Ripmo XT Mountain Bike
We won't deny that the Ripmo is one of the best mountain bikes of its time, offering best-in-class climbing performance and a lively-yet-stable feel on the downs. But when Ibis released the Ripmo AF with more aggressive geometry and suspension, we were anxious to see these changes roll over to the carbon Ripmo. Fortunately for us, the Ripmo V2 is finally here, giving riders the increased capability of the Ripmo AF, but with a carbon frame that saves roughly 2lb over the aluminum version—all while offering a stiffer chassis that climbs, corners, and charges harder.
Like the Ripmo, the Ripmo V2 was developed under the rigors of competition, meaning Ibis worked extensively with their professional riders to ensure the new bike meets the increasing demands of modern enduro courses. A disguised version of the Ripmo V2 saw four top-ten finishes in the 2019 EWS, already proving its success at the highest level of the sport.
The new recipe starts with a more progressive shock rate that ramps up near the end of the stroke, preventing harsh bottom-outs when you're charging through rock gardens and airing over drops. At the same time, the initial stroke is suppler to improve small-bump sensitivity and smooth out chattery sections of trail. Downhill enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the new bike is now compatible with coil shocks thanks to this revised shock rate.
Ibis nailed the geometry on the first Ripmo, so the V2 only sees minor tweaks to give the bike some extra stability when the trail points downhill. This comes in the form of a 1-degree slacker head tube angle, moving to 64.9-degrees compared to 65.9 on the original model. The reach is also increased by a few millimeters, rounding things off with a nicely modern 475mm on a size large. These numbers let you open it up a bit more on high-speed descents, but maintain the same lively handling and precise cornering the Ripmo was famous for.
Riding bikes isn't all downhill (unless you're a park rat or shuttle junky), so considering that most of us have to earn our turns, Ibis gives the Ripmo V2 the same uncanny climbing abilities as its predecessor. A lot of this has to do with the ultra-efficient DW-Link suspension platform, but a big part is the steep 76-degree seat tube angle that naturally shifts your weight forward in the saddle. This puts you in a comfortable position for putting power to the pedals, and keeps the front wheel from wandering on steep climbs. If you were to ride the Ripmo and Ripmo V2 back to back, you wouldn't notice any difference in pedaling performance despite the V2's more aggressive descending traits.
On the Ripmo V2 Ibis sticks with their esteemed DW-Link suspension due to its firm pedaling platform and smooth feel over rough terrain. Ibis did modify the suspension tune though, incorporating the Traction Tune philosophy that first debuted on the Mojo HD5. Traction Tune uses extra-light damping in the high-speed compression and rebound circuits, which allows the wheels to react more quickly to changes in terrain for smoother bump absorption and glued-to-the-ground traction. By balancing this effect front and rear, the bike chassis stays flat relative to the ground as the suspension cycles through its travel, keeping the geometry figures consistent for more predictable handling in rough terrain. Traction Tune is a feature that Ibis's team riders have been pushing for all along, but it ultimately provides benefits to riders of all skill levels.
As a new-age 29er all-mountain bike, the Ripmo V2 incorporates a host of useful features for the aggressive trail rider and enduro racer. New linkage guards protect the upper and lower links from contamination, while downtube and swingarm guards prevent damage to the carbon frame. There's enough tire clearance to run massive 2.6-inch rubber, internal cable tunnels for easier maintenance and routing, clearance for a full-size bottle, and the ability to run a 175-millimeter or longer dropper post on the medium through extra-large frames (small works with 150-millimeter droppers). Ibis uses IGUS bushings on the lower link for improved longevity over ball bearings, and backs them up with a lifetime warranty for good measure.
- The Ripmo gets more aggressive without sacrificing climbing prowess
- Carbon frame saves 2lb claimed weight over the Ripmo AF
- More progressive 5.7in DW-Link suspension caters to hard-chargers
- Slacker head tube angle lets you go faster on descents
- Climbs as aggressively as the original Ripmo
- 6in fork soaks up bigger hits with ease
- Shimano's workhorse XT drivetrain rivals the performance of XTR