It’s here to stay. The Ibis Ripmo was the defending champion going into this test and ended up holding on to the top spot. It’s still the best trail bike in 2020! But what makes the American bike good enough to outshine the competition for two years running?
Click here for an overview of the best trail bike in test.
One look and you’ll know: this is an Ibis. The Ripmo features the typical lines and DW-link suspension that Ibis are known for, providing 145 mm travel. The Ripmo is usually fitted with a FOX DPX2 Performance shock but on our flagship model, that was replaced by a FLOAT X2. Ibis give their customers a lot of freedom in the choice of componentry, offering various components that you can mix and match. Our € 10,598 bike marks the upper end of the spectrum and is specced with only the best parts. It features a SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain and a 160 mm travel FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 suspension fork. A special highlight are the Ibis 942 carbon wheels with an inner rim width of 35 mm, turning on Industry Nine Hydra hubs. But be warned, the Hydra hubs sound like a swarm of angry wasps! You’ll either love it or hate it. We also have to criticise the Shimano XT brakes. Though they offer excellent braking power, the pads rattled loudly in the calliper – on a bike where nothing else creaks or rattles, it’s super annoying! The RockShox Reverb AXS offers a whopping 170 mm drop. Indeed, the short, straight seat tube of the Ibis could easily accommodate an even longer version.
Ibis Ripmo AXS
Fork FOX 36 FLOAT Factory GRIP2
Rear Shock FOX X2 Factory 145 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb AXS 170 mm
Brakes Shimano XT M8120 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle AXS 32/10-50
Stem Thomson Elite X4 50
Handlebar Ibis Carbon 800 mm
Wheelset Ibis S35 Carbon / Industry Nine Hydra 29
Tires MAXXIS Assegai EXO+ 2,5
Size S M L XL
Weight 13,66 kg
Travel (f/r) 160/145 mm
Geometry of the Ibis Ripmo
The geometry of the Ibis Ripmo is modern and balanced, with a super short 418 mm seat tube. The reach is pleasantly roomy at 471 mm and the 65.9° head angle is neither too steep nor too slack. At 76°, the seat tube angle positions the rider centrally on the bike resulting in a good climbing position.
The suspension, handling and workmanship of the Ripmo are spot on.
|Seat tube||368 mm||368 mm||418 mm||470 mm|
|Top tube||573 mm||603 mm||632 mm||655 mm|
|Head tube||90 mm||100 mm||110 mm||120 mm|
|Chainstays||435 mm||435 mm||435 mm||435 mm|
|BB height||341 mm||341 mm||341 mm||341 mm|
|Wheelbase||1177 mm||1190 mm||1220 mm||1249 mm|
|Reach||431 mm||446 mm||471 mm||493 mm|
|Stack||613 mm||620 mm||629 mm||642 mm|
The Rimpo on test
Once you’ve swung your leg over the Ibis Ripmo, you’ll never want to let it go. The bike features by far the most comfortable and central riding position on test. On steep climbs in particular, the pedalling position is very comfortable thanks to the steep seat tube angle. The front wheel literally sticks to the ground. Although the rear suspension isn’t entirely unaffected by pedalling, it doesn’t bob excessively and it manages to generate a lot of traction on technical climbs – we never felt the need to reach for the climb switch on the shock. For the descents, you can drop the 170 mm RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post completely out of the way, giving you maximum freedom of movement for the descents.
Playful trail bike or capable enduro rig? The Ripmo can do both!
Descending, the Ripmo offers an outstanding mix of sprightliness, agility and composure. Whether on fast jumps or flow trails, downhill tracks or rough alpine trails, the Ibis excels in every kind of terrain and it’s always a lot of fun to ride! Oh, and it’s fast. So fast, in fact, that we can clearly see why the Ibis team uses the bike to race in the EWS. However, anyone who believes that this must make the bike less lively is mistaken. The Ripmo leaps forward when you accelerate. The FOX X2 shock feels more defined than the DPX2, which we tested in the past and it offers even more support. At the same time, the rear end still responds quite sensitively. The MAXXIS ASSEGAI WT tires on the wide carbon rims provide loads of grip and, despite their width, they feel very defined.
Tuning tip: bend open the spring holding the brake pads apart or mount pads without cooling fins to stop them rattling
How does the Ibis Ripmo compare to the competition?
Ibis Ripmo, Santa Cruz Hightower or Yeti SB130? You might be asking yourself this question. The rear suspension of the Yeti is even plusher and more capable than that of the Ripmo but it feels less lively and requires a significantly more active riding style on the descents to sufficiently weight both wheels. The Hightower is very similar to the Ripmo, but the suspension is firmer overall and the bike is less composed in demanding terrain. Due to the bend in the seat tube, the effective seat tube angle of the Hightower will also be slacker the higher you run your saddle.
Conclusion of the Ibis Ripmo
The Ibis Ripmo’s reign is far from over, securing the coveted Best in Test once again. No other bike on test is as versatile or able to deliver as convincing a performance on the descents and climbs. It’s equally as fun on steep, demanding descents as it is on flowing single track. Combined with the elegant frame and well-considered spec, the result is the concept by which all others have to measure themselves.
- unbelievably fun on all trails
- excellent all-rounder
- very comfortable climber
- lively handling
- price, depending on the configuration
- rattling brake pads
For more information head to ibiscycles.com
The test field
Click here for an overview of the best trail bike in test.
All bikes in review: Cannondale Habit Carbon 1 (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral CFR 9.0 SL (Click for review) | Giant Trance Advanced Pro 29 (Click for review) | Nukeproof Reactor 290 (Click for review) | Norco Optic C1 (Click for review) | Orbea Occam M-LTD (Click for review) | Radon Slide Trail 10 (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 Reserve (Click for review) | Scott Genius 900 Tuned AXS (Click for review) | Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper SRAM AXS 29 (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EX 9.9 X01 AXS Project ONE (Click for review) | Yeti SB130 TLR (Click for review) | YT JEFFSY CF PRO (Click for review)
This scale indicates how efficiently the bike climbs. It refers to both simple and technical climbs. Along with the suspension, the riding position and the weight of the bike all play a crucial role.↩
How does the bike ride and descend? How spritely is the bike, how agile is it through corners, how much fun is it in tight sections and how quickly can it change direction?↩
Is the bike stable at high speeds? Is it easy to stay in control in demanding terrain? How composed is it on rough trails? Stability is a combination of balanced geometry, good suspension and the right spec.↩
This is all about how balanced the bike is and particularly about how well it corners. Balanced bikes require little physical effort from the rider and are very predictable. If a bike is unbalanced, the rider has to work hard to weight the front wheel to generate enough grip. However, experienced riders can have a lot of fun even with unbalanced bikes.↩
How sensitive is the suspension over small bumps? Can it absorb hard impacts and does it soak up repeated hits? Plush suspension not only provides comfort and makes a bike more capable, but it also generates traction. The rating includes the fork and the rear suspension.↩
This aspect mainly comes down to the suspension. How much pop does it have, does it suck up the rider’s input or is it supportive, and how agile and direct is the bike?↩
We don’t calculate value for money in an excel spreadsheet or based on how high-end a bike is specced. We are more concerned with how a bike performs on the trail and how the bike benefits the rider. What good are the best components if the bike doesn’t perform well on the trail? Expensive bikes with a lower-end spec can offer very good value for money – provided they excel where it matters. Just as supposedly cheap bikes with good components can get a bad rating if they don’t deliver on the trail.↩
No, it’s not about racing, it’s about efficiency. Fast, fleet-footed and efficient – those who want to speed along flowy singletrack and gravel roads need a defined and spritely bike that accelerates with ease and efficiency. Nevertheless, reliable components are important too. We interpret XC more like the Americans do: big back-country rides instead of a marathon or XC World Cup with the ultimate in lightweight construction! Uphill-downhill ratio: 80:30 (not everything has to be 100%!)↩
...also known as mountain biking. Classic singletrack with roots, rocks and ledges – sometimes flowy, sometimes rough. For this, you need a bike with good all-round qualities, whether climbing or descending. Uphill-downhill ratio: 50:50↩
Even more extreme and challenging compared to Trail riding, riddled with every kind of obstacle: jumps, gaps, nasty rock gardens, ruts and roots. For this, you need (race)proven equipment that forgives mistakes and wouldn’t look out of place on a stage of the Enduro World Series. Climbing is just a means to an end. Uphill-downhill ratio: 30:70↩
Strictly speaking, a 200 mm travel downhill bike is the best choice for merciless tracks with big jumps, drops and the roughest terrain. Those would be the black or double-black-diamond tracks in a bike park. But as some of the EWS pros (including Sam Hill) have proven, it’s the riding skills and not the bike that define what you can ride with it. Climbing? On foot or with a shuttle, please! Uphill-downhill ratio: 10:90↩
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Words: Photos: Christoph Bayer, Finlay Anderson, Markus Frühmann, Jonas Müssig