Introducing the Ripmo AF
When Ibis built the Ripmo, they hit a home-run. With critical acclaim across the spectrum of mountain bike media, this 145mm travel 29er is loved by all. With the type of well-balanced design that Ibis is known for, the Ripmo is a fun ride whether you consider yourself a weekend warrior or race on the pro-level enduro circuit. Having made such a sought after bike, Ibis realized that there was a group of riders out there that couldn’t tap into their amazing creation.
As mountain biking has grown in popularity, there is now a whole generation of people that rides hard, doesn’t care about a few extra pounds on their bike, and can’t afford to spend $3k+ on a frame.
Not just an alloy Ripmo
You might think to yourself, “Oh, an alloy Ripmo? Big whoop.” But this is not simply an alloy frame Ripmo - it is a huckster’s Ripmo. Ibis felt that their first foray into alloy frames in 20 years ought to be something special. They considered the imagery that “metal” brought to mind, and ran with it.
With the AF (alloy frame), Ibis has slackened the headtube out by a full degree (64.9 vs 65.9 on the carbon model), and revamped the DW-link suspension to be more progressive. If you ride like a jack-rabbit, popping and skipping off of every bump in the trail, you can run an air shock and preload the bike at a moment’s notice. If you tend to pick your line and plow through any obstacles in your path, the AF is coil compatible. That’s right, metal springs for the metal bike; you can now get all the small bump benefits from a coil shock on your Ripmo AF.
Ibis has also rounded out the reach numbers of this bike for all sizes, with the largest increase going to the medium, which is about a centimeter longer. The remainder of the bike has retained everything you know and love about the Ripmo, from the clean lines of the tubing to the well thought out cable routing.
Since its introduction, the Ripmo has been billed as Ibis’s “enduro ready” 29’er. With the AF they’ve pushed it even further in that direction. Does that mean you should only buy this bike if you are a gravity rider? Not exactly. The Ripmo AF does cater to the downhill side of things a bit more than the original Ripmo, but that doesn’t mean it’s only suitable for aggressive tracks and big jumps.
A heavier frame weight - around 2 lbs - means that this bike builds up a bit burlier, but burlier is what the AF is about. With 147mm (5.8”) of rear travel and a 160mm reduced offset fork, this bike charges just a hair harder than it’s lighter carbon sibling. It has a more unrelenting feel, which results from the combination of a slacker fork, a greater weight, and the revised suspension design.
When heading up-hill, this bike is still an Ibis. Any bike bearing their mark will be designed with pedaling in mind, and that holds true here. Dave Weagle’s DW-Link has long been heralded for its pedaling efficiency, and this iteration is no different. Running it with the DVO Topaz’s “Shred Lever” wide open all the time, there is little to no pedal bob on fire roads, and you retain bump absorption on technical climbing. Despite any additional weight, this bike will take you where you want to go.
In terms of descending, it doesn’t necessarily rip ‘mo than the carbon version, but it does it a little differently. The slacker head angle is immediately noticeable, giving the bike a slower steering feel that seems slightly calmer at high speeds (read our blog post on “trail” to learn how HA changes steering feel). It also makes it feel a bit less nimble on tight, slow corners, both up and downhill; there are always trade-offs to these types of changes. To add to the calmer sensation, the additional weight and momentum that the bike carries makes it seem a bit more unflappable than the carbon Ripmo, especially on bumpier, techier sections of trail.
High Performance, High Value
Ibis is offering their new beast as a frame only, or as one of three well thought-out build kits. Starting at $2,999 for the NX build and topping out at $4,299 for the GX kit, all three come with the same high-performance DVO suspension (with the option for a $100 upgrade to Jade-X coil shock), Ibis’s phenomenal S35 wheelsets, four-piston brakes, 12-speed drivetrains, and the amazing Assegai EXO+ tires.
The NX kit, which Rich rode in our video, costs $2,999 and is as capable a bike as anyone could ask for, out of the box. Components unique to it include SRAM’s four piston Guide T brakes, the awesome NX 12sp drive-train, and a KS Rage-i dropper in either 125mm or 150mm rise, depending on the frame size. Ibis has spec’d quality parts even down to the Cane Creek 40 headset, a component that brands often skimp on.
The GX kit costs $4,299 and has a Bike Yoke Revive dropper post, carbon handlebars, and Shimano’s phenomenal Deore MT520 four-piston brakes. For fans of Shimano’s drivetrains, the $3,999 SLX kit also comes with the Revive dropper (our shop favorite) and Shimano’s new 12sp SLX groupo.
As for the important bits, the components that really dictate how a bike descends, all three kits feature the same impeccable selection: DVO’s high performance, highly tunable DVO Diamond 160mm fork, Ibis’s awesome S35 wheel-set, and the Assegai EXO+ tire. The standard rear shock is DVO’s Topaz Air, but for only $100 extra dollars, you can upgrade to their Jade X coil shock.
With a selection like that, it’s hard to imagine wanting more. But if you do have a larger budget, and you’re the type of rider that likes to push their bikes hard and knows exactly what components you want to run, one of our custom builds might be more up your alley. We are looking into different shock options, both air and coil, as well as a selection of the top forks out there. Pick all your favorite bits, and check out our huge selection of custom decals and colorways to assemble your own dream Ripmo AF in our Visual Bike Builder.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, and especially with the ability to run a coil shock, this bike is geared towards people who don’t care about some added weight in the name of descending prowess. It delivers this with all the tenacity of the original Ripmo, and just a bit more. It is, in all interpretations, a Ripmo AF.
More Articles You Might Like
Product Reviews / Dan Perl / Jan 19, 2021
Every time I hop on the Ripley AF, other bikes seem to fade from my memory. This bike just