I'm not buying another Ibis / A Ripley Review
Because I think I just found my 'last bike'...
I got my Ripley frame (med blue) saturday afternoon, built it sat night, and rode it sunday and monday...and am, really, super stoked.
I've owned a lot of Ibis bikes - currently have an HD that I've run in a bunch of different configs (26, 650b, 180, 170, 160)...and now switch between the standard 160 setup (with a custom-tuned float 36 160mm up front) and a 650b setup with a 650b 34 160mm. I love my HD.
I had just sold my SL-R a month or so ago to help fund the ripley. I've owned multiple sl's, original Mojo (original, as in the 'new' original mojo dually)...I've owned a Silk Ti, and still own a Szazbo (some of you may have to start going to Google at this point to know what I'm talking about)...in fact, my Szazbo is also 'sid' blue but sits as a frame-only piece of bike art. (it was a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. the ride?...let's just say that mtb's hve come a long way sine that one way made). (the other riders in my family are on HD's and SL's as their primary bikes too)
I've owned lots of brands of bikes over the years...but have always seemed to have an Ibis in the stable. I just owned, but sold, a Tallboy LTC, still have an S-works Epic 29er, Rocklobster SS, '96 Race Lite (last of the SC built bikes)...over last few years owed a Nomad C, S-works Enduro,...further back owned Maverick's, Intense, Cannondale, Ellsworth, Ventana, Sycip, Steelman, etc...I like trying as many of the really good bikes as I can. I'm not wed to a particular wheel size...I like them all. I owned a 29er when they first started to hit the market...big wheels were good but the geometry did not suit. I've been riding - and loving - 650b since Kirk P first came out with his tires (4-5 years ago)...and I still dig riding 26's.
Then there's the Ripley...I followed it for years online. Thought it looked well-thought out...great to look at...all that (all the things that I've come to really appreciate about Ibis bikes...on top of the fact that I live in a similar area and probably have some similar riding styles / likes...but not necessarily the skill...of the Ibis personnel. (hey, I even love Airstream trailers...)
But then I walked into my L(awesome)BS two months ago and there was a demo unit (black / green)...and that's when it all came together. Sure, it looks great in pics...but, oh my...what a sexy machine in person. I put down a deposit on the spot. And waited. And it's sooo worth it. This bike is magic. It may not be exactly what everyone wants in a bike...it just so happens to be nearly everything I want in a bike. Don't get me wrong, I'm really not going to be a 'one-bike' guy anytime soon. But if I HAD to be..this would have to be it. It pedals so well, it's happy / willing carving tight stuff...it flows through medium speed turns so well...it descends with confidence...all the while being incredibly direct in it's communication. (I do a lot of high performance driving also ...and the thing I take away from that to apply to bikes is the appreciation for direct communication from the chassis to the driver / rider...doesn't matter how as the car is...without communication you are lost...no speed...and no fun)...this bike 'speaks' to me...clearly, thoughtfully, playfully. What more could someone ask of a mountain bike? I've long been a fan of Dave Thomas's (Speeddream wheels) ability as a wheelbuilder, and as a philosopher. What the Ripley has brought me, so far, is the ability to find my own 'flow'...be immersed in my own 'speeddream'...even though I may only be 10 minutes out from the hustle and bustle of my typical day. This bike definitely makes we want to 'ride more and work less'.
Oh, and I can't wait to see what the Ibis crew bakes up next. Because, most likely, I'll be buying it too.
Quick recap of current bike setup:
med blue fox ctd
fox 34 140mm (one thing I'd consider modifying at this point...might drop this to 130) - King HS
Enve AM's on Kings - WTB Weirwolf 2.3's tubeless
RF Sixc cranks 24/34/light bash - enduro xd15 ceramic bb- time atac titan's
thomson 70mm stem, Answer 20/20 enduro bars (big rearward sweep like my Jones bars)
Geeze, I really want a Ripley....just can't justify the price of admission while riding my HD.
How does it compare to the HD in 26" 160 mode?
you don't want to know ;-)
No, seriously, comparing those two bikes is really difficult....and I've ridden my HD in so many conditions / places - and only ridden the Ripley on a couple short rides -
maybe a few other comparisons to start:
- the Tallboy LTc 135mm rear / 140 fox 34 front - Enve AM wheels / big tires - felt surprisingly similar in capabilities to my HD...so much so that it scared me because I started to feel like I was seeing the end of my love of the 26" / 160mm bikes. BUT, it was nowhere near as fun as the HD. Santa Cruz mountains tight singletrack - lots of berms and little jumps....just didn't compare to the HD. super capable though. My son, who's a dirt jumper / pump tracker and a very strong MTB'er did one ride on the LTc and came to the same conclusion...though he was a LOT more definitive about the lack of fun factor. He attributed it to the 29" wheels. He hasn't had any dirt time on the Ripley, but has been flinging it around in the street doing his crazy 180's and stuff (I'm jealous)...and is now willing to give the 29er's a chance. I think it's true what's been said about the ripley having a 650b-ish feel when in comes to flickability.
- The ripley compared to the LTc. no comparison in my mind. The Ripley is as capable, and a LOT more fun. The LTc felt like a truck with too much suspension (not well-controlled suspension) that, again, was super capable...but I always felt one step too removed from the trail for my taste.
- ripley versus S-works Epic 29. Might be an unfair fight given the my Epic is <23lbs, brains at both ends...and is a race bike pure and simple. that bike makes you feel a lot stronger / faster than you really are. The ripley, surprisingly, felt as efficient in the rear end as the Epic while climbing...without all that brain harshness. my ripley's not built to save grams...and I take advantage of low tire pressure (26-ish PSI) on the 2.3 weirwolves and it's nearly 5 lbs heavier...but the platform is there for a darn efficient long-haul race bike. The nice thing is, the other 99.9% I'd be riding the bike, it doesn't feel like I'm giving anything up for that efficiency.
It's all so personal...I wouldn't suggest to anyone that they ditch their HD's for a Ripley...I have no idea what you ride / how you ride / what you like....I do know that I won't be ditching my HD for the Ripley. I may ditch my HD for an updated version capable of running 650b without compromising on tire choice in the rear though. And it wouldn't have to have 160mm travel to satisfy me.
I run my HD with 2.3 Weirwolfs and ride hardpacked to rooty, shale, loose over hard. Like to do jumps and small drops. Run my suspension as firm as i can bare to get that responsive, flickable, handling at speed.
I also ride to the trails and 90km rides are not out of the question. I do this on the HD with no real issues, I'm sure the Ripley would really be nice to have on the longer rides. Even if it means i would have to ride around some of the bigger jumbs, etc.
hmmmm...then you might want to try a Ripley. it seems to have such a broad range of capabilities. Based on the few smaller jumps I've done on my local (behind my house) ride...it's a very capable / willing jumper...in fact, it's really stable in the air...and it's easily capable of covering very long distances...even set up like mine is on the more aggressive side.
Love my new Ripper also. 1x11 ... squishy heaven !
Still searching for my red headed hairdresser Tiffany. "Economic Mother Nature" ... Knocks at door! -AR
Nice write up Riderup! You mentioned that you might lower the 140 to 130, could I ask why? My Ripley will be coming with a 140 but I have second guessed my choice several times now. Hopefully you could give some insight to ease my mind a bit
All that and no photos? Jeez, where's the humanity!
regarding the question of lowering the fork from 140 to 130 (or even 120?)...the idea would simply be to get a little quicker handling from the bike via a steeper head angle. I rode again last night and have zero problem with the bike 'wandering' on steep climbs...and my local ride has some extremely steep bursts of climbing...so no worries there...
But, I was a 130mm hold-out on my mojo / mojo sl's too... I always preferred the way the bike handled with the 130mm versus 140mm forks.
I suspect the 32mm 120mm handles great...but I've really become accustomed to the stiffness that the 34mm (and 36mm) chassis gives you...particularly in the 650b and 29er versions. The weight penalty is worth it...I didn't optimize my build around weight...sure, I always consider the weight trade off but I love the stiffness of the enve am's and I think that they, and the 34mm fork, match the stiffness of the Ripley chassis really well.
Photos...yes...gotta get those downloaded (then uploaded)...took some decent ones last night.
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