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Ibis Ripmo AF NX Eagle Review

The aluminum framed Ibis Ripmo AF is an aggressive trail bike with a reasonable price tag
Ibis Ripmo AF NX Eagle
Photo: Laura Casner
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Price:  $2,999 List
Pros:  Affordable, quality suspension, excellent tires, solid all-around performance
Cons:  Heavy, may be overkill for some riders and locations
Manufacturer:   Ibis
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 9, 2020
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 21
  • Fun Factor - 25% 8
  • Downhill Performance - 35% 9
  • Climbing Performance - 35% 6.8
  • Ease of Maintenance - 5% 7

Our Verdict

Ibis broke their own (carbon) mold when they introduced the affordable aluminum-framed Ripmo AF. Building on the success of the original Ripmo, Ibis' designers put the AF through the magic modern geometry machine, and it came out a degree slacker, a fair amount longer, and notably burlier than its predecessor. The stout aluminum frame still employs the DW-link suspension design, but with improved kinematics aimed at providing a more progressive ramp-up at the end of the stroke. It charges as hard as you're willing to push it with responsive handling and excellent stability at speed. The AF models are heavier than their carbon siblings, yet they remain sporty and maneuverable and don't feel too sluggish on the climbs. The build is also impressive, with quality suspension, wheels, and tires that back up its hard-charging aggressive attitude. We feel you'd be hard-pressed to find a better aggressive trail bike this price.

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Pros Affordable, quality suspension, excellent tires, solid all-around performanceAffordable, versatile, good build for the price, lively and playful, DW-Link suspensionAffordable, nice component specification, lively, fast climber, lightweightRelatively affordable, good component spec for the price, great small bump compliance, versatile/well-roundedCutting-edge geometry, proper reach measurement
Cons Heavy, may be overkill for some riders and locationsHeavier weight, shorter travel-requires skilled rider in super aggressive terrainNon-aggressive tires, steeper head tube angle, requires skilled pilot in rowdier terrainFrame sizing feels a little small, can be overwhelmed in super aggressive terrainWeak tire specification, heavy for carbon fiber, harsh fork
Bottom Line The aluminum framed Ibis Ripmo AF is an aggressive trail bike with a reasonable price tagJust as versatile, fun, and playful as the carbon version in a more affordable but slightly heavier aluminum-framed packageThe Canyon Neuron CF 8.0 is a lively, lightweight, mid-travel trail bike with an XC attitudeThe 2020 Trek Fuel EX 8 is a reasonably priced, versatile, and well-rounded mid-travel trail bikeA new-school short-travel 29er that lacks the components to back up its aggressive attitude
Rating Categories Ibis Ripmo AF NX Eagle Ibis Ripley AF Deore Canyon Neuron CF 8.0 Trek Fuel EX 8 Whyte S-120 Carbon R
Fun Factor (25%)
8.0
8.2
8.0
8.0
5.0
Downhill Performance (35%)
9.0
8.0
6.5
8.0
7.0
Climbing Performance (35%)
6.8
7.9
9.0
7.2
8.0
Ease Of Maintenance (5%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Ibis Ripmo AF NX Eagle Ibis Ripley AF Deore Canyon Neuron CF 8.0 Trek Fuel EX 8 Whyte S-120 Carbon R
Wheel size 29" 29" 29" 29" 29"
Suspension & Travel DW-Link - 147mm DW-Link - 120mm Triple Phase Suspension - 130mm Active Braking Pivot (ABP) - 130mm 4-Bar - 120mm
Measured Weight (w/o pedals) 34 lbs (Large) 33 lbs 3 oz (Large) 28 lbs 10 oz (Large) 31 lbs 7 oz (Large) 31 lbs 5 oz (Large)
Fork DVO Diamond D1 160mm Fox 34 Performance - 130mm Fox 34 Rhythm 130mm 34mm stanchions Fox 34 Rhythm 140mm 34mm stanchions RockShox Revelation - 120mm, 35mm stanchions
Shock DVO Topaz T3 Air Fox Float DPS Performane EVOL Fox Float DPS Performance Fox Float Performance EVOL RE:activ RockShox Deluxe RT
Frame Material Aluminum Aluminum Carbon Fiber Alpha Platinum Aluminum Carbon Front Triangle, Aluminum Rear
Frame Size Large Large Large XL Large
Frame Settings N/A N/A N/A Flip Chip N/A
Available Sizes S-XL S-XL XS-XL S-XXL S-XL
Wheelset Ibis S35 Aluminum rims with Ibis hubs, 35mm ID Ibis S35 Aluminum rims with Ibis hubs, 35mm ID DT Swiss M 1900, 30mm ID front and 25mm ID rear Bontrager Line Comp 30, 30mm ID w/ Bontrager Hubs WTB ST i29 w/ Whyte Branded Hubs
Front Tire Maxxis Assegai EXO+ 2.5" Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.6" Maxxis Forekaster 2.35" EXO 3C Triple Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 29 x 2.6" Maxxis Forecaster 27.5 x 2.35"
Rear Tire Maxxis Assegai EXO+ 2.5" Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.6" Maxxis Forekaster 2.35" EXO 3C Maxx Speed Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 29x2.6" Maxxis Crossmark EXO TR 29 x 2.25"
Shifters SRAM NX Eagle Shimano Deore 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle SRAM GX Eagle SRAM NX
Rear Derailleur SRAM NX Eagle Shimano Deore 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle SRAM GX Eagle SRAM NX Eagle - 12 Speed
Crankset SRAM NX Eagle DUB 32T Shimano Deore M6100 30T Truvativ Stylo 6K DUB 30T SRAM Truvativ Descendant 6k DUB 30T 175mm SRAM Descandent 32t
Saddle WTB Silverado Pro WTB Silverado 142mm Iridium Trail Bontrager Arvada 138mm Bike Yoke Devine
Seatpost KS Rage-i 150mm(Large) KS Rage-i 150mm(Large) Iridium Dropper Bontrager Line Dropper 150mm Bike Yoke Revive 160mm
Handlebar Ibis 780mm Alloy Ibis 780mm Alloy Iridium Flatbar Bontrager Line alloy 35mm clamp, 780mm Whyte Alloy - 780mm
Stem Ibis 31.8mm 50mm Ibis 31.8mm, 50mm Iridium Bontrager Line 50mm Whyte 35.0 - 50mm
Brakes SRAM Guide T 4 piston Shimano Deore M6120 4-piston SRAM Guide T Shimano Deore M6000 SRAM Guide T
Measured Effective Top Tube (mm) 631 630 620 654 643
Measured Reach (mm) 473 475 453 490 478
Measured Head Tube Angle 64.9-degrees 65.5-degrees 67.1-degrees 66.25-degrees H / 65.75-degrees L 65.4-degrees
Measured Seat Tube Angle 76-degrees 76-desgrees 75.0-degrees 76.0-degrees H / 75.5-degrees L 75.2-degrees
Measured Bottom Bracket Height (mm) 340 335 335 349 H / 342 L 336
Measured Wheelbase (mm) 1239 1217 1196 1240 1227
Measured Chain Stay Length (mm) 435 432 442 438 432
Warranty Seven Years Seven Years Six years Lifetime Four Years

Our Analysis and Test Results

The builds and the price of the Ripmo AF have changed slightly since testing. The least expensive build is now the Deore which comes with a 12-speed Deore drivetrain and 4-piston Deore brakes and retails for $3,399. They also sell the NGX build for $3,699 and the SLX for $4,299. This bike is still an excellent value. -June 2021

If you're looking for an aggressive trail bike that doesn't cost...
If you're looking for an aggressive trail bike that doesn't cost more than a nice used car, the Ripmo AF might be for you.
Photo: Laura Casner

Should I Buy This Bike?


If you're in the market for an aggressive trail bike and you can't justify spending more than $3k, then we feel you should absolutely check out the Ripmo AF NX. Until recently, the name Ibis hasn't been synonymous with affordability, but that is likely to change with reasonably priced aluminum-framed (AF) models in their line-up. Ibis didn't play any games when they redesigned this trail smashing 29er. The overbuilt aluminum frame is burly with an even more progressive modern geometry (read: longer and slacker) and updated rear suspension kinematics to make it even harder charging than its predecessor. This bike has no speed or terrain limits, yet it still maintains a sporty and playful demeanor and is fun to ride on a huge range of trail types and rates of speed. It's no lightweight at 34 lbs (size large), yet it climbs much better than you'd expect for its weight and aggressive geometry. The component specification is also outstanding for the price, and Ibis nailed the most critical aspects of the build like the quality DVO suspension, wide rims, and beefy tires. You get a lot for your money with the Ripmo AF, and this is easily one of the best values for an aggressive trail bike that we've tested.

It's easy to compare the Ripmo AF to one of the world's most popular trail bikes, the Santa Cruz Hightower. The Hightower is another aggressive 29er with 140mm of rear-wheel travel paired with a 150mm fork. We tested a high-end build of the Hightower ($5,300 more than the Ripmo AF) and found it to be a relatively versatile yet hard-charging downhill performer. The VPP suspension can't match the small bump compliance of the Ripmo's DW link, but it does provide a more supportive pedaling platform and a touch more support deep in the stroke. It's a very impressive bike, as it should be for $8,300. Santa Cruz makes affordable aluminum-framed versions of the Hightower as well, but the $2,899 Aluminum D build can't hold a candle to the build on the Ripmo AF we tested.

The Ripmo AF is a charger, it takes high-speed airs to flat in stride.
The Ripmo AF is a charger, it takes high-speed airs to flat in stride.
Photo: Laura Casner

Ibis also recently redesigned the carbon Ripmo, and the V2 is basically a carbon copy of the Ripmo AF. We haven't had the chance to test the new Ripmo V2 yet (our test bike is on the way), but we can tell you that the primary differences will be the sleek and stiff carbon frame, the weight, and the price. The carbon frame alone is nearly 2 lbs lighter, which will be worth the extra expense to many riders. Carbon Ripmo V2's start at $4,399 for the NX build, which is nearly identical to the AF build we tested, but with Fox suspension. It comes in a total of six build options up to $9,299.

The aluminum frame looks just like the carbon version with clean...
The aluminum frame looks just like the carbon version with clean lines, a short seat tube, and DW-link suspension.
Photo: Laura Casner

Frame Design


The AF in the Ripmo AF moniker stands for aluminum frame, the first that Ibis has produced in many years. The beefy frame has 147mm of rear squish controlled by a DW-link suspension design. DW-link is a dual-link design with the lower link attached to the seat tube about 2 inches above the bottom bracket, and the upper link attached a little less than halfway up the seat tube. Ibis claims to have adjusted the suspension kinematics to make it more progressive than the original Ripmo. The frame also has internal cable routing, integrated chainstay protection, and a room for a water bottle in the front triangle. It comes in sizes S-XL with short seat tubes and standover heights across all sizes.

We measured our size large Ripmo AF and found a 64.9-degree head tube and a 76-degree seat tube angle. The effective top tube length was 631mm with a 473mm reach. The bottom bracket measured 340mm off the ground with 435mm chainstays and a 1239mm wheelbase. At the weigh-in, it tipped the scales at a hefty 34 lbs set up tubeless and without pedals.

Design Highlights

  • Aluminum frame (AF)
  • 29-inch wheels only
  • 147mm of DW-link rear suspension
  • Designed around a 160mm reduced offset fork
  • Compatible with air (tested) and coil shocks
  • Clearance for up to 2.6-inch tires
  • Threaded bottom bracket
  • Internal cable routing
  • Complete bikes starting at $2,999 (tested)

The Ripmo AF likes to go fast and charge down chunky terrain, but it...
The Ripmo AF likes to go fast and charge down chunky terrain, but it still encourages playful antics.
Photo: Laura Casner

Downhill Performance


The Ripmo AF really comes to life when pointed downhill and speeds increase. This bike is long and slack and ready to take on the gnarliest trails and fastest speeds you're willing to point it down. It isn't just a bruiser, however, and it performs well at a range of speeds and trail types with most of the agility and sportiness of the original Ripmo intact. Thoughtful component choices like excellent suspension, wide rims, and burly tires enhance this bike's downhill performance.

Despite the added length and slacker head tube, the Ripmo AF has...
Despite the added length and slacker head tube, the Ripmo AF has responsive handling and is surprisingly maneuverable.
Photo: Laura Casner

The Ripmo AF took all the best things about the original Ripmo and went a step further. From a geometry standpoint, this meant relaxing the head tube angle by a full degree to slack 64.9-degrees and stretching the wheelbase by roughly 2 centimeters to a lengthy 1239mm (size large). The reach remains a comfortable 473mm with reasonably short 435mm chainstays. These changes have made this bike even more confident in steep and super aggressive terrain and enhanced its stability at speed. It hugs the ground and feels planted and unflinching as speeds increase. The added length of the wheelbase may have impacted its low-speed handling and maneuverability ever so slightly, but the difference is marginal at best, and it rarely feels like a handful. Despite the added length, the short chainstays keep the rear end of the bike feeling lively, and it likes to manual and catch air at every opportunity.

Small bump compliance is outstanding thanks to the DW-link platform...
Small bump compliance is outstanding thanks to the DW-link platform and the DVO suspension.
Photo: Laura Casner

In addition to the geometry tweaks, Ibis added 2mm of rear suspension to the Ripmo AF, bringing up to 147mm. One of our biggest complaints about the original Ripmo was that it didn't have the best support deep in the stroke. So, we were happy to hear that they also tweaked the rear suspension kinematics, making it more progressive at the end of the stroke. While testing, we took plenty of airs to flat and questionable line choices to put this to the test, and we found the added progressivity made a noticeable improvement to big hit performance. At the same time, the small bump compliance remains outstanding, and the mid-stroke is nice and supportive. The quality DVO suspension package doesn't hurt either. For the price, the performance and tunability of the Topaz shock and Diamond fork is absolutely stunning. Sure, it takes a little more time and effort to dial it in perfectly, but it is well worth it once you do.

The stock wheels and tires that come on the Ripmo AF are fantastic...
The stock wheels and tires that come on the Ripmo AF are fantastic. This bike shines at speed and shreds corners.
Photo: Laura Casner

As mentioned above, the quality of the suspension on the Ripmo AF is far better than you'll find on pretty much any bike that retails right around the 3k mark. Ibis didn't play games when it came to the wheels and tires either. It rolls on a set of Ibis S35 wheels with Ibis logo hubs. These rims have a 35mm internal width that pairs very well with the matched set of 2.5" wide Maxxis Assegai tires with the beefy EXO+ casing. These aggressive tires have outrageous cornering and braking traction that is only enhanced by the supportive sidewalls and wide rims that allow for lower tire pressures. The 170mm length dropper (on our size large) helps get the saddle low and out of the way on descents, while the short stem and 780mm handlebar provide plenty of leverage to pound through rock gardens and smash corners at Mach speeds. The least confidence-inspiring aspect of the build is the SRAM Guide T brakes. While they have 4-piston calipers and centerline rotors, the levers aren't great, and they feel a bit under-gunned on this bike.

The Ripmo AF is still a reasonably good climber despite its heavier...
The Ripmo AF is still a reasonably good climber despite its heavier weight and a geometry heavily biased toward downhill performance.
Photo: Laura Casner

Uphill Performance


Considering its long and slack geometry and heavier weight, the Ripmo AF is no slouch on the climbs. At 34 lbs in size large, it's not zippy like some short-travel carbon bike, mind you, but it has good angles and a steady pedaling platform. It probably won't make most people any faster up the climbs, but its comfortable and can claw its way up just about anything.

The steep seat tube makes for excellent power transfer and a great...
The steep seat tube makes for excellent power transfer and a great body position for tackling technical sections.
Photo: Laura Casner

The original carbon Ripmo was a bit of a unicorn on the uphills, an aggressive trail slayer with mythical climbing abilities. This was thanks mostly to the modern geometry that included a healthy reach and steep 76-degree seat tube angle. The steep seat tube angle carries over to the Ripmo AF. It lines the rider up quite directly above the bottom bracket for super-efficient power transfer and a comfortable seated pedaling position. The 473mm reach is generous, but never feels too long or stretched out thanks to the steeper seat tube angle. The 64.9-degree head tube angle is quite slack, and the 1239mm wheelbase is certainly bordering on long, motoring up straightaway, and powering over obstacles is no problem. Thanks to the steep seat tube and reduced offset fork, however, the bike remains more maneuverable than you'd expect. Tight uphill switchbacks and technical sections of trail are manageable, but proper line choice still goes a long way. Testers did note, however, that pedal strikes were quite common if care wasn't taken while pedaling through chunky rocks.

It wasn't necessary, but we found ourselves flipping the compression...
It wasn't necessary, but we found ourselves flipping the compression damping switch for extended climbs.
Photo: Laura Casner

The DW-link rear suspension provides a relatively supportive pedaling platform, and the DVO Topaz rear shock is tunable to your preferences, plus it has a three-position compression damping/climbing switch. The rear suspension's performance on the climbs will be dependent on how you tune the rear shock, and we found our middle of the road pressure settings to provide a relatively calm platform while seated and pedaling in the open position. Out of the saddle efforts resulted in noticeable pedal bob, and more often than not, we found ourselves flipping the switch to the livelier medium mode for extended singletrack grinds. In both the open and medium positions, the rear suspension smoothes small bumps in the trail like they aren't even there, and the active rear suspension provides outstanding traction. On smooth fire roads and pavement, the firm position, which feels close to a complete lockout, was preferred for efficiency.

Plenty of gears on tap for the steep punches and limitless traction...
Plenty of gears on tap for the steep punches and limitless traction from that Assegai in the rear.
Photo: Laura Casner

The component specification of the NX Eagle build we tested leaves little to be desired on the climbs. The SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain is far from flashy, but it is plenty functional and provides adequate range for any steepness of climb. The Maxxis Assegai tires are far from lightweight or fast-rolling, but they have tenacious climbing traction on virtually all surfaces. The WTB Silverado saddle is also a crowd pleaser and proved to be a comfortable spot to sit and grind away the miles.

Photo Tour


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Value


At a retail price of just $2,999, the Ripmo AF NX is an outrageous value for a high-performance aggressive trail bike from a high-end manufacturer like Ibis. We know that's still no drop in the bucket, but considering the price of most bikes these days, we feel it is very reasonably priced. The build is impressive, and this thing is ready to rip straight out of the box with quality suspension, wheels, and tires that are well suited to this bike's hard-charging attitude. We think it's refreshing to see some of the major manufacturers making an effort to make their bikes more affordable and more accessible to more riders.

If you want a hard-charging yet versatile trail bike and you don't...
If you want a hard-charging yet versatile trail bike and you don't want to completely break the bank, check out the Ripmo AF.
Photo: Laura Casner

Conclusion


It was only a matter of time until the prices of complete mountain bikes started to drop out of the Stratosphere. Ibis came to the more affordable bike party dressed to impress with the Ripmo AF. If you're looking for a hard-charging aggressive trail bike that is still versatile enough to do it all, we feel this is easily the best you'll find at this price.

Other Versions


The Ripmo AF is available as a frame only with a DVO Topaz T3 Air shock for $1,799. Ibis also gives you the option to add a DVO Diamond D1 fork for an additional $600.

There are currently threeRipmo AF builds offered, and all of them feature the same suspension, wheels and tires, stem, grips, and saddle as standard equipment. The $2,999 NX Eagle build we tested is the least expensive option. In addition to the three different builds, Ibis gives you the option to upgrade the alloy wheels to carbon or the air shock to a DVO Jade X Coil. You can also choose between the Maxxis Assegai tires we tested or a 2.6-inch Schwalbe Hans Dampf/Nobby Nic combo.

It also comes with a Shimano SLX build for $3,999 that comes with a full Shimano SLX drivetrain, SLX 4-piston brakes, and a Bike Yoke Revive dropper seatpost.

The GX Eagle build retails for $4,299 and comes with a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, Shimano Deore 4-piston brakes, an Ibis Carbon handlebar, and a Bike Yoke Revive dropper.

Jeremy Benson