It’s gotta be the Ibis Riply 29er
By Steve Domahidy
(September 8, 2011) FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Ger. - As a Eurobike review, you would have to be expecting a lengthy piece on all things new and sparkly at Eurobike. On almost every single bike forum and chatter site, you’ll find editors expounding on the 2012 product of the second accompanied by ‘show’ pictures with said product being upstaged by the gawking crowds in the background. No, this is not one of those Eurobike reviews. This is a review on the state of things, the idea of ‘bicycle’ from different vantage points, and the wonders of the bike market both here and there. But, to satiate the tech in all of us, I will also pick ‘The Best Thing At Eurobike Americans Can Actually Buy’.
Eurobike is probably one of the coolest shows on the planet, especially if you’re a bike geek. And I am. It’s roughly twice the size of Interbike, and the constant buzz of excitement and energy is almost draining in itself. Yes, Eurobike is the place to be (it even has a ‘consumer’ day, unlike its American counterpart). The biggest bummer about Eurobike is that more than half of the show is rendered completely irrelevant to US consumers, as there are a monster amount of brands that only see the light of day in Europe, and even some brands that are literally just German-centric. Cool brands, too, like Cube and Canyon and Focus; brands that are pushing technology in their own way, albeit, sometimes wacky, sometimes brilliant, but all times different.
Eurobike is a cool collection of hip euro trends, new bike trickery, and big brand sensory overload. The KTM booth, for instance, is row after row of bikes in a blurring of spokes and black and orange paint. It’s dizzying to see how many models they have and even more remarkable that they only sell within Europe. One whole outside section of the show is dedicated to all things electric, a market simply misunderstood in America. Folding bikes, electric folding bikes, electric recumbent folding bikes. It’s all here.
It’s the sheer size of the show that seems at once daunting and exhilarating. The bike market in Europe is strong and wonderful and varied.
Europe is a culture built around the bike. In many—no make that most—European cities, the car is superfluous, and getting around on a bike is in most regards easier and faster. The local market, with fresh produce, and outside café to stop and espresso up, are just around the corner, and commuter bikes with racks and baskets abound. It’s a culture that understands the bike, that breathes life into it, that truly captures the essence of cycling in all of its wondrous 360 degrees.
If you ever get a chance, go to Friedrichshafen in August and see for yourself.
By contrast, America is a nation that on the whole doesn’t understand bikes. In many places, locals still loath having to give up three precious feet of road to pass a cyclist. Interbike is a collection of mountain bikes and road bikes, and anything in between is scoffed at, with passer byes pointing and laughing. Some brave souls will come out to show their gadgetry at Interbike, usually packing up their booth early with their tales between their legs. Commuters are just now gaining some traction, but only after every other niche was flushed out in full. If only Americans could understand. If only they could all see what I see at Eurobike. A bike-centric America where politicians aren’t ridiculed for their bike-centric polices. How much dependence on foreign oil could we reduce if Americans could see what I see?
I have a dream…
But it’s a dream I’m snapped back to reality from while drooling over ‘The Best Thing At Eurobike Americans Can Actually Buy’ which, in its own regard, furthers the American stereotype. But what can I say, I like mountain bikes and I like carbon, and this piece of bike geekery is both:
Introducing the Ibis Ripley
While Ibis has been ‘talking’ about their 29er for the better part of six months (It’s coming, be patient), Eurobike was the first time they’ve shown her in her flesh, and Ripley could very well be the perfect name. Firstly, much like the character depicted in Ridley Scott’s Alien, Ripley is one part fugly, one part sex appeal. An odd assortment of lines and curves, it’s the overall package in Ripley that’s appealing, not necessarily the individual components. When Sigourny Weaver strips down to her underwear in the final scenes of Alien, you can’t help, knowing how bad ass she was shredding Aliens, but to be aroused.
It’s much the same with this bike. The numbers and the technology are ultimately arousing, not necessarily the exterior cosmetic package: 120mm of travel, 142/12 Maxle, Taper steerer tube, carbon goodness, and 29” wheels. It’s all here. But the thing that sets this bike apart from other offerings at Eurobike is the pivots. Ibis, with over three years in development on the Ripley, has completely re-defined pivoting suspension with eccentric, conical pivots that rotate on twin angular contact composite bearings. The DW Link configuration of the pivots allows for short eccentric links to glide on composite bushing/bearings which simultaneously reduce weight and increase stiffness. A bike designer’s wet dream. Compatibility with 34mm stanchion forks up to 140mm (ie: the much anticipated Fox 34) should make this bike an all mountain shredder. Pricing and availability were pending as of Eurobike, but Tom of Ibis hopes to get her into consumer’s hands sometime in early spring.