We caught our first glimpse of the Ripley at Eurobike in 2011. Since then the Ripley has gone through several revisions on its way to becoming ready for the public. Now, after years of development, the Ripley is shipping to dealers as you read this.
While its public debut was in August of 2011, many of the elements that went into the production bike were in the works as far back as 2007. Ibis originally envisioned the Ripley as a 26in, 100mm-travel race bike. The Ripley went through several transformations along the way. First Ibis upped the travel to 120mm, then added 29in wheels.
The original test mule used the front triangle from Ibis’ Tranny hardtail grafted to a 120mm-travel rear end. You can learn more about the Ibis test mule here.
What remained at the heart of the Ripley platform were the frame’s eccentric linkages. Suspension designer Dave Weagle shrunk his dw-link suspension design down to two tiny eccentric links. The use of eccentric links helped keep the Ripley’s wheelbase in check by keeping the rear end from growing too long.
The original linkage used angular contact bushings that could be adjusted to compensate for wear over their lifespan. The company also began development of a cartridge bearing system as a hedge against development issues that might arise with the bushing system.
This proved to be a wise move. Ibis found there was not enough real-estate available in the eccentric system to adequately seal the bushings against the elements.
The bearings in the frame are standard BB30 bearings. The bearings in the swingarm are identical those used in skateboard wheels.
The bearing system is designed to be long lasting and very easy to rebuild, should the need arise. Through a number of refinements the frame gained a mere 21 grams in the switch from bushings to cartridge bearings. (Total frame weight is reported to be 5lb with an X-Fusion MicroLite Shock, 5.2lb with Fox RP23 CTD shock.) While this transition increased the Ripley’s development time, it resulted in positive outcomes. According to Ibis, the bearing system is easier to service, has less stiction, resulting in better small bump compliance, makes for a stiffer interface, and uses bearings that are readily available.
Total frame weight is reported to be 5.2 lbs with Fox RP23 CTD shock.
Eccentric suspension details
Ibis claims there are many benefits to the eccentric linkage system. The bearings are located inside the seat tube, which shields them from the elements. Additionally, the eccentric system is lighter than Ibis’ external bearing systems. As mentioned earlier, the impetus for shrinking the dw-link suspension was to decrease the bike’s chainstay length. The shortened linkage allowed Ibis to construct the Ripley with a rear triangle brace on the right, as well as the left side, to bolster rear end stiffness. This upright also serves as the mounting location for the Ripley’s direct mount front derailleur, allowing the front derailleur to move with the swingarm. The high direct mount front derailleur moves with the swingarm.
While the mini dw-link suspension design has many benefits. Ibis does not plan to incorporate the technology into its entire full suspension range.
“If we do other shorter travel bikes, then I can certainly see us using it. For longer travel though, links like on the HD or Mojo still make more sense,” said company president Scot Nicol. Another technology developed for the Ripley may also be incorporated into future projects. “I wouldn't be surprised if the dual strut swingarm gets attempted again—it's so elegant. It solves a lot of fit problems around the front derailleur, and allows us to tuck the rear wheel pretty tight against the seat tube,” he said.
The Ridley sports many of the current frame features we’ve come to expect on high end carbon mountain bikes. The frame has a tapered head tube, 142x12 Maxle rear end, press-fit BB92 bottom bracket shell and post mounts for a 160mm rear brake rotor. The front and rear shift cables enter the frame at the head tube and exit the top tube at the shock mount. The rear brake line is routed externally. There are also molded carbon cable guides for a dropper seat post.
Ibis set out to design a raceable 29er trail bike that was responsive and agile. The eccentric links keep the chainstay length down to a resonable 17.5in (445mm). Ibis also spec’d longer, 51mm offset forks, which were exclusive to Trek for a number of years. This increased offset fork reduces the Ripley's trail numbers, keeping it in the same ballpark as many of the company's other models.
|Seat tube length||15in (381mm)||17in (432mm)||19in (483mm)||21in (533mm)|
|Top tube length||22.2in (564mm)||23in (584mm)||23.8in (605mm)||24.6in (625mm)|
|Head tube length||3.1in (78mm)||3.7in (94mm)||3.9in (100mm)||4.2in (107mm)|
|Chainstay length||17.5in (445mm)||17.5in (445mm)||17.5in (445mm)||17.5in (445mm)|
|Head angle (120mm fork)||70°||70°||70°||70°|
|Head angle (140mm fork)||68.5°||68.5°||68.5°||68.5°|
|Wheelbase||42in (1078mm)||43.3in (1100mm)||44.1in (1120mm)||44.9in (1140mm)|
Pricing and availability
Ibis is offering the Ripley in a number of configurations to suit most SRAM/Shimano preferences and budgets. The suspension kinematics Ibis asked Weagle to create for the Ripley are optimized for 32-34-tooth chainrings. According to Ibis, the suspension works best in this range, although it is fine with the larger sizes found on many triples and doubles. Ibis is spec'ing complete builds (except SLX) with a 34/24-tooth e-thirteen 2X crankset. While there is currently no XX1 build kit, the frame is XX1 compatible.
Nicol says the Ripley is now in full production and the company is currently shipping to dealers. We look forward to getting one in for test shortly.
Frame W/Fox Kashima-coated Float CTD Adjust Shock
XTR - E*13 - TRS+ crank, Ibis Hi Fi-Bars, XTR Trail Brakes, Stan's Arch EX wheels, Fox K-Coat Float 32 CTD
X0 - E*13 - TRS+ Crank, Ibis Hi Fi-Bars, Formula T1s Brakes, Stan's Arch EX wheels, Fox K-Coat Float 32 CTD
XT - E*13 - TRS+ Crank, Ibis Hi Fi-Bars, XT brakes, Stan's Arch EX wheels, Fox K-Coat Float 32 CTD
X9 - E*13 - TRS+ Crank, Formula T1s Brakes, Stan's Rapid Tubeless Ready wheels, Fox K-Coat Float 32 CTD
SLX - Formula RX brakes, Stan's Rapid Tubeless Ready wheels, Fox K-Coat Float 32 CTD