2020 Ibis Ripley XTR Bike

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2020 Ibis Ripley XTR Steel Blue
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Ripley 4 2020 Review

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Light Weight Climbs 10/10 Capable descender Great geometry Mini Ripmo Precise and nimble

The Bad:

Is any $9k plus bikes not good? Only a DPS shock option Brakes aren’t enough for aggressive riders

Overall Review:

Ripley 4 Review

The new Ripley 4 aka “Mini Ripmo” lives up to the Ripley legacy. It’s probably one of the best climbing trail bikes period. A blend of modern geometry, worthy suspension bits, and super light and stiff frame materials combine to make this bike a worthy trail ripper. A progressive shock tune keeps it capable of taking bigger hits, and It’s fun factor is off the charts.

Who’s it for? Well, certainly not for me, at least that’s what I thought before I tried it. Sure I bet it climbs good, but could that make up for sacrificing the descents? No it would not. Luckily the Ripley doesn’t seem to sacrifice any fun on the way down. If anything, descending this bike on some of the burliest and steepest trails in Santa Cruz proved that you really don’t need to lug up extra weight and

Overall Review:

Ripley 4 Review

The new Ripley 4 aka “Mini Ripmo” lives up to the Ripley legacy.  It’s probably one of the best climbing trail bikes period. A blend of modern geometry, worthy suspension bits, and super light and stiff frame materials combine to make this bike a worthy trail ripper. A progressive shock tune keeps it capable of taking bigger hits, and It’s fun factor is off the charts.

  Who’s it for?  Well, certainly not for me, at least that’s what I thought before I tried it.  Sure I bet it climbs good, but could that make up for sacrificing the descents? No it would not. Luckily the Ripley doesn’t seem to sacrifice any fun on the way down. If anything, descending this bike on some of the burliest and steepest trails in Santa Cruz proved that you really don’t need to lug up extra weight and extra travel to have fun on a bike. To sum up this entire review even before it starts, who is it for?  ME PLEASE.  It’s a fun bike that if you have the skill you can really thrash on.  As a 32 year old dad it’s great to be able to get the help climbing without a battery, and the Ripley is fun as hell on most trails.

Build.  I was able to borrow a bike from Ibis factory in Santa Cruz CA. I got the super fancy XTR build with a slight twist. I didn’t like the ibis 10mm rose bars at all.  Because of the design there is a lot of bar drop on the Ripley, so riser bars will feel more comfortable if you don’t like a road riding position. I believe on the XTR if you buy one it will come with enve 40mm rise bars.  I had a bike yoke revive 180mm dropper post, and it was perfect for my 32” inseam.  My large game came in at 26.1lbs w/o pedals.  Holy shit!

Suspension.  The Fox 34 Factory was outstanding.  I have been running stiffer forks on long travel bikes the last few years, but I was really impressed with 34.  You could go to a 120mm to make the bike a little steeper in the head tube, or you can run it a little longer at 140mm thanks to the 5mm raised bottom bracket. For me going to 140mm might sound good, though I found it easier to go through the shock travel than the fork travel.  Speaking of the shock, Ibis wanted a more progressive shock tune on this bike than the Ripmo to help not blow through the travel as easy.  I like the three position “climb, trail, and descend, lever on the shock, and the factory option lets you further dampen the compression which is great, as I found I liked it on the middle or firm setting for jumping. I would love to see this bike with a RockShox Super Deluxe, as they make this size option and it could be a little more capable on big repeated hits.  I will say for me the suspension was dialed at 30 percent sag in the rear and I was riding really rough trails with out getting beat up.  The rear felt composed and plush for most of the ride.

Brakes.  I didn’t like the XTR brakes all that much.  Sure they look cool, and they are light and seem to get the job done, but for my test I wanted to really push this bike and the 2 piston brakes and 180mm rotors were out gunned.  I would at least change the front rotor to a 200mm because this bike can be pushed way harder than the old Ripley. So for a $9,200 bike you should not have to swap rotors in my opinion. I probably would put some magura mt5  brakes if I wanted to keep the bike ultra light but actually wanted to stop quickly. To be fair I have never fully appreciated Shimano brakes.  It’s also possible that with better tires, maybe the brakes would have felt marginally better?

Wheels and tires  Ibis 935 wheels, Schwalbe Hans damph 2.4 front tire, and a Magic Mary 2.3 rear.  Instead of the 942 rims that are currently specd on the XTR build, I had the 935 rims.  These are 29mm internally instead of 35mm.  Honestly I could go either way on the rims.  The insane amount of traction and super low tire pressures of the 942’s makes up for the slight weight penalty, but some may not think so.  Old school riders that don’t embrace the lower psi trend will not appreciate the wide rims. I ran my 935s with swably 2.4f and 2.3 rear tires at 25psi front and 28psi rear, and I had no problems. On the 942s while testing the Ripmo, I was able to run crazy low 16psi front, and 17psi rear.  I was able to huck 6’ drops in to rocky landings and had no burps or problems, though that’s more the Ripmo’s territory than the Ripley.  I personally love the i9 hubs, my test bike was heard far and wide.  The Schwalbe Hans Damph tires that came on my demo bike made me nervous, they weren’t near knobby enough for the steep loamy stuff in SC, and not near thick enough for rock protection. That being said I did survive my somewhat brutal testing period.   Had I been in the Tahoe area where granite rocks cover the trails I don’t think they would have held up. They were fast rollers and climbed very well, so if your light on your rubber it would make a good option.  I would throw on some thicker casing tires for my trails, Maxxis or WTB make great options.

Drivetrain.  The XTR derailleur and cassette, and the race face cranks paired well together to create a very light drivetrain option. This was the highlight of the component spec for me.  I have been on sram 1x12 since it came out, but this was a nice change.  On the XTR system you really can shift under load and it’s still silky smooth.  The trigger action requires a lighter touch than sram, a heavy hand can easily shift two gears.  Overall I would try this on my bike build sometime. I would spec this bike with 170mm cranks, especially if you over fork it.  Pedal strikes weren’t too often, but if you don’t pay attention when you climb they seem plenty easy to hit with the 175mm set on my test bike. 

DW Link.  For those who have not ridden DW Link bikes they do ride a bit different than other platforms. While the anti squat is very good, you can experience more pedal feedback when the rear hits square edge bumps.  There is also a bit of rise under braking.  The negative traits of this suspension platform have been largely negated over the years in my opinion.  I didn’t notice much jarring even in rough sections, although the Ripley does ride firm.  In short I think the DW Link combined with the geometry and modern suspension components really work well for the Ripmo and Ripley.

Riding the Ripley.   It was an absolute pleasure to ride this bike.  Hopefully most bikes in the 9k plus range should feel dialed, but this was particularly true on this bike. The lighter tires I had on the bike probably helped the Ripley climb that much better, but it gets a solid 10/10 on the climbs.  It’s not a cross country race bike for most people, but it’s nearly as fast, and way more fun than most on the way down.  Going downhill this bike is firm, but still smooth on bumps and roots and it’s very stable at speed.  It’s not the plow capable bike like the Ripmo, but just like the Ripmo it’s precise and easy to throw around. Overall it’s a very capable short travel 29er that is fun to ride, and fast as hell up or down.

Ripmo V.S. Mini Ripmo?  Since many people will be wondering how does it compare to the Ripmo I thought I might do a direct comparison. For the most part I considered the Ripmo to ride like a short travel bike in the best ways. I thought the Ripmo climbed really well, and by all means it does. Well the Ripley climbs way better than the Ripmo. My wife tested a Ripley and she felt it climbs way better than her Ripmo(her Ripmo weighs 28lbs by the way). The Ripmo is a precise descender, it takes little effort to change lines and it rides very light on feet, well the Ripley is even more so.  The Ripmo loves extra credit and definitely feels poppy, well on the Ripley this is amplified and every little bump is extra credit. While on the Ripley  I was noticing little undulations that would normally be erased on the Ripmo, on the Ripley everything is a playground.  How to choose, I actually think it’s pretty easy.  Ripley is the better bike if you do all day rides, or if you value outright efficiency.  It’s also the more fun bike on mellower trails, while still being plenty of fun on the rough stuff. If you really want maximum control down steep, rocky and root covered technical sections, or if you do a lot of drops and big hucks then go Ripmo. If your a newer rider looking to get gnar the Ripmo inspires so much confidence it may be the better bike to really grow on, however the right rider on the Ripley can smash.  Despite its lack of travel compared to the Ripmo, the Ripley will only sacrifice a little on the runs where you need to plow through technical sections at warp speeds, and definitely big drops to flat.  High speed flow trails or jumps with landings are definitely the Ripley’s territory.

Nit Picks.  I would love to see more shock options from Ibis on this bike, like the DPx2( which isn’t available in this size) or there is the RockShox Super Deluxe, which does come in the right size for this bike.  Bigger rotor, or a 4piston brake option would be great. 

Specifications

Product Ibis Ripley XTR Bike
Model Year 2020
Riding Type Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 574 603 630 658
Head Tube Angle 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5°
Head Tube Length 90 105 115 125
Seat Tube Angle 76° 76° 76° 76°
Seat Tube Length 368 381 419 482
Bottom Bracket Height 335 335 335 335
Chainstay Length 432 432 432 432
Wheelbase 1147 1178 1207 1236
Standover 708 712 742 755
Reach 425 450 475 500
Stack 599 613 622 631
* Additional Info All measurements in mm unless otherwise noted
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Monocoque
Rear Travel 120mm
Rear Shock FOX Float Factory DPS with EVOL, 190x45mm
Fork FOX Float 34 Factory Series, 29", 15mm quick release
Fork Travel 130mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Cane Creek 40, ZS44/ZS56
Handlebar ENVE M6, 800mm
Stem ENVE Mtn, 31.8mm, length of 40mm, 55mm, or 70mm
Grips Lizard Skins Charger Evo
Brakes Shimano XTR M9100, 2 piston, Shimano SM-RT86 180mm rotors
Brake Levers Shimano XTR M9100
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters Shimano XTR M9100, 12-speed
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur Shimano XTR M9100, 12-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG05, removable
Chainguide None
Cranks Race Face Next R, 175mm or 170mm
Chainrings Alloy 32 tooth
Bottom Bracket Race Face BSA
Pedals None
Chain Shimano XTR M9100, 12-speed
Cassette Shimano XTR M9100, 12-speed, 10-51 tooth
Rims Ibis 942 Carbon or Ibis 935 Carbon
Hubs Industry Nine, 60 tooth, 6 pawls out of phase
Spokes Sapim CX-Ray
Tires Front: Schwalbe Hans Dampf 29x2.6"
Rear: Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29x2.6"
Saddle WTB Silverado Team
Seatpost Bike Yoke Revive dropper (125, 160, or 185mm)
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Nutted
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions Boost 12x148mm
Max. Tire Size 29x2.6"
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Blue steel or matte braaap
Warranty 7 years on frame and rims
Lifetime replacement on bushings
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous DW-Link suspension
IGUS bushings
Removable polycarbonate down tube skid plate
160mm post mount rear brake
Price $9,199
More Info

www.ibiscycles.com

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