Fun AF, fast AF, planted AF, poppy AF, good value AF, coil-compatible AF — the Ibis Ripmo AF NX is pretty AF.
Until recently, you could think of the Ripmo AF as the rowdier version of the original, fan favorite Ripmo, only made out of aluminum. Now there’s the Ripmo V2. So, is the AF the aluminum version of that, or is the V2 the carbon version of the AF? Either way, both bikes are pretty spectacular. It’s a 147mm all-mountain bike that leaves little to be desired. The Ibis Ripmo AF NX, goes downhill confidently, gets around a corner easily and has a great time in the air — what else can you ask for?
Ibis Ripmo AF NX Build, geometry and price
The Ripmo AF packs a whole lot of value considering the DVO Diamond fork and Topaz shock alone retail for half the price of the complete bike. Throw in everything else that Ibis brings to the table and you’ve got a steal of a deal at $2999. Things like quality Ibis branded wheels and cockpit, comfortable contact points and a solid Sram NX Eagle drivetrain. All the best components in the world wouldn’t amount to a great bike if the frame and suspension designed sucked — luckily, the Ripmo doesn’t. There’s a certain kind of magic that comes with an Ibis bike. The DW Link suspension platform combined with Ibis’ frame making expertise adds up to an amazing ride quality. We’ll get more into the performance a little later, but for now, let’s chat about the nerdy stuff.
(NERDY STUFF) The head tube angle is 64.9 degrees followed by a 76 degree seat tube. One nice thing about most Ibis bikes, including the AF, is that the actual seat tube angle is rather steep. That means the effective angle doesn’t get ultra slack the higher you run your saddle. Tall folks rejoice! The reach is roomy at 495mm and the wheelbase is long at 1262mm. Both of those numbers are somewhere in the middle of the category. Modern without being too extreme. The chainstays are nice and tucked in at 435mm. (/NERDY STUFF)
Ibis Ripmo AF NX ride impressions
Do you want a bike that truly climbs way better than it has business doing? The Ripmo is that bike — be it a V1, AF or V2. They all climb at the top of the category. The AF would have taken home the best climber award, had it not been for the sneaky, more trail oriented Occam hiding in the mix. The AF has a lot of energy for steep punchy sections, technical pitches and long climbs. It rewards you for putting in the effort. It’s not one of those “sit and spin” bikes that will just barely get you to the top. Rather, it provides a fun and engaging ride on the way up. It encourages you to take the hard lines, sprint and stand up on the pedals and climb until you pass out. The suspension platform is one of the best in the industry for climbing performance. There’s nearly zero pedal bob. The second you hit the gas, the bike is accelerating forward with pace. It’s the bike version of your scary driver friend who just bought a Tesla and floors it at every green light. If the AF had a luxury racing seat to get pushed back into, you’d become one with the leather.
All of our testers had one complaint, though — the Maxxis Assegai tires. They held the bike back on the climbs. They hamstring what could be one of the best climbing bikes in the category. Sure, they’re grippy, but I think they might go beyond what’s actually needed for a 147mm bike in most conditions — especially as a rear tire. Don’t get me wrong, I like a grippy tire. I pretty much don’t ride any type of bike without putting a set of Maxxis Minions on it first. If they’d fit on my road bike, you could bet I’d have them. The Assegai is considerably slower and heavier than the Minion for only a marginal gain in traction. I think if you swapped out tires for a more reasonable set rather than the most “EnduroBro” on the market, the Ripmo AF would be more versatile, faster uphill and equally as capable on the DH.
One big complaint a lot of folks had about the original Ripmo was that the suspension was far too linear for a bike with only 147mm of travel that could be ridden quite aggressively. It was too easy to blow through the travel. It also made it incompatible with coil shocks. The AF changed all of that with more ramp up at the end of the stroke. That extra progressivity does two things. One, it keeps you from clanging through your travel too often. Two, it allows the bike to run a coil shock. Coil shocks are making a big comeback on trail/enduro bikes these days. Try one and you’ll know why. For an extra $100 you can buy your Ripmo AF equipped with the DVO Jade coil shock. The big benefit of a coil over air shock, is increased small bump sensitivity. It will smooth out the high-frequency bumps better and provide tons of traction — not that the AF really needs a ton of help in that department. Even in its stock air shock configuration, it’s already one of the quietest, smoothest bikes in the test. The AF has an uncanny ability to be planted and poppy at the same time.
The high-end DVO suspension really stands out when compared to the options on the other bikes in our group. In addition to the odd complaint here and there, the others lacked any sort of adjustability. The DVO suspension has enough adjustability to keep you busy for months. Not only does it have more knobs and dials, it felt more consistently supported throughout the entire stroke. Particularly, there was plenty of mid stroke support in the fork — something a few of the others lacked. It’s really nice to see such a high level of performance on a $3000 bike.
+ Suspension quality
+ DW Link efficiency
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