Ibis Cycles turned 38 at the beginning of April, and to celebrate they’re launching the 4th generation Ibis Ripley full suspension mountain bike. It’s a new bird, flying straight into the popular lightweight trail bike category with fully modern features and geometry. Beyond the updated angles and lower, longer, slacker (yet also steeper) design, there’s a new suspension layout that is both simpler and way, way lighter than before.

The original Ibis Ripley soft tail mountain bike The original Ibis Ripley soft tail mountain bike.

So, what’s new, Ripley?

The original Ripley debuted in ‘99 as an alloy soft tail. The model was relaunched in 2011 as an XC marathon bike. Or, rather, it was announced in 2011 and finally made it to market in 2013. After which is was quickly pushed to do more, even being used in EWS. The Ripley v3 added a bit more travel and tire clearance, offering 120mm of travel and clearance for 2.6” tires. Both the 120mm travel and massive 29×2.6″ tire clearance carry over for this v4 Ripley, but that’s about it.

ibis Ripley v4 trail mountain bike suspension design tech and details

The big change is the switch from the original eccentric pivot system to a more traditional pivot system, and it’s all about that seat post drop. With more dropper posts getting longer and having more travel, they needed to make room for more seatpost insertion and lower the overall standover.

It still has a one-piece rear triangle, which manages to shorten the chainstays to just 432mm thanks to a forward-offset seat tube. That seat tube has a 76° angle, and reach stretches 45mm longer on all sizes. They say this combo puts you in a more centered position, which really keeps the weight over the pedals for better climbing traction. They also made the seat tube as short as possible to allow for the longest possible dropper posts…even size small frames can run a 125mm-150mm dropper and fit a full size bottle in the front triangle. All other sizes fit a 175mm dropper. Impressive.

ibis Ripley v4 trail mountain bike suspension design tech and details ibis Ripley v4 trail mountain bike suspension design tech and details

Even more impressive is that the frame is one half pound lighter. They claim it’s just 5lb (size M, without shock), and that the top-level XTR build shown at the bottom of this post can is just 26lb with a 175mm dropper post.

ibis Ripley v4 trail mountain bike suspension design tech and details

Weight savings come largely from removing the eccentric pivot system, but also from using a combination of bearings and bushings. They spec’d a 2g bushing in high stress, low rotation positions, saving a lot of weight over the 25g steel bearings they replaced. They say these work better for the application, since the lower pivots only move 8° and 20° max, so the bike still comes with a lifetime warranty.

And, it’s just as stiff as the enduro-ready RipMo, though, so there’s no sacrifices in handling or performance, just less travel. This means you probably won’t see any mid-model linkage upgrade kits like the Gnar-Core.

ibis Ripley v4 trail mountain bike suspension design tech and details

BB height actually increased a 5mm, giving it more clearance. Cables run mostly internally, and the bike is not set up for wired electronic drivetrains, but obviously SRAM AXS will work. It has cable tunnels in the front and rear of the bike, but no accommodations for Fox Live Valve. They say “it pedals well enough uphill that they don’t need to add a pound and $2k to the bike.”

It has ISCG adapter now, too, but no front derailleur mount.

The Reply v4 gets a 66.5° head angle with 44mm offset fork, which they say makes it feel like a 65° HA, but with the ability to keep your weight over the front tire better. Those measurements are based on a 130mm fork, but they say you could sub in a lightweight 120mm fork to create a marathon race bike, or bump it to 140mm for a more aggressive all-mountain bike. Whatever travel you choose, they recommend sticking with a 44mm offset fork.

So, do all of these changes make for a more talented Mr. Ripley? Check out our first ride review and find out.

Ibis Ripley v4 specs, pricing & geometry

Ibis Ripley v4 trail mountain bike specs and pricing

The Ibis Ripley 4 will come as a frameset for $2,999, with complete bikes ranging from $4,099 with SRAM NX up to $9,399 with the new Shimano XTR paired with Race Face Next SL cranks.

pricing and build specs for ibis ripley 4 complete mountain bikes

Click any image to enlarge.

ibis ripley v4 geometry chart

Another big improvement? They’re actually available and shipping as of this launch post…a big upgrade from the years of teasing the Ripley v2 gave us. Frames come in Blue Steel or Matte Braaap and are backed with a 7 year warranty, and bushings have a lifetime replacement guarantee.

Where are they made?

Do you recall the Carbon 831 Project they launched for the prior Ripley v3 bikes, where they were making the small frame sizes in house in Santa Cruz, CA? Well, that project is still something they’re developing, but not for the Ripley v4.

All sizes of this new bike are made in Asia, but they are still developing their US-made program to try to bring some of their carbon frame manufacturing back in house. Why? Or, rather, why not the v4? The point of the project was to prove that a really small full suspension 29er frame could be made at high volumes and with high quality. The challenge they originally ran into was that their factories looked at the layup required for the smaller frames and simply told them ‘no’. So they proved the concept in house, and took that knowledge to their manufacturing partners and showed them how to do it. It also taught them how to use fewer pieces of carbon to accomplish the same strength and stiffness, which reduced build time and complexity. So, the in-house project lets them test ideas and best practices, then apply them to the mass production factories they use in Asia.

ibis cycles carbon 831 us manufacturing program builds carbon fiber bicycles in the USA

And eventually, they say, bring some of that back to the U.S. The molds you see above are aluminum, and they use higher efficiency heat coils to get to temperature. This is not only way more energy efficient, but gives them much better control over the curing process, time and temperature, which is a huge technological improvement over the processes used by most factories…so they’re actually testing more than just layups, and they say this streamlined, efficient process could be the key to bringing some of this back to the U.S. and do so cost effectively.

IbisCycles.com

7 COMMENTS

  1. As an owner of a previous-generation Ripley LS, I have mixed feelings about this update.

    Good: longer TT & reach, increased BB height, shorter chainstay, more standover, fitting longer droppers. This fixes 4 of 5 of my complaints about my LS.

    Bad: longer and slacker. I think the LS was a good compromise on these figures, its difficult to manage in tight singletrack, but the stability and tracking in rough and steep stuff is a worthwhile trade-off. Making it “longer and slacker” is going to make it a pig in tight singletrack… and if your riding is focused on steep and gnarly, wouldn’t you get a RipMo instead?

    Potentially bad?: Is removing the eccentric pivot system going to reduce pedaling performance? It already bobs too much when pedaling, forget about standing and pedaling. I was really hoping an update would focus on better pedaling.

    I’ll be very interested in the ride review.

  2. “…and a lot lighter!” Don’t forget to throw in and a lot more expensive. $4100 for an entry level NX-equipped Ripley with nearly less-than-entry-level Level brakes and mediocre Fox Float? Shiver me timbers pal!

    Seriously, bike prices are getting out of hand…

  3. Many other companies have been seduced by the lure of using “lighter” and “more durable” solid bushings, rather than cartridge ball bearings, only to find that they ended up with sticky suspension action and/or sloppy linkages. I agree that in theory a bushing is a better way to go, given the minimal rotation at many of these pivots, but it never seems to work out well in practice, and after a couple years of problems and poor user reviews, most companies revert back to cartridge bearings.

    • Fair comments, Kaiser. I patiently tried to work through the lower pivot bushing issues in the original Turner Czar. They worked great on the 4-bar Turners, but eventually, Turner threw in the towel and converted to actual bearings.

    • We’ve gone over a year with no issues on the Ripmo, so we were confident to use the same parts on the Ripley. We offer replacement parts free of charge if the bushings fail and so far so good, there have been no warranties. The key is managing the tolerances of the part fit and keeping the system sealed.

  4. I don’t understand the movement toward 76 degree seat tube angles in the name of seated, steep climbing. This makes no sense. It seems suspension placement, tire width, and the belief that stays need to be 432mm are driving the steep seat tube angle.

  5. HansSC, I trust Hans knows what he’s doing. Chuck wouldn’t put any crap on his bike. Loved the podcast too!!

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