72.6° 67º/66.6° 105 600 430 340 595 419 1142
18.5 73.1°/72.6° 67º/66.6° 117 620 430 340 607 434 1164
20.5 73.1°/72.6° 67º/66.6° 132 640 430 340 620 451 1185
Bucking the “one-by only” trend, the Mojo HD has a front derailleur option, with a removable mount for a clean look when running a single front ring. Internal cable routing all around, including dropper post. The routing looks well thought out, with removable “ports” to ease cable swaps. Glad to see the through-the-headtube routing go away, while in theory it might have been an interesting idea, in practice is certainly is not.
Ibis has these bikes in their demo fleets starting today, and complete bikes will ship to dealers worldwide starting the first week of December. As expected, this premium product will be priced accordingly:
- Frame w/Cane Creek InLine Double Barrel Air Shock: $2,960
- Frame w/Fox Float Kashima Coat CTD Adjust Shock: $2,900
- XTR 2X (Available January 2015) $9,200
- XX1 $8,700
- XTR 1X Werx Spec $7,900
- XTR 1X $6,500
- XO1 Werx Spec $7,600
- XO1 $6,200
- XT Werx Spec $7,400
- XT $6,000
- Special Blend $3,950
The Werx Spec gets an Cane Creek DBInLine shock, Fox 36 and Ibis 741 Carbon wheels.
The three color choices are pictured below.
Need more info? Go to the Ibis website.Tweet Print
Ibis recently introduced a 29-inch version of the Tranny and we’ve have been happily pedaling it around local trails over the past few weeks. What makes it different from other hardtail 29ers on the market? Check out my first impressions of this unique carbon hardtail after the jump.Tweet Print
In this day and age, a new 29-inch hardtail often isn’t big news. But with a company like Ibis (which has a very small bike line up) and a bike like the Tranny, this is more than another “me-too” bicycle.
The 26-inch version of the Tranny was recently retired, and this 29er replacement has been in development for years, but the full suspension Ripley took most of the lion’s share of Ibis’ development power. Now that the Ripley has left the nest, it leaves room for this new carbon fiber hardtail.Tweet Print
File this in the “we didn’t see that coming” folder. We received word today that Ibis Cycles would launch a new line of carbon fiber wheels to compliment its line of carbon mountain and cyclocross bikes.Tweet Print