We've always lived by the mantra of "if it isn't broken, don't fix it," which may be a reason why we're better suited talking about bikes than designing them. The engineers at Ibis make it pretty clear to us that you can improve on something that was good from the start with the Ripley LS Carbon 3.0 GX Eagle Complete Mountain Bike. With a new overhaul for 2018, the Ripley LS is ready to take to the trail with lofty tire volumes for confidence-inspiring grip and a supple feel as you charge down rough and wily trails. Like the previous Ripley LS, the 3.0 maintains total control and nimble handling that made it a fast favorite in the past, as well as the 120-millimeters of DW-Link travel for quick acceleration with very little in the way of energy-sapping pedal bob. Much like other DW-link rides, we find that the Ripley LS ramps so smoothly into the travel that we're often under the impression that the suspension is deep enough to hang with some of the longer-travel bikes that boost into steep rock gardens and root-latticed aspen lines.
Despite those changes, this third-gen version of the Ripley retains the nimble handling that leaves you with an ear-to-ear grin on the trail but with a stiffer rear end that may leave a frown on your buddies' faces while you power away on climbs. The stiffer rear end and increased tire clearance are owed to a reconfiguration of the chassis and its dual-eccentric DW-Link suspension.
The upper eccentric link is wider than before for increased stiffness when you're tracking across the rough stuff. There's a new swingarm and clevis mount as well, which is moved backwards and down to clear the 2.6-inch tires. Despite those changes, we're happy to report that the reconfigured chassis and swingarm don't affect the praised suspension kinematics of the previous Ripley LS. This means you won't notice a difference in the pedaling efficiency or square-edge compliance from the DW-Link suspension.
Other than its notable upgrades in rear-end stiffness and increased tire clearance, the Ripley LS retains the praised geometry of the last version, namely its moderately slack 67.5-degree head tube angle paired with a low-slung 13-inch bottom bracket for impressive stability at speed. Although it's not quite as slack as much of the competition, the third-gen Ripley LS never feels outgunned on the trail, even when the going gets steep and rocky. We'd credit this to a slightly longer 130mm 34 Float fork keeping things confident and composed out front, paired with 29in wheels rolling on the mid-sized rubber mentioned above for steamrolling roots and rocks.
We'd be amiss to omit the monocoque carbon lay-up of the Ripley LS frame, resulting in an astoundingly stiff, pleasingly light trail whip. For even greater wheel stiffness, the hubs are upgraded to Boost, which creates wider hub spacing for a stiffer bracing angle of the wheel spokes. We should also note that the front derailleur mount only works with Shimano side-swing and Di2 types, should you desire to run a front derailleur in the future. However, this shouldn't be required, as 42t granny gear on SRAM's one-by NX drivetrain has proven capable of handling almost any grade we've thrown its way.
- A 29er to tackle the trails with all-mountain power
- 120mm DW-Link travel for efficiency + square-edge compliance
- Carbon construction is astoundingly stiff and lightweight
- Balanced geometry with 67.5-degree head tube angle
- Redesigned swingarm clears 2.6-inch tires for grip
- Upper eccentric link is wider for rear-end stiffness
- Mid-sized tires boost cushion and traction across rooty climbs
- SRAM GX groupset offers a gear for every pitch, without breaking the bank