Construction and Features
Just like the name implies, the Ripmo's look combines aesthetic elements from Ibis' Ripley and Mojo. According to designer Roxy Lo, “I felt like the era of straight, aggressive and angular, mixed in with a little swoop, might just be a fun and efficient way to approach this new platform.” The result is a carbon frame that still has a distinctly Ibis look, but with all of the features that today's riders are looking for in a longer travel 29er. There's a threaded bottom bracket, clearance for up to 2.6” tires, and plenty of room for a water bottle, even with a larger shock like Fox's Float X2 installed.
In addition, the Ripmo's short seat tube allows for the use of longer travel dropper posts – at 5'11” I was able to use a post with 175mm of drop on a size large frame with plenty of room left for adjustment.
Not all methods of internal cable routing are created equal, but Ibis went with one of the best options possible – molding tubes to the inside of the frame. Feed the housing from one end and it'll pop out the other, all without needing to resort to a combination of zip ties, dental tools, and magic to coax it out of the frame. Bushings vs. Bearings
Ibis chose to use bushings rather than cartridge bearings for the Ripmo's lower link pivots, citing the fact that bushings work well in areas with high forces and minimal rotation. That's true in theory, but removing the rear shock from the Ripmo and cycling the suspension revealed what I would call a significant amount of friction from those bushings.
Sure, the swingarm acts as a large enough lever to overcome that friction, and the rear suspension felt very smooth out on the trail, but I couldn't help but wonder if it could be even smoother. There's a reason we're starting to see more shocks released with cartridge bearing mounts – the reduced friction they create is noticeable, particularly when it comes to small bump sensitivity. Ibis does offer free lifetime replacement on the bushings, but still, I wish they'd gone with cartridge bearings.
According to Travis McCart, Ibis' Quality Engineer, they've recently implemented a change to the frame assembly that's designed to alleviate some of the friction I noticed, and the video below is of a frame that was recently pulled from the production line.
"After receiving our first test frames, we experimented with opening up the ID as much as we could so that there is minimal friction but also no free play, even after the break in period. Based on our test results, we decided that we could open the lower pivot tube spec by .2mm to achieve the performance we wanted. To do this, we have added a final reaming process, and we check every pivot bore with go and no-go pin gauges that are within a few hundredths of a millimeter of each other in diameter. The result is that all production frames have a very smooth suspension action with minimal friction."
"Friction was a huge concern for us when considering to switch from bearings to bushing for the lower pivot. We knew from testing that bushings would have an advantage over bearings because they were stiffer, lighter, and would not become "notchy" feeling, but we also knew that they might be perceived as inferior to bearings due to increased friction. With all the steps suspension companies have been taking to eliminate friction, we realized we would have to spend a lot of time and effort refining and tightening our tolerances to minimize the friction in our system.