Ripley XTR 942 Complete Mountain Bike
When it had its debut in 2011, Ibis’ Ripley made waves in the bike industry. It offered a solution for much of what riders asked for. To some it was a cross-country endurance beast, to others a wild and hard-hitting enduro rig — either way, it found a place in the hearts (and quivers) of many riders. Back for round 4, Ibis’ Ripley XTR 942 Complete Mountain Bike continues to exceed our expectations, with playful versatility, and a modern treatment of longer-slacker-steeper geometry to keep it up to speed for tackling it all. The new Ripley 4 features a ground-up redesign this year, bringing in an all new chassis inspired by the Ripmo the elevates stiffness, sheds weight, and offers a more progressive feel while riding. Just as we saw on its predecessors, the Ripley 4 retains the same 120mm of rear suspension that’s partnered up with a 130mm fork, keeping the 29er right in the sweet spot for all-mountain trail riding, quick-rolling climbs, and confident descents.
The Ripley 4’s major update meant that Ibis’ engineers could start from the ground up, and they chose to start with the heart-and-center of the bike, updating the dual-eccentrics used in the past to a new design based on the Ripmo, which still holds DW-Link suspension tucked neatly in the front triangle, but without as much weight, and with a huge boost in stiffness. This change in the frame’s chassis allows massive weight savings of over a half-pound on the frame alone, giving your all-mountain machine a little more pep in its step when you’re pushing up grueling climbs, and a more nimble feel when you’re flicking it around tight switchbacks.
Weight savings aside, one of the biggest benefits we see with the drop of the double-eccentric design is extra room in the seat-tube, which enables taller riders to run dropper posts up to 185mm. This long-dropper length lets Ibis’ engineers carry forward with even more geometry tweaks, like an extra-low standover height, so you can pick your frame based on reach, eliminating seat-tube size from your list of limiting factors on your new-bike hunt.
Changes didn’t stop with the eccentrics though, the Ripley has been tweaked all over, including a one-degree slacker headtube for a stretched wheelbase that adds a bit of confidence to the descents, and a three-degree steeper seat tube angle that keeps you in the center of your cockpit perched nicely for climbs. On the rear end of things, Ibis shortened the chainstays by a whopping 12-millimeters to boost stiffness, and make the suspension a bit more progressive, without letting go of the lively pedaling characteristics of the previous Ripley.
It’s only appropriate that a bike that’s seen such a slew of upgrades and tweaks is paired up with a drivetrain to match, and Shimano’s new 12-speed XTR drivetrain makes a perfect partner. Shimano took its time engineering its own 12-speed group, landing with the new XTR that offers precise shifting, massive gear ranges, all the while scaling in as one of the lightest weight groupsets we’ve laid our hands on. But the trip to the sweet shop doesn’t stop with the drivetrain — this Ripley also gets the sugary treatment of a premium FOX Factory suspension, Kashima-coated for buttery smooth transitions through travel, and a responsive feel that progressively ramps to keep you from harsh bottom-outs. The whole build rolls ontop of Ibis’ own 942 carbon hoops, with a low profile to manage big hits and drops, and a 35mm internal width ideal for running wide-trail tires for a bit of added pneumatic suspension.
- Ibis’ snappy, light, and flickable 29er gets an upgrade
- Modern geometry boosts pedaling efficiency, descending stability
- Redesigned chassis boosts stiffness, drops a 1/2lb over previous frame
- Ultra-efficient DW-link for small-bump compliance and supple support
- Longer dropper post capabilities thanks to new chassis and low standover
- New XTR 12-speed drivetrain is snappy, sleek, and offers gears for days
- Ibis’ 942 carbon hoops give you a stiff, light, quick-rolling platform