Welcome to our latest bike check! This time we have Sam our media and marketing coordinator and his Ibis Ripmo AF. You'll find Sam behind a computer during the week and wrenching in the workshop on the weekend, so it's fair to say that he's more than happy to put time in working on his own bikes and typically likes to make his bikes a little different to stock.
Since Sam saw the Ripmo AF debut a couple of years ago he's wanted to try one out. Coming out before the current generation of Ripmo, the AF was the testbed for the current aggressive geometry, though it's a little behind today's current long travel bikes he thinks it hits a sweet spot in terms of rider-friendly geometry and travel, making it a great all around trail bike nudging into the enduro category. With the aluminum frame the Ripmo AF comes in at an awesome price point and the stock build is pretty damn bullet proof, but it also leaves a chunk of cash left over compared to a carbon bike, meaning it's ripe for upgrading down the line.
This particular Ripmo AF came with a Shimano SLX 12sp groupset, a Marzocchi Z1 coil fork with a DVO Topaz rear shock and Ibis' in-house aluminum wheelset. All solid stuff, but Sam had some upgraded parts on his previous bike that he wanted to keep, and some other parts that he wanted to test out including the new lineup of Rockshox suspension, but first let's take a look at that frame.
The Ripmo AF is the first DW Link bike Sam has owned in a while, the last being an Iron Horse Sunday about a decade ago, and it's fair to say the two are a little different. Rocking an aluminum frame but with the same geometry, suspension kinematics and linkage hardware as its more expensive carbon counterpart, the AF frame admittedly weighs a little more, but rides every bit as good. DW link, invented and patented by suspension guru Dave Weagle is a four bar virtual pivot layout that aims to maximise pedalling efficiency and traction and reduce pedal bob. This means that despite being a mid-long travel 29er with a bit of weight behind it, it climbs exceptionally well. Another characteristic of DW link is that the suspension remains extremely active under braking, unlike some other designs, meaning good traction while on the anchors.
The two main things Sam wanted to try on the Ripmo when he built it were the new Rockshox Lyrik Ultimate and the Super Deluxe Ultimate. On the front of the bike is a Lyrik Ultimate with 160mm travel, matching the original travel on the bike. Sam opted for a lyrik rather than a Zeb to keep weight down somewhat, and since he's not sending big gnarly lines and isn't particularly heavy, didn't feel he needed the additional stiffness of the Zeb.
There are a bunch of cool changes to the new Lyrik D1 including Buttercups technology which claim to help smooth out the trail with vibration absorbing dampers at the bottom of the fork legs. The lowers now have a pressure release valve, much like another major suspension brand, and the Charger 3 damper has had a total redesign with easier to read compression adjustments. He's only had a handful of rides on the new fork, but so far so good and buttery smooth!
Again wanting to try the latest and greatest from Rockshox, Sam opted to try out the new Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate. Thanks to the aforementioned pedalling characteristics, the Ripmo AF seemed like a good candidate for a coil shock. The suspension curve isn't hugely progressive, so the Super Deluxe seemed like a good choice with its adjustable Hydraulic Bottom Out control (the little purple dial), meaning rather than just having a rubber bottom out bumper, which it does have, there is a hydraulic bumper at the last 20% of the stroke that is essentially really heavy compression damper that helps take the sting out of big hits. It's adjustable so it can be dialled in for a little more or less absorption and can be thought of almost like a really harsh ramp up at the end of an air shock in terms of feel. With rebound adjust, Hydraulic Bottom Out, high speed compression, low speed compression and a pedal switch means this shock is hyper-adjustable, without being too much.
Carried over from Sam's last build are a set of Sram Code RSC Rainbow brakes. Code RSCs are some of the best feeling brakes out there, with tons of power, a really nice solid bite point but good modulation, they maintain a really consistent feel and don't need a ton of maintenance. The RSC levers add Swinglink for more power and a contact adjust which lets you dial in just the right amount of free stroke before the pads contact the rotor. The Rainbow hardware adds just a small amount of pop to liven things up a bit. To add a little local flavour is a North Shore Billet brake adapter, produced right here in Whistler, BC. Because why not?
Keeping things rolling on Sam's Ripmo AF build is a set of Reserve 30 carbon rims laced to a set of Industry Nine 1/1 hubs with Silver Sapim Race spokes. Reserve wheels might not be the cheapest around, but as carbon wheels go they're well priced and are a solid choice for ensuring you've always got a wheelset to ride on. Pretty much bombproof, these wheels haven't required so much as a single true or re-tension since building them in May 2021 and logging a few thousand KMs on a couple of different bikes. It's also nice to know that they have a lifetime no questions asked warranty - they're wheels for life. The I9 hubs are solid enough yet relatively inexpensive compared to the Hydra and still have a crazy 360 point engagement. The silver spokes look classy, especially on a build like this and complement the other silver accents on the bike. You might also notice the green valve stem - Sam runs CushCore tire inserts on the rear as additional puncture/rim insurance and swears by them.
For drivetrain Sam is running a (mostly) GX Eagle 12sp setup with the 10-52t GX cassette out back and a 30t chainring up front. GX is the workhorse of the Eagle family and just gets the job done. Sam likes it because for him it's the best balance of cost vs performance and means he can spend money elsewhere rather than investing in wireless shifting etc. He's running an X01 chain because he's found they last better than the GX chains and a steel NX chainring because again while heavier they last a long time. On the original chainring and cassette, second derailleur and third chain, this drivetrain has seen a few thousand kilometres and two seasons of abuse.
Moving onto the cockpit is where things get a little weirder. Sam is running SQ Lab 30X carbon handlebars. With a 12 degree backsweep, they're a little unorthodox, but Sam likes the position it puts his hands in for climbing - because in reality that's what he spends the most time doing. That said, they're not swept back so much that they detract from the descent. For grips Sam runs the Wolftooth Karv foam grips. Again a different choice, but Sam finds they help a lot with hand fatigue and chafing, particularly on bigger rides. People tend to comment that they'd be worried about them slipping but it hasn't been a problem yet. Clamping the bars is a North Shore Billet Overlord stem, again CNC machined in Whistler it's chunky but not heavy and has some really solid hardware - a part that's going to last a long time. Under the bar is the remote for a BikeYoke Revive dropper post. Similar to a Reverb it has hydraulic internals and has a really nice action and has a bleed function at the top of the post that easily allows you to burp the air out should it get the dreaded pogo.
Finishing the build off is a set of old faithful Shimano PD-M8120 XT Trail pedals. Sturdy, serviceable and with the familiar SPD mechanism there really isn't much bad to be said about these pedals. They just work.
That's it folks, we hope you enjoyed reading this bike check. Maybe it'll inspire you to build your next bike or give you some ideas for upgrades to make to your current bike. If you liked what you saw, click here for more of our bike check content.