Carbon VS Aluminum - What's Different?
Ibis' fifth-generation Ripley AF goes all-aluminum to create a 120mm-travel trail bike that's far more affordable than its carbon fiber predecessor, with the Deore-spec model shown here selling for $2,999 USD while a frame costs $1,800 USD.
For some perspective, you'll have to part with $4,200 USD to get a carbon Ripley with a similar Deore spec, while a carbon frame and Fox shock sells for $2,833 USD. If you want your aluminum Ripley AF with an NX/GX drivetrain mix, it'll be $3,299, please. Due to the pandemic's effect on OE component availability, Ibis will offer only two versions of the Ripley AF.
Ripley AF Details
• Travel: 120mm rear / 130mm front
• Wheel size: 29"
• New aluminum frame
• dw-link suspension
• Threaded bottom bracket
• Weight: 32.6 lb / 14.8 kg (as shown, size L)
• MSRP: $2,999 (as shown), $3,299 USD
No carbon means less cost, but it also means a bit more weight; Ibis says that a Ripley AF frame comes in at 7.45lb on their scale, or somewhere around 1.45lb heavier than the carbon frame that retails for a little over a grand more. Whether or not that price-to-weight calculation is something to consider will depend on your priorities, but here's something more noteworthy: the Ripley AF is a full degree slacker up-front than the carbon version.
A new frame gave Ibis a chance to tweak the bike's geometry a bit, with the head angle dropping from 66.5-degrees with a 130mm fork on the carbon Ripley to 65.5-degrees with the same fork on the Ripley AF. That adds a bit of length to the bike's wheelbase and front-center, of course, and the 475mm reach on a large-sized frame remains unchanged. Other numbers that haven't changed include the 432mm chainstays, 418mm long seat tube (on the large), and a 76-degree seat angle.
The aluminum bike's slacker geometry raises the obvious question of an updated carbon Ripley in the near future, to which Ibis had this to say: ''The Ripley is a unique bike. We've seen people throw on 100mm SID forks and rigid posts, to create 23 lbs BC Bike builds. On the other hand, there are riders mounting up a Pike or lowered 140mm 36, DPX2 shock, and burly tires. It's super versatile. We knew the AF customer would be different than the typical carbon Ripley buyer. For one, they're not as hung up on weight. Many gravitate towards aluminum because they have carbon fatigue. They just want to beat on a frame and not worry about it and they're more gravity oriented. We listened to that feedback. You can easily achieve a slacker head angle on the carbon Ripley by installing a 140mm air spring in the stock 34, running an AngleSet, or using an eccentric bushing. Neither of those things will void your warranty.
The alloy frame gets most of the features found on the carbon model, including a removable ISCG adapter and threaded bottom bracket, 148mm Boost hub spacing, room for a large bottle on all frame sizes, room for a 203mm rear rotor for the big boys, and Metric shock sizing. The Ripley AF also gets internal routing but does without the tube-in-tube system used on most carbon frames, as well as some serious frame protection. DW Link Suspension
The frame material is different but the suspension ain't, with the same 120mm of dw link-controlled travel on the back of the Ripley AF as you'll find on the carbon bike. That means you should expect a trail rig that values speed and pedaling efficiency, with the Ripley long being known as a short-travel trail bike that's designed to cover ground quickly.
That fast, efficient ride comes courtesy of the dw link suspension, with the two co-rotating links employing a relatively high anti-squat number that helps to give the bike its speedy demeanor. Just as on the carbon Ripley, the bottom link and bushings are actually borrowed from the burlier Ripmo chassis. That should aid frame rigidity, but it also means that the same replacement parts can be used on essentially all of Ibis' full-suspension bikes. And speaking of that, those bushings in the lower link come with a lifetime warranty (there's a seven-year warranty on the frame, too), while you'll find sealed bearings at the upper link.
The new Ripley AF is a perfect fit for our upcoming value trail bike Field Test where we'll be pitting it against other machines that put affordability ahead of fancy. Stay tuned for those video reviews in the near future to find out how the new aluminum Ibis compares.