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Ibis Ripley GX Eagle Review

We loved the old version, but believe it or not, the new Ibis Ripley is even better
Ibis Ripley GX Eagle
Photo: Jenna Ammerman
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $5,399 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Pros:  Lightweight, playful, well-rounded, modern geometry, solid component specification
Cons:  Not a brawler, Fox 34 fork can be overwhelmed
Manufacturer:   Ibis
By Jeremy Benson, Joshua Hutchens  ⋅  Jun 4, 2019
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85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 20
  • Fun Factor - 25% 9.1
  • Downhill Performance - 35% 7.4
  • Climbing Performance - 35% 9.5
  • Ease of Maintenance - 5% 7

Our Verdict

Ibis recently released the 4th iteration of their popular Ripley trail bike with many notable changes from the previous version. They took some cues from the instant success of the longer travel Ripmo and incorporated many of its design features into the new design of its shorter travel sibling. It still features 120mm of rear and 130mm of front wheel travel, but its wheelbase and reach have been extended significantly while the head tube has been slackened and the seat tube steepened. The Ripley is still one of the most fun and playful trail bikes in this review and climbs and descends better than its predecessor. The GX Eagle build we tested is well appointed and shred ready straight out of the box. If you're looking for a short travel trail bike, we don't think it gets much better than the new Ibis Ripley.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Ibis Ripley GX Eagle
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $5,399 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$5,899 List$4,300 List$4,499 List$4,399 List
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Pros Lightweight, playful, well-rounded, modern geometry, solid component specificationOutstanding all around performance, more capable on the descents than its predecessor, great climber, excellent buildHighly adjustable geometry, adaptable for terrain or riding style, SWAT storage, plush suspension, very stable and confident descenderSuper competitive pricing, awesome build for the price, dialed modern geometry, confident descenderPunches above travel class, hard-charging, confidence-inspiring on descents
Cons Not a brawler, Fox 34 fork can be overwhelmedExpensive, still not a full-on enduro bike, a touch on the heavy sideOverkill for tame trails, Fox 36 Rhythm fork, moderate weightActive rear suspension-more reliant on climb switch, Fezzari name may lack "coolness factor", annoying brake pad rattleNot the lightest weight, aluminum rear triangle
Bottom Line We loved the old version, but believe it or not, the new Ibis Ripley is even betterThe new and improved Ripmo V2 is the best all-around trail bike we've ever testedA heavy-hitting longer travel trail bike with an innovative, highly adjustable geometryA beautifully well-rounded mid-travel trail bike at a very competitive priceAn aggressive short-travel trail bike with an appetite for steep and rough descents
Rating Categories Ibis Ripley GX Eagle Ibis Ripmo V2 XT Stumpjumper EVO Comp Fezzari Delano Peak... Norco Optic C2 SRAM
Fun Factor (25%)
9.1
9.3
9.3
8.7
8.6
Downhill Performance (35%)
7.4
9.5
9.4
8.9
9.0
Climbing Performance (35%)
9.5
9.0
8.0
8.5
7.4
Ease Of Maintenance (5%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Ibis Ripley GX Eagle Ibis Ripmo V2 XT Stumpjumper EVO Comp Fezzari Delano Peak... Norco Optic C2 SRAM
Wheel size 29" 29" 29" 29" 29"
Suspension & Travel DW-Link - 120mm DW-Link - 147mm FSR - 150mm TetraLink - 135mm Horst Link - 125mm
Measured Weight (w/o pedals) 28 lbs 14 oz (Large) 31 lbs (Large) 31 lbs 14 oz (Large) 30 lbs 5 oz (Large) 30 lbs 12 oz (Large)
Fork Fox Float 34 Performance 130mm 34mm stanchions Fox Float 36 Grip 2 Factory 160mm Fox 36 Rhythm - 160mm Fox 36 Performance Elite, 150mm RockShox Pike Select+ 140mm
Shock Fox Float Performance DPS EVOL Fox Float X2 Fox Float DPX2 Performance Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate DH
Frame Material Carbon Fiber Carbon Fiber FACT 11m Carbon Fiber CleanCast Carbon Fiber Carbon Fiber front triangle, Aluminum rear
Frame Size Large Large S4 (Large equivalent) Large Large
Frame Settings N/A N/A Flip Chip and Headtube angle Flip Chip N/A
Available Sizes S-XL S-XL S1-S6 S-XL XS-XL
Wheelset Ibis 938 Aluminum Rims 34mm ID w/ Ibis Hubs Ibis S35 Aluminum rims with Ibis hubs, 35mm ID Roval 29 alloy rims with Shimano Centerlock hubs, 30mm id Stan's Flow S1 rims with Stan's Neo hubs Stans Flow S1 w/ DT Swiss 350 hubs
Front Tire Schwable Hans Dampf 2.6" Maxxis Assegai EXO+ 2.5" Specialized Butcher GRID TRAIL T9, 2.6" Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 29 x 2.5" Vittoria Mazza 2.4" Trail G2.0
Rear Tire Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.6" Maxxis Assegai EXO+ 2.5" Specialized Eliminator GRID TRAIL T7, 2.3" Maxxis Aggressor EXO 29 x 2.5" Vittoria Martello 2.35" Trail G2.0
Shifters SRAM GX Eagle Shimano XT M8100 12-speed Shimano SLX 12-speed Shimano SLX SRAM GX Eagle
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX Eagle Shimano XT M8100 Shadow Plus 12-speed Shimano SLX 12-speed Shimano XT 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle
Crankset SRAM Descendant Alloy 32T Shimano XT M8100 32T Shimano SLX 170mm Shimano XT M8100 32T SRAM GX Eagle DUB 170mm 32T
Saddle WTB Silverado 142mm WTB Silverado Pro 142mm Specialized Bridge Comp Ergon SM Stealth Fizik Alpaca Terra, Wingflex
Seatpost Bike Yoke Revive 160mm Bike Yoke Revive (185mm size large) X-Fusion Manic 170mm (S4/S5), 34.9 diameter X-Fusion Manic X-Fusion Manic 150mm (M,L)
Handlebar Ibis 780mm Alloy Ibis Adjustable Carbon 800mm (30mm rise) Specialized 6061 alloy, 30mm rise, 800mm width Fezzaru FRD Charger 35, 800mm TranzX Butted 6061 Alloy, 780mm
Stem Ibis 31.8mm 50mm Thomson Elite X4 Specialized Alloy Trail stem, 35mm bore Fezzaru FRD Charger 35 Alloy stem 35mm clamp, 45mm length
Brakes Shimano Deore 2 Piston Shimano XT M8120 4-piston Shimano SLX 4-piston Shimano XT 4-piston Shimano MT520 4-piston
Measured Effective Top Tube (mm) 625 632 625 613 637
Measured Reach (mm) 475 475 475 480 480
Measured Head Tube Angle 66.5-degrees 64.9-degrees 63-65.5 (adjustable) 65.4-degrees H/65-degrees L 65-degrees
Measured Seat Tube Angle 76.2-degrees 76-degrees 76.9-degrees 77.9-degrees H/77.5-degrees L 76-degrees
Measured Bottom Bracket Height (mm) 338 341 340 (adjustable with flip chips) 345 337
Measured Wheelbase (mm) 1210 1238 1247 1234 1235
Measured Chain Stay Length (mm) 434 435 438 (S1-S4) 434 435 (Large)
Warranty Seven Years Seven Years Lifetime Lifetime Five Years

Our Analysis and Test Results

Above we link to the SLX build of the Ripley. It is nearly identical to the version we tested, although it comes with a Shimano SLX 12-speed drivetrain and Shimano SLX 2-piston brakes. We feel these components work as well, if not better, than the version we tested, and this build retails for several hundred dollars less.

The new Ripley exceeded our expectations in virtually every way. It...
The new Ripley exceeded our expectations in virtually every way. It feels a lot like a shorter travel Ripmo, and that's a good thing.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Should I Buy This Bike?


Ibis refers to the new Ripley as a "snappy, flickable, playful, fast, lightweight, and versatile 29" trail bike." It's pretty hard to argue with that as all of those adjectives apply to this new and improved version of their long-standing short travel trail bike. Last year, Ibis released a super versatile longer-travel trail bike, the Ripmo, which quickly earned our Editor's Choice Award. The new version of the Ripley is the logical next step in the progression of this shorter travel bike's design and is clearly inspired by the Ripmo. It's still energetic and playful, but now it boasts impressive stability and more confidence-inspiring downhill capabilities thanks to the long and slack treatment. Its climbing performance has also improved thanks to the steeper seat tube angle and lighter weight. The new Ripley is our Editor's Choice short travel trail bike.

It's still playful, but the new Ripley has a much wider bandwidth...
It's still playful, but the new Ripley has a much wider bandwidth than the previous version.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

If you're looking for a more aggressive mid-travel trail bike, the Yeti SB 130 is worth a look. The SB 130 has 130mm of rear wheel travel paired with a beefy Fox 36 150mm travel fork and an aggressive 65.1-degree head tube angle. The additional travel, slacker head tube, and sturdier fork are a bit more appropriate for those with a rowdier attitude and terrain. Despite its more aggressive geometry and downhill prowess, the Yeti is still an exceptionally efficient climber. The SB 130 doesn't come cheap with build kits ranging from $5,199 up to $9,199, but may make more sense for riders seeking a more aggressive ride.

Doing some comparison testing with the new Ripley.
Doing some comparison testing with the new Ripley.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

The Santa Cruz Tallboy is another interesting comparison. The Tallboy also rolls on 29-inch wheels and has the same travel numbers and a strikingly similar geometry to the Ripley. The Tallboy has a slightly slacker head tube angle that we feel makes it a little more confident in steeper terrain, but makes it feel a touch less agile than the Ripley. The Tallboy's VPP suspension design provides a very stable pedaling platform but doesn't quite offer the same level of small bump compliance as the DW-link on the Ripley. Both bikes are fantastic and are offered with similar build kits and prices.

Ibis checked a lot of boxes with the new design of the Ripley and...
Ibis checked a lot of boxes with the new design of the Ripley and capped it off with clean lines and great colors.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Frame Design


The new Ripley has a completely redesigned frame that is very similar in both looks and numbers to that of its longer travel sibling, the Ripmo. While the previous version of the Ripley, known as V3, was incredibly lively and playful, its geometry had gone unchanged for a few years and was getting a little long in the tooth and dare we say outdated. The new frame's design brings the Ripley up to date with an extended reach and wheelbase, a slacker head tube, and a steeper seat tube. Ibis has also done away with their eccentric style of rear suspension linkage in favor of a more standard DW-Link that allows for a straight, uninterrupted seat tube and the ability to run longer dropper seat posts.

The DW-Link is basically identical to that found on the Ripmo. This is a dual-link system with one just above the bottom bracket and another about mid-way up the seat tube. Both links move together in the same direction as the rear end moves through its travel with a linear push on the shock that is attached a little above the mid-point of the down tube. This design feels impressively efficient with excellent pedaling and mid-stroke support and plush big-hit compliance.

The DW-Link provides good mid-stroke support and is plush when you...
The DW-Link provides good mid-stroke support and is plush when you want it to be.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

We measured our size large Ripley test bike to have a 625mm effective top tube and a 475mm reach. The head tube angle is 66.5-degrees, and the seat tube is a steep 76.2-degrees. The wheelbase is 1210mm with 434mm chainstays. These numbers are dramatically different from the previous version; it is longer, slacker, and steeper. It tips the scales at a very respectable 28 lbs 14 oz without pedals.

Design Highlights

  • Designed for 29-inch wheels only
  • Frame has clearance for up to 2.6" tires
  • 120mm of rear-wheel travel
  • DW-link rear suspension design
  • Designed around 130mm reduced offset fork
  • Frame and rear shock only starting at $2,833
  • Build kits ranging from $4,099 to $9,199

The extended wheelbase and reach along with the slacker head tube...
The extended wheelbase and reach along with the slacker head tube angle make the new Ripley more comfortable at speed and capable on the descents.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Downhill Performance


The Ripley's updated geometry has taken its downhill performance to another level. It still maintains an energetic and playful feel, but with a far more aggressive and confidence-inspiring front end and enhanced stability at speed. It corners impressively well and still begs for side hits and trailside antics, plus it's more poised at speed and capable on steep and rough descents, limited only by its modest travel numbers.

Playfulness is one of the hallmarks of the Ripley and the new...
Playfulness is one of the hallmarks of the Ripley and the new version still likes the fun line.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Despite being stretched out significantly compared to the previous version, the Ripley keeps much of its lively and playful demeanor. It's relatively lightweight at 28 lbs and 14 oz with a supportive rear end and shorter 434mm chainstays that all combine to make this bike easy to manual, flick, and get off the ground. Testers did feel, however, that it lost a touch of the playfulness and razor-sharp handling of its predecessor in trade for its enhanced stability and ability to charge. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The Giant Trance 29 is a similarly playful shorter travel trail bike, though the Ripley feels a little sportier thanks to its stiff carbon frame and slightly more conservative head tube angle.

All terrain and all conditions, the Ripley remains composed and...
All terrain and all conditions, the Ripley remains composed and balanced.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

The previous version of the Ripley could get somewhat twitchy at high speeds and asked you to tone it down a little when the trail got steep and rough. Thanks to the extended reach of 475mm and wheelbase of 1207mm, the new Ripley is very stable and confidence-inspiring at speed. It might seem like that long wheelbase could get unwieldy in tight corners, but thanks to the reduced offset fork it rarely feels cumbersome or too long. The 66.5-degree head tube angle is confidence-inspiring and is a huge benefit to this bike's ability to blast through rock gardens and point it down steeper trails. It's not quite as slacked-out as the Whyte S-120 or the Transition Smuggler, though it feels equally adept when the going gets steep. While we generally liked the performance of the Fox 34 fork on the Ripley, there were times where it felt a little under-gunned and flexy. The Fox 34 is a solid fork and will suit the majority of riders, but those looking to rumble may want to consider upgrading to a fork with a more sturdy chassis. Testers also found the stock Ibis alloy handlebar to be noticeably flexy and one of the first things we'd upgrade if this bike were our own.

The Ripley is well rounded and versatile. It's still playful and...
The Ripley is well rounded and versatile. It's still playful and charges way harder than the previous version.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

The rear suspension provides excellent mid-stroke support and handles high-frequency chop impressively well. This bike feels like it has a little more than 120mm of rear-wheel travel, though you'll find its limitations on bigger hits and rock drops. That said, it has a nice progressive ramp-up at the end of the stroke and never wallows in its suspension. The Ripley also comes spec'd with nice wide Ibis alloy rims and cushy 2.6" Schwalbe tires. The Hans Dampf up front and Nobby Nic in the rear roll relatively fast and have a fun and predictably drifty cornering feel. Ibis also gives you the option of a Maxxis tire setup if you prefer tires with an edgier cornering feel.

The Ripley is an impressive climber. The supportive rear end and...
The Ripley is an impressive climber. The supportive rear end and steep seat tube make it possible to scramble up steep and technical climbs with ease.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Climbing Performance


The Ripley is a very efficient and capable bike on the uphills. It rolls along quickly with excellent traction and a nice supportive pedaling platform. The steep seat tube angle puts you right above the cranks for solid power transfer, and it can scramble and claw its way up and over obstacles in the trail better than most.

At only 28 lbs and 14 oz, the Ripley is pretty darn lightweight. The carbon frame is also nice and stiff and feels very responsive to pedaling input; it gets up to speed quickly. The 76.2-degree seat tube angle lines the rider up very directly above the cranks with a seated pedaling position that feels almost identical to the Ripmo. This position is upright and comfortable and helps to keep the rider's weight forward, which is helpful on steep sections or when tackling tricky technical obstacles in the trail. It feels quite similar to the Yeti SB 130 which is also alarmingly efficient and capable on the climbs. At around 30% sag, the Ripley does settle into its travel a bit, and testers found themselves making the occasional pedal strike while climbing despite the measured 338mm bottom bracket height. This is easily remedied with a calculated approach to technical sections of trail and good timing of pedal strokes but is notable nonetheless.

You've gotta get up to get down, and the Ripley climbs as well as it...
You've gotta get up to get down, and the Ripley climbs as well as it descends.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

We found the Ripley to climb very well with the shock in the open position. It's supportive enough that it doesn't feel like there is wasted energy through suspension bob, and it maintains traction very well. For extended fire road or paved climbs, testers did prefer the efficiency of switching the shock into the trail or firm position but generally preferred it open when riding on trails. The Pivot Trail 429 is another efficient short travel bike that excels on the climbs, though it is notably less forgiving over anything rough. Despite having a long 475mm reach measurement, the steep seat tube angle makes it feel shorter than that. Testers did not feel cramped or stretched out on the Ripley. The long wheelbase does extend the turning radius somewhat, but the reduced offset fork helps to keep from feeling unruly in tight uphill switchbacks or low-speed tech.

The Ripley eats up technical climbs with the best of 'em.
The Ripley eats up technical climbs with the best of 'em.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

The Ripley GX has a nice build that enhances its climbing performance. This includes the SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain which is reliable and provides ample range with a comfortable 32:50 climbing gear for when the going gets steep, or you just want to spin up the climbs. The wide rims and the 2.6" Nobby Nic tire create a large contact patch and loads of traction to help grip and claw your way over rocks and roots.

Photo Tour


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Value


With a retail price of $5,399 for the GX Eagle build we tested, we feel that the Ripley is a very solid value. This is a well rounded short travel trail slayer with a component specification that is ready to rip right out of the box. This bike is incredibly capable and fun to ride on a big range of terrain and makes sense for a huge number of riders. The new Ripley punches above its weight class and easily outperforms bikes that cost significantly more. It's also available as a frame only and in numerous build kits to suit a range of budgets.

The new and improved Ibis Ripley is a versatile and well rounded...
The new and improved Ibis Ripley is a versatile and well rounded short travel trail weapon.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


Ibis hit a home run with the new and improved design of the Ripley. Sure, we loved the old version, but this is a fresh take that is better in virtually every way. It retains its quick handling and lively trail manners with the addition of far more downhill confidence, stability at speed, and climbing efficiency. There are more aggressive short travel trail bikes out there, but few that can match the versatile, well rounded, and fun ride that the Ripley offers.

Other Versions


Ibis makes the Ripley in a variety of build kits and a range of prices. The GX Eagle build we tested is one of the more modestly priced options. Ibis offers upgrades for suspension, wheels, and tires for all of the builds. The Ripley is sold as a frame only with a Fox Float Performance DPS shock for $2,833.
  • The Ripley NX Eagle, $4,099, is the least expensive complete bike option. It comes with a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Level brakes, and a KS E30i dropper seat post.
  • The XT build, $5,599, comes equipped with a Shimano XT 11-speed drivetrain and powerful Shimano XT brakes.
  • The XO1 build, $7,599, comes with a SRAM XO1 Eagle AXS electronic drivetrain, Shimano XT brakes, and a carbon handlebar.
  • If you really want to ball-out, the XTR build, $9,199, comes with Fox Factory suspension, Ibis 942 carbon rims with I9 hubs, a Shimano XTR 12-speed drivetrain and brakes, and an ENVE carbon handlebar and stem.

Jeremy Benson, Joshua Hutchens