You've probably noticed that bikes have changed a lot over the last few years, and mostly for the better. The drivetrains we're using, suspension design, our wheels and tires, and modern geometry are all letting us go faster, be more comfortable, and even have more confidence than we sometimes deserve. And this doesn't only apply to long-travel bikes, either, with the capabilities of cross-country and trail machines merging and far exceeding what was expected of them only a short time ago.

While most of us can agree that components have improved over the years, things are a little fuzzier when it comes to geometry, especially when talking about the average mountain biker who isn't trying to imitate what they see at the FEST Series or racing at EWS events all around the globe.

You may do that, or may want to do that, but the average mountain biker doesn't do any of those things. He or she does get out on the singletrack, though, likely on a four or five-inch-travel bike of some kind, or maybe a hardtail, that's at least a few seasons old. And while bikes with extreme numbers like Nicolai's Geometron or the Mondraker Dune might be really interesting and push boundaries, which is important, they have about as much in common with a conventional trail bike as a Group B WRC car shares with my 1990 Mitsubishi Delica van and its broken power-steering pump. In other words, about zero besides the fact that they both have four wheels, and even that's a stretch for my van on some days.


Ibis Ripley. Photo by James Lissimore
The Ripley LS is longer and slacker than the standard Ripley.

But let's stick to bikes with less travel, something that the average rider can relate to, otherwise known as trail bikes. Is a longer and slacker trail bike better than something with more classic geometry? 'Better' is probably the wrong way to say it, I suppose. After all, some of us like pancakes and some of us prefer waffles (waffle people get into the tub before turning the shower on), and my better might not be your better. Is better faster, or is better more fun? It's the latter for me, but some of you might be waffle people, so there's no right or wrong answer to the question.

So with all that in my head, I had Ibis ship me two large-sized, 120mm-travel Ripleys; one featuring their original geometry, aka the Original Gangster (OG for short) in orange, and the other sporting their new long geometry, aka the LS, in black, to compare how the two perform. After some parts swapping, both ended up with the same suspension fork, shock, same wheels and tires, and the same cockpit dimensions all around for testing*.


Ibis Ripley. Photo by James Lissimore
The standard Ripley's frame is all-new, but the conservative geometry is the same

*As I'm sure some eager beavers will point out, a few things are different in the pictures. This is due to needing to have both built up simultaneously for the photos.


The Numbers

First, what's different geometry-wise about these two 120mm-travel Ripleys? Not a lot of numbers, to be honest, but the ones that count are different enough. The seat tubes, head tubes, chain stays, standover and bottom bracket height, as well as stack, are all the same or within a few millimeters of each other. The head angles are not, however: a more classic 69.2° is used on the orange OG compared to a contemporary (for the bike's 120mm of travel) 67.5° on the black LS.

Probably more important, however, are the different trail numbers and how they relate to those head angles, with the OG having 85mm of trail and the LS sporting 97mm. What's trail and how does it interact with a bike's head angle?



Ibis Ripley geometry


The rear-end of both bikes measures 442mm, but there is a big difference at the other end of the two Ripleys: the OG's top tube is 607mm long whereas the LS' is 619mm. Reach is also quite different, as you'd expect, at 406mm and 428mm, respectively. This means that the LS Ripley is 42mm longer overall compared to the OG bike, and all of it is up front due to the longer reach and slacker head angle.

I'm not going to argue that any of these numbers are at the extreme end of what's currently acceptable when it comes to geometry - there are much slacker and longer bikes out there - but that's the exact point of this comparison: trail bikes for everyday riders, but both bikes sport relatively conventional yet very different geometry. You know, the same but different.



My Numbers

It turns out that I'm never going to be a great basketball player or need to shop at the local Big and Tall. I'm of average proportions all around, which means that I sometimes need to ask someone to get something off the top shelf, but I don't have any trouble when it comes to finding bikes that fit me well. The one caveat to this is that I have a relatively tall-ish inseam that requires an equally tall seat-to-pedal height. Yes, my dancer's legs just don't quit. No, you don't actually want to see me dance.

• Height: 179cm
• Inseam: 87.5cm
• Ape index: +1




Ibis Ripley. Photo by James Lissimore
The LS Ripley is 42mm longer, all of it ahead of the bottom bracket shell, and a bit over 1.5-degrees slacker.

I was busy failing math class the last time I had to deal with this many numbers, so instead let's get to how the steeper, shorter 120mm-travel OG Ripley compares to the slacker, longer 120mm-travel LS Ripley. Both bikes were ridden on the same trails, singletrack that I test all of my review bikes on and trails that I've been riding for twenty years, which certainly gives some extra perspective.


Climbing

Because most people on trail bikes have them so they can pedal up mountains before coming back down, I thought that I should probably do a bunch of exactly that on both Ripleys. The same technical climb was ridden over and over again in the same conditions over a few months' time, but it didn't take nearly that long for me find out which of the two bikes I prefer.

The orange OG is an absolute beast of a bike that can breeze past the tightest, rockiest, rootiest problems on ultra-technical sections with ease. It feels very much like a cross-country race bike that's both more forgiving and has more traction, but it gives nothing away in the efficiency department. On the OG Ripley, a rider can slow to essentially a stop, worm their way around a corner so tight that the bike's rear wheel stays on top of the same few inches of dirt, and then shuffle up a section of trail that has more in common with a spiral staircase than anything a bike should be pointed up.


Ibis Ripley. Photo by James Lissimore.
Photo by James Lissimore
The OG Ripley is happy to take the inside, outside, or middle line through any tight climbing corner. The longer LS Ripley requires more thought.

How does the black LS compare? The longer Ripley is an excellent technical climbing machine that makes a lot of other bikes of similar travel look out of their depth, but it ain't the OG. The bike's slow-speed steering actually feels quite similar, surprisingly close, to be honest, which is where its 97mm of trail comes in compared to the OG's steeper head angle and 85mm of trail. Tight switchbacks at slow speeds on the LS aren't ever going to be an issue for this reason - point it where you need to go and turn the pedals over - but it's the bike's extra 42mm of length, all of which is in front of the bottom bracket, that does mean that a rider on the LS Ripley has to do a bit more thinking than if he were on the OG bike.

What I'm getting at is that, while the LS and OG are both quick handling bikes that supply the same amount of traction, I did find myself out of place on the longer LS Ripley more often than when on the OG, simply because of the former's extra length.


Ibis Ripley. Photo by James Lissimore.
When it comes to janky, tech climbs, both bikes can hold their own.

Both bikes are champs on difficult singletrack climbs, but I know that I cleaned more technical trail on the OG than I did while on its longer, newer brother. Don't have those types of ascents? Then there's really nothing between the two bikes when it comes to climbing.



Descending

Here's where it counts. With 120mm of travel out back and efficient feeling suspension, neither the OG or LS are the kind of bikes that relish fast and rough terrain compared to some of the new-school, short-travel play bikes out there. Neither Ripley is for chubby chasers who happily push around extra heft in exchange for added forgiveness when things get rough, but rather lithe machines that perform at their best when ridden with deliberate exactness instead of pure ballsiness. And, more than anything, you'll find that both are extremely entertaining bikes when this is your approach.

If you had the chance to ride both the OG and LS Ripleys back to back, you'd find that the handful of millimeters that separate them also makes all the difference in the world.


Photo by James Lissimore
Ibis Ripley. Photo by James Lissimore.
It's easier to go faster aboard the LS Ripley, while the OG bike wants to play 24/7.

Trails that invite different interpretations are where the shorter, steeper OG Ripley was clearly ahead, or at least it will be to a rider who looks at singletrack and thinks, ''where can I go that's different than the line the person in front of me chose?'' The orange Ibis fits into places where other bikes, including its longer sibling, would prefer to go straight through rather than into and out of. The OG can be pumped and popped where the LS is plowing and pushing, relatively speaking given the 120mm of travel. While neither approach is right or wrong, a rider more apt to employ the latter could find the OG Ripley to feel a bit nervous. I love a sharp handling bike, though, so I'd say that the OG's steering is more decisive and on-point in a positive way, even if someone with the opposite preference might call it a bit jittery.

One thing is for sure; the OG doesn't tend to push to the outer edges of the trail through a corner. Just the opposite, in fact, which might be why I tended to find more fun line variations because I could cut in or under the accepted blue groove and choose something different. And the slower the switchback, the more the OG is going to brag about its so-called passé geometry while making you look like you know what you're doing.


Ibis Ripley. Photo by James Lissimore.
The OG Ripley can be picked up off the ground at ease, and it fits into the smallest of pumpers and rollers on the trail.

While the two bikes ride differently, it's only when the trail gets really fast and rough that the LS starts to pull ahead when talking about comfort, and maybe even speed. The bike's longer wheelbase sometimes makes it feel as if the LS is sporting an extra 10mm of travel, and it's obvious that, along with its more relaxed handling, the LS is going to allow a rider to feel more at ease than when he's trying to go the same speed on the OG Ripley. It simply feels more surefooted, especially when the ground is wet or loose, and I had more confidence and felt farther away from the edge of control when on the black bike. But, for where I ride, this makes up a small portion of my saddle time. Given that both bikes share the same suspension, wheels and tires, and cockpit measurements, this is solely down to the difference in geometry between the two - 42mm of length, 12mm of trail, and a bit more than 1.5° up front.



OG or LS?

Pancakes, of course, and the OG Ripley with its shorter, steeper geometry.

Both bikes are equally capable - skill is what matters, after all - but the OG and LS Ripleys also perform differently enough to warrant matching the bike to your terrain and style. The good thing is that we do get to choose these days, and I'm not just talking about these two Ripleys. In many cases, travel no longer defines a bike's intentions and personality, but rather its geometry. You can pick up a short-travel bike that thrives in the bike park, or a long-travel bike that pedals like a demon and turns on a dime and vice versa.

I know that it's expected of me to say that I preferred riding the bike that I felt faster on, which is the longer LS Ripley, but I found myself having more fun on the shorter, quicker handling orange bike. For where and how I ride, the OG Ripley is more enjoyable to be on; I was more likely to take creative lines on the shorter bike, and I was also more likely to be hooting and hollering as a result. That makes it pretty clear for me, but the LS might be just the ticket for you if your terrain calls for it or if you chase your riding buddies who are on long-travel bikes. After all, I know that some of you out there do prefer waffles.



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About the Reviewer
Age: 35 • Height: 5'10” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 165lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None • Instagram: killed_by_death

Mike Levy spent most of the 90s and early 2000s racing downhill bikes and building ill-considered jumps in the woods of British Columbia before realizing that bikes could also be pedaled for hours on end to get to some pretty cool places. These days he spends most of his time doing exactly that, preferring to ride test bikes way out in the local hills rather than any bike park. Over ten years as a professional mechanic before making the move to Pinkbike means that his enthusiasm for two wheels extends beyond simply riding on them, and his appreciation for all things technical is an attribute that meshes nicely with his role of Technical Editor at Pinkbike.


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157 Comments

  • 57 0
 This article gives good perspective. As much as marketers want you to believe otherwise, newer isn't always better. It's more about the right fit for your situation. Another example is the recent review of the Nukeproof 29er, where the newer and heavily marketed Debonair can was found to work less well with the bike than the older HV can.
  • 44 3
 I have a bias but still... I ride a HDR, short bike by modern standards, but there is not much I can't do on it. I keep reading my bike isn't long enough, then I just ride it and I don't care.
  • 4 0
 @BobChicken: So what you are saying is that the rider's skills are more important than the bike geometry?
  • 3 2
 @BobChicken: It's so hard to admit that some changes in geo actually can make bikes better that we need this type of cliche comments.
  • 39 1
 This is a very important article. Thankfully, it is also a very good article. On modern general-use trailbikes, there is no absolute "better" when it comes to geometry, only "different"; a slacker angle always sacrifices something to a steeper one, and vice versa. Thank you, Mr. Levy, for having the objectivity to explore and recognize this distinction - geometry should be a conscious choice, not blind pursuit of a heavily-marketed extreme. As you pointed out, the average mountain biker doesn't smash enduro courses from sunup to sundown. I see the popularity of modern enduro geometries as largely aspirational, and as the article demonstrates, the average or even above-average rider's experience can actually be hampered by them. I therefore advocate either a conservative approach to geometry... or industry effort into a more intriguing option.

I believe it's time for manufacturers and consumers to take a hard look at dynamic, adaptive-geometry systems, like that of Bionicon. It's easy for a rider to be satisfied with a well-rounded geometry that fits his or her preference, and it's also easy to be tempted by improvement to suspension and drivetrains (the low-hanging fruit, in my opinion, of bicycle design). I don't question the potential of exciting innovations like Live Valve, Missing Link, or gearboxes. However, so long as trailbikes are unable to adapt their ride characteristics to suit a given moment's terrain, we will always be forced to choose between OG and LG, so to speak, and so our machines will necessarily be compromised. Call me an evangelist - I think adaptive geometry is the next step in our sport's evolution, and that which will most benefit the common rider.
  • 6 0
 Do you happen to be a Cayon emploee? Wink
  • 10 0
 @Bluefire: Completely agree with your first paragraph, disagree with the second.

Bikes should be designed for the intended use, aiming for specific ride characteristics, regardless of what is the current flavour. A 65 deg head angle maybe in fashion this year, but you shouldn't start designing from a single measurement.

I don't believe in adjustable geometry, it just doesn't suit my trails and the way I ride. A carefully designed and spec'ed allrounder always seems like a better solution in my eyes. The human body is very adjustable and can mostly compensate for the compromises of an allround trail bike.
  • 10 2
 Ugh, adaptive geometry. Sure, the geometry adapts, but this rider never adapts to a bike that is constantly changing how it reacts to the trail.
  • 5 1
 My ride9 Rocky Altitude stayed in the full slack position all the time after an experimental period. I know it's not the flip of a switch on the trail to change but it just felt better to me. And it seemed that 90% or so of those I met on trail were riding full slack as well. I raced it a few times in a couple of other settings but decided that any advantage climbing was minimal at best and the downhills felt best with it slacked out. Could be just the bike or the rider, (I never shorten or change from full open on my fork for climbing) but set and forget seems about right for this rider.
  • 2 0
 A flip chip in the pivot to set the bike back 1-2° and a fork that could adjust a simple 20mm (and not be too heavy) would be perfect.

Anything more that, seems like a lot of ground to cover with one bike.
  • 4 0
 @sevensixtwo: For sure a flip chip is good, though I'd settle for a RELIABLE fork with 20-25mm of travel adjust. "real world, honest travel adjust" not some hokey "climb" setting that drops and locks... A 150-170 on my Bronson would truly make it the ONE bike for me... (yea I know, SC only says 160. but that's just because they need a reason to sell Nomads until they update the frame)
  • 35 3
 Long story short, in addition of your 100mm, 120mm, 150mm and 170mm suspension fullies you now need two types of 120mm bikes Smile
  • 2 0
 .......and each travel in 27.5, 29, mid fat and fat bcos they are all awesome.
  • 1 0
 NICE reply...
  • 24 0
 Just last week I bought a Ripley LS. And although the specced equipment on it may help (I was lucky enough to pick up a full XTR/Ibis carbon wheels/carbon everything build for dirt cheap), I can confirm it's the most well balanced, sprightly and chuckable bike I've ridden. Bunny hops like a rabbit with sore feet and the front end can be picked up with ease. I can only imagine the OG version will be even quicker and more snappy. I've gone from a strongly built Bronson CC with 160mm Pike's to a superlight 120mm 29'er and I couldn't be happier with my choice. These bikes are so capable and stupidly fast, and I'm sure that's across the board with all short travel 29'ers. Do yourself a favour folks and seriously consider one next time you're considering buying a bike that's an all out rocket ship that can handle a hell of a lot, yet be so easy to ride all day.
  • 27 3
 Here we go... steeper and shorter, it's the newest, greatest thing! Forget those long slack bikes, they're passé, get with the times guys! LOL
  • 22 1
 Luckily I'm still on steep and short... and 26"!
  • 5 1
 @gtrguy: I'm on long, low slack 26 (suppressor) The newer geo actually lets me have a smaller frame with a decent reach.
  • 1 0
 @gtrguy: alloy, dont forget the alloy!
  • 2 0
 @skintightleather: 6069 all the way baby!
  • 2 1
 I'm pretty sure he was pointing out that both are great . Different strokes for different folks...
  • 3 0
 @railin: Yeah, I agree... I just like busting balls, people get so hung up on the idea that new is better when it isn't always the case.
  • 15 0
 Thanks for that review. Finally someone points out that slacker is not automatically better. I think what Specialized did with the S3-Geo at their current demo points in that direction. It's about your riding style, not just reach and angle.
  • 20 2
 Stopped reading when he said pancakes were better than waffles. This article is trash.
  • 3 0
 & it's not a fair comparison because one bike was black and one orange. Biased review!
  • 2 0
 @ceecee: Colorist! I'll be in my "safe" space if you need me.
  • 14 0
 Excellent review.

Mike's suggestion that a conservatively numbered (geo, travel) trail bike, coupled with some skill, may actually work best for most riders - brilliant!

His comments are so spot on, and rightfully challenge the runaway trend of the more is better mentality. Wake up all you PB dudes - you ain't never gonna be a sponsored Enduro racer.

Can we have more reviews like this?


Personally, I like geo that's short, slack, and low.
  • 1 0
 Stanton Switchback!
  • 12 0
 The one additional comment I'd add in relation to the 'buy a bike suitable for what you ride' comment is that, in general, a steeper and less slack bike will be better across level terrain too. In purchasing my last bike I purposefully choose a bike that wasn't too slacked out and downhill orientated as, even though the downhill bits are my favourite, you spend so little time on a trail ride actually going downhill. I don't live next to a bike park or regularly do uplifts. My bike is set up for the trails, and whilst it is on the twitchy side, it makes it feel alive and far more involving to ride. If I'd gone for a slacked out enduro monster I'd not reap the benefit of the geometry for anything but 5% of my ride, and I can cope with the fact I'm losing out on a few seconds on a 2min decent for the fun I'm having...

Oh, and Ibis has incredible customer service!
  • 2 1
 Are you actually suggesting that trails go anywhere but down hill?

Don't you know we are on Pink Bike?


Seriously though, I always snicker when people say " I live for the downhill". If so then why are they riding bikes that takes so long to pedal uphill, only to make the descents go by so much faster? If you ask me they are living for the uphill.

Don't get me wrong I dig down hill, and have a downhill bike, and downhill ride as much as I trail ride. But there is a place for everything. And trail riding is what it is. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking trail riding is downhilling.
  • 1 0
 @MikerJ: Agreed! There was an article on Pinkbike ages ago saying that you should buy a bike that compensates for your weaknesses, which for me means one that is better uphill. Don't get me wrong and go crazy with a xc bike, but at least give it some consideration. Oh, and my bike is 150/160mm rear/front before anyone thinks I'm advocating putting on lycra!
  • 8 0
 Great article especially as I consider a Ripley after getting sucked into the longer and slacker is better movement. I will now test ride both options after being convinced the LS is for me.

I ride fast flowy XC trails and I'm a very typical medium at 5'8" with the same wingspan and a 30" cycling inseam. Recently built a new Honzo CR in medium and even with a 32mm stem, it's too long. Seat slammed forward creates a less than ideal pedaling position and I struggle to get the weight on the front - not confidence inspiring. I think it was Mike who commented on the lack of adjustability on the CR with such a long TT and reach... I may have been happier with a small but the medium was recommended. This wasn't my first rodeo with long and slack - a Smuggler preceded the CR.

So I appreciate the dose of reality that Mike offers in this article. I needed that as look to move on from the CR. And good on Ibis for offering both options - I look forward to testing both at Cyclefest next month.
  • 4 1
 The Honzo has a pretty long reach at 450mm in Medium, that is most manufacturers idea of a Large.

I like 'longer' bikes and I am the same height as you, but longer to me is around 445 reach - The frame I have now at 5,8" is a large with a 455mm reach as standard but as I am running a 1.5 degree angle headset and a 20mm longer fork than the geometry is calculated with my actual reach is probably more like 435-440mm which I find fine.

This is another case of the cycling industry expecting the customer to be the expert and research geometry and what the numbers mean before choosing a size - It should not be like that and should be better explained. I remember commenting on a guy with a Commencal who chose a large but at over 6 foot it was still tiny - This is not acceptable, not everyone who rides a bike is a nerd who pours over geometry charts and can understand what it all means.

At 5"8 you should be bang on a Medium, at 6 foot then you expect the largest size on offer to fit. I know all riders have a different preference but sizing needs to become easier to understand for the non pinkbike uber bike nerd.
  • 1 0
 I have flowy XC trails around me, and I'm also 5'8" with 30.5~31" inseam (depending on the ruler). I bought a Ripley OG in size large, and I couldn't be happier. Very fast, and very sharp.

However, I've never ridden any Ripley prior to my purchase so I can't tell you how they all compare. I've made my purchase base on forum comparisons similar to this article.

I demo a Specialized Epic S-Works (regular, non WC) right before the purchase, and that bike felt slightly faster and sharper if my memory serves me right. However, the Ripley is only slower by a hair, almost just as sharp handling, and waaaaay more capable.
  • 1 0
 btw regarding fit. I ride my Ripley OG Large with a 90mm stem 7 deg down. It fits fine for how I ride the bike. I will experiment with 70mm stem in the near future.
  • 4 0
 @Racer951: really, @ 6 foot you should expect the largest size on offer to fit? Sucks for all the tall guys out there
  • 3 1
 @Racer951: the 450mm reach on the Honzo CR is simply too long - not 'pretty' long. For a medium at least. To put into perspective, the reach on the medium CR (450) is longer than the XL Ripley LS (44Cool .

As you suggest, being 5'8" with ape index of 0 I should be squarely on a medium. It's all I've ridden since I've been MTB on and off for 24 years.

I think that Kona did great things with the Process geometry and forced other manufacturers to think differently. That being said, I think they have gone too extreme with the new geos. With the new super long front ends, the WBs are insane (for a HT) and almost negates the benefits of the short CS. Very possible that I may feel differently if I was on a small but as Racer951 suggests, this new approach to geo only adds more confusion to an already confused marketplace.

I'm not complaining as I knew I was on the fence with sizing this frame but it was an unsuccessful experiment. And this article was a good piece of humble pie for me to not get all caught up in the latest and greatest...
  • 1 0
 @SeaJay: It was more of a sweeping statment than about the Kona in question or Ibis in this but geometry is so all over the place one manufacturers idea of an XL is anothers Large and in the worst cases a Large is barely big enough for a 5,10" rider - It all makes it so difficult for riders to choose sizing if they cant demo the bike or if they are not fully educated about bicycle geometry, reach, seat tube angles, ETT etc

A confusing world if you are just getting into this level of biking, hopefully local shops have staff that want to help rather than just take a sale but who knows.
  • 1 0
 @TheFunkyMonkey: Yes, 450mm is a hefty medium thats for sure, with a 60mm stem I am sure a 6ft+ rider could be comfortable on it.

You mention it was an experiment as you knew you were on the fence with it but imagine if you had no idea about geometry or sizing and were new to the game - You would immediately think Medium at our height, this length of bike would be even worse for a beginner too.

As I say, I am a fan of long bikes so I am not moaning about their existance, my gripe is with manufacturers having completely off the wall sizing reccomendations for frames and just how different sizing is between different manufacturers.

Oh - thought about a reach adjust headset to help with things? - Also try raising the front end a little if possible without screwing your riding position too much.
  • 1 1
 @Racer951: 450 is definitely too small for a 6'+ rider
  • 3 1
 I just rode a Honzo CR in an XL and felt it was too short, I would put a 65 oto 80 mm stem on it if I was going to ride it-I am 6' 4". I didn't have any issues with climbing smooth or even steep and techy single track on the Honzo and it took the downhills with ease. I think it just depends on your body proportions. I was disappointed that the honzo has such a short seat tube, my post was at the maximum extension for my seat height at 86 cm, the whole thing looks downright goofy with a 120 mm dropper post fully pulled out of the seat tube.
  • 1 0
 @onlybirdman - You're 5'8" with a 30" inseam; I'm 6'1" with a 32" inseam. So you've got a bit of a giraffe thing going; I'm built more like an ape. That Honzo has geometry very similar to my Process 111 - and damn, that feels so good for my build. It allows me to stretch out on descents and get my weight nicely balanced over the center of the bike - whereas with a shorter bike, I'd always feel like I'm flying off the back and not able to get any weight on the front wheel. I'm guessing for you, the overly long cockpit then has you seriously stretched out - and getting any kind of weight on the front wheel is no longer a matter of balance, but of aggressively shifting forward in a way that's just not reasonable.

I test rode an Ibis, and to me it was way to short. I'm guessing for your build, it would be great.

I'm starting to think that the whole "fit the bike to the trails" thing is really secondary to "fit the bike to the rider" - my wife wouldn't be very happy on a longer bike, because she has relatively long legs/short torso - so she's more in the same boat as you are. I see people ripping on all kinds of trails, with all kinds of different bikes - but the key thing seems to be that anyone who rides well usually is on a bike that fits their body type.

I'd love if in these reviews, we were told not only what the tester's specs are (that's a great start), but also what they've generally learned about how different bike fit paradigms seem to work for them.
  • 1 0
 @Highlander406: Check out the 2017 Process from Kona ... they've stepped up bigtime in the geometry department!
  • 3 0
 @src248: This is exactly the issue a sizing is partially opinion, you say 450mm reach with a 60mm stem is too short for someone just over 6ft yet bikes like the 2017 enduro in XL have a 465 reach which is given with a 40/50mm stem so pretty much similar in terms of actual size - I didnt say it would give modern sizing but comfortable I imagine yes - I agree though that if was that tall I would to longer for sure, but I know what I like, not everybody does.

Does that mean the new enduro isnt suitable for taller riders in any size, of course not, but it wont offer stretched 'modern' geometry if you are tall.

I am enjoying the recent developmens in Geo but it isnt half making it difficult for people to size bikes correctly unless they are full bike geeks.
  • 1 0
 @aireeek: the only other bike they had in an XL was a Hei-Hei, which I liked but not as much as the Honzo. The Process has a 485 mm seat tube which is not going to work for my 86 cm seat height. I was looking at a Divinchi Django but it also has a short seat tube, too short for me.

I'm also looking at a specialized Fuse Carbon in an XL, fairly similar bike to the Honzo but with 27.5+ tires with the option of running 29" wheels/tires. The specialized is actually a nicer build for $100 less...
  • 1 0
 @Highlander406: Nothing wrong with a 65mm stem. Considering the lack of issues otherwise, it sounds like tradeoff between aesthetics and low standover/bike center of gravity was unacceptable. I'm 6' and wear a shirt with 35" sleeves, and think the Medium CR is too reachy, based on my current hardtails of 41.4 and 44.1cm sagged reaches, 80 and 60mm stems. Not sure how much 'ape factor' plays into it, & it's ill-defined.
  • 1 0
 @src248: I'm 6' on the dot and my older frame only has a 427mm reach and I run a 60mm stem....So 450 is definitely within the realm of possibility.
  • 2 0
 I went to Cyclofest in Charlotte last weekend to test the Ripley OG and LS as well as the Santa Cruz Tallboy 29. I rode them in that order.

First, was totally surprised that Scot Nicol was working the Ibis demo. 9 out of 10 people had no idea who he was... He seemed stoked that I wanted to try both Ripley's and when I mentioned this article, he chuckled and mentioned it has more people interested in demoing the OG. I was one of those people thanks to Mike Levy. Interesting stat: OG only accounts for 20% of current Ripley sales according to Scot.

I picked a varied 3+ mile to test all three bikes that actually was very representative of my terrain. Loved both Ripley's and could own either but my money will be going to the OG. It proved to me that hours of staring at numbers on a spreadsheet is only so good. You have to ride them - simple as that. I just got rid of a Smuggler and have a Honzo CR so I get long and slack but I definitely preferred the precision handling of the OG. Not sure I would have demo'd the OG if not for this article...

SC Tallboy is a great bike and I could certainly own one. If the Ripley didn't exist...

And some random thoughts after attending a large cycling event for the first time in a few years... I was surprised at how many people demoing bikes completely ignore the 45 min requested demo time. Lot's of DBs in this regard. eBikes everywhere - sucks. And is just me or do the folks from ebike-only companies seem to give two f**ks about cycling? Most come across as profit pirates jumping on the latest fad. And it's amazing the service from one demo to the next. Ibis and Santa Cruz was night and day.
  • 6 0
 @mikelevy @paulaston I see two very different opinions on geometry from both of you. As geometry is fundamental to mountain bikes it would be good to have some further testing and discussion on it.
  • 4 0
 I notice that bike preference can be quite a geographic thing. Obviously the type of bikes stocked locally and the local economics will also influence bike choice. But, locals do tend to cluster towards a select number of frames and setups. I've been trying to think how we could set up some authentic testing and feedback, but wonder how we could progress this discussion independently of topography and terrain? Would it be worthwhile to see a scattergraph of bike types chosen versus elevation ridden? Where would trail surface/conditions fit in the graph? Sorry just more questions, but I like your request, and would like to hear others ideas
  • 5 0
 What a great write up.. I ditched my old Ripley and bought into the long and slack hype too, but it never felt right for my type of trail riding. The OG Ripley felt like a fine tuned sports car that could be pointed and thrown anywhere. It was a costly lesson but I'm back on the OG and will ride this bike into the ground!!! Hands down my favorite bike of all time.
  • 4 0
 I recently played around with this idea. I was riding a medium process 134 (with a 160mm 36), and picked up a large '15 altitude msl since I wanted to try a longer travel carbon frame.

The results were pretty much the opposite of what I expected. the 150mm bike climbs much better, and the 134 feels much more stable in chunky conditions. the head angles end up being about the same in the end, I think most of this is due to the difference in reach length (the medium process is still about an inch longer).

I think it all depends on trails, but I've been riding the altitude more, it's a better all-rounder. That said, the process is a more fun bike, and I feel better trying trailside features and pushing my limits on the process. Once I get my fitness up, I'll probably swap back to the process.

So, I guess the tl;dr of this is: short and steep can be more useful, but there's credence to the long and slack design. It's fun as hell and inspires confidence. Test ride everything if you can, because there's only so much you can glean from numbers on a website
  • 1 0
 @oogens - so why the 160 on the 134? I can see going up to 150. Seems if you want that much you'd have gone with a 153? I ask because I demoed a 134 and didn't find the rear end that great, though it handled beautifully. Seems the 153 is very close in weight.
  • 1 0
 @WasatchEnduro: More a matter of thinking I watned the 5 inch bike, then messed it all up while swapping all the parts out over time. If i could do it over, I'd probably get the 153 (or a yeti sb5.5, if I had lottery money).
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy

Any comparisons to The Following? That is my current ride and I'm having a slight identity crisis, I love The Following but I'm signed up for the BCBR next year and part of me thinks I should get a slightly more "XCish" bike. The Ripley LS is one of the few bikes on my radar.
  • 3 0
 Matt. In general, the Following is a lot of bike for the BCBR. For most people it'd be too much bike
  • 4 0
 @leelau: It would work, just give it light tyres (semi-knobby front, semi-slick rear, NNic/RoRo kind of combo) and put some spacers to the fork to lower it to 110-130 (given that most Following owners use the exact same fork as they would use in Wreckoning... I love it... buy short travel bike to get more feedback and efficiency - then put 160 fork and minions on it and climb on fireroads anyways. Just like you would a 150-170 frame with a locked out shock Big Grin , that's the best trend I've seen, because we, non-comformist gravity guys, masters of bike handling and knowing what's up, bought it like a tree with self picking cherries)
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: That is true. You could make it work. But IMO and having ridden most of the BCBR trails it's more that its not quite the intended purpose of the Following to be used on those trails. Now if Matt had asked how to make the Following work for the race then your answer is spot on. Just trying to be up front
  • 3 0
 @leelau: I just wrote it because there's plenty of folks here in Sweden buying XC rockets just for the event like BCBR, while you could make your favorite bike work with "cheap" modification. I am actually sitting like a hungry vulture over local classifieds site to spot some quality XC racing rubber in good shape to test them on my 160 bike with suspension that can be considerably hardened. I want to see how it works and then compare it on a 3h course with a full on XC racer like Spec Epic. It will be slower for sure, question is how much.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: for sure. To me its more the concern that BCBR is 7 days of pretty decently long riding Day after day in a row.
  • 3 0
 I did the BCBR this past summer on my 150mm Altitude. Going in I was also concerned that I'd need a lighter shorter travel bike. But now that it's over I have no regrets. Keep in mind you are going to be spending very long time on your bike everyday, so being on a comfortable bike that you enjoy is important.
  • 2 1
 I guess it depends what you want to get out of the race. If your focus is to do all you can to be as fast as possible, then yeah, an XC bike would be better. I just know I was in your shoes 1 year ago having the same thoughts. Your bike might not be ideal for the race, but I doubt it's bad enough that you need a new bike. I'm sure I would have been faster on an XC bike, but I ended up closer to the front of the pack than the back, and I got to do it on a bike that was really fun to ride.
  • 3 0
 I have owned both. Ripley OG with 140mm fork (puts the HA around 68.5 which is a great balance IMO). I sold the bike looking for a more xc bike, and more of an enduro bike. I tried a pivot 429sl and that was ok. I also tried the following, actually I still have it and it is a great bike and built up right it's not gonna be much slower than a ripley. Now, I am on a yeti ASRC for xc and a yeti sb5.5c for enduro. Both are great at what they are made for and they blend lines but there is a clear separation. If I was looking at a clear one bike quiver it would be something like the following, yeti sb4.5, salsa horsetheif, or ripley. I rode everything with my ripley OG with 140mm fork that I have ridden with the following except for those steep DH lines where it's got the geo to keep you going but doesn't have enough suspension in the rear to hold a line on chunk. I could see a bike in the middle of all these would be the perfect fit for someone wanting to run an xc race and as a daily rider. Something with a travel adjust front fork from 120/140 that would change the head angle etc.. from like a 69 to a 67.5. The ripley OG with 140 fork is tough to beat for an all around bike... when looking at all these other options
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I've done similar testing. What I've found is that the 140/160 bike is faster on some short segments of trail, where as the shorter travel xc rocket will be faster over all for the ride. As in, average MPH throughout your whole ride. You may be able to bang segments faster on your 140/160 espcially if it's technical terrain, but the time you gain in an average 90-120mm xc race is considerable when reducing weight, suspension, and rolling resistance etc.. I think my "fastest" "trail" bike for segment times was the OG ripley as it blended lines pretty well...
  • 2 0
 @manchvegas: The general problem with 160 bikes and thin tyres is that it is too easy to go faster than what tyres can take, while steeper, more XCish bike forces you to adjust the riding style. Iäm still very interested in making the experiment. Now, next year I will gladly test a new school XC bike like Pole 110. I strongly believe that a bike like this is an actual alternative to 160 bikes and we should see more of these in the future.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: true... My asrc is by far my favorite xc bike Ive owned. With really good descending skills you will literally lose only a few seconds on most downs that being said my team sponsor vittoria is making some crazy good xc tires that grip good and I have yet to puncture one. Not the lightest @700g for a 29er but they are strong and roll fast.. An extra 100g of tire weight is nothing on an xc bike if it keeps you from a DNF
  • 2 1
 @manchvegas: I'll test some super light weight rubber with Huck Norris. That thing can make Schwalbe tyres work I think. Thunderburt back, Rocket Ron front.

I may get myself a custom 29" HT made. 1250 wheelbase with 460 stays, 77 seat angle, 66 head angle with 120 fork. 35mm stem, 800 bars, 30mm internal width carbon rims, 200mm dropper compatible. Plus compatible. Just go crazy with it.
  • 1 0
 I think it depends what you want out of the BCBR... there are loads of people doing it on "unsuitable" bikes of one sort or the other but most of them have no illusions beyond enjoying the experience. I did BCBR this year on a HD-3 with 2.5 Minions and made it round just fine.

Personally I wouldn't buy a bike just for BCBR as it's expensive enough as it is!
  • 2 0
 @sweaman2: I'm definitely not going to the BCBR to try and place, It's more about the experience. I have a buddy that did the race and his advice about bike choice was "you're going to suffer on the climbs no matter what you're riding. So you might as well have as much fun as possible on the descents." Now I'm leaning more towards just riding the Following.
  • 2 0
 @matmattmatthew: yea but you will still benefit from using lighter and better rolling tyres. I can ride all day on XC rubber, but Minions as fun as they are on sprints, they start to feel heavy few hours into the ride, especially when you stall a bit. But I'm not kind of Graves alien who batters 2-plies for 2000 vertical meters on 38t chain ring and say "I try not to go over 250W on liaisons..."
  • 4 0
 Interesting article and I've been thinking along the same lines recently. I've owned and ridden loads of bikes over the years, but my current second bike is a laughably out of date 1998 Santa Cruz Super 8 with first generation Monster T fork. I do have it set up fairly 'modern' with 1x10 and short stem / wide bar but the thing doesn't even have a rear disc brake. By all accounts it should absolutely suck.
But.....I really like it! Sure, the seat tube angle could be a bit steeper and / or lengthen the top tube a bit but the general handling of the bike on the North Shore at least is great. It's easy to load either wheel depending on the scenario, easy to pop the front wheel up / over stuff, stable yet accurate on slow techy terrain and I'm not smashing my chainring on every rock on the trail.Only the weight of the bike (LOL etc...) really lets it down.
In contrast, I borrowed a modern 'enduro' bike recently and was really looking forward to taking it for a rip but it was a seriously disappointing experience. The bike was just too long, steering vague, pedal / chainring smashes everywhere. I can imagine the experience being akin to driving an Escalade along the Sea To Sky compared to my 1990's Civic. Sure, the douche canoe will be faster in a straight line but the Civic is way more fun and precise.
  • 2 0
 Love the Escalade vs. 1990s Civic comparo. I owned a 1992 Honda Civic up until a few years ago. The engine was tiny and wouldn't push the car all that fast, the wheel wells were rusting out, and the interior dash lights would randomly turn themselves off and on at night, but it is by far the most fun car I have owned!
  • 5 0
 This makes me feel better about my inability to afford the upgrade from my obsolete SC Tallboy v2 to the "long low slack" v3.
  • 3 0
 Good article, BUT as much as shows differences of longer/ slacker is not complete as the relationship between toptube length and head angle have a great effect on bike, add into this fork travel can make one bike seem really different
So longer and slacker is likely faster, does faster even matter except in racing?
The real question is which would be better if had 4 bikes
1/ short steep
2/ short slack
3/long steep
4/ long slack
My preference would be long steep, but that would not be for everyone or all conditions
  • 1 0
 Long/steep isn't always possible - currently the long WB slack bikes all run very short stems. If you keep similar WB and use a steeper HA, you need to move the head/steer tube further forward. Without going to some weird zero length stem, you'd have to shift the seat angle forward or lengthen the stays. Either way I think it would result in your weight being strangely over the front of the bike.
  • 1 0
 @bkm303: Being of old school, newer bikes have steeper seat angle anyway to get clearance for bigger wheels so yes want to run short stem, but steeper head angle does not put you further forward
  • 3 0
 I have had both the OG and the LS because I made the common mistake of getting the large instead of XL. The most CRITICAL choice is remembering that Ripley's are ONE SIZE SMALLER than traditional frames. I am 6'1" with 32" inseam and the XL fits perfectly. Unfortunately IBIS stopped producing the XL-OG so not much of a choice is possible. The OG tends to perform as Mike said but when it doesn't fit right the bike is "twitchy" on the descents because of the cramped cockpit. Having ridden the LS all year it is a great bike but not instantly reactive to the riders input which is to be expected, overall I would give it 4 stars and considering changing to fork to 140mm from 130.
  • 3 0
 The problem with this comparison is the LS and OG are not really equivalent in fit for a given frame size.

Consider:
Ripley OG L: reach = 15.98, wheelbase = 44.29
Ripley LS M: reach = 16.18, wheelbase = 44.88
Ripley LS L: reach = 16.85, wheelbase = 45.94

The LS size M is already longer than the OG in size L. Going all the way to the large LS means the bike might not fit properly and Mike's complaints in line with that. Sizing down to M would bring back the quickness of the shorter wheelbase. Other parameters like top tube and seat tube are easily adapted via stem and saddle. Using size M for the LS also allows longer dropper posts.

I'm pretty zeroed in on this difference because I was strongly considering this bike for a while. Originally I was set on the OG L, before the LS came out, but in the LS I would go for the medium with a 60mm stem. 60mm isn't extremely short but it's good for this application. I'd need a 70mm in the OG size large.

The OG Ripley was designed to run with long stems by today's considerations. Sizing it up and running a shorter stem doesn't give a fair picture of old vs. new geometry because it's already bucking the original design intention and gives you a long seat tube... Mike Levy has long lenot everyone will be able to deal with that.

The Ripley LS is not really on the forefront of the long/slack trends, given it's long chainstays and not-steep seat tube angle. Shorter stays on some newer bikes help keep the wheelbase in check.
  • 2 0
 This deserves more consideration. A more balanced comparison would be OGL and LSM, with both bikes in either black or orange, since Mike makes sort of a big deal of the colors. This comparison would tell us more about the S than the L. Are you listening Ibis? Send Mr. Levy an orange LSM immediately. Ripley vs. Ripley vs. Ripley.
  • 1 0
 No. The LS is designed around a shorter stem. Reach changes, reach stays the same.

We need to start incorporating stem length in bike fitting; this is where moving to reach/stack coulda really helped, but didn't.
  • 4 0
 Theres more to it than just reach and wheelbase.. He mentions trail in the write up, which IMO is the most important factor. I can attest that going from the Large OG Ripley to a MediumYeti SB4.5c, there is a signifcant difference. I absolutely hated the Yeti on my Texas trails. Super Tight Twisty single track was a bit cumbersome on the 67 degree head angled SB4.5 compared to the OG Ripley. Maneuvering in-between two tightly spaced trees, filled with roots, in a sharp corner felt slow and clumsy. If I were still living in Utah and bombing down the mountain, Id probably choose the LS version for the stability at high speeds. I think it was cool as shit and speaks volume to Ibis's bike IQ to keep both bikes in the line up. They offer each flavor for the correct application.
  • 1 0
 @utley06: Agreed. Slack HTA is a dumbed-down abbreviation for more trail. Which is why Mojo 3 is so promising. How about Medium Mojo 3 vs Large OG Ripley?--especially now that beefier 2.8"s are becoming available. Stack could be a fit problem though. For me the question is: how short can one go in order to maximize liveliness/fun, while still maintaining stability at speed. A week of descending on a Medium 6fattie on admittedly choice PNW trails is driving these considerations. Rider compartment on DH bikes is short, and yields a kayaker-like position. Why not adapt this as much as possible to an all-arounder, but with a bit more reach to facilitate climbing, presuming we're going to ride up the hill first....
  • 5 0
 Given that the Ripley can be had with a standard 142 or Boost 148 rear, were you able to compare that difference as well?
  • 73 1
 Both bikes have non-Boost spacing. That said, any tester who says that the Boost rear-end of their bike is more rigid is also full of shit. No Boost fork I've used has felt more torsionally rigid, and no Boost rear-end has felt notably stiffer (disclaimer: I'm around 165lbs). I'm sure that it might be quantifiable on test rigs and then shown on questionable graphs without an X or Y axis, but it's all moot when talking about rigidity in real life.
  • 21 1
 @mikelevy: What are you saying?!!?!? Can't believe what I am hearing. I thought boost was the answer to the world's problems. Sooo disappointed.
  • 21 0
 @mikelevy: This comment has to be cut out, put into a golden frame and hung-up.
  • 10 0
 @mikelevy: At long last someone speaks the truth. Stop fooling yourselves people and listen to Mike!
  • 26 2
 Boost has nothing to do with frame rigidity, the construction and material of the swingarm has. Boost (theoretically) makes the rear wheel stiffer, which can eventually be percieved on lightweight 29er rims if at all. Trek made statements about boost giving the possibility for shortening the chainstays and increasing rear tyre clearance (in reality by 3mm) which are mutualy excluding each other. You either use those 3mm of chainline offset to make the CS shorter or you use it for tyre clearance. Which off course is straight bollocks because it's all about the tyre/chainring bottleneck and 3mm never solved anything, so you need to get creative with forming of the driveside of the chainstay. It can be seen in Trek's own design of the Stache, where CS is drawn above the chainring making NO FUKING USE of the mentioned pseudo-advantage. Even Vernon Felton got mansplained into this bullcrap. Another question is why the hell should we need so short chainstays in the first fukhing place...

The fact is, Boost is here and there's nothing to do about it. But yea, cheers to Mike for saying it, and respect for being experienced, imaginative and sensible enough to form such statement.
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: the pill is hard to swallow because Boost is here because Trek etc knew we are gullible. If everyone had been informed of what you say, then we would have automatically boycotted the whole thing. Myself included, I don't want to support a company that chose Boost, but damn their bike is sweet and could they have said no to Boost, as a small company trying to say on the top of the game...?
Or we should have gone the french way : everybody on strike until Boost is out!

@mikelevy : thanks for the great article. Mentioning your size is very important, as all this is relative. For example, adding stability to a bike can also be done by lengthening the CS, which in combination with STA is very important for tall riders uphill.

I am a waffle person because you can stuff more good stuff in it.
And utlimately I am looking for long bikes because I want XL length with L ST, so long L in other words. I'm 190cm and short 48cm seat tube is good for bike parks, and I've noticed I'm not the only one. Though I'm the kind of guy who needs a 200mm dropper.
  • 4 1
 @Uuno: boycotting Boost would be like trying to boycott autumn... the group of people who say: stopped reading after "no 26" option" is a whole another bunch to kick in the face... for their own good
  • 6 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Surely the chainstay length is proportional to the length of the front centre. Otherwise the bike is going to be out of balance.

I don't understand using the same length chainstays with varying lengths of front centres except it is cheaper to build.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: 33" inseam is 84cm, not 87.5. I was thinking 87.5cm is pretty long...and would be an extremely negative Ape Index score...a high Giraffe score...
  • 4 1
 @fartymarty: another thing I realized lately: difference between designing a thing and designing for manufacturing...
  • 1 0
 I think boost allows a little more clearance between the tire and chain, at least on paper, which is why basically every plus bike is boost. But you know, as someone currently with 142/100, it does suck to think that my next bike may be fully incompatible with my current one :-/
  • 1 0
 @pinhead907: Except the Surly Krampus which uses a 135mm hub spacing. The chainstays aren't super short but are proportional.
  • 1 0
 Kick the legs out on a triangle support and it will get more stable. So in theory boost will make for a more rigid rear end or stiffer fork. But I think those few millimeters are so hard to feel in the real world most people couldn't tell the difference.
  • 1 0
 @Fattylocks: no it wouldn't, not at this slight increase in a static situation. Standing on the ground is not the same given that you use your muscles to balance. Holding wheel axle with your thumbs and pointing fingers maybe, given all your joints have been fixed?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: The eternal battle between designer and engineer...
  • 1 0
 @justwan-naride: engineers design stuff. Big part of their work is designing things. Activity of design isn't limited only to working on shaping of the aesthetics of the subject. BUt there is a special branch of engineering where people work on optimizing the design for production. What is important here, whole design process is not linear > determining geo, then suspension design, then improving aesthetics of the form and mixing production into it somewhere on the way. It's going few steps ahead in few aspects then going back and readjusting things. Another aspect of the overall finished design is it's usage: maintenance and ergonomics. There's so much to work into a finished design of a useful object that we can easily call it management of form giving.

I am hugely interested how does it look in a big companies, how many specialists do they have. Does Specialized have a major designer per project and then specialists from suspension, ergonomics, structure, materials come and work on it. IT seems that in a small company like UNNO , one or two dudes do everything.
  • 1 0
 @Uuno: I did boycott it. I bought one of the last RipleyLS with a non-boost rear-end, but sadly Boost didn't die. My only consolation is that by the time I need a new bike, Super Boost will the new standard, and I'll be glad I didn't fall for that simple Boost hype train.

Well, I also have the consolation that I can use my really sweet wheels, and swap them between my hardtail and the Ripley for races and as backup wheels.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: you chipped the OG top tube pretty good.
  • 1 0
 @TucsonDon: Let's say I just broke a 26" frame with 135x10 spacing without internal cable routing for dropper post and with short reach. I really like the latest Enduro 29, Remedy 29 and the Wreckoning. But no, the immoral Boost... I will buy Ibis instead, just because it is one of very few bike that has no Boost. No I know, I will get real and buy a 2010 used frame to make a fricking axle standard statement.

Yes I was sour and pixxed off when my 26" frame broke and the replacement came only in 650B, I had to spend 1500$ on new fork, wheels and tyres. But If I was to buy a new bike then I could not be more arsed what axle it has. And nobody normal gives a sht because you can't stop the rain from falling, even if it is a bullsht rain like Boost is.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Exactly, if you are buying a new bike it doesn't matter. And on old bikes it also doesn't matter as you will still be able to get hubs.

Like 650b wheels, boost is here to stay.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Oh, hell yeah. If I was just buying straight new, I would have gone boost, but I wanted to be able to share race wheels with my hardtail. If I had went boost then I also would have had to buy a new hardtail. It was annoying that my choices were limited because of Boost, but I ended up with a killer bike and a wheel situation that works for me. I knew Boost offered no actual benefit for me, and I'm not worried about resale. I expect to have both these bikes at least 5 years, well past when Boost will be obsolete anyway. I'm just glad I had the option. I bet next year I wouldn't.
  • 2 0
 I own the V1 Ripley which is the same as the OG version. I have it for 2 years now. At first it was with 120mm 32 fox fork which was later upgraded to 130mm fox 34 fork. I also demoed the LS version which seemed really interesting but I changed my mind completely after riding it. The LS version actually feels much worse than the original one. The original one is supper snappy and easy to jump, the LS one is noticeably less so. I didn't feel any benifit for LS on the steeper trails that I ride compared to the original one with 130mm fork. Personally to me the LS version feels abit rushed and way less polished than the original ripley. Hopefully they will release a proper longer travel trail 29er with updated geometry, until then I will keep riding my V1 Ripley which is still the most fun bike I owned or demoed.
  • 4 0
 Best mountain bike reviews @mikelevy, I always look forward to your reviews. Your articles are much better than other reviewers by far!
  • 3 1
 No matter what bike you ride whether it be short and steep or long and slack, make sure it doesn't ride on Ibis carbon wheels. They are complete garbage that when they crack at the spoke holes after a few weeks of riding Ibis will not stand behind. Pretend to be on your side of the issue by offering to sell you new replacement rims at yet another profit, and tell you "we promise we did everything we could to support you and treat you like part of the Ibis family."
  • 2 0
 Finally a bike review that refers to trail and its affect on steering a bike. Reviews often speak of head angle as if it is the only parameter that matters. I personally ride a longer bike than most people my height, around 5'4" with a 31" inseam and arms to match. I ride a medium Bronson one but I could stand a longer tt. But I find many of those newer designs are slacker with the same fork offset so I figure they would be a bit cumbersome on the technical climbs I like. Plus the seat tube angles are pretty steep for my long femurs and I think I would find that a bit too much. Test riding would be in order plus a 9point8 post with the offset head.
  • 2 0
 I've owned the 2016 Ripley LS since April. I ride in south east mi where trails are either XC or trail/XC with lots of rocks, roots and tight windy turns. we don't have steep, long down hills like out west. many of our trails are roller coasters with 50 to 100 foot peaks. I've always owned/aggressive "XC" type bikes, both 26 and 29. When I decided on the Ripley this year I was about to order the original and last minute decided to order the LS.

I've never owned the original Ripley so I can't make a comparison to it, I can say that the LS is an UNBELEIVABLE amount of fun when compared to all other XC bikes I have owned, many of which were very respectable XC bikes. The LS climbs incredibly easy, in any situation, tight, windy, steep, rocky, roots, wet, sand) it handles it ALL with ease. and I can't imagine the original climbing much easier. where this thing shines is descending on tight windy trials with LOTS of rocks and roots. the slack front end Is SOOOOO forgiving and so much more fun than any step angled bikes I've owned. Once I got adjusted to riding a long and slack bike (and yes, there is a bit of a learning curve if your used to riding aggressive XC bikes) I can honestly say it is a much better solution for the average rider than the aggressive geometry. It makes trail riding much more balanced.

Is it possible that the original Ripley might be a better solution for SE MI trails?? possibly, but I'm fairly confident that the steeper front end wouldn't be any different than any other of the bikes that I've owned, which leaves me to believe that it wouldn't be as balanced as the LS I'm riding now. I am fairly confident I would never go back to a steeper more aggressive geometry again

on a side not, My girlfriend, who is a beginner, has a trek fuel ex. it had a 69 degree head angle. I installed a cane creek angle set on to slack it out by a degree and a half. it is amazing to see how much more comfortably she goes down any hill now, which were always very intimidating to her. again, proving to me that the slacker front end tremendously balances out trail riding. for any guys who would like there girls to get more into riding, do yourself a favor, slacken the front end. it's your best chance in keeping her going.
  • 3 1
 Interesting to see that there is a Fox GRIP damper review which didn´t make it to the front page:
a href="http://www.pinkbike.com/u/mikelevy/blog/fox-34-float-grip-review.html">http://www.pinkbike.com/u/mikelevy/blog/fox-34-float-grip-review.html/a>
  • 2 0
 the article has a point, loved the insight but think its failing to adress a single aspect. At 5ft 10 in a normal case would choose the medium sized bike. Going with the size large the rider is unconsciously going with the new school geos. The large bike is longer. I personally like the longer reach bikes because you can run a steeper seatangle which helps with climbing while having a descently long front end
  • 1 0
 Nope, Ibis bikes run short. At 5'10' the Large is the perfect size for him. He'd be all scrunched up in a Medium.
  • 2 0
 Thanks @mikelevy for putting this article together... a proper review of the Ibis Ripley LS was long overdue. I'd have to agree with just about everything you said. After pouring over geometry charts, reviews, and comparisons, I picked the Ibis Ripley LS as my dream build... could have chosen any frame I wanted but kept coming back to the Ibis (though admittedly, the Trek Fuel EX was a very close second, especially if I could have found one in stock, followed by the Yeti SB45.c). In an age of "hey, look how short my stem is" or "dude, your (top) tube is short", it can be hard to sort through the noise. But after a few hundred miles and many vertical feet of climbing in France and Switzerland, I'm super pumped on my Riple LS. I needed something that could get a little more gnarly than my Jet9 RDO on the steep, technical descents here but could still spin up climbs with vigor. In every sense, the Ripley LS has become my perfect back country weapon I wanted it to be. Not quite the monster my S-Works E29 is, but for heading out to the mountains, getting lost, and not having to worry if a) I brought too much bike or b) I didn't bring enough bike, it's absolutely perfect.
  • 4 0
 its all relative. Some days I choose to listen to different music in my car on the way to work...
  • 1 1
 stability and grip are not relative.
  • 2 1
 I'm a medium - large frame like @mikelevy 1,79 height, and this year I switched from a spartan (reach 416 - bb 338 - cs 429 - wb 1160 size M) to a conway wme size M with reach 440, bb 350 cs 432 and 1190 wb, and it's like to sleep one week in a tent and after go home and sleep in my confy full optional bed. how can you suggest a bike with 406 reach and handycam-tripod like wheelbase? so you really think its a good thing?
  • 1 0
 LOVE THIS ARTICLE! Well compared and looong overdue. I've was in the same boat two months ago. OG or LS? I'm 5'8" with 31" inseam, and ride fairly flat U.S. Midwest trails, with short but sharp drops and climbs. Guess which one I bought? 2016 Ripley OG, size Large.

Although I want the handling the OG provided, but the "reach" is just too cramp. I sized up, and still able to use 100mm dropper. More than enough for a trail worthy XC bike Smile . This article basically confirmed my research and my personal findings.

I've owned the Ripley OG for over a month now, and I've repeatedly set my PR on Strava. Not because this bike is actually that much faster than my other bikes, but because this bike makes me WANT to go fast. It is a very rewarding bike to ride. And all this just applies to me and the trails that I ride around the U.S. Midwest, and I'm glade that I made the right choice.

At the end of the day, this bike can take an AngleSet if I ever want to go LS, and I also have another longer travel 27.5 bike, so I don't need my Ripley to be "the one bike".
  • 1 0
 Oh, and also, my orange Ripley is the most beautifully crafted bike I've ever owned!
  • 1 0
 428and 406 reach numbers for large? my knees will smash shifters after each pedal stroke;

Generally I fully agree with article, however IBIS numbers are odd

having dj background I cannot understand ridiculously high seat tubes and short front end
  • 1 0
 Reach has nothing to do with position on bike when seated ... So no, you will not smash your knees. The ETT (effective top tube) is dimension you should look at*

*not applicable for Knolly bikes because they measure the ett differently than anyone else.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: I disagree with your statement. You can keep reach the same on a bike, and extend ETT by slackening out seat tube. A super short bike with a super slack seat tube will have same ETT as a bike with longer front end and steeper seat tube. There is no doubt the second bike will climb better.
  • 1 0
 @aireeek: I was simply referring to the statement that on a bike with short reach one will smash shifter with knees when pedalling, nothing more.
Seat tube angle is another thing which is not that easily comparable between bikes since many have effective angle calculated on bar level which is not the angle you will get when actually pedaling. Another thing is SAG (absolute, not in %) on full sus. So the statement that a bike with steeper SA climbs better is also false by the way ;-)
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: it is not applicable to ibis - bike is Short, whatever measurment you'll take, it is short - sixing up does not solve the problem due to seat tube heights
  • 1 0
 I just wonder how much longer and slacker is actually too much?

I am almost 6 ft (183) and ride a large Enduro 29 with 445 reach and I have the strong feeling that I would be better on a XL so I am considering to go one size up in my next bike but on the other side I like the maneuverability of the large and I am afraid that it would be compromised with a longer and slacker bike. And actually I have friend who went from a large Spitfire that was a bit small for him to a XL Mondraker Dune and actually hates it at least after the first rides.

I guess we all have to try both the lower and upper limits of bike geometry before we can make our final decisions. Having said that the Ibis looks extremely short.
  • 2 0
 I'm 6'4" and have an XL Enduro. Its waaaaaaay too small for me. I really think that Kona is onto something with their 2017 geometry (I wish the BBs was lower on the process 153 though!). Also check out Whyte bikes.
  • 1 0
 @aireeek: I think it's that 'the industry' hasn't realized how much reach us tall folk have/need. I'm sure a medium kona is super fringey and progressive when you're 5'8, but if it's only a hair longer in XL that effect is lost.
  • 1 0
 @scottzg: the 2017 Kona Process are legitimately big. Reach on an XL is 510 mm ... as far as I can tell, thats the longest reach on the market right now.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy

I think you'd find the OG ripley with a 140mm fork upfront such as a fox 34 or pike is a really good balance on the ripley. I had my original ripley for 2 years and about 1500 dirt miles and it was a brilliant trail bike especially once adding the DBinline. With a 29" bike it seems like we are just pushing the extreme on head angles... 68 is a great all around number for a "trail" bike such as the Salsa horsetheif and OG ripley with 140 fork...
  • 1 0
 It really depends on the trails one rides. My short, steep XC hardtail felt great on narrow, slow, techy trails but I swear it wanted to kill me on faster, more DH oriented terrain. My new long, slack hardtail gives me tons of confidence when speed increases, but lacks that super sharp feeling on the twisty narrow trails. I love them both but personally the longer bike suits me better. It's more forgiving, makes me want to push harder and helps me overcome my own weaknesses. The short bike requires good technique all the time, more body movement and more effort for the length of the ride just to survive a few fast, rough trailrides.
  • 2 0
 What everyone should remember about this article is buy whatever bike your heart tells you to! The era of good/bad bikes is over and I'm happy enough with that not to bother about numbers to much.
  • 1 0
 Exactly the article I'd been waiting on. I would love to read similar takes on enduro rigs and DH bikes, although I realize some difficulties would exist in finding bikes of the same model year that have different geos like these Ibis do.
  • 1 0
 I've got a 130 Pike on my aluminum Horsethief, which has been a great combo. I'd like to think that would be a great combo for my riding if it was on the OG Ripley. Just too much $$. The HT can be Cheerios to Mike's waffles and pancakes.
  • 1 0
 Love Love Love my Orange OG Ripley, just not stoked about the KS dropper seatpost... two broken in our household within a month of each other. What are we supposed to do if it breaks out in the back woods? Can't ride my bike without it, so I'll be shredding on Superfly Single Speed for now.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy I'd love to hear your thoughts on the 2018 Ripley LS with the 2.6" tires and 35mm rims if you've ridden it. Looks like you were on 2.1" tires for this comparison? Thats a huge difference
I demo'd one and was pretty blown away by how fun and capable it was
  • 1 0
 Still seems like a short tt for a large. I rode a large HD3 demo and the tt/reach was so short. It felt really weird and uncomfortable, but maybe you just need to size up with Ibis?
  • 2 0
 Forget long, low and slack. This bike is short, super short. The LS version is longer than the original version, but it is still very short.
  • 3 0
 Would to know what you would have thought if you had compared a size Large OG to a size Medium LS.
  • 1 0
 It doesn't get much love but I like me 110 - 140 talas. Instant geometry adjustment and more squish at the same time. works great for going up himassa and down Ahab. try it you may like it
  • 1 0
 I ride ripley og in a medium, cock pit is cramped but you just have to shift your body weight back and it's fine. In southern Ontario everything is tight and twisty so shorter wheel base is better.
  • 1 0
 Wow those bikes fit small. If you're in the L/XL crossover zone and now have the option of going small, big or big-long that's pretty cool for you.
  • 1 0
 What do I do now? I like pancakes and waffles equally, and regularly eat both. Often l order one of each served together on the same plate
  • 2 0
 I'm lazy. What bike has geometry that is right in between these two? Best of both worlds right?
  • 1 0
 I think it's worth noting there's a couple Ripley LS's that are getting into all the top 10's on Strava where I live. Bike park, back country, xc, etc.
  • 1 3
 Great article, but please fix your typos at the end where you start calling the LS the LG. Sheesh. I'm a year into my OG V1 Blue Ripley and love it more all the time, It climbs like a beast! Going to service the DBInline and hope it gets better or I'm ditching it for the new EVOL.
  • 1 0
 The EVOL tuned for the Ripley is +++++ Leave it open and never worry about it...
  • 3 0
 I want biscuits
  • 3 0
 And gravy!
  • 2 0
 sausage?
  • 1 0
 Hahaha, I had a '90 Delica with a broken power steering pump (loved it to bits, sigh)
  • 3 0
 #120isplenty
  • 2 0
 #120isplenty yes!
  • 1 0
 Excellent comparison! Nice to have real-world perspective on geometry!
  • 1 0
 Is that a nasty scratch on the top tube of the orange bike?
  • 1 0
 Waffles are pancakes with a syrup trap!
  • 1 0
 2018 fox dps is magic for the ripley og
  • 1 1
 But what does imba recommend?

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