Ibis Mountain Bike Buyer's Guide

Ibis Cycles emerged during the earliest days of mountain biking. It's goal has always been building beautiful bikes that satisfy everyone from budget-minded beginners to the world's best racers.

Ibis Mountain Bike Buyer's Guide

Written by
Bruce Lin

Published on

Posted in
Guides

Located in the mountain biking hub of Santa Cruz, California, Ibis Cycles has been building mountain bikes since 1981. Its founder, Scot Nicol, has close ties to the origins of the sport. He lived and rode with many mountain biking's earliest pioneers, and worked as an apprentice framebuilder for legendary framebuilders Joe Breeze (builder of the Breezer Series I, the first purpose-built mountain bike) and Charlie Cunningham.

When Nicol set off to start his own brand, he didn’t want to name it after himself. Instead, he thumbed through an Audubon bird encyclopedia looking for an avian name that suited his newly hatched bike company. In the end, he chose Ibis, a bird that, like his bikes, moves gracefully and looks beautiful in flight.

Ibis never intended to dominate the mountain bike world. Through the years, it’s stayed small with around 40 employees, and the five current owners all still work full-time at the company. Its sole focus is making a small line-up of bikes that look good and can perform at the top level of the sport. If you’re looking for an Ibis bike, this guide will cover the differences so you can make an informed buying decision

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DW-link suspension  

Ibis mountain bikes DW-link suspensionAt the core of every Ibis full-suspension mountain bike is a DW-link suspension system. “DW” stands for Dave Weagle, the legendary suspension guru who designed and holds the patent for the system. The rear triangle moves on two short co-rotating links, and the suspension kinematics are engineered to provide an efficient and bob-free pedaling platform for climbing, while also having ample traction and impact absorption on descents. The result is rear suspension that’s versatile enough to take on everything from XC to enduro.

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Ibis Exie

Ibis ExieWheel size: 29”
Frame material: Carbon
Rear travel: 100mm
Fork travel: 120mm
Head angle: 67.2°
Seat angle: 73.8–75.9°
Reach: 439mm (M) / 478mm (L)
Who it's for: XC racers and “downcountry” trail riders

The Exie is Ibis’s newest bike, and it’s designed to be a full-on cross-country racer capable of competing in World Cup races (Exie sounds like “XC,” get it?). With a light, sub 2,000 gram frame, 120mm fork, slack 67.2-degree head angle, and efficient DW-link suspension, it offers a stunning combination of uphill speed and downhill performance. Most impressively, the Exie is the first bike to be built in Ibis’s Santa Cruz factory. It’s one of the few carbon mountain bikes that can claim to be made in the USA. 

Ibis Ripley

Ibis RipleyWheel size: 29”
Frame material: Carbon
Rear travel: 120mm
Fork travel: 130mm
Head angle: 66.5° 
Seat angle: 76°
Reach: 450mm (M) / 475mm (L)
Who it's for: Do-it-all trail riders with some XC inclinations

The Ripley is Ibis’s do-it-all short-travel trail bike. It keeps weight to a minimum so it’s quick and playful, and can climb as fast as it descends. With more travel and reach, plus a slacker head tube, it’s more versatile than the race-focused Exie, so it will be the better choice for the majority of trail riders. It's perfect for riders who want to take on technical trails, but also value pedaling efficiency for big days in the saddle or the occasional XC race. 

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Ibis Ripley AF

Ibis Ripley AFWheel size: 29”
Frame material: Aluminum
Rear travel: 120mm
Fork travel: 130mm
Head angle: 65.5° 
Seat angle: 76°
Reach: 450mm (M) / 475mm (L)
Who it's for: Trail riders looking for a short travel bike that can attack gnarlier trails

The Ripley AF (AF stands for "aluminum frame") recently won Pinkbike’s award for "​Value Bike of the Year," and for good reason. It’s as versatile as the carbon Ripley but reduces cost with a budget-friendly aluminum frame. The headtube is also a full degree slacker than the carbon version, making the Ripley AF a bit more downhill-oriented. Combine that with the tough aluminum frame, and you have the recipe for a short-travel shredder that can handle gnarly trails that would scare most 120mm bikes away. 

Ibis Ripmo

Ibis RipmoWheel size: 29”
Frame material: Carbon
Rear travel: 147mm
Fork travel: 160mm
Head angle: 64.9° 
Seat angle: 76-77°
Reach: 460mm (M) / 475mm (L)
Who it's for: Enduro racers and downhill KOM hunters who need to pedal back to the top

The Ripmo is the bike of choice for Ibis’s Enduro World Series racers. It combines the rollover of big 29” wheels with a slack head angle and a big 160mm travel fork to produce a heavy-hitting enduro machine. The geometry is longer and slacker for more stability on gnarly terrain, and suspension is more progressive to absorb big hits. It’s also compatible with both air and coil shocks. The whole package comes together to maximize rider confidence when attacking trails at race speed. Since it uses the efficient DW-link suspension, it can comfortably pedal back uphill when you hit the bottom.

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Ibis Ripmo AF

Ibis Ripmo AF

Wheel size: 29”
Frame material: Aluminum
Rear travel: 147mm
Fork travel: 160mm
Head angle: 64.9° 
Seat angle: 76-77°
Reach: 458mm (M) / 475mm (L)
Who it's for: Enduro racers and downhill KOM hunters who want a tough, budget-friendly frame

The Ripmo AF (again, AF stands for "aluminum frame") takes the downhill prowess and efficient climbing of the carbon Ripmo and packages it into a tougher and more affordable aluminum frame. Otherwise, the travel and geometry numbers are all the same as the carbon Ripmo. It’s the perfect option for enduro racers on a budget or downhill shredders who tend to abuse their bikes on rowdy trails. 

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Ibis Mojo

Ibis MojoWheel size: 27.5”
Frame material: Carbon
Rear travel: 130mm
Fork travel: 140mm
Head angle: 65.4° 
Seat angle: 76.6°
Reach: 460mm (M) / 485mm (L)
Who it's for: Trail riders looking for a playful bike that maximizes agility and poppiness.

The Mojo debuted all the way back in 1992 and it was an instant hit. It has existed in various incarnations over the years, from a hardtail to a mid-travel trail bike (Mojo 3) to a long-travel downhill crusher (Mojo HD4 & HD5). The current iteration is Ibis’s only 27.5” model. With 130mm of travel and smaller wheels, it's nimble and easy to pop off every trail feature. It’s the ideal choice for riders more interested in playing on their bike and having fun than racing. 

Ibis DV9

Ibis DV9Wheel size: 29”
Frame material: Carbon
Rear travel: Hardtail
Fork travel: 100-120mm
Head angle: 68.5° 
Seat angle: 73°
Reach: 418mm (M) / 435mm (L)
Who it's for: XC racer and trail riders who need a light, capable, and affordable hardtail

The DV9 is an affordable, lightweight carbon hardtail meant for aspiring XC racers and budget-minded trail riders. In fact, the DV9 was originally designed for Ibis CEO, Hans Heim’s daughter and her high school teammates competing in the local NICA league. The frame is capable of more than XC racing though. The head angle is relaxed. It has a robust frame compatible with 100-120mm forks. And there’s clearance for big 2.6” tires so it can be set up as a super versatile trail bike. 

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Ibis Hakka MX

Ibis Hakka MXWheel size: 700c / 650b
Frame material: Carbon
Who it's for: Gravel riders, racers, and adventurers

The Hakka MX is the descendent of Ibis’s legendary Hakkalügi cyclocross bike. In its new form, it’s been tweaked to better suit the demands of gravel riding. It can still handle the odd ‘cross race, but the geometry is more relaxed to make it comfortable and stable on rough gravel roads and singletrack. Despite its off-road chops, it’s still light and efficient enough to easily transition onto pavement, making it the ultimate all-rounder. The frame has clearance to fit 700c x 40mm tires or 650b x 2.1” tires.

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[button]Shop Ibis Bikes[/button]

No matter which Ibis you choose to ride, you’re in for a good time. Still having trouble deciding which bike is right for you? Reach out to our TPC Ride Guides at (866) 401-9636. They can help you understand all the pros and cons, and find the right bike for you. Do you already own an Ibis? Let us (and other cyclists) know in the comments what you love about it!

Photos courtesy of Ibis Cycles. 

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