Measured against the recent trend of super long, slack and DH focused enduro bikes, the Ibis Ripmo V2 takes a slightly different path. With a more moderate wheelbase and head angle than the dedicated race bikes, it looks on paper like it could make a far better all round mountain bike for a normal rider and be less dependent on high speeds and gravity feed to get it going.
Curious to see how it would measure up on our local trails we took our demo bike out for a spin to find out. Having won an EWS here in 2021 under Bex Baroana it can clearly be ridden fast, but where do the compromises lie?
Our demo bike
Built like all the Ibis bikes around the excellent and well established DW link suspension platform, the Ripmo runs on two short links delivering 147mm of rear travel, paired to a 160mm fork. The frameset is very nicely detailed in line as usual from Ibis, with a threaded bottom bracket, headset cups and internal cable routing all present to make mechanical work quick and painless. A straight seat tube allows unlimited dropper insertion for longer seatposts and well detailed rubber guards protect chainstay and downtube. It’s also notably light with the frameset weighing just 3 kg including the Fox X2 shock making very light full builds easily achievable. The frameset, lower link bushings and rims all come with lifetime warranty for complete peace of mind.
A size Large Ripmo V2 measures up with a fairly average reach of 475mm, paired to a slightly steeper 64.9’ head angle while the bottom bracket is low at a full 30mm of drop below the axles. Seat angle is a modern 76.5’ to aid climbing and keep the rider centred on the bike and chainstays are relatively short at 435mm. The wheelbase is perhaps the most obvious standout number, being a relatively compact 1238mm on the Large. For comparison, a size Large Ibis HD6 is nearer the length of the XL Ripmo at 1256mm. This should result in a very manoeuvrable bike, with great lower speed handling and cornering balance, but might compromise stability in the fastest sections.
One notable feature of Ibis’ bike builds is that every model gets the same suspension and brakes, so all models of Ripmo come with Fox Factory 36 forks, and a Fox Factory X2 shock regardless of build kit. Our demo bike is the SLX version, which adds a set of lifetime warrantied Ibis Send wheels and a Shimano drivetrain and brakes to create a really nicely specced bike at a reasonable price. Tires are Maxxis Assegai front and rear in the popular mid weight EXO+ casing which balance nicely with the all round intentions of the bike.
As soon as the Ripmo turns uphill it’s obvious the bike is something a little special on the climbs. Most enduro bikes could at best be described as dignified on the way up but the Ripmo is positively energetic. The seated position feels ideal for fire road grinding and the suspension linkage does a great job of transferring rider effort to the back wheel. With minimal bobbing or unwanted chassis movement, the shock lock out feels redundant, meaning the bike can be left open while climbing to get best use from the suspension. On steeper and lumpier sections that results in plenty of traction and the shorter wheelbase makes lifting the front wheel or squeezing round a tight switchback noticeably less effort compared to the longer enduro bikes out there. Combined with a low overall bike weight, the result is one of the best climbing and most efficient feeling mid travel bikes we’ve ever ridden.
Pointed back down the hill, the slightly steeper head angle and shorter wheelbase are immediately noticeable compared to the HD6. The front wheel feels closer to the stem and the handling is faster and more direct; depending on the rider and trail, that could be either better or worse.
On flat corners, applying weight to the front wheel is easier, giving great balance, and in tighter sections the Ripmo bike switches direction quickly linking corners together with minimal effort. It also pumps terrain really well compared to the big race bikes, requiring less rider input and time to preload and unweight, something that is very noticeable in the many awkward root sections on our local trails. On mellower flow trails it generates speed from rider input easily, carrying good speed through flatter sections. Bump absorption is handled decently, with the suspension taking the edge off impacts of most sizes while still giving the rider a decent amount of trail feedback.
Put all that together and it’s not hard to see how the bike could have been ridden to the EWS win it saw here in 2021; it’s an excellent all round package, especially for tighter, mellower or more natural trails where its fast handling allows those sections to be handled extremely quickly.
There are definitely some areas where it loses out to bikes like the HD6 however and those are simply when the speeds and impacts really increase. For fast, rough, bikepark trails, alpine racetracks, and when taking bigger hits in steeper situations the extra stability and slacker angles offered by the bigger enduro bikes gives them a definite edge. They require less effort to keep on line through repeated impacts and their slower handling is more forgiving of a momentary mistake. For longer race efforts or descents the extra travel can save the rider energy too, filtering out more of the trail to deliver a smoother ride, helping to minimise fatigue.
For someone who is looking for something well rounded, a single bike to cover a wide variety of different trails or a rider who lives for the long epic days out, the Ripmo could be ideal.
It’s able to climb and traverse with incredible efficiency and pep, yet still take on steeper and more challenging natural descents with minimal compromise. Depending on the trail network, it could also make a brilliant enduro race bike with excellent ability to carry speed and perform on a real mix of stages. It does lose out to the biggest bikes in the very roughest and fastest sections, so for a dedicated uplift bike or someone with regular chairlift access it may not be the best option, but for everyone else after that ‘one bike’ solution it should go on the shortlist for sure.
Curious to try? We've got a Size Large ready to go for demo and complete bikes are going at a very reasonable 30% off!