Ibis Ripmo AF NXCheck Out the Full Specs and Review
Words by Simon Stewart.
Three thousand dollars. For an Ibis. That’s pricing that competes with consumer-direct brands, except you get to walk into a shop, squeeze the brake levers and buy it off the floor. Plus, you don’t have to handle the build or suspension set-up yourself, or wonder what to do if something goes pear-shaped. At $1,400 less than the entry-level carbon Ripmo, it represents a significant savings. The real question is: Does it offer Ripmo-level performance, or is it diluted and saddled with compromise. For its metal transformation, Ibis took a degree off the head angle, added a couple millimeters to the reach and rear travel, and more importantly, revised the kinematics to play well with coil shocks.
Our test bike came outfitted with the DVO Topaz T3 air shock, and while it’s an excellent shock that lent an air of playfulness, we all agreed that we would’ve been eager to have a go on a DVO Jade coil-equipped version, which by the way, is only a $100 upgrade. On the topic of suspension, we love the fact that Ibis puts a big emphasis on performance and specs the same high-level DVO fork and shock throughout the range. This is great, as it leaves the less-expensive bits that were necessary at the NX price point as easy upgrades, like the dropper-post remote, which is first on the list to go. The post itself was fine, although 150 millimeters of travel is short for a large frame these days. Second on the list would be the brakes, and since the Guide lineup all basically share the same four-piston caliper technology, they are only a lever upgrade away from better feel and more adjustability. Overall, the spec was spot- on, and it was especially nice to see the Maxxis Assegai tires with the EXO+ casing, which are quickly becoming staff favorites. Of course, if that’s a little too meaty for your diet, you can opt for a lighter-duty Schwalbe combo. You can also opt for Ibis’ S28 or S35 carbon hoops for an extra $800. To that, you can add Industry Nine Hydra hubs for another $500. Customization, that’s a nice little perk thanks to Ibis bikes being assembled in-house in Santa Cruz, California.
This lucky bike gets to pull its DNA directly from the carbon Ripmo. The attributes that make the Ripmo excel, like snappy, ground-huggy suspension, climbing-friendly geometry and neutral handling, are all still there in the AF. Collectively, we were in favor of the slacker head angle, which takes what was already an extremely capable descender and tunes it for a more aggressive riding style. We didn’t feel that it lost any of its versatility either. In fact, all the subtle geometry changes made a positive impact and had us wondering if perhaps they might find their way back over to the carbon model in the future. The AF drew accolades for how fun and balanced it was when going downhill, and some preferred the feel of the alloy frame over carbon. Obviously, it’s going to be heavy—even carbon bikes in this category aren’t particularly light—but couple the 76-degree seat tube angle with the supportive rear end, and its heftiness was barely noticeable on climbs. In fact, none of the testers complained about the weight, but then again Palmer didn’t ride it.
The answer, by the way, to that earlier question, is a big hell no. The Ripmo AF is not a watered-down Ripmo, and it definitely delivers Ripmo performance, albeit with its own punchy personality. It’s been almost 20 years since Ibis made a non-carbon bike and this rowdy, raw, metal Ibis waved the budget bike flag at this year’s Bible, did so unapologetically and with punk-rock style.
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