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Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Our virtual mechanic is pretty fast. He's also sometimes kind of lazy. He'll swap out frame colors and show you your drivetrain upgrades but he says it takes too long to change brakes and things. He's doing his best but please excuse any irregularities you may notice...
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If you're trying to see some bigger images of the Ripley 29 - 2nd Gen click on the 'GALLERY' tab below. That's where the nice big images should be.
For many of us working at Ibis, the Ripley has been our favorite bike since the day it came out. And indeed, if you look at the reviews (preserved from the original Ripley below), you’ll see that we weren't alone. Still, riding styles and components are constantly evolving so we updated it to add to its already amazing versatility.
In June of 2015 we introduced a fairly major update to the Ripley. We say fairly major because it involved cutting all new molds for the main triangle and heavily modifying the swingarm molds. We also added a second geometry option with a longer top tube and slacker head tube, that's called the Ripley LS.
The new Ripley update incorporates changes Ripley owners have been asking for. People were using the bike for much more aggressive riding than its original intention. Because of the phenomenal dw-link suspension and 29er traction, enduro racers found they were faster than on more traditional enduro bikes on just about any terrain short of a ski slope. Then there’s the confidence-inspiring Ibis 941 wheels that we introduced in 2014, a game changer as far as traction and control go. That combined with huge improvements to mid travel forks and shocks that allowed people to go much faster required some addressing. So here’s what we’ve done:
The Ripley is now available in two geometry configurations. The Ripley LS features a 15mm longer top tube and is available in Medium, Large and XL sizes, and the LS also features a slack 67.5 degree head angle. This allows for shorter stems and adds stability at speed. The second geometry iteration is identical to the original Ripley. So the original nimble handling geometry that redefined how a 29er could corner is still available (in medium and large sizes).
One of the things that happened since we originally designed the Ripley is that both tires and rims got bigger. A 2.1" tire on a 21mm rim was pretty common but then people realized they liked a little more volume and 2.2"–2.35" tires became popular. Then we blew up rim design with the wide carbon 941's. The combination of the two meant we needed to update our clearances. Tire labels are notoriously meaningless, especially when it comes to height, but you can now use most 2.35" tires on our 941 rims on the New Ripley and Ripley LS.
Based on the success of our cable port system used in the Tranny 29 and Mojo HD3, we have completely revised the cable routing system. The versatile port system is adaptable to just about any configuration of derailleurs and droppers you might have, just look at our cable port line up.
You can now run internally routed droppers, mechanical or hydraulic. Additionally, the new Ripley is optimized for the new Shimano side pull front derailleur.
While we've done a lot of work on the frame itself we actually think that one of the most noticeable changes to the New Ripley is the latest Fox suspension. We have worked closely with Fox to develop a tune for the excellent 2016 Float DPS shock with EVOL sleeve. It provides more supple small bump sensitivity in the initial part of the stroke and then ramps up to provide better support in the mid to end stroke. The result is a plush ride that doesn't wallow and pops off of jumps in a very controlled way. Translation: it's super fun.
The fork makeover that happened this year was equally impactful. The new Float 34 weighs the same as last year's 32, has greater stiffness and plushness, and doesn't dive under braking. Both Ripleys will ship with a 130mm travel version of this fork.
The New Ripley features a lighter, simpler bolt on axle using the new Shimano 12mm axle standard. There is also an optional Shimano quick release axle that is secure, intuitive, and quiet.
Beginning in November of 2015, you can order the New Ripley or the Ripley LS in the Boost 148 configuration. Currently there are almost no hub or wheel choices for the new Boost standard. We will have Boost 148 wheels for our bikes and for aftermarket in November. Note, we will continue to offer the 142 x 12mm rear axle standard after the Boost rear comes online.
We have changed to a threaded (73mm BSA) bottom bracket on the Ripley. While we like the press fit for its lightweight and stiff design, we are still seeing too much variation between the different manufacturers' press in cups to get a consistently reliable fit.
Over the past three years, we've made a few tweaks to the eccentrics. We found out with those changes to the cores (we affectionately call them "Gnar Cores"), that they are an effective place to add a bit of weight and gain stiffness. So for this update we further refined them. We moved some weight around and added only 2 grams but that which allowed us to up the torque spec on our eccentric shaft bolts. Since we were cutting new molds for the frame, we also added extra carbon around the eccentrics which gained us a bit more stiffness. All told, even with the bigger tire clearance cuts in the swingarm, the BB torsional stiffness went up 12%. The new cores are retrofittable to the original Ripley.
Taking a cue from the Mojo HD3, we've built a beautiful molded chainstay and seatstay protector on the new Ripley. Yes, it retrofits to the original Ripley and yes it's going to be in our web store soon.
The heart of the Ripley is its dual-eccentric dw-link suspension. Instead of using external linkages like we do on our longer travel bikes, we were able to construct the Ripley with two small eccentrics, hidden inside the seat tube, which act as the suspension linkages. This clever system was conceived by Dave Weagle (he’s the dw in dw-link) in 2005, and we started development of the system in 2007. Since then, we have been building, testing refining, racing and simplifying the eccentric system. We had been developing a system with angular contact bushings, and at the same time we were developing a more traditional bearing version. In the end, the traditional bearing system was chosen for production for a variety of reasons.
The system that we finalized has fewer parts and uses readily available bearings. Along the way we kept reminding ourselves about one of our favorite quotes:
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
We feel that we succeeded.
There are many benefits to an eccentric linkage system. Because the bearings are located inside the seat tube, they are shielded from wheel spray and contamination. The look is very clean, as everything is hidden inside the frame. Additionally, the eccentric system is lighter than our external linkage systems.
A great benefit, particularly on the 29” platform is that the eccentrics let us build the bike with shorter chainstays, giving more room in the tight area around the rear tire and front derailleur.
Though the linkages are small and close together, the eccentrics allowed us to make a right side upright between the front of the chain and seat stay, resulting in added stiffness, critical for the larger loads of the big wheels. Not only that but we could mount the front derailleur to it so that it would move with the swingarm. This meant the chainstay didn’t have to be dropped to provide front derailleur clearance at bottom out. This is particularly important with the smaller gears that 29er’s typically use because you don’t want the chain dragging on the bottom of the chainstay.
All in all, the eccentrics were a huge challenge that resulted in many nice benefits. Here’s an exploded view.
The main bearings are shielded from contamination and are hidden in the frame and behind hardware designed to protect them from the elements. The load ratings on the main bearings are higher than those used on the Mojo HD, a bike which has proved to be durable in the field, so we expect a long service life. Our real-world testing, putting in tons of hard miles on the system over the last few years has given us confidence that it works well in all conditions. Well, at least all conditions you’re likely to find here on earth.
The bearings we spec are black oxide (to resist corrosion but maintain the high load rating of steel), full complement (there is no retainer so they have extra balls and a higher load rating), 100% fill (completely filled with grease means less room for moisture), and the seals are contact seals. The seals actually contact the groove on the race. This specification would not be ideal for a part like a hub where the friction needs to be as low as possible, but in a suspension application where the forces are high and the small amount of seal drag is acceptable, it provides better sealing of the bearing without any noticeable change to the suspension.
We have replacement bearings available in our webstore, here's the link. If you're not near a computer and you need to replace the bearings, procurement is easy. The size of the bearings in the frame are standard BB30 bearings, which can be found in just about any decent bike shop on the planet. The bearings in the swingarm are identical to very common skateboard and rollerblade wheel bearings, so all you need to do is put on your hoody and head to the closest skate shop where you’ll be able to find the bearings.
We have a special bearing press tool for installation of the bearings in both the frame and swingarm. Here's the webtore link. You can remove and reinstall the bearings without this tool, but we highly recommend using our tool, it will make your life a lot easier, and you’ll have a lower probability of messing something up. Here's a Chris McNally artist's rendition of what it looks like.
We asked Dave Weagle to create suspension kinematics that would provide a very responsive feel, even sprinting out of the saddle in the big chainring. However we realized that there was no need for a 42 tooth big ring on a 29er so we are optimized for a 32–34 tooth big ring. This was unique at the time we made the decision but turned out to be perfect for the smaller doubles available now and all the 1X systems that use 28 to 36 rings.
We’ve owned, ridden and tested a lot of 29ers over the last few years. We liked some aspects but some of them we really disliked. We found that geometry was all over the map with the different bikes and that none of them delivered the snappy handling we all love with our current bikes. We'll call these first generation 29ers and unfortunately they gave 29ers a bad name. The Ripley was the beginning of the second wave of 29ers that redefined what a 29er could do. "I didn't know a 29er could handle like that" is a common refrain around the Demo truck.
That nimble, responsive, and natural handling geometry is still available in the medium and large in the New RIpley. We've also got something for the new school kids out there. Once people started figuring out how capable the Ripley was they started going faster and bigger, and then started asking for more stability at high speed. For them we have the Ripley LS. We added 15mm to the top tube in each size and slackened the head angle out to 67.5º.
Although the Ripley will still ride well with a shorter rake fork, the best handling is achieved with a 51 mm offset (rake) fork.
The 51 mm offset is available from Fox, X-Fusion and RockShox.
Note that the 51mm rake is what we spec for the 130mm travel Fox Float 34 that comes on the Ripley.
The forks we provide all have the proper offset and have decals that match the color of the bike.
If you are purchasing your own fork, here is the information you need to purchase the excellent Fox Float 34 we use on the Ripley:
Part number: 910-01-925
Description: 2016, 34, K, FLOAT, 29in, F-S, 130, 3Pos-Adj, FIT4, Matte Blk, Orange Logo, 15QRx100, 1.5 T, 51mm Rake, AM
Also available from X-Fusion are the following forks, all are the correct 51mm offset:
Trace Taper 120mm 15mm White
Trace Taper 120mm 15mm Black
Trace Taper 140mm 15mm White
Trace Taper 140mm 15mm Black
RockShox makes 46 and 51 mm offset in 29r 120 and 140 travel forks, but the 51 is not generally stocked by shops and distributors.
The Ripley begins by molding a sacrificial mandrel in exactly the shape that we want the inside of the frame to be. That becomes the 3D template for the carbon so that everything can be precisely placed for a more consistent layup with no joints anywhere. What that means for you is a lighter and stronger frame, critical factors in hitting our targets for weight and stiffness.
Another new technology we introduced in the original Ripley can be found in the clevis and the swingarm uprights. We are using very lightweight syntactic foam glass microsphere cores in these locations. They add strength and rigidity at a very low weight in areas where you can’t remove the core from the hollow carbon parts. The new micro balloon cores are roughly half the weight of typical foam cores.
We like the tapered headset we've been using for a number of years now. It helps build a bike that is light and very stiff. The 1.5" lower portion of the steerer provides an exceptionally rigid front-end platform. Combined with the through-axle fork, you'll be amazed at the precision steering feedback you get, particularly when pushing hard.
You may use several different Cane Creek headsets or the Chris King InSet 3 headset.
The new Shimano side swing front derailleur moves all the pivots and cable anchors forward away from the tire and the cable path off of the seat tube. This allowed us to rework the right upright to give more tire clearance. A swingarm mounted front derailleur is always in the right place in relation to the chain and chainrings so front shifting is more consistent throughout the travel.
This mounting system also reduces chain slap since the chainstay can be located further from the chain. Also since the derailleur is moving with the chain there will be no chain rub at the extreme ends of the travel, particularly problematic with lower chainstay bikes and the smaller chainrings found on many 29ers.
We've made a provision on the Ripley for 2 water bottles, one inside the triangle and one below the down tube. It’s best to use a side-loading cage if using a large bottle inside the triangle, such as this one from Arundel
The Ripley development story has reached almost mythic status and it seems every review of the bike adds another year to the development. Yes, it took 6 years, but in that time we went through two wheel sizes, two travel lengths, two types of bearings, and two factories. It was a long road but also a rewarding result.
Originally we approached Dave Weagle (suspension guru, inventor of the dw-link who has never let us down on a suspension design) and told him we wanted to build a super fast and lightweight suspension bike and that it needed to be efficient for racing but not so focused on it that it wasn’t good at anything else. We asked for 100mm of travel and told him we wanted to be able to build the bike to be the lightest and stiffest in class. What he came back with surprised us: He had figured out how to shrink the whole dw-link system down to two tiny eccentric links.
During the same time we were riding other 29ers and realized how we were spoiled by the 140mm of front and rear travel found on the Mojo. The big wheels certainly help mitigate the shorter travel, but 100mm forks to us felt like we were going back in time (not in a good way). We're were sure a 100mm bike would make a World Cup fire road racer happy but it wouldn't make us happy. Back to Dave. Can you make the eccentric bike have 120mm of travel and still be just as efficient? No problem he said, so we both got to work.
“It takes a long time to learn how to do something simple.”
― Marty Rubin
The eccentric suspension mechanism started out with angular contact bushings that were adjustable to remove lash for adjusting preload and to compensate for wear over the life of the bushings.
Here's a picture of the original eccentrics, next to the linkage that it replaced.
The bushings we spec’d came with a promise of a virtually infinite lifespan. They’d been used in automobiles for years, predominantly in doors and hoods.
The system was working and we were making progress with each revision, but we also developed a cartridge bearing style system concurrently as a hedge in case we came up against issues that we were not able to resolve in a reasonable amount of time. Back to our testing, we’d been riding the prototypes for a year already without much problem. Several iterations had significant miles on them in fact. During testing, Evan Plews was racing a 100-mile endurance race during a thunderstorm and the bushing system got contaminated with mud. An extreme case, and though Evan was able to finish the race, the contamination destroyed the bushings and so we were alerted to a problem that made us rethink the design. Here's Evan on a Ripley proto in a drier race:
With how small and close together everything is in the eccentrics we realized that there wasn’t enough room for both the required bushing material and adequate seals. We either had to change the bushing and seals and prove them to be durable or switch to the cartridge bearing system. We decided that it would be faster and more of a sure thing to go with cartridge ball bearings and continued refining those parts. As we went through the details of the design and finished the system, we were able to reduce the weight and complexity of the eccentric parts. This happened through many cycles of design and revision, eventually getting lighter and simpler each time. These refinements made it easier to assemble and maintain and also reduced the weight to within 21 grams of the original bushing system. The change to cartridge bearings ended up being a positive thing for the design overall for the following reasons:
1. Easier to assemble and service
2. Better parts available readily worldwide because of common bearing sizes
3. Lower stiction in the suspension resulting in better small bump feel
4. Stronger and stiffer than the bushing system
We’re super happy with the eccentric system. Here’s what it looks like all taken apart.
As lengthy and laborious a process as it is to design a bike like this, it is at least as difficult to actually make them. We’re often reminded of our favorite factory quote, as we ask them to push the technological envelope more and more:
“No one has ever done that before.”
Some of the time spent bringing the Ripley to market was due to having to switch factories. The first factory made the sample shown at the Eurobike show in 2011 but things were not going smoothly. They are a large factory with 2800 employees and only 10 managers, building bikes for a few large customers and Ibis. We are the smallest customer by far and also have the most difficult projects. They weren’t sure they could make it and all of their ideas for manufacturing it involved adding aluminum. It was pretty clear that they didn’t really want to do it. We saw the writing on the wall based on our experience with the SL-R frame delays and moved the Ripley to another factory where Ibis is a more important customer and they are willing and capable to focus on our difficult projects. (We had to “eat” the molds and a lot of development time when we made the switch but we took the opportunity to change the head angle and generally refine the details from the first tools).
The tooling and manufacture of the Ripley frame required extraordinary effort on the part of the factory. We worked together to solve new challenges related to the unique frame design. For example, very lightweight glass microballoon cores for the clevis and swingarm uprights were the offshoot of Ibis R&D transferred to the factory who improved on it and fully implemented it into a new system. These add strength and rigidity at a very low weight in areas where you can’t remove the core from the hollow carbon parts. The new micro balloon cores are roughly half the weight of typical foam cores.
When researching what people liked in 29er geometry we found the more it steered like a 26 inch bike the better they liked it. They just wanted it to ride like their old bike but with the advantages of the larger wheels. In order to do that we made it as close in size to a 26” bike as possible. In every decision we erred on the side of making it smaller: Chainstay length, headtube length, low BB, 73º vs 74º seat angle, etc. The only exception was the front center where we made the TT a little longer and the head angle slacker.
At first we couldn’t make the head angle as slack as we wanted because the increased offset forks that give the trail dimension we wanted were an exclusive and we knew it wouldn’t ride right with the shorter rake forks. When the increased offset finally opened up we were able to have the longer front center provided by the 70º head angle to give downhill confidence, (this is one reason why people like slacker head angles) while the 51mm fork offset give trail numbers in the same range as our other bikes. This gives a responsive feel that most riders prefer. It is important that a 51mm offset fork be used on the Ripley to get the best performance.
With the addition of the Ripley LS we've pushed things out even further adding 15mm to the top tube and relaxing the head angle out to 67.5º. Don't worry, it's still responsive, but now has more stability at speed.
Trail measurement of the Ripley: 85mm
Trail measurement of the Ripley LS : 97mm
Trail might be a bit of an unknown measurement to some, as we in the bike industry haven’t been focused on it lately. In reality, it’s the most important dimension affecting handling of the bike. That’s right, it’s more important than head angle.
Trail is the distance between the contact patch of the tire and the imaginary point where the steering axis intersects the ground.
Someday, we will write a white paper on trail. We keep putting it off because we don't think anyone will read it.
However, it’s a very important subject and it’s what makes a bike handle good or handle poorly.
That’s the story of the Ripley. At least that’s part of it.
|Seattube||A||419 (16.5")||470 (18.5")||521 (20.5")|
|Toptube||B||600 (23.6")||619 (24.4")||640 (25.2")|
|Chainstay||D||444 (17.5")||444 (17.5")||444 (17.5")|
|Standover Height (mid toptube)||740 (29.1")||740 (29.1")||750 (29.5")|
|BB Height (2.6" tires)||330 (13")||330 (13")||330 (13")|
|Sizing Guide (rider height)||163–175 (5'4"–5' 9")||175–188 (5'9"–6'2")||183–198 (6'–6'6")|
|Max Insertion (mm)||165||200||215|
Measurement from center BB to center of saddle rail (mm) for the Fox Transfer
Measurement from center BB to center of saddle rail (mm) for the KS Lev Integra
Measurement from center BB to center of saddle rail (mm) for the Rock Shox Reverb
Measurement from center BB to center of saddle rail (mm) for the Crank Brothers Highline
Sorry, no build kit info for the Ripley 29 - 2nd Gen.
Setting the correct sag on your suspension bike is a fundamental but super important part of getting the most out of your ride. This video shows you how to achieve a perfectly balanced front and rear end. We show you how on a Ripley, but it applies to any of our dw-link suspension bikes.
If you've got your Ripley taken apart already and are ready to remove and replace the eccentric bearing, either in the frame or in the swingarm, this video will run you through the process. The Clemens Tool is available in our store here.
To learn how to get your swingarm removed, the video you want is just below ↓