2017 vs 2018 Ibis Ripley X01 Eagle
The differences between the 2nd generation 2017 Ripley LS
frame and its 2018 3rd generation update are limited to the rear triangle. The rear suspension now has a stiffer swingarm connection and makes room for 29 x 2.6" tires.
In our brief testing period, we detected less rear end wag than we felt in the 2017 version. The movement in the 2nd generation frame was never unpleasant, but the added stiffness doesn't detract from the bike's notorious playfulness, so we'll take it. Interestingly, we didn't notice nearly as many pedal strikes on the 2018 version as we did on the 2017. We need more time on the updated version to be sure, but it's looking real good so far.
Yeah, she still rips.
Another encouraging development is that the Fox Factory Float DPS EVOL rear shock spec'd on both model years seems to be playing nicer with the 2018 version. Some of our testers had to run some scary high air pressures to keep the shock on the 2017 bike from bottoming out, which decreased comfort over smaller bumps. We ended up trying it with a volume spacer. There was no such need on the 2018 version's Fox Factory Float.
Read about our 2018 3rd Generation Ripley LS first rides
The Ibis Ripley LS makes us happy and offers so many killer color combinations.
2016 Ripley Analysis and Test Results
Six professional bike testers used a relentless testing protocol two years in the making to put the Ibis
through its paces against five other bikes. Read more in our How We Tested
"That thing is a race rocket," said our lead tester, "I'm impressed." It's certainly a speedy descender, coming in second place on The Scorpion
downhill test, but the Ripley LS
just can't keep up on the climbs. Still, it doesn't get blown away. If we look at how the bikes perform on the time trail courses in seconds per minute (as in what would happen if each course took exactly one minute), we get a good sense of their relative performances.
If each of our three time trial courses took exactly one minute, this would be the race result as shown in each bike's performance advantage over the slowest bike in the race, the Intense Recluse.
Its lack of uphill speed drops the Ibis's
overall race ranking back to a fifth place finish, coming in 1.2 seconds per minute behind the Yeti SB5.5
. Still, it comes in 7.3 seconds per minute ahead of the Intense Recluse
. The Ripley LS
takes its biggest hit on the technical climb (The Soul Grinder
), hangs in there on the smooth uphill (The Crank
) and takes second place in the descents. Overall it's a pretty well-rounded ride as long as you're okay getting to the top a little slower to before bombing back down, beating everyone but the Yeti
back to the car.
A blast on the descents, the Ibis has a deep-seated need for speed.
The Ibis Ripley LS
came out swinging, impressing testers with its solid descending skills and playful nature. It held up throughout downhill testing, earning the second highest rating with an 8 of 10. The enduro ready Yeti SB5.5
earned a 9 for out-pacing the Ripley LS
and taking on the big hits on in a big way. Both bikes rolled fast, but the Ibis
shudders when landing large drops, persuading us to dial back our gravity borne bashing. The Ripley LS
rolls over more mundane obstacles with panache. The Pivot Mach 429 Trail
takes the opposite approach, rattling us free of confidence on the descents early and often but standing up to bigger drops just fine. It's never that fun. In contrast, if you can pick a line and pay attention on the Ibis
, it's a blast.
rages. Despite getting knocked around more than some of the bigger bikes, the Ibis's
excellent geometry, great handling and sticky rubber gave us the confidence to let 'er, well, rip. The Ibis's
speed is evidenced by its 8.5-second lead, on average, over the slowest bike in the test on our downhill race course, The Scorpion
. The Ibis
also has 4.6 seconds on the Pivot Mach 429 Trail
and the 2 seconds over the third place Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro Carbon 6Fattie
. Only 0.9 seconds faster on average, the Yeti
just holds onto the downhill speed advantage it enjoyed over the enduro mountain bikes in our 2016 test.
The Ibis's speedy times on our downhill benchmarking course, The Scorpion, earned it the second place in the gravity test. Average course time -- 3:41 min:sec.
acceleration is snappy, neck-and-neck with the Mach 429 Trail
for the best in the test, which is doubly impressive for two 29ers. Not just easy to get up to speed, the Ripley LS
maintains it through choppy sections and big hits. It does this far better than the Pivot
. This tendency, along with the Pivot's
less confidence inspiring handling and cornering, accounts for their average time differences. The tables turn on the smoothest of singletrack, where the Ibis
demands more input and the Pivot
is more liable to keep rolling right along. Both feel good to pedal, livening up the big feature linking straightaways. But neither can keep pace with the slower to accelerate but perpetually momentum gaining Yeti
Yes, landing this was a little rough. It's a short travel bike after all. But the Ibis can handle aggressive riding and feels great on smaller hits.
is quietly confidence inspiring. With solid geometry, killer traction and a low slung chassis, it leaves little room for doubt: The Ripley LS
gets the job done. And it's fun work, assuming you like the challenge of picking a line and the lively feel of the trail beneath you. It doesn't grind down the rough edges and open up options like the Yeti SB5.5
or Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie
, but it will handle your line. We love its smooth but sporty response to trail chunder and affinity for speed. The faster you go, the more confident it gets. The build's wide rims and tacky Nobby Nics deserve a shout out here. The 2.35"/2.25" front and rear tires mounted on 34mm rims felt awesome descending on the Ibis
, reminiscent of the ride-softening Stumpjumper 6Fattie
without the vague feel of its 3" tires.
A comfortable ride, the Ibis
allows our testers to maintain optimal body positions on the descents, corners, and flats. It's easy to find the balance point, but not as automatic as the Santa Cruz Bronson
and feels less confident on steep rock rollers. While the Bronson
sets you up off the back — in typical Santa Cruzian long top tube, slack head tube, steep seat tube
style — the Ibis
requires a more conscious shift into the backseat in preparation for big features. While the cockpit is more upright than some of the other bikes, its low bottom bracket and the Lo-Fi carbon bars we ran during testing kept us feeling low and in control. The flip side? That bottom bracket sets you up for pedal strikes. We didn't notice them on the downhill but they happened with maddening frequency on rocky climbs.
A little laboring at slow speeds the Ibis's downhill handling is impressively nimble and just gets better the faster you go.
The Ripley LS
is a blaze-orange hot rod, sporty, precise and made for high speeds. The steering is nimble, playful and light. One tester even called it flickable, reminiscent of the 2016 Ibis Mojo HD3
we tested in the Enduro Review
. Its momentum is the only characteristic that consistently reminds us that it's a 29er. It's an easy bike to turn, so it'll go wherever you want. This is handy because you need to pick lines more on the Ripley LS
than you do on the Santa Cruz Bronson
, Yeti SB5.5
or Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie
In a devil's trade for top notch maneuvering, the Ibis
is less stable through chunky rock lines than those bigger suspension beasts, with one tester calling it skittish. It doesn't twitch up on the steeper and rougher terrain as much as the Pivot Mach 429 Trail
. Pay attention though. It rolls fast and takes big hits hard, requiring quick responses. There's no way around it on a 120mm travel bike. But the bike never feels out of control and its excellent small bump compliance keeps you feeling like the true captain of your cockpit without diminishing natural trail features.
At slower speeds it's, well, slower. Like the Yeti
, its bigger wheels require more input. Still, for the most part, it handles like a 27.5 with the power and rollover capabilities of a 29er. The other two 29ers in the test, the Yeti
and the Pivot
, don't manage this magic. The tradeoff for its low standover height (we measured 797mm seven inches in front of the bottom bracket) and lack of 29er-tall
feel is that too-low bottom bracket (measured at 321mm).
The Ibis doesn't love the big hits like we do, but it's small bump compliance is pro.
Suspension and Traction
Our heaviest, most aggressive rider loved the Ripley LS
, but he bottomed the rear shock out on nearly every run, and one of those hits was harsh. Our other three downhill testers definitely felt the limits of the shorter travel, but mostly played inside the shock's boundaries. The Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie
, Yeti SB5.5
and Santa Cruz Bronson
are all smoother when rolling over chop or through sharp transitions. It doesn't magically defy the limits of its shorter travel and the extra volume in the Fox Factory Float DPS EVOL rear shock had us running really high pressures. Once it was holding up on the rougher trail sections, we started really having fun, but those high pressures stiffened up the response early in the stroke as well.
The situation seemed to call for a volume spacer to ramp up the suspension curve on the bigger hits. So, after finishing our standard as is
testing, we installed one, a large, and switched from a Lo-Fi to a Hi-Fi handlebar for kicks. Then we sent our lead tester back out on the trail. He returned with tales of wonder: The spacer let him run reasonable pressures without bottoming out and increased the small bump compliance. The Hi-Fi handlebar felt more trail appropriate. Simple fixes.
While the bike is harsh and can bounce you around on the bigger hits, small bump compliance is tops, arising from a partnership between the suspension and the 2.35"/2.25" tires mounted on 34mm rims. Those wide tires start compressing at the slightest hint of a hit, and the suspension jumps in just as the sidewall is overpowered. You never feel the suspension's initial engagement. Initial strikes are much more apparent on the Santa Cruz Bronson
and Pivot Mach 429 Trail
The 130mm Fox Float 34 fork works well but we'd like a stiffer one, perhaps a 36. We bottom it out on occasion but like its feel. In fact, we like the feel of the suspension overall, and it maintains plenty of traction. The tires are grounded without feeling lethargic like the Specialized
. It makes it feel as good, on occasion, as the 6" travel Santa Cruz Bronson
. That's a big part of why the bike shines.
If you can keep the cranks from drilling through every rock in your way and line the tire tread up with square stairs, the Ibis climbs nicely.
The Ripley LS
is a fair weather climber. On smooth, flowing trails with the occasional rocky stretch, it hikes right up the hill, rivaling the excellent feel of the Pivot Mach 429 Trail
. But we also tested the bike's technical climbing limits on The Soul Grinder
, and we found them. When the going gets rough, the pedals start throwing sparks, the back tire can slip, and the front tire can deflect when not perfectly lined up to impact rocks. It's not awesome.
Dial the trail difficulty back, and we'd hop on this bike for an uphill any day. Thus, the Ripley LS's
uphill score ties with the burly Yeti's
combination of tenacious technical climbing but heavy feel on mellower trails. They both earned a 7 of 10. The quick and capable climbing Mach 429
and easily maneuvered Bronson
top the list with a 9 and 8, respectively. Despite crushing the technical climb, the Stumpjumper 6Fattie
only rates a 5 of 10 on the climbs, cause none of us would pick its laboring feel over these other four bikes for an uphill oriented day.
You've got to earn those downhill grins. The Ripley LS
is the second slowest climber in the test.
The Soul Grinder, Technical Uphill Benchmarking Performance
The Ibis came in last in the middle-of-the-pack bikes on The Soul Grinder, with the Intense Recluse and Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie at extreme ends of the spectrum. The course took an average time of 2:07 min:sec to complete.
— While the Ibis
climbs nicely it doesn't climb that quickly. It felt like the slowest of the 29ers on our technical climbing benchmarking course, The Soul Grinder
, and it was. The two others in the test, the Yeti
and the Pivot
beat it by 2.1 and 2 seconds, respectively. Coming in 5.8 seconds ahead of the Intense Recluse
, the Ibis
was 5.2 seconds behind the Stumpjumper 6Fattie
The Crank, Smooth Uphill Benchmarking Performance
The Ibis is a big-step-down third place, following the Santa Cruz and the Pivot in uphill speed on our smooth climbing course, The Crank, which took an average of 3:24 min:sec.
— With a 7.9-second advantage over the Intense
, the Ibis
steps up to a third place finish on the nearly featureless climbing course, The Crank
. Its efficient pedaling fares better here, but it still comes in 3 seconds behind the Santa Cruz Bronson
and 2.7 behind the Pivot
. On this track, we're guessing those wide and tacky tires slowed the Ripley LS
down somewhat, though not as much as the Yeti
If The Soul Grinder and The Crank were both minute long courses comprising a race, the bikes would win in the above order.
Again, combining the seconds gained per minutes ridden on both uphill courses gives us a good idea of their overall climbing abilities. Here, the Ibis
comes in fifth, 4.8 seconds per minute ahead of the Intense
and 1.7 seconds per minute behind the first place Pivot
. The Ibis
accelerates quickly and holds speed, but not as well as the Mach 429 Trail
. And, cough
, pedal strikes. The Ripley LS
and Mach 429 Trail
have the most balanced skills on both techy and breeze-on-by trails. The Yeti
showcase their talents best on rough terrain.
A light pedaling feel and solid platform makes the Ibis a pleasant if not super speedy climber.
Efficient and light, the Ripley LS
is a really good climbing bike, whether the suspension is locked out, in trail mode or fully open.You can feel the direct transition of pedal power thanks to a solid bottom bracket and lower linkage combination. It's one of the better pedaling designs we've tested, relying very little on the shock and feeling more akin to a hardtail than a 120mm travel trail bike. It also maintains the seat tube angle nicely, even when winching up the steepest rock slab rollovers.
The Ripley LS
also accelerates quickly, making it a cinch to pick up speed after topping out technical stretches, and those Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires put so much rubber on the ground you can crank through the corners without worrying about skidding out. The Ibis
holds momentum well but doesn't have the never-ending linear ramp up of the Yeti SB5.5
. The Ripley LS
has a plateau and rolls to a stop earlier than the Pivot Mach 429 Trail
with its 116mm of suspension. As such, the Pivot
is more of a race rocket, especially for smoother tracks, where it has an explosive cross-country feel. After climbing on these 29ers it's hard to hop on a 27.5, putting the Santa Cruz Bronson
at a disadvantage. Those big wheels make it feel like you're going somewhere, maintaining your momentum, even uphill.
If only that bottom bracket, measured at a height of 321mm, didn't ram those 175mm cranks into every rock and root in the way. On a trail with consistent rock gardens of even moderate size the pedal strikes just don't stop.
Light and responsive handling on the climbs encourages you to get out and play.
While the medium size fits our testers, Ibis
bikes tend towards the small side, recommending a medium for 5'4" to 5'9" riders. Though the fit is great for descents, the top tube feels a little short when cranking in the saddle. The LoFi handlebar didn't help. In contrast, the taller Pivot
give us more leverage when cranking up out of the saddle. The upright cockpit also tends to bias your weight forward on the climb, setting you up for a rear tire slip/spin.
Its respectable downhill stability gets tossed over the bars on technical climbs. The Ibis
bucks, knocks, and bounces through the technical lines, with the front tire often flopping or deflecting on square stairs, making it a bit of a bummer on The Soul Grinder
. You've got to work hard to recover when climbing up rock steps. Add in the 175mm cranks and low bottom bracket, and the Ibis
is more of a foothill climber than a rocky mountain top summiter.
Still, the uphill handling is responsive, it goes where you point it with a crisp responsiveness similar to that of the Pivot
, and it never wanders. The Yeti
feel vague by comparison. It's enjoyable on smooth uphill climbs where you don't have to be as precise with your weight to combat the bike's harsh reaction to adversity. There the Ripley LS
does a lot of the work for you and the tires amp up the traction substantially, feeling more predictable than the racier Pivot
Suspension and Traction
On the climbs, the suspension is smooth and planted without paying the sluggish penalty required by the 3" tires on the Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie
. The bigger hits, however, can bounce the Ibis
offline on the uphill as well. It recovers quickly, but we ended up manualing over the rock steps to avoid the need. It's easy to move around, but if you miss your line and hit a rock, you're gonna get bucked. The Yeti
, Santa Cruz
offer smoother rides. On the flip side, the lockout gives you an outstanding platform to work the climb with, but we'd like a stiffer fork.
The Ibis wins cornering. Quite the feat for one of them 29ers.
The Ripley LS
is an exceptional cornering bike on the descents. It's aggressive, engages well and is ridiculously fast, laying right over to those nobby nic side knobs to rail around. The 2.35" Schwalbe Nobby Nic, is dialed in the front with the same tire in a 2.25" tracking behind. They offer up as much traction as the 3" Purgatory GRID on the Specialized
. They were hard pressed to break loose even when the trail was sandy enough to toss most of the other bikes around. Cornering champ of the test, the Ibis
ranked an 8 of 10. The low bottom bracket does make for the occasional scraped pedal but that's our one complaint.
Flat or bermed, it doesn't matter, the Ibis
rips through. It's not the best on the sharpest of corners, but it's doable to whip around or slow down to steer through. On swooping downhill turns, all we had to do was drop the seat, get back and swing around. It doesn't want to stand up on the longer, sweeping corners like the Pivot
. You don't feel like you're on stilts and you don't get the correlating gyroscopic feel. The Yeti
requires a more aggressive approach, you really have to push the bike over and lean it around. The Ripley LS
feels much more precise.
The Ripley LS is like a positive peer pressure friend, getting you to look for every opportunity to have a good time.
Yes, on the descents it's fast and confidence inspiring (though not to the extent of the Yeti
), but its deft handling, active suspension, and sporting feel demand a good time. The other 29ers we tested, the SB5.5
and the Mach 429 Trail
are mostly fun because they're fast. (Also because they're mountain bikes.) The impish Ibis Ripley LS
is something else. It practically dances down the trail, seeking out side hops and mini-drops, popping off the fork and floating in the air, adding automatic style points to your ride. Some of the landings will be jarring, but all of them will be worth it. The Ibis
tied the Stumpjumper 6Fattie
at a 9 for inspiring pure childish joy on the regs.
That's the downhill. The uphills are an anoxic good time when there aren't many rocks, and it's a strange variety of amusing to beatbox along with the pedal strikes when there are.
Here are the geometry numbers for the medium Ripley LS as measured by Outdoor Gear Lab. See How We Test for more details.
ranks a 6 of 10 for its componentry, putting it in fourth place for build, behind the Bronson
and Mach 429 Trail
. We love the wheelset and tire choice but were underwhelmed by the fork, saddle, handlebar and brakes. The performance of the rear shock was our biggest problem with the bike. The bike's score sure didn't suffer much — but we'd like to beef it up a bit to increase value.
Cockpit and Fit
— The Ibis
fit us all well, but even this LS "long and slack" version is on the smaller side of the bikes in our test. It feels a bit short in the toptube for a few of our testers on the climbs, giving the feeling of being too far forward over the bike when sitting down and powering through. It works, though. Once you're rolling, it feels comfy, and certainly never cramped. It also keeps the Ripley LS
from having the Dad's ride
, scaled up trail bike
feel of the Yeti
. The Ripley LS
feels like its own creation.
Ibis Sizing Guide: M (5'4" — 5'9"), L (5'9" — 6'2"), XL (6' — 6'6")
Frame and Suspension
— We love this frame. The angles are perfect. Ibis did a great job with the geometry. The only issue is the bottom bracket, which is only 321mm off the ground according to our measurements. That's 8mm beneath the next lowest Stumpjumper 6Fattie
and 27mm closer to the ground than the tallest bike, the Yeti SB5.5
. This is a tradeoff for the nice and low standover height (measured at 797mm). It let the bike feel like a 27.5" bike and corner without a hint of gyroscopic effect, but made pedal strikes a major problem when climbing.
We ran through the travel on the Ibis's Fox Factory Float DPS rear shock early and often. A volume spacer set us right in post-testing rides.
The 130mm boosted Fox Float 34 fork felt good, but we gravitate towards the RockShox Pike, and would like to see an extra 10mm to improve the feel descending and to lift the bottom bracket up a bit. The rear shock, a Fox Factory Float DPS was easily overwhelmed by our testers, bottoming out regularly even with sky high pressures. The small bump compliance was good but suffered at the higher shock pressures. Adding a large volume spacer after formal testing allowed us to put in less pressure and improve the feel on small hits while ramping the compression up more quickly for the big ones.
Wheels and Tires
The 130mm Fox Float 34 is fine.
— The Ibis 938 Very Wide Aluminum Asymmetric rims and Ibis Boost hubs make for a great wheelset and the whole team wanted to give Ibis huge high fives on the tire choice until we started heading up technical lines. Between the Schwalbe Nobby Nicks, 2.35" front and 2.25" rear, and the 34mm rims, we have traction for days on the downhills and corners, even the dry ones. But when it comes to climbing stairs, things get a little more complex.
The rounded sidewall of Ibis's front tire, a 2.35" Schwalbe Nobby Nic, seems to deflect from anything less than a direct hit when climbing stairs.
Unless perfectly lined up, the front tire often deflects to the side when ramming a rock we'd like it to rollover, making mistakes costly. It didn't feel like a geometry issue, and the Ibis
has one of the steepest head tube angles in the test, in line with the Pivot Mach 429 Trail
. We think it's due to the rounded sidewall of the tire pushing the tread away from the rock. The back tire could also slip on the rock stairs, possibly a product of the frame setting us up with our weight pretty far forward.
Despite excellent traction on the corners and descents, the rear tire, a 2.25" Schwalbe Nobby Nic, can skid out when climbing rock stairs.
— The SRAM Guide RSC brakes with 180/160mm rotors are premium. We could have used an 180mm on the rear wheel though. As for the drivetrain, we appreciated the threaded bottom bracket and the eagle worked seamlessly. We don't need that big cog very often but we love it when we do. But we busted three chains on this drive train during testing, on the Specialized
. It's enough to make us real nervous about owning one. The crank arms are similarly excellent, except for their length. At 175mm they worked against us due to that low bottom bracket. We'd shorten them up or do something to jack up the bike.
Handlebars, Seat, and Seatpost
The Lo-Fi bars look bizarre and work on the downhill and corners but feel too low for the climbs. We switched to the Hi-Fi post testing and liked them better.
— We rode the 760mm Lo-Fi handlebars throughout benchmarking tests. We aren't huge fans. They feel surprisingly good on the descents and corners, helping us tuck in and stay low once we got past their odd look and settled into performance. On the technical climbs, however, they felt too low, not giving the testers much leverage when pulling the front tire up and over the stairs. They were also about 20mm too narrow. They didn't ruin our experience, though. After testing we switched them out for the Hi-Fi version for a couple of rides and they felt much more trail bike appropriate.
The fat double lock Lizard Skins Logo grips are also annoying. The outer lock hits us right in the meat of our palms, making feels like we're trying to steer the bike open handed. The Ibis
saddle was as uncomfortable as the one on the 2016 Mojo HD3
, an unnecessary cruelty. The 150mm Fox Transfer Hydraulic seatpost worked fine, better than the reverb, and we liked the lever a lot.
We recommend this bike for mellower trails through rolling singletrack and a few rock gardens, with the option of lapping bigger descents. It's not a rocky mountain town bike so much as it is a foothill rager.
The Ripley LS's
$6,599 price tag is the same as the Bronson's
. They tie for the third most expensive bikes in the test, with the Yeti SB5.5
taking top prize in price at $7,049. If you compare costs to overall scores — the Ibis
at a 78 and the Santa Cruz
at a 75 — overall value for both bikes is reasonable. Especially considering that the SB5.5
earned a 78 and costs $450 more. But when you look at the bikes builds, the 2017 SRAM X01 Eagle Ibis Ripley LS
spec could have been better, more in line with the excellent componentry on that Santa Cruz build the Bronson
with, for the exact same price. We like the fork, rear shock, saddle, seatpost, handlebar, and grips on the Santa Cruz
much better. Over, the Ripley LS
value is okay, but Santa Cruz does value better here.
The Ibis is awesome on mostly mellow climbs trails and a blast on pretty much any descent, but it's not your everyday all-rocky-mountain beast. The rocky uphill pedal strikes will drive you batty.
Too fun to deny the Ibis Ripley LS
earns our Editors' Choice award as the Best Trail Bike of 2017. The most joyful ride in the test, the bike is perfect for rolling foothill singletrack. It can also take on bigger lines in the desert or high mountains when asked. It takes enough out of the big hits to keep you confident without dumbing down the ride, but it's work. So is getting it uphill through rocks, but you'll make it. All in all, the tribulations are worth the triumphs for riders not tackling knarly terrain regularly.