Ibis Ripley LS XT review

Ultra-efficient fat-tyred flyer

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £5,799
Ibis Ripley LS XT

Our review

The tight and precise Ibis rewards high-mileage riders with accuracy and efficiency
Pros: Pedal power equals immediate forward motion with this ultra- efficient design
Cons: Old-school geometry means the rider feels cramped and weight gets pitched forwards too easily when descending; lacks stability, cushioning and composure at speed

This is the third-generation Ripley, with increased frame stiffness and tyre clearance. The chassis handles on-trend 2.6in tyres that can work at lower pressures, which is useful, since the Ibis’s happy place is using any extra grip to scramble up steep climbs.

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Ibis Ripley LS XT frame

‘LS’ stands for low and slack, which is a bit of a stretch, because the 428mm reach of my large frame is super-short for a modern bike and the 67.5-degree head angle is steeper than most.

The sleek chassis is full-carbon, right down to the rear triangle – which is longer than on the original Ripley (along with the rear travel) – and extended shock yoke.

Three-quarter view of Ibis Ripley LS XT
Totally ruthless under power, the Ripley LS is one of the best-climbing full-suspension rigs out there
Mick Kirkman

The Ibis looks like a single-pivot at first glance, because the two short ‘links’ for Dave Weagle’s DW-link suspension design (which here are really just dual eccentric pivots) are cleverly packaged inside the seat tube.

It’s a neat design solution that keeps all the hardware and moving parts out of the way of crud, while still allowing Ibis to manipulate the suspension leverage and axle path.

Ibis Ripley LS XT kit

Ibis was quick to recognise the traction and stability advantages of wider rims and rubber. The 38mm (external) wheels specced here support high-volume tyres that can be run around 5psi lower than usual without squirming.

Totally ruthless under power, the Ripley LS is one of the best-climbing full-suspension rigs out there

These Schwalbe Nobby Nics roll seriously quickly off-road and feel planted, but the hard Addix Speedgrip rubber compound spins out easily when climbing and lacks extreme cornering grip.

The cockpit is a little odd, with a Thomson stem that isn’t particularly solid, bulky Lizard Skins grips and a weirdly-shaped, low-rise carbon bar that’s too stiff and needs rolling forward to be comfortable.

My test bike still had the 2018 spec, with Fox Factory suspension front and rear. This year’s XT build is £300 cheaper (£5,499) but downgrades to Performance dampers and swaps the Fox dropper for a 160mm BikeYoke Revive post.

The Shimano XT stop and go kit is reliable, and the whole package is comparatively light to similar bikes.

Ibis Ripley LS XT ride impressions

Totally ruthless under power, the Ripley LS is one of the best-climbing full-suspension rigs out there.

Hard pedalling surges the bike forwards, with no quirky dips in efficiency even right up the cassette on steep pitches. It tears up slinky singletrack and trail centre loops too, when pace owes more to power delivery than line choice or floating over rough stuff.

Steering is tight and precise, to the point that some will prefer a calmer, more stable ride as things get a bit too exciting at high speeds on faster trails.

Despite the wide wheels and big tyres, the Ibis is never cumbersome, and feels as lively as plenty of 650b bikes when you’re threading through tighter trees and turns.

Male cyclist riding silver mountain bike in woodlands
Despite the wide wheels and big tyres, the Ibis is never cumbersome
Mick Kirkman

This is both a blessing and a curse, because it means it’s less stable and confidence-inspiring at speed than you’d expect of a 29er.

Efficiency is a great asset, but the LS is so focused on it that its suspension response and chassis shape are less optimised for going flat out, swallowing bumps and nailing technical descents.

While the rear end is quite sensitive off the top and irons out enough trail buzz and chatter, it can dive through the mid stroke too quickly, upsetting the suspension balance on chunkier terrain.

The Fox dampers – especially the fork – don’t always feel particularly composed or calm either, and the result is that the Ripley forces defensiveness on slow technical trails and over wet, angled roots and rocks. It’s also a bit too short to handle body weight shifts and chassis pitching on steep tracks.

If threading through tighter trails and steering with your hands – rather than leaning and driving the bike through your feet for extra speed – floats your boat, the Ripley LS is a great choice.

It rolls superbly, climbs amazingly and devours less rugged off-road miles and trail centres. But riders shredding more off-piste and craving top speeds need to look elsewhere for maximum confidence.

Ibis Ripley LS XT specifications

  • Sizes (*tested): S, M, L*, XL
  • Weight: 13.47kg
  • Frame: Carbon fibre monocoque, 120mm / 4.7in travel
  • Fork: Fox 34 Float Factory FIT4, 130mm / 5.1in travel
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS EVOL Factory
  • Chainset: Shimano Deore XT M8000, 30t
  • Bottom bracket: Shimano HollowTech II
  • Cassette: Shimano Deore XT, 11-46t
  • Chain: Shimano HG700
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Deore XT (1×11)
  • Shifters: Shimano Deore XT
  • Hubs: Ibis
  • Axles: 15x110mm Boost (f), 12x148mm Boost (r)
  • Rims: Ibis 938
  • Spokes: Butted aluminium
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Addix Speedgrip 29×2.6in
  • Wheel weight: 2.3kg (f), 2.76kg (r), inc. tyres
  • Stem: Thomson Elite X4, 50mm
  • Bar: Ibis Carbon, 800mm
  • Grips: Lizard Skins Charger Evo
  • Headset: Cane Creek 40
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado
  • Seatpost: Fox Transfer 150mm dropper
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore XT M8000, 180mm rotors

Ibis Ripley LS XT geometry

  • Seat angle: 73 degrees
  • Head angle: 67.5 degrees
  • Chainstay: 44.4cm / 17.48in
  • Seat tube: 47cm / 18.5in
  • Top tube: 61.9cm / 24.37in
  • Head tube: 10.2cm / 4.02in
  • Bottom bracket height: 33cm / 12.99in
  • Wheelbase: 116.7cm / 45.94in
  • Stack: 62.5cm / 24.61in
  • Reach: 42.8cm / 16.85in
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