Ibis Ripmo V2 Review

The Ibis Ripmo has a bit of fame in the industry as being one of the hardest bikes to keep in stock on the showroom floor. There’s good reason behind that — just about everyone and their dog want one. The updated 2020 Ripmo V2 is certainly going to live up the the name and will most likely be even harder to get your hands on.

So how do you improve on a bike that most folks already thought was near perfection? You make the head tube angle one degree slacker, make the rear suspension more progressive, make it coil compatible and paint it Star Destroyer Grey. Most folks loved the old Ripmo for its playful and agile nature, plush suspension and excellent climbing abilities. Don’t worry. All the stuff you loved about the the first gen bike is still there, but with a handful of improvements.

Ibis Ripmo Geometry, sizing and money stuff

Last year I would have called the Ripmo “ahead of its time” or “progressive and cutting edge.” Today however, the Ripmo’s geometry is par for the course. Don’t take that the wrong way. It’s not bad — In fact it’s about as close to perfect as I can think of. I’m a firm believer that the sweet spot for head tube angles is 65 degrees. Would you look at that? The Ripmo V2 rocks a 64.9° head tube angle. The seat tube is steep at 76° and the reach is nice and roomy without going overboard at 500mm on a size XL. The chainstays are 435mm and the wheelbase comes in at 1267 — long but not a limousine. It comes with plenty of frame clearance to run wide wheels and tires, an Ibis hallmark. I’m a lanky 6’2” tall and found the XL to fit like a glove. On a lot of the new bikes this year I find myself falling between a large and an extra large. Not the case with the Ripmo. They haven’t made the reach so impossibly long that even a tall guy like me considers sizing down. One curious thing to note, the stack and standover are a little taller than a lot of bikes these days. It makes the front end feel pretty high. That’s great for bigger riders and on steep terrain. It can be a little weird for short riders though. A lot of Ibis bikes have felt this way. If you’ve gotten along with their past bikes, you’ll likely find the new Ripmo to be very comfortable.

Money, money, money. Not going to lie, this one takes of lot of it. Frames cost $3,000, complete builds start at $4400 and go all the way up to a cool $9300. That’s not outrageous for a bike these days, but it’s still a serious chunk of cash. Luckily, Ibis makes the Ripmo AF. It’s got an alloy frame and is a little heavier, but it a heck of a lot lighter on the wallet. It’s nearly identical to the new carbon Ripmo 2. For this review, I rode the XT build with Ibis’ carbon rims and house brand hubs. Retail on this Bad Larry it $6700, but leaves little to be desired. The new XT 12 speed drivetrain works flawlessly and the Fox suspension front and back did the suspension stuff really well. It lacks a little adjustability at the “Performance” level so an upgrade might be in order if you like to tinker. For me, I’m happy to set it and forget it. I’d rather ride the thing than spend my days in the garage turning rebound knobs.

The Ups

No surprise here — it climbs great. I’ve always considered the Ripmo to be the best climbing long travel 29er that money can buy. I still stand by that assertion after putting a whole lot of miles on the new version over the past week. Either there’s something about printing the word “Ibis” on the downtube of a bike, or Ibis just knows how to make a bike climb well. This is how I see it. Picture a street race between an F1 car and a rusty dump truck. Which one of those is getting the jump off the line? Well, the Ibis is the F1 car. They always accelerate quickly and feel very lively on the ups. They encourage you to stand up and hammer on the pedals. The Ripmo V2 is no exception to that rule. There’s one little caveat though. In a street race between the V1 and the V2, the V1 is going to win — It climbs better. There, I said it — shame be on me and my family for telling the truth about a new bike. The old one has a steeper head tube and shorter front center (reach.) When the trail gets really steep, the new Ripmo starts to wander and the front wheel feels light. I have to scoot forward on the pointy saddle (ouch) and get my weight over the front more. The old Ripmo doesn’t seem to require that awkward turtle, hunch move to keep the front wheel weighted. Take it for what it’s worth. That said, the Ripmo still stands as king of the hill.

I couldn’t help but think that the Maxxis Assegai tires that come stock on the bike, might be a little more aggressive than necessary. Sure, those tires grip dirt like velcro covered in gorilla glue, but that same traction makes them roll slow. I think a more balanced tire, heck, even a Minion DHF/R combo would be better suited. It would make the bike climb better and still be plenty capable for the DH. Personally, I’d swap the tires first thing.

Thanks to the DW-Link, the Ripmo climbs rocky stuff like it’s freshly laid pavement. If you can keep the pedals spinning, the rear wheel just keeps motoring along absorbing all the bumps. It makes techy climbing pretty enjoyable. You don’t get any feedback through the pedals and the back wheel doesn’t bounce around and skip off obstacles. It just stays glued to the ground, driving you up. Bike Mag likes to refer to this as the “Hover Bike.” They’re not wrong.

The Downs

A bike like the Ripmo is clearly made to excel on the downhill. Sure, this one happens to climb very well, but any bike with a 65° head tube angle clearly likes to party. It feels like a very balanced descender. It’s not too monster trucky, but it’s not too unicycley either. If finds a very good balance between being capable and maneuverable. Rock, jumps and drops give it zero problems, yet it’s still happy to pull off a quick bunny hop, changes lines on a whim and get itself around a corner without any fuss. That seems like a tough balance to strike and not all bikes get it right.

Like the old one, the Ripmo’s suspension still has a super plush initial stroke. It makes all the little bumps seemingly disappear. It’s a great feeling to scoot over bumps and rocks without getting rattled off the bike. The new “Traction Tune” likely has a lot to do with how well it handles those small bumps. Ibis has a setup guide on their site and you should probably use it as a starting point when setting up your new Ripmo. The idea is, a very light shock tune allows the rear shock to compress and rebound quickly. It keeps the rear wheel on the ground longer for better traction. If you’re like me and need an illustration to wrap your head around the concept, picture a trophy truck flying over a set of whoops. The body of the truck stays relatively still while the wheels drop in and out of the compressions between bumps. The same thing is happening to an extent on your mountain bike. Except you weigh a few thousand pounds less than the truck so the effect is less pronounced. With the lighter suspension tune, the shock rebounds more quickly. I struggled with Ibis’ recommended rebound settings on this one — I had to slow it down to keep from getting bucked. Overall, the Traction Tune is a positive and makes the bike feel extra smooth.

The Ripmo is very plush, yet very lively — two things that seem a little mutually exclusive (I went to college once and like to break out the big words from time to time.) I would bet the more progressive suspension design is what allows it to pop off jumps with ease. Normally on a bike this plush, when you pump into the lip of a jump, the suspension robs most of your energy and the resulting airtime is a little disappointing. The Ripmo isn’t greedy when it comes to jumping. It converts your energy into upward momentum. Really what I’m trying to say here is, if you like to get your wheels off the ground, you’re going to like the new Ripmo.

Now to the good part. I generally liked the old Ripmo, but I had some hang ups with it. The suspension was a little too linear. Even packed with volume spacers, it could go through its travel way too easily. Nothing against New Balance sneakers and jean shorts, but, I think I may have even used the term “Dad Bike” to describe it. I know, I know — I’m a terrible person for having something negative to say about the O.G. Ripmo. The new Ripmo, on the other hand, with its more progressive suspension pulls itself out of the dad-egory and plants itself firmly in the capable all-mountain/enduro category. Ditch the cell phone hip holster and trade it out for a trendy pop socket. I’m getting lost in my own analogies here. To test out the new design, I found the biggest drop I know that’s currently not under a whole bunch of snow. It’s about as tall as me, so roughly six feet. I hit it about 10 times waiting for the Ripmo bottom out clang I’m used to. It never clanged. In fact, the suspension ramped up so smoothly, I didn’t really even know if I had bottomed out or not. The travel indicator O-ring showed me that I had, but the fact I didn’t feel a harsh clunk makes me think Ibis isn’t lying when they say they made it more progressive. More aggressive riders can now push the Ripmo harder in rougher terrain without the bike getting squirrelly. Thank you Ibis!

Ripmo V1 vs Ripmo V2

I’m anticipating that I’ll be asked about 942 (subtle Ibis reference) times if you should ditch your old one and upgrade to the new Ripmo. Well obviously, yes. It’s newer and has to be better right? Kind of. If you ride aggressively and like to ride hard trails at pace, then yes it’s going to be worth the upgrade. You’ll be able to ride technical terrain faster and smoother on the new bike. You’ll get outgunned less with the slacker head tube, longer reach and more progressive suspension design. Just know, you’re going to take a slight climbing penalty. If you’re the type of rider that enjoys the old Ripmo because it’s plush, forgiving, lively, agile and climbs well, then I honestly don’t think there’s enough benefit to justify the cost. Unless you’ve got a money tree — then you may as well. The two bikes are very similar and ride very much the same. It’s when you’re pushing the bike’s ability in difficult terrain that you’re going to appreciate the updates to the new model. Me? Yeah, I want the new one.

Ibis Ripmo V2 vs Other new bikes recently released that i’ve ridden

The Ripmo reminds me a lot of the new Santa Cruz Hightower. They both have that plush and planted feel and they are pretty similar when it comes to geometry, although the Ripmo packs a little more travel. I think the Ripmo edges out the Hightower on the climbs. The Hightower climbs well, but the Ripmo is extraordinary. For DH capability it might be a toss up. They both ride very well and they both are super versatile, but they ride differently. I think the Ripmo is a little more lively, where the Hightower is more planted. I look at it like this. The first third of the travel on both bikes is very similar and plush. The travel feels like it starts to ramp up sooner on the Ripmo giving you more platform for jumping and pumping. The Hightower remains plush all the way through the stroke making it like to stay on the ground a little more. The Hightower feels a bit smoother through ledges and stepped terrain. I think they’re nearly equal in capability. Both would handle local enduro races as well as bike park duty.

The Ripmo also reminds me a little of the SB130 LR and the Giant Reign 29. But only a little.

The all arounds Ibis Ripmo V2

At the risk of sounding like an annoying fanboy, the new Ripmo is truly an exceptional bike. No bike is perfect and everyone has different criteria by which the rate bikes. That said, I think the Ripmo is going to be on the podium, if not the top step, in most people’s books. It certainly is near the top of my list. It climbs well, rides well, jumps well, descends well and looks downright steezy. What more can you ask for?

standardized super scientific sliding scale scoring system

As always, thanks for reading and watching. If you want to demo this bike for yourself, come to Biker’s Edge — we’ve got you covered. I hope you’ve found this information useful. If you think I’m wrong, keep you opinion to yourself. If you want to sing my praises, comment below.

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