may 2001 - bicycling
Sizes: XS, S, M, L (tested), XL
Weight: 27.1 lbs.; 4.4 lbs. frame only (L)
Frame: TIG-welded double-butted 6061 aluminum alloy mainframe and 6069 rear
chainstays, Ibis Critically Damped Elastomer (CDE) rear shock w/ 1.25 inches of travel
Fork: Manitou Mars Elite fork, 80mm travel
Component Highlights: 27-speed Shimano Deore XT
drivetrain, 22/32/44 crankset, 11-32 9-speed cassette, hubset, 515 clipless pedals; Race Face Air Alloy Riser handlebar, Answer stem, WTB SST.K saddle, MotoRaptor 44/50 tires; Wheelsmith-built Mavic 517 rims
7 words about the ride
Buy it if
Pivotless rear suspension is a must-have technology.
Forget it if
Active, highly tuneable long-travel suspension is what youºre looking for.
Profile: Aluminum version of Ibisºs titanium softtail, offering similar performance and weight at about half the cost.
Best Thing About This Bike: It boldly goes where aluminum has never gone before. Other softtails rely on the inherent flex of titanium or steel, but the Ripley uses economical aluminum to provide 1.25 inches of rear-wheel travel. If Ñflexing aluminumæ just sounds wrong to you, rest assured Ibis has meticulously done its homework. Extensive computer and real-world testing give the Ripley enough backbone to provide a lifetime warranty on the rear end (and a 10-year warranty on the rest of the bike).
Worst Thing: Its limited travel. Only 1.25 inches of travel canºt substitute for longer-travel, pivoting, linkage-type suspensions, especially on medium-to-large hits. But trail vibrations are muted, and the rear wheel tracks over stutters. The Ripley has a more-supple ride than any other pivotless rear suspender on the market, thanks to the well-tuned spring/shock.
Bragging Rights: The Ripley is hard to beat in the world of pivotless rear suspension, in terms of performance per dollar. Its progressively tuneable shock and highly tweaked chainstays provide a superior balance of activity and efficiency (itºs as laterally whippy as titanium in the Large and Extra Large sizes). Pivotless rear suspension boasts the benefits of minimal weight and almost zero pedaling feedback (a trait found in all pivot-laden designs)“albeit at the cost of reduced travel. The Ripley nails both these
advantages without tacking on an exorbitant price tag.
Pivotless Refined: The two-stage action of the CDE rear shocks offers the benefit of light, undamped travel during its initial movement, and progressive, damped travel as it nears its 1.25-inch max. Many softtails lack rebound damping“the Ripley avoids this common pitfall.
Insight From the Tester: ÑIf pivotless rear suspension fits your needs, Ibisºs Ripley offers the most bike for the buck.æ
Ibis Bicycles, 707/523-1919; www.ibisbicycles.com
Reviewed By: Andrew Juskaitis
Bikes: Simon Cudby
Products: NRG/Jason Groupp; John Peters