Ibis is launching a version of the Ripley trail bike that follows in the footsteps of the Ripmo AF. The Ripley AF features an aluminum frame, a slacker head angle and a wallet-friendly price tag that is sure to please many mountain bikers. I’ve spent a couple of weeks getting familiar with the new bike and, as a carbon Ripley owner, I have a few opinions on this new machine.

Related: Ibis Ripmo AF Review

Ibis Ripley AF Highlights
  • Aluminum frame
  • 65.5-degree head tube angle
  • 76-degree seat tube angle
  • 130mm front / 120mm rear travel
  • Claimed weight of 7.45 pounds w/shock (32.2 pounds as tested)
  • Seven-year warranty on the frame, lifetime warranty on the suspension bushings
  • Frame pricing: $1,799
  • Complete bike price range: $2,999 - $3,299
  • Available now

Ibis Ripley Versus Ripley AF - What’s New?
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The obvious difference between the AF and the fourth-generation Ripley is the switch from a carbon to an aluminum frame. Trail bike geometry has evolved ever-so-slightly since the carbon Ripley was introduced in 2019 and this is reflected in the AF’s angles. The Ripley AF’s 65.5-degree head tube angle is a degree slacker than its carbon sibling. Both bikes are still designed around 130mm forks with 120mm of DW-Link-driven travel at the rear.

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Unlike the longer-travel Ripmo AF, which brought with it a host of kinematic changes geometry changes, the remainder of the Ripley’s DNA remains intact. The reach numbers across the four bike frame range remain unchanged and all sizes share the same 76-degree seat tube angle. The Ripley AF features a threaded bottom bracket, internal routing, and impressive clearance for longer-stroke dropper seatposts.

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Following the launch of the Ripmo AF, riders were on the lookout for an updated carbon Ripmo with the same longer, slacker geometry. According to Ibis, the launch of the Ripley AF does not portend an imminent Ripley redesign. “We will not be updating the Ripley carbon this year,” said Ibis marketing manager Saris Mercanti.

“For folks who want to try a slacker head angle on their carbon Ripley, we suggest an angleset. Another fun mod is installing a 140mm air spring in the stock 34. You can also try an eccentric bushing. None of these things will void the frame warranty,” she added.

Ibis Ripley AF Weights, Pricing and Availability

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The Ripley AF frame with Fox Performance DPS shock has a claimed weight of 7.45 pounds. While heavier than the carbon Ripley, which weighs in at 5.9 pounds with shock, this is still in the ballpark of some of the Ripley AF’s carbon-framed competitors. My medium test bike with a Shimano SLX build kit weighed in at 32.2 pounds. If you wanted to buy an AF frameset and bolt on some higher-end components and carbon wheels, sub-30-pound weights would be achievable.

While we’re on the subject of build kits, Ibis initially planned to offer four build kits for the Ripley AF, including the Shimano SLX bike I tested. The cycling industry is still grappling with product shortages that are likely to continue into 2022. Ibis opted to limit the Ripley AF built kits to the entry-level Deore 12-speed and SRAM NGX builds that retail for $2,999 and $3,299, respectively.

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The SLX build I tested would have retailed for $3,899, had it made it to market. A top-end SRAM GX Eagle built slated to retail for $4,199 build was also planned but shelved for now. All builds feature the same Fox Performance Series Float DPS shock and 130mm Fox Performance Series 34 forks.

“Depending on customer demand, we maybe offer SLX/GX in 2022. We made the difficult decision to streamline our build options to improve our order accuracy. We're hoping these changes will help shorter lead times and increase the accuracy of our ETAs,” Mercanti said.

Given the popularity of the carbon Ripley, demand for the AF is likely to be very high. The Ripley AF is available now through authorized Ibis retailers.

Ibis Ripley AF Ride Review

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As I mentioned in the introduction, the carbon Ripley resides in my personal stable of bikes. During testing, it became the bike I wanted to ride the most, which was a surefire reason to buy it. It’s almost never the wrong bike for a trail. There are times when I’m obviously under-gunned for the terrain, but that just increases the fun, at least for me.

As soon as I hopped on the Ripley AF, I was grateful Ibis took a soft touch in updating the frame geometry. The slacker head angle and correspondingly longer wheelbase make it feel more slightly more adept at steep rock rolls and rock gardens. While the wheelbase is approximately 10mm longer, I didn’t come away with the impression that the AF is any more stable on high-speed terrain, nor is it harder to maneuver through tight and technical climbs.

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The Ripley AF retains the nimble and energetic feel of the carbon bike, albeit with a little less “snap” when accelerating and changing direction. I chalk up this discrepancy to the weight difference between this 32-pound test bike and my personal Ripley, which weighs just under 26 pounds.

A quick tour of our Ibis forum will show that many riders opt to run a 140mm fork on their carbon Ripley’s. I’m on the fence about this modification. Although I’m currently running a 140mm test fork on my bike, I prefer the nimble handling and steeper seat tube angle, of the Ripley with a 130mm fork. The AF’s slacker head angle should appease many riders who want a slacker front end but don’t want to compromise (what I think is) an excellent seated climbing position.

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My impressions of the Ripley AF were mostly positive, with the exception of noise. Compared to the carbon Ripley, the AF transmits a significant amount of trail chatter. Rattling from the cables, chain slap, and small rocks pinging off the downtube and rear triangle become frequent annoyances.

Apparently, the Ripley AF was intended to have more sound-deadening frame protection, but these items have been the victim of supply-chain disruptions and were not available at the time of launch. Here’s the message from Ibis:

"To help dampen sound and increase frame protection on your Ripley AF, we have developed a swanky downtube, chainstay, and lower link protector. Unfortunately, they've been subject to pandemic related delays. We will make a running change as the parts become available this Spring. We will be offering these parts free of charge to anyone who received their bike without the new protective pieces. Simply register your bike online, send your confirmation to [email protected] and request your protection."

Ibis Ripley AF Verdict

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If you’re searching for a well-rounded trail bike, the Ripley AF is an excellent candidate. It’s an efficient pedaler and confident descender that combines the best elements of the carbon version into an affordable package. The Ripley AF is a great option for riders who are hard on their gear and wary of carbon. Sound issues aside, this bike at the 3K mark might be the best entry-level trail bike on the market.