The countdown timer is finished. The Ripley is back from its visit in the Big Apple, and now it’s official. The Ibis Ripley 29er is finally here, though the road hasn’t been an easy one. As often happens in the bike industry, due to the fact that at the original factory Ibis was the smallest company, but had the most complicated design, the Ripley wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. The original factory’s idea of solving problems was to add aluminum, so Ibis went out in search of a factory that could build the Ripley like it was intended. This meant a huge set back in time, and development as the molds for the bike had to be completely redone. It wasn’t all bad though, as the change in molds allowed for some changes in the bike like a different head angle and refined details. The suspension design was changed as well, with the angular contact bushings replaced by a standard sealed bearing system that improved the design on a number of levels.
As a result, the new Ripley (v2?), is finished and ready for riding. Want the details? Find them after the break.
You may remember that in our original post on the Ripley, the suspension featured a an interesting Norglide angular contact bushing system for each of the eccentrics. While the bushings promised ever lasting performance, though after an extremely muddy 100 mile race in which Evan Plews was racing, the mud contaminated the bushings causing them to seize up and it destroyed the bushings. Note that Ibis is being extremely transparent about the design and development of the Ripley, as a lot of companies wouldn’t divulge such failures. Ibis was faced with two choices – redesign the bushings and seals since there wasn’t enough room in the current design to improve the seals, or switch to the cartridge bearing system that they had developed as a back up.
Going with the cartridge bearing system proved to be a wise decision as the weight was reduced, as well as the complexity. Through continuous refinement, the changes to the system resulted in it being easier to assemble and service, easier to find parts since they are all common bearing sizes, the system has lower stiction than the bushings for better small bump compliance, and the bearings are stronger and stiffer overall. In addition, the bearing design doesn’t require holes in the seat tube for bolts to hold the eccentrics in place, like the original. Ibis points out that the frame mounted bearings are standard BB30 cartridge bearings while the swingarm mounted bearings as common skateboard/roller blade wheel bearings meaning they should be incredibly easy to source.
The end result though is still the same with an almost invisible suspension linkage that takes advantage of the two small eccentrics conceived by Dave Weagle. Thanks to the eccentric design, the pivots are mostly shielded from the elements, it allows for a shorter chainstay design (though not the shortest at 17.5″), and better clearance for the front derailleur which is a high direct mount on the swingarm itself. Working with the factory that ultimately is producing the Ripley, a new lightweight syntactic foam glass microsphere core (say that 10x fast) technology was developed and used for the swingarm uprights and the clevis since a removable bladder couldn’t be employed. Ibis claims these cores add strength and rigidity while at roughly half the weight of traditional foam cores.
Frame spec wise, the Ripley is built with a press fit BB92 bottom bracket, high direct mount swingarm mounted front derailleur, 142×12 Maxle rear axle, standard tapered head tube, 160mm post mount disc tabs, internal cable routing, and provisions for two bottle cages. Although for large bottles inside the front triangle, Ibis recommends a side mount cage for larger bottles, while the other cage is mounted on the bottom of the down tube. The Ripley is fully 1x compatible, with an XX1 build supposedly tipping the scales at around 23 pounds. Claimed weights for the frame are 5.0 lbs for an X Fusion Microlite equipped frame, or 5.2 lbs with a Fox RP23 CTD equipped frame. Ripleys are approved for use with a 120-140mm fork. Interestingly, the Ripley relies on a 51mm offset fork, or the same offset as Gary Fisher’s G2 forks. Ibis states that to get the best performance out of the Ripley, the framesets should be run with a 51mm offset fork.
Ibis likes to send their bikes to New York to be photographed by Nathan Kraxberger – the Ripley was no different. With a bit of bubble wrap to “disguise” it, the Ripley was taken across town and photographed in various locations like Grand Central Station, or this subway car.
Starting now, the Ripley will be offered in two frame colors, Blue and Black/Green, available in both frame only and complete builds. Builds will be offered in both Shimano and SRAM kits with all of the builds except the SLX, coming with E*thirteen’s TRS+ 24-34T double crankset. For complete build and pricing information, check out Ibis’ web builder.