Ripley LS Carbon 3.0 GX Eagle Complete Mountain Bike
While its longer travel brother the Ripmo might have stolen some of its glory, it doesn't take away the fact that the Ripley is still a very, very good bike. If the thought of an epic backwood adventure with plenty of pedaling and elevation both up and down appeals to you more than shuttling or bike park laps, the Ripley LS Carbon 3.0 GX Eagle Complete Mountain Bike might be more of your cup of tea. Its ability to accept tire volumes in the 2.6in range offers up confidence-inspiring grip and a supple ride as you mob over tricky rock gardens and rooty drops.
Similar to the previous version of the Ripley LS, the newer 3.0 provides stability at speed coupled with nimble and agile handling on twisty trails that makes it a favorite among magazine test editors as well as here, in house. Its 120-millimeters of DW-Link travel offers quick accelerations with very little sapping pedal bob, yet when the trail turns rough, it's ready to soak up the hits. The success in the platform's design lies in the fact that its shock tune is dialed to the frame's kinematics, allowing the bike to transition smoothly into its travel for a plush feel, yet ramps up as needed to prevent harsh bottom outs.
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 are new swingarm and clevis mounts as well, which is moved backward 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 FOX 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 Boost spaced, 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 the 50t granny gear on SRAM's one-by GX drivetrain has proven capable of handling almost any grade we've thrown its way.
- An all-arounder 29er that lives for long singletrack days
- 120mm DW-Link travel provides efficiency and plushness
- 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
- The upper eccentric link is wider for increased rear-end stiffness
- FOX suspension is plush, adjustable, and dependable
- SRAM GX groupset offers a gear for every pitch, without breaking the bank