First Look: Solid, Ibis and Formula - Eurobike 2015

Aug 28, 2015
by Mike Levy  
Eurobike 2015

Name This Prototype

European brand Solid had a booth full of their heavy hitting aluminum bikes, including this yet to be named prototype that they said is basically a pint sized version of their Strike downhill sled. Designed as an enduro race bike, its rear wheel travel sits at 172mm, which is a bit longer than the majority of bikes in the same class. Not surprisingly, Solid has employed a tweaked version of their Center Force Suspension design that sees the shock mounted between two stout looking links that create a virtual pivot point out in space. According to Solid, ''the unique suspension system transmits the bearing forces evenly to the main chassis so that we are in a position to create a chassis which is lighter than most of the products of the competition.'' Claimed weight of the assembled prototype pictured here is 29.7lb, although Solid did say that the production version, which will be available sometime around March or April of 2016, will come in at around 2lb less, partly due to it featuring a carbon fiber upper link in place of the rather burly aluminum one on this bike.

Solid intends the bike to be used with forks between 160 and 180mm of travel, although the bike won't feature any built-in geometry adjustments to compensate for changes in fork length, and the exact geo isn't finalized quite yet - this particular bike is serving as a geometry mule. With Solid having a technical partnership with BOS, you can expect the production version to be fitted with BOS suspension as well.

Eurobike 2015
Two burly links control 172mm of rear wheel travel.
Eurobike 2015
This unnamed prototype is serving as a geometry mule.

Solid also offer a range of components under the Reverse name, including the Seismic carbon handlebars that have been designed to dissipate high-frequency vibrations from the ground and bike before they are transferred into the rider's hands. This isn't the first time we've seen this sort of approach - Spank uses low density foam in their aluminum Vibrocore handlebars to do the same thing - but Solid have used carbon fiber and decided against adding any sort of damping material. They are claiming that the butted layup profile of the carbon fiber is able to to the same job, and that extensive testing with data acquisition proves that the Seismic handlebar works as advertised. Word is that feedback from their racers mirrors Solid's findings, all of which makes us eager to test them out for ourselves.

Eurobike 2015
There's no shortage of colours to choose from.
Eurobike 2015
The Seismic handlebar's carbon fiber layup is said to help limit the vibrations being passed into the rider's hands.

Eurobike 2015

Longer, Slacker Ripley

I've spent a lot of time on Ibis' 120mm travel Ripley and have very little to complain about, but there's no denying that a lot of companies are now offering longer and slacker geometry than what the original Ripley was designed with. Ibis went back to the molds and came up with a revised version, called the Ripley LS, that has a longer top tube and a slacker head tube angle, going from 69.2 degrees to 67.5 degrees, and gaining 12mm up front. There's also a threaded bottom bracket in place of the old bike's press-fit design, revised internal cable routing, and a 1/2'' shorter seat tube.

The back of the bike gets a new rear triangle that offers a bit more tire clearance - it's tight on the original bike when you mount up some burly tires - but the bike's eccentric-driven rear suspension remains unchanged.

Eurobike 2015
Revised cable routing now excepts internally routed dropper posts.
Eurobike 2015
The Ripley LS is longer and slacker than the standard model.

Eurobike 2015
Boost and non-Boost swingarms will be available.
Eurobike 2015
The bike's 120mm of dw link travel remains unchanged, which is a good thing.

Not shown here is the new standard Ripley that gets all of the above updates, minus the geo changes. Frames only will retail for $2,900 USD, and standard builds (all popular Shimano and SRAM components) begin at $3,950 for the "Special Blend" and end at $8,600 for a bike with Shimano's Di2 drivetrain.

Eurobike 2015
The R0Racing brake features a pull-style master cylinder as opposed to the more traditional push-style design.
Eurobike 2015
The brake uses the same two-piston caliper.

Formula R0Racing Brake

Used by Formula's sponsored racers for the past two years, the R0Racing brake is just now being released to the public. It utilizes the same two-piston caliper from the Italian brand's other offerings, but it's the top end where things are drastically different. Formula, along with everyone else, use a standard push-style master cylinder that, as the description suggests, pushes the plunger in as you pull the brake lever. The R0Racing brake's master cylinder does the opposite, though, actually pulling the master cylinder piston's out away from the handlebar when you pull the brake lever due to the lever's pivot being on the opposite side of where it would usually be located.

Formula cites two reasons for the change: first, it allows them to bring the lever's pivot in closer to the handlebar for better ergonomics. Second, they say that it makes for lighter lever action due to the pulling action through the master cylinder not binding as much as when you're pushing it.


  • 29 3
 I like the sound of the pull-piston on that Formula brake. One problem that springs to mind however is the enourmous pressures the seal on the lever-piston connecting rod. On a normal push-system, the only seal under pressure is the one creating the pressure. This system has an extra seal, which is open to the elements at one end. Worrying...
  • 21 103
flag MojoMaujer (Aug 28, 2015 at 7:57) (Below Threshold)
 You are right, Formula are total amateurs and you are the pro.
  • 57 3
 @MojoMaujer . And manufacturers have never made a bad decision before.
  • 20 3
 @MojoMaujer You do understand basic physics right ? its a totally legit concern, look at any hydraulic system and the only time you will see a pulling piston configuration is when its ABSOLUTELY necessary... Let alone the fact that the rod's volume as to be compensated so an even bigger piston is needed. Not to say it won't work but its unnecessary stress on the seals....
  • 6 84
flag MojoMaujer (Aug 28, 2015 at 8:08) (Below Threshold)
 lol... The homegrown experts... Look at car and motorbikes designs... You guys should email Formula and express your concern. Now if the brakes were made by avid... I would be concerned.
  • 3 82
flag MojoMaujer (Aug 28, 2015 at 8:12) (Below Threshold)
 You guys should start a company, I have a good name, Millennial DIA KBD
  • 38 5
Sorry I never realized a bachelors in mechanical engineering made me a homegrown expert.... Thanks for setting the record straight !
  • 7 74
flag MojoMaujer (Aug 28, 2015 at 8:30) (Below Threshold)
 a degree is only good for theories and KBD... after you'll have a job for 10+ years we can talk again.
  • 11 0
 Another issue- the connecting rod is moving more than just linearly- its being actuated by a lever, so its rotating a bit as it goes through its travel, meaning the rod at the seal interface is moving back and forth a tad. Not sure how the seal will deal with that
  • 11 1
 Regardless of design discussion a version of those formulas have been out for a while, and the reviews haven't been positive. Maybe they've remedied the issues but the concerns appear to be valid. Score one for the homegrown experts for voicing a concern.
  • 15 4
 Formula may have other products that do well, but their MTB brakes are pretty universally derided, so I wouldn't assume they've got this right. I'd rather ride Elixers than damn near every Fomula brake I've ever seen in person.
  • 6 40
flag MojoMaujer (Aug 28, 2015 at 10:30) (Below Threshold)
 @groghunter... lol you have it backwards... avid are derided... formula are top. just look at used prices. lol the millennials
  • 13 2
 Lol. Formula are not top. The reason Avids get more hate than Formula is cos some people actually buy avids. Personally, in terms of popularity I would say Shimano are top, followed closely by Sram/Avid and Hope, with Magura bringing up the rear.

Formula and Hayes are barely even on the radar...

In terms of performance, its more like Hope/Shimano at the top, Avid and Magura second. Again Hayes and Formula are barely even on the radar...

What is a millenial? If you are accusing me of being too young to know what I'm talking about, let me put it this way, my first hydraulic brake was a closed system made by Hope. That ought to give you a clue...
  • 2 0
 I was super late to the game personally, stayed with cable-pull discs until the first Juicies, back when Avid made products that smoked everybody else's stuff.
  • 6 1
 My experience with formula would be bleeding the brakes every two weeks even after seal changes. Amazing, exactly what I want out a brake that cost £200 an end. I hate my shimanos that work 100% for a year with no issues and cost £80 for the pair...
  • 4 0
 Is it certain formula models that have issues? I've had a couple sets of the ones and T1S and they've been solid - no issues, and same for friends with those models. That said, I'm happy to concede Shimano take the cake in terms of reliability...
  • 3 2
 They had both power & reliability problems across the range, & thought their brakes were worth something like twice the price of their competitors to boot. Their lower end stuff found it's way onto a lot of entry level bikes for a while, so a lot of people had experience with their cheapest stoppers, & they weren't good experiences. It wasn't really until Avid started being the butt of the jokes that people stopped considering Formula to be the worst brakes you could buy.

That said, Deores are great brakes for almost no money, so it's hard to make excuses for other brands in that respect. I bought a pair of SRAM DB-5s, & they're quite amazingly good as well. About the same price.
  • 6 1
 I bought a set of formula rx three months ago. What can I say? I wish I bought another set of xt instead. While formula are beautifully made, they don't work that well as brakes. Mine don't anyway. Lever feel, modulation, power, ease of bleeding are all playing second fiddle to shimano. Do yourselves a favour, don't be sucked in by the appearance. Like a hot girl who's a shit shag.
  • 5 0
 Always loved all my Formula's. Never had problems. Have had problems with Avids but only after a full year of riding. Would rebuild them and then they worked fine
  • 4 2

People who think Formula don't make good brakes are on drugs

I'm still running my the ones, haven't had a reason to change.
  • 10 14
flag MojoMaujer (Aug 28, 2015 at 22:12) (Below Threshold)
 No point to write on PB... I cant wrap my mind around people saying formula brakes are derided and avid are the best or better... I wonder where they read these things. The only good brake avid/sram ever made after V is called BB7. Fromula may have produced some OEM stuff to make money, but their over the top stuff is ace. And i go even further saying their forks are way better than rock shox as far as mantainace, tunability and ride quality. Just go to some demo day and try stuff for yourself.
  • 8 1
 Those are wonderful opinions. Thanks for coming out..
  • 3 2
 @MojoMaujer I don't think the guys point about avids was saying they're top. I think he was pointing out that avids were shit but formulas were even worse. Perhaps an exaggeration but formula are definitely not at the top.

I only have limited experience of formulas but it seems to be that they're good when they work properly, but that they don't work properly very often.
  • 6 3
 What worries me is that Formula make their components from cheese.
  • 3 2
 In a world where first impressions last, I can say I'll never own Formula RX brakes again. Would happily bolt on Shimano Deores before RX's, in fact I replaced my RX's with Deores earlier this year. The difference? Night and day in favour of the low spec Shimano offering at a fraction of the price.

Formula might have some great brakes at the top end of their range, but at the prices they go for, I may never find out how good they are...
  • 3 0
 I bought mine because they were really cheap ex-oem versions for the same price as xt. I just wanted to give them a try, and when I held them it was like, wow! They don't have that mass produced look or feel that shimano has. More like hand crafted beauty. Like comparing a Ford to a... some kind of car that is beautifully made but unreliable. Someone made a point about oem ones being shit, well that is certainly true. As for aftermarket ones being great, well that could be true but I'll never know.
  • 1 0
 This bike looks solid.
  • 27 0
 Thank God they're offering boost and non-boost swing arms. I don't think the Internets can take much more bitching about new standards.
  • 13 0
 Not just that but THREADED bottom bracket..... looks like we are finally getting somewhere !
  • 1 0
 "boost vs non boost" call it what it is , not the marketing scheme. Too many axles types to remember ;non boost is 142-12 where boost is 148 -12 ? see i already forgot.
  • 31 5
 I go grocery shopping for life sustaining supplies with my wife and it totals $200, Too Expensive! F that! Stupid Obama! I look at new Bikes....8 grand? I can probably swing it...
  • 13 0
 haha. No doubt. I'll order the shitty beer I don't really want to drink over the tasty beer that I do want to drink because the tasty beer costs 50 cents more. But then I'll convince myself I need an all-carbon super-bike, or I'll buy ice-tech rotors...
  • 23 4
 I can't wait to not try formula again.
  • 16 0
 Never even heard of Solid before, but I want one already
  • 3 2
 I'm a made in the USA fanboy and that bike gives me a chub ... The weight and gobs of travel?? Meoowww
  • 6 0
 As a Solid Strike owner, I can tell you their bikes are excellent build quality and have superb rear-ends! An AM with the Strike behavior will be a must to test (or straight up buy!) for me at least.
  • 5 1
 Solid bikes are incredible especially the strike that prototype looks amazing. Put a pair off 180mm fox 36 or a 7" boxer and you've got a riot on your hands there.
  • 15 2
 About time we retract on the GOD DARN pathetic Press fit BB!! Absolute worst design direction i the industry the past 5 years.
  • 11 1
 That solid is one sexy looking bike........
  • 2 0
 Agreed. Manages to look unusual without looking at all weird. And absolutely solid. Also, I'm a sucker for bare ali.
  • 5 0
 Complete Ripley w/di2 @$8000 is getting there. You figr most $7k msrp bikes 1 year used go for $4k.
So I'd say were about 2 years away from di2 being attainable for large % of $5k budget buyers..mix new/used builds
  • 5 0
 "Revised cable routing now excepts internally routed dropper posts."

Wow this typo has makes me inexplicably mad.
  • 2 0
 Hooked on phonix werks, tho. Just except it.
  • 1 0
 In their defense, the cable is nowhere to be seen in the pic...
  • 3 0
 The Ripley gained 12mm in stack? So now the XL has 107mm, which is still officially the shortest head tube on an XL in all of bikedom.
  • 1 1
 Riser bars?
  • 1 0
 I guess the answer to my own question is that on a Santa Cruz the bottom link controls the arc of the wheel and the top link controls the shock rate, whereas on the Solid the bottom link controls the arc of the wheel and shock rate.
  • 3 1
 Always loved the way small screws and random parts could keep falling off my Formulas without any change in performance. Could never find where they came from. Classic Italian engineering.
  • 4 0
 That Ripley looks like a solid step up from the old one.
  • 3 0
 That Solid is the smaller brother to the Strike: So how about calling it the 'Raid'?
  • 4 2
 Dam those chainstays are still long on the new Ripley. Crazy short reach too.
  • 5 0
 Looks sorted to me.
  • 3 0
  • 4 0
 Prototype looks solid
  • 2 1
 So that Reverb dropper on the Ripley is not even hooked up to a lever on the show floor?
theft deterrent?
OCD button pusher?
  • 3 0
 Isn't it a ks Lev? and the leaver on the left hand side of the bars?
  • 4 0
 Solid Metal Gear
  • 2 0
 Am I the only one who thinks that solid looks brilliant?
I'd love a rip on that thing!
  • 2 1
 Will someone please ride a Ripley LS and post a ride report or review already? The frame is supposed to drop in 3 days here in the US, yet there's not a SINGLE ride report.
  • 1 0
 FWIW I ordered the regular Ripley as I didn't want the slacker angle and lower BB, gotta go uphill and over technical as most people forget :-)
  • 2 2
 A got a couple of names for Solid. Here they're: Duke, Killing Machine, King Cobra, Cutlass, and K.I.L. They probably should start by finding a name for their company that already doesn't exist.
  • 2 0
 They've been around for 11 years this year, so it's not like Solid is a new brand...
  • 1 2
 Well the USA Solid bikes has been around since 1995.
  • 2 1
 So an 11 year old German company with a WC downhill team should re-name their company as there is a one-man BMX company in the US? Yeah, that makes sense...
  • 2 2
 All I'm saying is that a simple internet when this German company started would have shown that the name was already taken. It's always good to do a little research before naming a business.
  • 1 1
I like that you point straith to weakness of us. You do know that we have lost the second world war and Internet just came after Apple released the iPhone8 in Germany so we had no idea there were other countries... Ok bad joke.
We are aware of this but as you might see we managed to handle it, as we had been in touch with the guy. So no drama for us and no big thing for him.
we prefer to deal with such things directly and solve these problems in a friendly way. So if someone did not get my horrible joke I appologize for that in advance. we prefer to build good bikes and riding them ourselfs than spening too much time researching stuff in the internet. so do the same go out and ride and leave the keyboard to itself.
  • 2 0
 As a Santa Cruz slut im super disappointed they sold out, that being said im watching you IBIS.
  • 3 3
 that solid proto's upper suspension link is very similar to the polygon colossus, only its inverted. i highly doubt they can get away with that.
  • 3 1
 Considering most if not all suspension patents are bogus, as they're implementations at most, not actual innovation, which should exclude them from patent rights in the US and reason why they're void in Europe, I doubt it.
  • 2 0
 The thing is, if you look at their Strike downhill bike, a clever mind could guess that Polygon is the manufacturer which produces their bikes Wink
All the tubes are extremely similar, just ina little different configuration.
So most likely Solid just utilise tried and true Polygon standard materials if possible and just rearrange them to integrate their own suspension design.
And given the fact that this is a geometry mule, most likely they were running with a link that was allready available instead of going through the hassle of creating special prototype parts for it.
Happens with many other companys prototypes too. They cut up existing frames and rearrange them or put one off links and stuff on for testing purposes.
  • 3 0
 I would like to get some light into the darkness. Polygon uses some standard-molds for tubings, just like Solid does, and many other comanies do. This is why tubes often look similar. Solid is NOT manufacturing at Polygon.
The functionality of the new Prototype-Solid suspension system is a CFS, it is basically a scaled Solid-Strike-Suspension, yet the wheel axle path has been fitted to slightly different demands on an enduro (e.g. you run it with smaller chainrings, so you need less chainstay elingation to keep it stable). The upper link on the Polygon acts as an active link, meaning it has a floating shock. At the Solid, it is supported concentrically in order to compensate parts of the loads. Like at the Solid Strike, unlike Polygon.
The new Solid prototype contains some standard-tubes, and it currently is outfitted with an X12-axle and hanger, all other design solutions however are unique and 100% selfmade by the guy who designs the Solid Bikes. Loki87, you know him pretty well personally ;-)

The geometry by the way is pretty perfect. Rides like a downhillbike, similar to the Strike. No major changes to be expected.
  • 1 1
 Isn't that Solid basically a Santa Cruz pivot design, where one link moves clockwise and the other moves counterclockwise? VPP.
  • 2 0
 They look similar, this is true, and yes, one of the claims SC have on their VPP patent is the counter rotating links, but there are others before this claim that are solved differently - those refer to the wheel axle path, and the Solid has a unique feature, thus is different.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the insight. What is the unique feature? All the VPP frames have different axle paths depending on travel and link length. How is the Solid different?
  • 1 0
 I think the VPP-patent dates back to a patent by James B. Klassen, founder of Outland cycles. Here's a quote: "Claims(14)

A bicycle comprising:
a chain drive, in which the distance from the axis of a drive sprocket to the axis of a rear wheel hub is represented by a variable value CSL; and
a compressible rear suspension having a linkage for moving said hub along a controlled wheel travel path as said suspension is compressed, said controlled wheel travel path having an arc radius which is greater towards a lower end of said path and smaller towards an upper end of said path." The condition at the Solids are different. Solid's rear axle path's arc radius even changes its direction... to keep it simple.
  • 1 0

Just to show.... the whole situation is more difficult than just 2 rotating links.
  • 4 4
 formula brakes are the bolox, serious stopping and minimal maintenance.. I wouldn't ride any other brake for dh now.
  • 6 2
  • 4 1
  • 1 0
 On the Solid, dat rear triangle.
  • 2 0
 SOLID Ron Jeremy
  • 2 0
 Solid..... ASAROCK
  • 1 0
 Nice!!!!!! I think Scythe though works well...
  • 2 0
 Solid Scrotum Shaver
  • 1 0
 It should just be called the Solid Prototype
  • 1 0
 Solid - Rock Solid
  • 1 0
 That Solid is Greyhound.
  • 2 3
 They should call it the "Solid Blow"
  • 2 2
 formula = shit
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