- The Ibis Ripley LS X01 Eagle is an adaptable trail machine that balances comfort and performance to create a bike that isn’t trying to be an aggressive descender. This is a surprisingly unique characteristic when so many trail bikes in the industry these days are trying to be mini-enduro bikes.
- Stunning frame with a well thought out design. Short concentric bearing pivots, massive tire clearance, ample space for a bottle, and a custom carry bag option highlight the attention to detail Ibis has put into this bike.
- Geometry has adapted to the long and slack movement, as per the name of the bike, but being an early adaptor of the trend has left its numbers outdated.
- Suspension and brakes could be better, especially at the bike’s price point.
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Ripley LS Carbon X01 Eagle
Frame & Wheels: 7-year, Hubs: 2-year
WHERE TO BUY IT:
Carbon fiber, Fox Factory FLOAT DPS w/ EVOL sleeve, Fox Float 34
SRAM Eagle XO1
Ibis 938 Very Wide Aluminum Asymmetric
Schwalbe Nobby Nic (29″ x 2.6″)
(Ibis custom saddle w/ chromoly rails, Fox Transfer Dropper Post, Ibis Carbon handlebar, Thomson Elite X4 stem, SRAM Guide RSC hydraulic disc brakes)
Ti-Ho silver, Vitamin P yellow
Ibis has always been a bike brand built around quality trail bikes. The mid-travel riding niche has had a lot of names thrown at it: all mountain, aggressive XC, and more recently even enduro, but the category has always been about what the average rider rides on their local trails. The Ripley LS isn’t just Ibis’ latest trail bike — it’s just that latest entry in a long line of bikes, starting with their very first one, that represents their continuing push to build the best trail bike.
The Ripley line is the 29er complement to Ibis’ original bike, the Mojo. The model line has been alive for almost five years and the latest incarnation, the Ripley LS, was introduced almost two years ago. LS stands for “Long and Slack”, signifying a change in its geometry with longer reach and a slacker head angle. The change hasn’t been to made to alter the purpose of the bike to more aggressive riding, but rather to keep up with the times and evolving geometry trends across the bike industry.
Frame and Geometry
The Ripley LS is one of the better-looking bikes out there, even among top-of-the-line offerings from competitors. Ibis takes a different approach to its DW-link and uses large concentric bearings as, effectively, tiny linkage arms. Though difficult to design around, it can result in a stiffer setup while reducing weight and minimizing problems with dirt and mud. It also makes for a frame that always looks fresh and doesn’t seem to age as fast as more typical looking bikes.
The geometry, on the other hand, has aged quickly. The Ripley LS was introduced in 2016 when the revolution of mountain bike geometry was in full swing. Their conservative approach to the changes in geometry has resulted in a bike that is already outdated just two years later. Bikes in the last two years have pushed head angles slacker, reach values longer, and seat tube angles steeper. It is at least 20mm behind on modern sizing standards and a degree or two behind on the angles. This is most apparent on the seat tube angler where many modern designs have gone up to the 74°-75° range. This is a moot point for current owners as the bike still performs magnificently. However, for people looking to buy a bike, even being slightly dated is an obvious negative as there many other up-to-date options out there.
The X01 Eagle is the second most expensive option of the Ripley LS line and it comes in at just under $7000. There are options available for Fox Factory suspension with Kashima coating and carbon wheels. The suspension upgrades will set you back almost $500 while the wheelset upgrade can get as expensive as $1,300.
The build is a solid one which hits the kind of performance you would expect from a high-end MTB. It features its namesake’s drivetrain, an X01 Eagle 12 speed drive train which has a 32t front ring delivering power to the 9t-50t cog set. The cockpit is top notch with an Ibis brand carbon wide handlebar and a Thomson X4 stem. Contact points are quality as well with Lizard Skin Charger Evo Grips and a Silverado saddle from WTB.
There are a few things that we were expecting to be better spec’d for a bike that’s almost $7,000. First, is the suspension. Aside from the almost $10,000 XX1 build, the entire Ripley LS line up comes stock with Fox Performance line components. At this price point, the bike should really come with stock Fox factory suspension without having to pay for an upgrade, and many of Ibis’ competitors agree. It’s the same story with the brakes — Shimano XT’s are very good brakes but we expect to see top of the line stoppers on bikes in this range.
The Ripley LS is built to be the everyday ride of the everyday rider and it excels at just that. The one word we would use to describe the bike is: comfortable. Taking it for a spin on the rolling trails around the area is a breeze. Thanks to the DW-Linkage’s characteristics, it takes very little effort to get the bike going and it remains active when bumps begin. There is no need to go fiddling around with lockouts or levers whenever a rough section presents itself. The Ripley LS allows you to get on your bike and go ride.
These characteristics make the bike just as likable for longer rides. Messing with on-the-go-setup tools, lockouts, and compression adjustments can get exhausting when done dozens of times over the course of a day ride. The ready-to-go nature of the Ripley LS eliminates that headache.
The Ripley LS X01 Eagle’s limitations were easily found when brought out of the trail rides it was designed for and onto rougher tracks. The geometry allows it to be pushed hard but when the going gets especially rough, the suspension simply can’t keep up. You can only get so much out 120mm of travel. The bike makes quick work out of the average trail surface but a downhiller looking for a trail rig may want to look for something with longer legs (although it would make an excellent aggressive cross-country bike for a gravity rider).
On the other side of the spectrum, the bike has no real drawbacks when it comes to cross-country capability. It climbs effortlessly and may actually be easier to pedal than a cross-country hardtail on choppy roads and trails. The bike’s potential for long distance riding is only really held back by the big tires. With thinner rubber and possibly a shorter, lighter fork, this could easily perform well as a cross-country machine.
Ibis offers a warranty package that’s above average. They extend a 7-year guarantee on the frame and rim to the original owner, covering defects in materials and workmanship. The paint and finish is also covered for 1-year. While it’s not a lifetime guarantee, 7-years is well above the average ownership period of the original owner on a bike like this.
- Comfortable to ride: not harsh and doesn’t need a lot of attention
- Pedaling efficiency is fantastic without the need for platforms
- The frame is very stiff and easy to maintain, not to mention good looking
- Geometry is beginning to get dated
- Brakes and suspension could be improved
The Ripley is a fantastic trail bike that upholds Ibis’ heritage. It’s one of the few bikes that has stayed true to its niche where offerings from many other competitors are, simply put, short travel enduro bikes. The suspension layout and design philosophy are things that this bike uniquely has going for it but its dated geometry could be a deal breaker. The MTB industry is beginning to agree on geometry numbers that make the best bikes, but buying a Ripley LS now will leave you behind the curve and you’ll have a much harder time staying relevant with the new models being introduced in the next 3-years. We’re not saying don’t get this bike, but it may be wise to give it some time. The current Ripley LS design is two years old, and it is likely to get an update soon. If you’re a fan of the bike, it might not be a bad idea to hold off for a bit until an updated version is released.