Ibis Ripley LS 29er Full Suspension

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[Jun 23, 2018]


Light- capable-holds up to my 6'3" 220lb frames Cannot say enough about Ibis Custoner service, call them before venting on a review-guarantee they take care of you


None that others have not mentioned

Price Paid:
Model Year:
[Dec 31, 2017]
All Mountain Rider


Climbing Ability
Balanced Feel
Incredibly Responsive
Most likely, the perfect bike for the majority of the trails you'll ride
Carbon fiber layup based on unicorn hair fibers


Short reach for riders at the tallest end of the spectrum
Internally routed cables are super noisy inside the downtube (but there's a fix)
OEM Fox EVOL Shock is overwhelmed by fast riders over 200 lbs

Quick Background: This bike replaced my Jet 9 RDO and accompanied my S-Works Enduro 29. I live in Switzerland right now and have ridden the Ripley LS extensively in the Swiss Alps, French Alps, Finale Ligure, and many other trails in the region. This includes several Enduro World Series (EWS) Stages (ridden for fun, not a race), many lift assisted enduro days, and a few longer XC endurance rides.

The frame weight is super competitive and weighed exactly the same as my Jet 9 RDO that it replaced, which is around 5.75 lbs for an XL. To me, the standout feature was just how well this bike climbed. Each time I mashed the pedals with a thigh-burning effort, the Ripley LS rewarded me with an ample amount of acceleration and forward momentum. It wasn't until the climb became super steep and technical that the fly in the ointment began to surface. And when it did, it wasn't even that bad. So what's the fly in the ointment? Well, super steep climbs on a bike with a 67.5 head angle will almost always equate to a light front wheel... no surprises there. The other niggle was that the low, 325mm, BB clearance meant that on super techy climbs where you're more concerned with not falling over, could come to an abrupt halt if you encountered a large rock in the path of your pedal stroke. This didn't happen all that often and it's the only time where I'd bemoan the low BB height... super techy and steep climbs w/rocks that were simply unavoidable. Other than that, there is some serious voodoo at work in the DW-link suspension; seriously. I love how hard this bike responds to my pedal input.

The Ripley LS doesn't have super short chain stays which I actually appreciated. I never felt this was a hinderance or hurt the bike's flickability (as everyone likes to say). It remained lively, playful, and manuverable. So I have no qualms with the Ripley LS in this section of the geometry department. But what really irks me is the compact reach of this frame. I think the XL is like 447mm which is boderline short, even a few years ago. But with "low and slack" being the Ripley's namesake, they really missed the mark in production. As a result, I had to run a 70 or 80 mm stem which isn't all bad, but still. And while I'm on the subject, I feel Ibis again missed the boat with the Ripley V3. I mean you don't have to go Kona-long with 500+ mm of reach, but this dimension was not updated at all with the V3.

But in spite of the short reach, I had no problems aboard the Ripley LS, even at 6'4". My awakening moment was on the bike's maiden voyage which happened to be a 3 day guided enduro trip in Verbier, Switzerland. There was one stage that went through Verbier's jump trail and in spite of never ridden this bike before and never ridden Verbier, I simply speed-matched the guide, stayed off the brakes, and hit every jump blind. The amount of confidence the bike gave me to be able to do something like that on the first time really made the bike special to me. It was like it whispered... "trust me; we got this". Having been roasted by the Swiss all day on their super techy, natural terrain, it was gratifying to let loose on the flow trail and throw some whips with them watching me from behind.

I already mentioned the short reach, but the other major hangup I had with the bike was the Fox EVOL shock. No matter how much pressure I put in (even as high as 295 psi), I could not achieve the factory spec sag number. So while I had excessive sag, the ridiculous pressure led to a shock that ramped super hard at the end of its stroke. While this was fine for normal trail riding, it absolutely sucked for fast and rowdy enduro riding where the hits come hard and fast. The bike would get super rough and at only 120mm of travel, the suspension would have been close to being overwhelmed on its own. But rocking 295 psi in the shock only made things worse. I cycled the shock every 50 psi, per my convo. with Ibis but this didn't work and in conjunciton w/a reach that was just felt a tad too short, I ended up selling the bike.

If I was living in the US right now and could only have one bike, this would still be one of my top choices. It's no exaggeration to say that you can race XC on it one day, swap tires, then do an enduro or bike park the following day; I've done it and it was marvelous aboard the Ripley LS. Unfortunately, the trails I'm riding in the Alps are just a bit too rough and steep and I needed a bit more bike which is why I picked up a Yeti SB5.5c. But in spite of that, make no mistake... the Ripley LS is the quintissential "trail bike" and can handle all but the gnarliest of trails (super steep, fast, and techy terrain). If Ibis ever gets on the bandwagon and updates the reach, I'm almost positive I'll own another Ripley one day. It's too much of a magic bike to not have in my quiver.

Five stars for value because this bike is capable of so much. Four stars overall due to short reach and shock woes.

Similar Products Used:

Niner Jet 9 RDO
S-Workd Enduro 29
Yeti SB 5.5c
Santa Cruz Hightower
Specialized Stumpjumper 29 (previous gen)

[Oct 13, 2016]
All Mountain Rider


It's really about the ride and geometry. It's really dialed!
Threaded BB
Semi-Easy maintenance
'Don't Shoot Me Bro ORANGE (That's what I call it, is fantastic!)


Cable routing
Chainring clearance/setup
Pedal strikes, but that's more pedaling fundamentals than BB height, but it is low.
Boost Compatibility...I guess

My initial experience with the Ripley LS was not that great to be honest. It was a serious 'head-scratcher' as it was my first experience with DW-Link and Ibis's atypical version of it. The rear suspension seemed to ramp up and there was no mid-stroke no matter what I did with the rear shock. I was on the verge of swapping to a Monarch Debonair since my friend had one on hand, but I found out that wasn't the problem. I started noticing creaking, so I tore the rear suspension apart for a service. One of the eccentrics had significant buildup on it that had to be scraped off which took some work. I reassembled everything with fresh Parks lube and blue thread-locker and MAN!!! When I say there was a difference, it was night-and-day! The bike suspension came alive. So I suspect the suspension really had significant resistance in activating the travel. So that took care of my buyer's remorse immediately. BTW I bought the frame, fork, wheels, +headset second-hand with only 6 rides on the bike..and got a great deal on it!

So as I evolved with the bike geometry evolution has been happening, I have finding myself interested in new bikes. My Tallboy Carbon bought new in 2010 has become dated with QR and 100mm. I built up a '15 Intense Spider 29Comp, and although it's a great bike, it's not without it's quirks and problems. I am still trying to figure out what I will end up doing with that since I got this. Stable-killer thoughts with the Ripley LS.

So I am starting to buy into Ibis's marketing that it rides like a smaller bike. It rides super low and slack similar to the Kona Process 111 in a way, but definitely quicker and more nimble....more like my Tallboy but with longer legs and way better as the trail becomes more technical! The bike simply rails. It pedals great, it tracks well, the bike feels really low like a smaller bike...not 29er height.

The carbon does a very good job of muting vibration...I'd say on-par with Santa Cruz, definitely better than Intense.
As far as the Boost vs 12x142. It may be better when using aluminum wheels, but it doesn't feel any stiffer than my Spider29 with 12x142 and carbon wheels. Additionally, with Boost or frame design or for whatever reason, you will have a hard time getting a standard crankset on the bike if you want to run a 34T ring or bigger. You'll have to space it out of tolerance. The only real option is to go with a direct mount ring with an offset such as the Race Face Cinch, and you'll have to mount offset out to clear the chainstay. I was able to mount a 34T Oval

I wish more companies would look at how Santa Cruz does their cable routing. Intense's routing is garbage, Ibis's routing on the LS is 'borderline' crappy too..Yes it's been improved over the original Ripley, but that doesn't make it great. The routing for cables transitioning from the front triangle to rear is awkward, and if you don't take proper care and make sure to put frame protection in key places...it could be problematic later down the road. Don't let this deter you..just do your due-diligence on prepping the frame for riding!

Similar Products Used:

Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon (owner)
Intense Spider 29 Composite (owner)
Kona Process 111 DL (former owner)
Evil The Following (friend's bike)
Norco Optic C9.3 (bikeshop borrow)
Tallboy 3 (demo)
Trek EX 9 29 (friend's bike)
Turner Czar (friend's bike)

[Nov 01, 2015]
All Mountain Rider


Proven suspension design
Outstanding build quality
Great build kits
Nimbleness not normally associated with a 29er
Several great fixes from Gen 1 Ripley


Supply chain--long wait times after ordering
Price, but still competitive with comparable bikes from Pivot, SC, Intense, etc.
Would be nice to have a couple more color choices

My timing was not great for getting a quick bike. I ordered in April 15, but Ibis was in the process of updating the Ripley, so the bike took 6 months to arrive. The bike also showed up with the 2016 XT 1x11 kit, when I had ordered the XO. I considered holding out for the XO, but initial reviews of the 2016 XT stuff was excellent, so I went with it.

So far, after 2 rides, I couldn't be happier. Coming off 7 years with a Mojo, I expected the Ripley to match it climbing, be much more stable and plush descending, and I thought it might be harder to maneuver in the twisties. In reality, this bike trounces my old Mojo in every conceivable way. I am climbing faster on it while feeling more balanced, and descending faster with more confidence and comfort. I have been slow to go to the 29er because the ones I demoed felt ponderous. The Ripley is the first one I rode that didn't feel like a compromise.

Addressing some noise complaints with the Gen 1 Ripley, Ibis went back to a threaded BB, and so far everything has been library-silent. The cable routing is a mix of internal and external, and it all looks well-dialed, allowing for stealth routing for everything except the rear brake. The Gen 1 cable ports in the front of the head tube were problematic and are gone.

The XT 1x11 is running with an 11x42 in back and a 30T RaceFace ring up front. This is my first time ditching the front derailleur, and so far I have all of the climbing gears I need, even for steep climbs. I would need more teeth up front if I was racing on flatter courses, and this RaceFace crankset allows for easy chainring changes.

The bike came with the Ibis 41mm carbon rims. So far, I like them. I will be experimenting with lower inflation pressure--so far I am running 25 psi. I do notice the extra traction from the larger contact spot, and it feels sweet.

The 2016 Fox suspension parts seem well matched to the bike and built to typical Fox quality standards. I came close to going with the Pike up front with a Cane Creek in back, and I am now glad I stuck with the Fox stuff. Never let me down in all of these years, so call me a loyal customer.

Many have called the Ripley a one-quiver bike. I tend to agree. It is an AM bike that can easily race long XC races or cross into enduro. I wish it weighed a couple pounds less, but that is more for my mind than a reaction to how it rides. Some may wonder now whether they should ride a Ripley or Ripley LS. Easy choice for me, the XL size comes only in the LS. I can't help you with this choice, only to assure you that the LS is plenty lively and will not leave you feeling like it is too slack in its geometry.

Similar Products Used:

2008 Ibis Mojo

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