Next season is going to be the year of longer-travel 29ers, with dozens of companies rolling out five- and six-inch travel big wheelers, and the one we're most excited about is the Ibis Ripley 29er. With 120mm of travel front and rear, a tapered head tube, an oversize BB92 bottom bracket, a 142mm Maxle rear axle, and the new Kashima-coated Fox RP23 rear shock, the Ripley has all the latest whiz-bang technology. Even the tried-and-true DW-Link suspension, widely recognized as one of the most efficient out there, has been revamped and shrunk down for a lighter, stiffer rear linkage. Best of all, Ibis keeps the same sultry design cues of its well-regarded Mojo frames while eliminating our biggest gripe with those frames by making space for a water bottle within the main triangle. For context, we awarded the Ibis Mojo SL 26er our Gear of the Year award for best mountain bike in 2008, and after riding that bike again last weekend we feel it's still as good as any XC-oriented trail bike on the market. Likewise, we have a feeling that not only will the Ripley 29er be best in class when it hits the dirt next spring, but it may well hold that distinction for years to come.
The Ibis Ripley 29er was one of our editor’s five picks for Gear of the Show at the 2011 Interbike show. Click here to see the rest.