Ibis Ripley LS
Size Tested: Medium
- Drivetrain: SRAM X1 & XO1 w/ Race Face NEXT SL cranks
- Wheels: Ibis 938 (Aluminum)
- Fork: Fox Float 34
- Rear Shock: Fox Float DPS EVOL
Travel: 120 mm Rear / 130 mm Front
Blister’s Measured weight, frame only (with Fox Float DPS EVOL Shock, seat collar, axle, downtube protector, and water bottle bolts): 5.95 lbs / 2.7 kg
Blister’s Measured Weight, complete bike: 27.6 lbs with Race Face Atlas pedals
Reviewer: 5’8”, 160 lbs.
Test Location: Park City, Utah
Test Duration: Two weeks
Ibis’ first generation Ripley found great acclaim as a snappy climber of a trail bike that didn’t feel like a 29er. Its steep 69.2 degree head angle kept steering responsive, and its 17.4” chainstays were considered short when it first came out.
The industry has moved on, though, with many 29ers pushing closer to (and even below) 17” chainstays and to head angles around 67 degrees — see the Evil Following and Kona Process 111 for examples. In this new context, the original Ripley looks very XC-oriented.
But Ibis has been paying attention, and in 2015, they released an update to the Ripley: the Ripley LS — the “LS” stands for Long & Slack.
How Long & Slack, and What Else is New?
The Ripley LS extends its reach by just over 20 mm on each size — that is almost a full size jump in most brands — and slackens the head tube angle to 67.5 degrees.
The bottom bracket height drops from 13” to 12.8”, the seat angle steepens a bit, and Ibis dropped the seat mast by ½” to better accommodate long dropper posts. That’s great news for people with short legs like me. Lastly, the Ripley is now offered with Boost spacing.
These numbers sound a lot better to me than the original Ripley’s geometry. To be clear though, the reach / toptube, while longer than the original Ripley, is still short compared to a lot of bikes on the market, and 67.5 degrees, while slacker than before, is far from being an anomaly. The LS doesn’t lose Ibis’ stated focus on making nimble bikes with responsive handling, but the new bike no longer occupies the more extreme end of the spectrum that the original Ripley does.
I tend to run a two-bike-quiver, with one 27.5” wheeled, 160 mm travel bike to handle rough descents, and a 29er for long rides. This spring I was looking for a new 29” bike that could make climbing fun without neutering downhill performance. The Ripley LS looked like a great candidate for a bike that could capture some of the climbing performance of an XC race rig and some of the descending performance of a longer-travel bike. Combine that with some sweet organic frame lines, and I wanted to review this bike.
Ibis uses a carbon fiber monocoque construction for both the swingarm and the main triangle. It yields a competitive frame weight and a very fluid aesthetic.
The Ripley LS has a novel implementation of DW-Link that uses a rotating eccentric core similar to what Yeti used with Switch Link. It results in a very sleek looking design that almost appears to be a link-driven single pivot.
Starting in late 2015 Ibis advertised that they have moved to stiffer eccentric cores for the suspension. The earlier Ripleys could have a bit of flex in the rear end. The new one really doesn’t. It isn’t the stiffest bike I’ve ridden, but I don’t for a second think of it as flexy. The pivot hardware is a pretty standard, non-collet design. I’m interested to see if it stays tight as well as the collet style hardware that has become increasingly common.
On the back of the bike. The Ripley LS uses a simple, low-profile 5mm hex socket head rear axle. It doesn’t allow for tool-free removal, but is light and stays out of the way.
In previous years, the Ripley had terrible cable routing. The internal routing was challenging to set up and often resulted in housing wear against the carbon frame and/or rubbing against the steerer tube.
I’m glad to report that the cable routing is now a nice combination of an external rear brake line, a dropper post with full housing routed internally except for one interruption by the bottom bracket, and an interrupted internal housing for shifting.
The access points are covered with aluminum plates. To route the cable, you remove these and then fish the cable through. It isn’t as slick as the internal tubes used on Santa Cruz frames, but it works just fine.
I did find that I’ve rubbed quite a bit of plastic off the dropper housing due to sharp edges on the frame entry point cover. I also wish there were a good way to close the unused hole for the front derailleur cable routing to prevent water from getting into the frame.
The finish quality on the bike looks great, until you start pulling off the cable entry point covers. The openings are a bit rough, and the inside of the frame isn’t as smooth as others. It’s not a big deal, just not as polished as a Santa Cruz carbon bike. The metal head tube badge is a nice piece that adds a touch of class.
In late 2015, Ibis switched from a pressfit bottom bracket to a standard threaded affair, showing that they do listen to market feedback, specifically the common complaints about creaking pressfit bottom brackets.
There is a nice optional plastic guard for the downtube to prevent damage from rocks kicked up by the front tire. The chainstay protection provided with the bike is nice as well, with rubber molded chainstay and seatstay guards, and a metal plate to protect against chainsuck damage.
There are two water bottle mounts, one on top of the downtube and one on the bottom. The bottom one doubles as the mount for the downtube guard. The top one can just fit a 24 oz bottle. I haven’t used the bottom one with a bottle.
NEXT: The Build, Geometry, Etc.