With the recently announced Ibis Ripley 4, we now have another excellent do-it-all trail bike option from the California brand. The Ripmo and the Ripley both fall in the “got you covered for 90% of the riding you do” category. They both roll on 29” wheels, take advantage of the DW Link and have Ibis’ signature lively ride. The two bikes are very similar, with only subtle differences between them. The reach, and wheelbase are within millimeters of each other, the head tube angle is within .6 of a degree and the seat tube angles are identical. The biggest difference is the amount of travel each bike utilizes. The Ripmo comes with 145mm rear travel paired to a 160mm fork, while the Ripley uses 120mm rear travel and a 130mm fork. Other than that, it’s hard to tell the two bikes apart, especially when riding them. They both climb well, descend well and will be perfect for a wide variety of terrain. So which one should you choose, Ripmo or Ripley?
The Ripmo may have been the most popular bike of 2018. Even a year later, it is still one of the most sought after long travel trail bikes. Notice how I called it a long travel trail bike? That’s because the Ripmo is exactly that. its not an enduro bike, even though the travel numbers might put it in that category. What keeps the Ripmo from being an enduro race bike is its geometry — the head tube is 65.9 degrees putting the bike square in the trail bike class. It’s what makes the Ripmo such a great all purpose bike. It has the travel to get you through some nasty terrain but mellower geometry to make the rest of the trails fun. It’s also the best climbing long-travel 29er I’ve ridden to date. The combo of DW Link suspension and a steep 76° seat tube make it climb better than other bikes in the category.
The Ripmo epitomizes the DW Link hoverbike that Ibis is known for making. It makes rocks and roots disappear under the bike. It’s plenty plush off the top for smoothing out the trail chatter and very supportive in the mid stroke allowing you to pop off every side feature on the trail. The Ripmo can tend to feel very linear, especially in that last third of the travel, making it very easy to use all of the travel. For the average trail rider, a linear bike can be quite nice and feel very plush. For riders that like to push the limits and hit bigger features this can be a bit of an issue. Running bigger volume reducers in the shock will provide a more ramp up in the last third of the travel. I ran the Ripmo with the biggest volume reducer for the Fox DPX2 and didn’t feel any harsh bottom outs, even on some of the bigger trail features.
Trails like Captain Ahab, The Whole Enchilada and Gooseberry Mesa would be the trails that come to mind when trying to find the perfect trail for the Ripmo. All of these trails include plenty of climbing, some of it technical, and some technical, bumpy descents.
The Ripley 4 is a surprisingly capable bike, especially when compared to the older iterations. It now comes very close to what the Ripmo can do on the descents. It goes about things in a slightly different way. The Ripley uses aggressive trail bike geometry in a short-travel package, keeping the bike lightweight, very efficient and far more capable than the travel numbers might suggest.
The Ripley climbs with the best of them. I just rode the Orbea Oiz and I’d have to say the Ripley is 90% of the way there on climbing ability. Thats pretty remarkable considering how well the Ripley descends. It’s very fast, there’s little to no pedal bob and it’s light enough you don’t feel like you’re dragging unnecessary weight uphill. Then when things turn downhill, the Ripley was able to handle everything it’s bigger brother did on my test ride. I made a point to hit every jump, drop and feature on the Ripley that I hit on the Ripmo. Sure, the Ripmo is more confident in the chunk and hitting drops, but the Ripley handled every one of them just fine without too much drama.
Trails like the Wasatch Crest, BST, Mid Mountain and Zen come to mind as perfect for the Ripley. I just finished a Ripley 4 review. If you want to know more about the bike read/watch that one.
Chart that shows how cool each bike is
So, Ripley or Ripmo?
It’s a tough call between the Ripmo and the Ripley. They are both really good and really similar. Again, I think it comes down to preference and the trails you ride. If you get stoked about rocky descents, drops and the occasional loose moment on the bike, go with the Ripmo. It will still climb very well without sacrificing much on the downs. On the other hand, if your ideal ride is a long ribbon of flowy singletrack with a handful of rocky sections scattered in there, go Ripley. It will handle the rocky stuff well enough while really excelling on the climbs and flats.
If you’re still on the fence, come in and demo both.