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photo: Ibis

The fourth generation Ibis Ripley trail bike drops today, and it’s a big update. The bike has been completely re-designed from the ground up, including a new linkage design, a stiffer and more progressive ride, and updated geometry.

If the linkage on the fourth-generation Ripley looks familiar, that’s because it’s similar to the lower link configuration Ibis developed for the Ripmo. Previously, the Ripley made use of a double eccentric design which complicated the seat tube and left little room in the front triangle for a water bottle. The upshot is this design shift allows Ibis to spec longer dropper posts, with at least a 125mm post on size small frames and up to 185mm posts on the medium through XL frames.

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photos: Ibis

Of course, there’s more to the new linkage design than just moving parts around. Ibis claims the updated dw-link suspension setup and shock tune is more progressive than the previous Ripley, giving riders good small bump compliance alongside support for big hits. The updated Ripley frame is said to be stiffer, while dropping about 0.65lbs. compared to V3. The Ripley still offers 120mm of rear suspension travel paired with a 130mm fork up front.

Mountain bike geometry continues to progress, and Ibis is using this refresh to make some tweaks. The head tube angle drops another degree to 66.5° while the seat tube angle straightens three whole degrees to 76°. Just a couple years ago a 76° seat tube angle would have seemed a ridiculous choice, and to be sure, it’s pushing the edges of today’s standards. However, don’t be surprised to see other mountain bikes follow suit shortly since a steeper seat angle tends to clean up the climbing characteristics of increasingly slack bikes.

The Ripley V4 gets longer too, with Ibis adding an average of 45mm to the reach across all sizes. Chainstays were shortened by about 12mm to 432mm while maintaining clearance for 29er tires up to 2.6″ wide.

photo: Ibis

Inside the frame, Ibis added cable tunnels to make brake hose and derailleur cable routing simple. The frame features a threaded bottom bracket interface and uses IGUS bushings which are low maintenance, lightweight, and stiffer than the traditional bushings used in the Ripley V3. In yet another shift, the updated Ripley is not designed to accommodate a 2X drivetrain.

The Ripley will be offered in a number of build kits ranging in price from $4,099 up to $9,399. There is also a frame-only option priced at $2,999.

On the trail

photo: Saris Mercanti

Mountain bikers ask a lot of trail bikes. Essentially, a trail bike needs to be as good at climbing as it is at descending — and those are two very different things. Based on my time with the new Ibis Ripley, I would say this is one of the most balanced trail bikes on the market today that truly goes up and down well. Let’s start with descending since that’s more fun.

Descending

photo: Saris Mercanti

I’m a big fan of progressive suspension that offers supple, small-bump compliance yet can ramp to soak up big, and often unexpected, hits. The Ibis Ripley rides extremely smoothly, even on flat, pedally sections rippled with small roots and rocks. Getting up to speed, the bike continues to responsively track through irregular and chunky sections, thanks in large part to the Fox Factory suspension on the build I tested.

The updated geometry on the Ripley is truly confidence-inspiring for riding on sight down steep, natural trails. The relaxed head tube angle pushes weight toward the back of the bike and steering feels great. The long dropper post — a 185mm Bike Yoke Revive on my XL bike — deserves a lot of credit in the confidence department. Kudos to Ibis for giving riders access to longer dropper posts through their seat tube design changes.

photo: Saris Mercanti

Some newer trail bikes tend to feel especially long, best suited to straight, high speed bombs down the mountain. While the Ripley is certainly stable at speed, I was struck by how nimble the bike feels in corners and tighter, more technical sections. This is thanks, no doubt, to the shorter chainstays.

Climbing

Historically speaking, 66.5° is a pretty slack head angle for a trail bike, but it’s not unusual today. Slack head angles are great for descending, but the tradeoff is that the front end tends to wander a little on the climbs as the rider’s weight is shifted toward the back of the bike. Manufacturers like Ibis compensate for this with a steeper seat tube angle, and based on the shorter climbs I made on the Ripley V4, it works. The front end is still a tad wandery, but it’s less pronounced than many full suspension trail bikes that I’ve ridden.

Perhaps more importantly to some riders, myself included, the Ibis Ripley is even lighter than before, and this is definitely noticeable when the bike is pointed uphill. There’s something about a lightweight bike that feels freeing (and fast!), and I truly enjoyed sprinting up short, steep sections and even settling in for extended climbs. None of it felt overly taxing or burdensome.

photo: Saris Mercanti

Ibis uses a dw-link suspension setup which is tried and true when it comes to pedaling performance. The latest tune feels very efficient with little noticeable pedal bob, even with the shock in fully open mode throughout the ride.

Bottom line

Ibis has delivered a balanced and high-performance trail bike with the updated Ripley. This bike is capable and fun as hell on the descents, yet in a refreshing twist, is fun to climb on as well.

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# Comments

  • Plusbike Nerd

    Well, Ibis has done it again! Last year they came out with definitve long-travel trailbike, the Ripmo, and now they’ve come out with the definitive short-travel trailbike, the Ripley. I’ve long thought that a 29×2.5-2.8 tire mounted to an i34-36mm rim makes for the best trailbike wheel. I’ve also think that modern progressive geometry benefits even short-travel Trailbikes. Put those two together in a light package with high quality suspension and it doesn’t get much better. Now, if the frame/fork had clearance for a 29×2.8 tires so that you could go Plus if you wanted, I would consider this the best short-travel trailbike ever made
    .
    To my way of thinking, the ideal trailbike in any travel length or wheel size (27.5 or 29) should come with progessive geometry, i34-36 rims, and frame/fork clearance for up to 2.8 tires. That way you could use any tire from 2.4 to 2.8. I want the versatility to use either Plus or Narrow tires.

  • Zoso

    Pretty sure the fork will take a 2.8″ tire?

    Run a 2.8 front and 2.6 rear and you’ll get what you’re asking for imo.

  • dietcoors

    Hey Jeff, how tall are ya? I’m 6′ coming off a V3 Ripley XL. I’m between a L and XL in the V4, curious about your sizing perspective. Thanks!

    • Jeff Barber

      I’m 6’3″.

      It seems sizing is fluid these days, so assuming you’ve got the standover height and room to get the seat where you need it, I personally prefer to size up to get more reach, a longer-travel seatpost, and a longer wheelbase.

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