A modern enduro mountain bike is an incredible machine. The amount of punishment they receive every ride is huge, yet the amount of maintenance required is relatively low. All the while, they deliver ever increasing performance and control on gnarlier trails, and at higher speeds than was previously possible. Just think back 10 years and remind yourself how often rides were cut short with broken bikes to realise how far we’ve come.
Specifying a modern mountain bike for uncompromising performance is a relatively simple task. The market is flooded with incredibly capable and reliable products that promise almost hassle free ownership and simple servicing with just one catch; reliability and performance tends to come at a price.
Throwing a limited budget into the mix presents a challenge, namely how to maximise the performance of a given bike while minimising the financial outlay. This min/max way of thinking differs for each style of bike and rider; where an XC rider might favour lightweight wheels and smooth shifting drivetrain, a DH rider would have a totally different set of priorities.
In the case of an enduro bike, high emphasis has to be placed on a well made frame with good geometry. After this comes components to increase speed and control on the descents, as this is the main focus of an enduro bike. Spending on things like suspension, wheels, tyres and brakes make the most sense here. Lastly come the parts which will get you back to the top of the hill. Given that most enduro bikes are of the “sit and spin” variety, a flashy drivetrain, while giving fantastic shift quality and great ergonomics, offers less benefit to the overall ride of the bike than a good set of tyres and brakes, but that’s not to say a top end drivetrain isn’t a pleasure to use. The same can be said of a dropper post, as long as it does its job reliably. Saving money on drivetrain components, dropper posts and things like your bar and stem can help save cost and put the money where it really matters if you’re on a tighter budget.
Enter the Ibis Ripmo AF, a bike seemingly built wholly around this idea of minimum spend for maximum gain, while still delivering a top quality product. Careful component selection by the team at Ibis has resulted in a bike which maximises on parts offering the greatest benefit to the rider and saves on secondary items without sacrificing too much on the ride.
Starting with the most obvious difference between the AF and the full carbon Ripmo, the frame. The Ripmo AF uses a full aluminum frame, unlike the all carbon Ripmo, however the two frames share the same geometry and DW Link suspension platform meaning the ride characteristics of the two bikes are very similar. While perhaps not as elegantly sculpted as the carbon version, the AF has a definite presence in it’s burly aluminum construction. This is a frame built to last, evidenced by the fact that it comes with exactly the same 7 year warranty against manufacturing defects, and lifetime warranty for all pivot bushings, as the carbon frame. Weight and aesthetics aside, as an ownership experience the Ripmo AF is as well made and dependable as the premium carbon alternative.
One place Ibis have consciously specced highly is the suspension. Coming with top of the line DVO suspension front and back means that the Ripmo AF will eat up bumps like bikes twice its price, bringing premium suspension performance and adjustability to a wider range of riders. The DVO Onyx SC fork brings all the features you’d expect to see from a top tier suspension product, and a few you wouldn’t, like the adjustable negative spring. This feature, called OTT (Off The Top) by DVO, means you can tune how supple the fork feels in the initial portion of the travel without changing the mid/end stroke support.
The theme of spending to maximise fun on rowdier trails continues with the inclusion of Ibis’ own 35mm rims, which give the tyre a larger volume. The upshot of this is a larger contact patch and the ability to run lower pressures, both of which increase traction.
SRAM G2 R brakes give plenty of power and modulation leaving some spending money for proper Maxxis 3C EXO+ Assegai tyres front and back.
To keep the ride quality high but not the price, Ibis specced the Ripmo AF with a NX/GX mix of SRAM 12 speed drivetrain components. Spending on the great value GX rear mech, whilst saving on the NX shifter and cranks means you get maximum bang for your buck from this drivetrain.
Along with the SRAM drivetrain, a KS Rage-i dropper post has been chosen as it offers long travel with a small insertion depth. It does lack the full user serviceability of more expensive options, but a new cartridge is a cheap fix to an uncommon problem for these reliable posts. A simple dropper lever bolted to Ibis’ own brand bar and stem round off this min/maxed build.
By really evaluating the added value of every part on the Ripmo AF, Ibis have managed to create a bike dripping in premium parts where it really matters that’s also affordable to a much larger number of people than other bikes with similar components.
Fantastic suspension, wheels, tyres and brakes all add up to give a bike that’s stable and confidence inspiring on the descents, which surely is the reason someone would be looking for a bike like this. Saving cash on parts that are supplementary to the experience, namely drivetrain, seatpost, cockpit means that the bike still pedals like a more expensive machine, albeit with maybe slightly worse shifting, but at a much more affordable price.
If you’d like to find out more about the Ibis Ripmo AF, or even take one for a demo ride, pop into our shop on Innerleithen’s High Street.
Alternatively, give us a call on 01896 831429.