First Ride: Ibis Ripley
Bike photos by Lear Miller Action photos by Saris Mercanti
Santa Cruz, California, offers some of the best mountain bike trails in the state. And because of its close proximity to the Sea Otter Classic, our editors often sneak away for a quick rip down epic singletrack. This year we managed to tie in our secret getaway mission with a legitimate work trip—one we couldn’t talk about until now.
Santa Cruz is not only home to worldclass bike trails, it’s also home to Ibis Cycles. We traveled north to confirm rumors we heard about an all-new Ripley, the bike that Ibis calls its most versatile model. With great anticipation, we arrived at Ibis’ headquarters and saw the bike we envisioned sitting under studio lights in the Ibis museum, nestled towards the back of the office. Classic Ibis models hung on either side of the walls, funneling our vision towards the far end of the room where the new Ripley stole the show.
After a brief presentation from Ibis founder Scot Nicol and engineer Colin Hughes, we were amped to hit the trails. We headed out for a fun afternoon ride aboard the Ripley in order to gather our thoughts on the all-new machine.
The Ripley has long been the bike Ibis riders gravitate towards when the trails are unknown. It’s a versatile 29er built to handle the rigors of a wide variety of trails, packing just enough travel to tame rowdy descents while keeping climbing efficiency a priority.
The Ripley surprised us with its ability to soak up big hits.
The fourth generation of the Ripley shares the same travel numbers and continues to use dw-link suspension, but that’s where the two bikes begin to differ. The allnew Ripley was redesigned from the ground up and features a laundry list of upgrades and updates. So, let’s see what’s new.
We journeyed straight from Ibis’ headquarters onto some of Santa Cruz’s finest trails to feel out the differences of this allnew bike. The goal was clearly to make this Ripley the most capable yet, not only on the descents but on the climbs as well. This was achieved by giving the bike a snappier feel via short chainstays, along with a longer reach and slacker head tube angle for more stability. Ibis then stripped the bike of its dual eccentric linkage in order to free up space around the seat tube, which not only added stiffness but allowed the use of a long-travel dropper post.
So, out on the trails, what did all these changes mean? Well, for lack of a better word, pure “awesomeness.” In fact, the new Ripley managed to change our perception of what a short-travel machine is capable of. With just 120mm of travel, the Ripley flies down the trails with precision and speed. Whether flowing down one of Santa Cruz’s more famous jump lines or barreling into technical gnar, the Ripley maintains its composure and offers a planted feel. Of course, with just one ride under our belt, it’s hard to get a true feel for the bike, but our test rider was immediately comfortable aboard this all-new rig. Compared to the last generation, this bike is simply better all the way around. We’re hyped to spend more time on the fourth generation of the Ripley. Stay tuned, as we hope to add one of these beauties to our test fleet soon. www.ibiscycles.com
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