The New Ibis Ripley AF – Southern Utah Ride Report

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Mountain biker riding the Ibis Ripley AF 29er in the Southern Utah desert.
OTE, HU shop owner Quentin, riding the new Ibis Ripley AF aluminum 29er on JEM Trail.

Join us for an Ibis Ripley AF Southern Utah ride report!  In 2019, Ibis surprised mountain bikers with an aluminum version of their super popular Ripmo 29er enduro bike. Offering comparable performance at a much lower price, the aluminum Ripmo AF was a huge success. Now, Ibis has done the same thing with their Ripley 29er XC trail bike. Introducing the new Ibis Ripley AF: a more affordable Ripley with an aluminum frame. The Ripley AF has 29-inch wheels, 120mm of travel in the back, a 130mm fork and the geometry has been stretched and slackened to make it happier on the descents. Best of all – you can buy a complete Ripley AF for as little as $2999.

A green Ibis mountain bike in the desert.
The pre-production Ibis Ripley AF aluminum 29er trail bike Ibis let us take for a test ride in November.
A detail photo of the Ibis Ripley AF mountain bike.
Top tube detail of the new Ibis Ripley AF aluminum alloy 29er mountain bike.

Ibis visited Hurricane in November and brought us a pre-production Ripley AF 29er to check out. Photo-John and Quentin took it out to JEM to get some action photos and to find out if the aluminum Ripley AF 29er is as fun and capable as the Ripley V4. The carbon V4 was one of our most popular rental bikes in 2020 because it’s so versatile and easy to ride. The 120mm DW Link suspension, trail-friendly geometry and 29er wheels make it capable and fun for everything from XC racing to aggressive trail riding.

DW Link suspension system detail photo of the Ibis Ripley AF mountain bike.
A non-drive-side view of the Ibis Ripley AF’s DW Link suspension. Ibis has been using the popular DW Link system on their mountain bikes for a long time. The short dual links provide efficient pedaling and plush, smooth descending.

Like the V4, the Ripley AF pedals great, thanks to the DW Link suspension. It puts power to the rear wheel when you’re pedaling and does a great job of soaking up the bumps and hits when you’re descending. The 29er wheels combined with Ibis’ Traction Tune custom suspension valving give the Ripley AF excellent traction for climbing and cornering. It feels glued to the ground but still has plenty of pop when you want to get the wheels off the ground.

A mountain biker pedaling uphill on a rocky trail.
Quentin, testing the climbing ability of the Ibis Ripley AF on a chunky, rocky section of trail. Ibis’s implementation of the DW Link suspension is very efficient without being harsh. It keeps the bike moving forward and keeps the rear wheel glued to the trail for great uphill traction.
A mountain biker jumping in the Southern Utah desert.
Quentin hitting a drop on the JEM Trail. Since we had a pre-production bike he held back a bit but the bike handled the drop just fine. Thanks to the slacker geo, the Ripley AF is going to be a very fun bike on flowy trails with lots of lips and drops.

The Ripley AF’s wheelbase has been stretched about 10mm and the headtube slackened by a full degree. The 65.5° head tube angle is more in keeping with enduro bikes than XC or short travel trail bikes – it’s actually slacker than a lot of longer-travel 29ers. To compensate for the more relaxed head angle, Ibis gave the Ripley AF a fork with a shorter, 44mm offset to keep the handling quick. The updated geometry makes the bike really stable and encourages you to really open it up in the corners and on the descents. Quentin wasn’t able to turn it up to eleven because we had a pre-production bike but he said it felt really comfortable on steeper, more technical bits of trail.

A mountain biker riding down a steep, red-dirt, desert wash trail.
This isn’t the kind of terrain you’d think about for a 120mm bike. The Ibis Ripley AF 29er handles it great, though.

Obviously, the Ripley AF is a great choice for mountain bikers who want a fun, affordable, all-purpose 29er. At $2999 for a complete bike (Shimano Deore drivetrain + Fox Performance suspension), it’s a hell of a value. You could build one with Ibis carbon wheels and still spend less than $4000. Some riders are more comfortable on a metal-framed bike, too. Aluminum has a different feel and is stronger in some ways. The alloy frame and slacker, more aggressive geometry on the Ripley AF should catch the attention of bike park rippers and big mountain riders. The short-travel suspension and longer, slacker geo make the Ripley AF perfect for mountain bikers who do long rides with big climbs and gnarly descents. It combines the precision of a shorter travel bike with the fun, gravity-hungry geometry of an enduro bike.

A mountain biker riding a bike through a corner in the desert.
Quentin, pushing the new Ripley AF metal 29er through a flowy, bermed corner on the JEM Trail, in Hurricane, Utah. JEM’s fast, pedaly flow was a great for our Ibis Ripley AF Southern Utah ride report.

We’re excited about the new Ibis Ripley AF 29er. It’s going to be a great addition to our rental fleet and an excellent 29er for big Southern Utah mesa rides. The Ripmo AF was really popular with OTE, HU customers and we’re sure the Ripley AF will be, too. Bikes are already on the way and we expect to have them available for rent, later this week. We’ll have a complete Ripley AF 29er bike page up with full specs, pricing and geometry, soon.

Ride More. Work Less. Ibis mountain bike detail photo.
Words to live by – top cap detail on the new aluminum Ibis Ripley AF 29er trail bike.

Was that not enough? Still want more? Then check out this video the Ibis crew made while they were visiting. Trials champ Pat Smage’s riding will put a smile on your face and ensure you want to check out the new Ripley AF.

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