Ibis' latest Ripley is the LS Carbon 3.0 NX Complete Mountain Bike, and it's built to take advantage of a wave of new technologies and standards that the original Ripley—despite how much love we have for it—could never have anticipated. These include the agro-as-hell Longer Slacker (LS) geometry, which pushes into enduro territory, and the clearance to run 2.6in tires. The latter is especially important as, in our estimation, tires in the 2.4-2.6in range strike the best balance between plush, plus-sized traction and agile, XC-tire responsiveness.
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 remiss 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 trail-minded 29er with aggression up its sleeve
- 5in of 29er-specific DW-Link travel eager for questionable lines
- The Longer Slacker geometry makes that travel feel even deeper
- Redesigned swingarm ups tire clearance to 2.6in
- Lightweight carbon construction gets after it on climbs
- Wide bars and rims encourage enduro shenanigans
- Threaded bottom bracket reduces creaks and groans
- SRAM's workhorse NX drivetrain is every bit as tough as the trail