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Ibis Ripmo AF - Early impressions

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I mentioned a while back that I had ordered an AF and a couple of folks asked if I would post a review once I had put some miles on the bike.  It's been two weeks since I picked it up and I've got 5 rides under my belt, which seems like enough to post some early impressions. The rides have been at Reveille Peak, Spider Mountain, Crystal Falls/Travisso trails, and Suburban Ninja/Christ Church twice.

My previous bike was a 2017 Salsa Horsethief with 130mm of travel up front and 120mm in the rear.  I really liked the bike, but I wanted to get something with a bit more travel, the ability to run wider tires (2.4 was about the max the Salsa could handle), and more modern geometry (slacker HTA, steeper STA, etc.).

I got the NX build, but have since replaced the stock stem and bars with an Anvl Swage stem and Chromag BZA carbon bars (cut down to 760mm).  I bought some Anvl Tilt pedals because they match the stem, get great reviews, and were $40 less than most other anodized pedals out there.

I should also point out that my first 2 rides (Reveille & Suburban Ninja) were on "skinny" tires.  When my bike was built up, it was inadvertently fitted with 2.35s instead of the spec'd 2.6s.  A quick email to Wes at Velorangutan got that sorted out, but not before my first couple of rides.  I can definitely say I'm a fan of the wider tires (Hans Dampf up front, Nobby Nic in the back, both 2.6).  I feel like traction and overall ride feel are improved, and I honestly haven't noticed a difference in rolling resistance or how heavy the bike feels (it's not particularly light to begin with).

Not surprisingly, the bike feels great going downhill.  Whether doing the enduro runs at Reveille or any of the stuff at Spider, I instantly felt more confident and comfortable on the AF.  It handles drops like a champ and really smooths out the rough stuff. I still haven't ridden the big rocky staircase at the bottom of Stinger, but it handled everything else out there with ease.  I set the suspension up according to (mostly decent) instructions on the DVO and Ibis sites and I really haven't changed them much other than letting a few PSI out of the fork because I wasn't getting full travel after my rides.  I'll probably tinker with it a bit, but to be honest I'm more of a set-it-and-forget-it kinda guy, so don't expect a deep discussion of suspension tuning from me...

The AF has really surprised me in a couple of areas.  First, it climbs like a champ.  To be fair, some of that might have to do with going from 11spd with a 42t big cog in the back to 12spd Eagle with an 11-50 cassette. But even without the benefit of the gearing, it just feels more efficient when climbing.  Pedal bob is almost non-existent and the rear wheel stays hooked up even when on pretty chunky terrain. The steeper STA is really noticeable and puts me more over the bottom bracket instead of shifted toward the back wheel, which also helps keep the front wheel planted when climbing. The other thing that surprised me was how poppy and playful the AF is.  It's quite a bit longer than my old bike (~85mm) so I was expecting it to feel less responsive and playful.  But that hasn't been the case so far for me. After getting used to the new feel of the front wheel being farther in front of me, I feel like my jumping is better on this bike and I have found myself hitting new features or old features in different ways.

I haven't really faced any super-technical climbing or tight switchbacks going up or down, so I can't really comment on those aspects. Having said that, based on my experience so far I'm optimistic that the AF will handle those things well.  There are some fairly chunky, twisty climbs out at Travisso and I did struggle with them at first.  I realized it was a timing issue, as I wasn't used to having to lift my front wheel as early on my old bike.  Once I got the feel of the new bike, I was able to clean most everything out there.

All in all, I'm extremely happy with the new bike.  I was a little worried about the NX drivetrain, but so far I have no complaints. For me, the AF has (thankfully) lived up to the hype.



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Oh yeah, I meant to also see if others thought it would be useful to have a Bike Reviews section?  I know there are other places that have those, but I think it could be interesting here because it would be more specific to our terrain.  Just a thought...

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Posted (edited)

Awesome. Sounds like a killer bike. 

This place needs a continuous bike review thread. 

Edited by bestbike85

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22 hours ago, circuitbreaker said:

can i ask how tall are you, and what size did you get?

I'm just under 6' tall.  My problem with bike fitting is that I have a very long torso and very short legs for my height.  I did a lot of research and went with the LG, which is definitely the right size for me.  Because of my short legs, I did have to request a 150mm dropper instead of the 175mm that would typically come with the LG.  I'm glad I did, because the 150 post allows me to extend the post fully and have it just the perfect height for pedaling.  I couldn't have done that with the longer dropper post.

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