A Note from Fatty: Not sure what the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5 is? Click here for the basics. Want to just get an easy link to where you go to donate (and hopefully win this incredible bike)? Click right here.
Let me take you back about 18 years ago. A bunch of us in the core team were on the way back from Moab, talking about the ride. Exaggerating our successful moves. Exaggerating our unsuccessful moves even more.
And talking about bikes. Of course. I posed an open-ended question to everyone in the car: “If you could get any mountain bike, what would it be?”
I don’t remember anyone else’s answer, but I remember Dug’s: “An Ibis Szazbo.”
“A what?” I replied.
I had never heard of Ibis before, much less the Szazbo, and started researching. And before long, I fell in love with the company. Before long, I owned an Ibis Mojo, a Bow Ti, a Ti Mojo, and a Silk Ti (I tend to go a little overboard when I love something).
And to this day, the only bike — out of the dozens of bikes I have owned over the years — I have ever regretted selling is my Ibis Ti Mojo. I really wish I still had that bike.
Ibis bikes have a tendency to inspire that kind of devotion in its riders.
“Let Me Show You Something”
So now, let me flash forward about fifteen years, to just a few years ago. The Hammer and I were in France with Andy Hampsten’s riding tour…and Scot Nicol—the founder and head honcho for Ibis—was one of the tour guides with us. Which is very much like having Jimi Hendrix being your tour guide through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Except that Scot Nicol—aka Chuck Ibis—isn’t dead. He’s alive and well and still creating bikes that make me want one so very, very badly.
During one of the evenings while we were in France, Scot pulled me aside and said, “Let me show you something.” That “something” was the suspension design for a new bike they were working on: the Ripley 29.
It was astonishing. Like, ridiculously amazing alien space technology.
“How soon can I have one?” I asked.
“It’ll be a while,” Scot replied.
And in fact, it was another three years. Because Ibis takes the time to get bikes right.
But when they unveil a bike, well, wow:
You should read the story of how this bike came to be; it’s an incredibly fascinating read. I should warn you, though: I think you’re going to want one.
Which actually works out well, because the Ibis Ripley 29 — a dream frame dressed out in dream parts — is one of the bikes we’ll be giving away as part of the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5.
A Little More About The Bike
In a minute I’m going to show you just a few of the pages and pages of glowing reviews for the Ripley 29er, but first, how about some of the basic specs?
Well, first of all, there’s the frame itself, which you can (and should) read about in Ibis’s Ripley 29 product page.
Thanks to the ingenious design of the Ripley 29, you can build it up either as a XC racer (which is how I’d do it), or as more of an all-mountain machine if that’s more your riding style.
For the drivetrain, you’ll want to set it up with the SRAM XX1 group (if you’re thinking in terms of XC) or the XO1 group (for an all-mountain build). Both are innovative and highly lustworthy drivetrains that let you skip the front derailleur nonsense, doing all your shifting in the back. Hey, it’s really nice to no longer have to ever think about dropping your chain.
If you’re keeping it light, Chuck recommends you go with a set of Rise wheels and a SID fork. You’ll also want to go with a 32-tooth chainring, and then choose between either Gripshift or trigger shifting. Either way, SRAM’s got you covered. Icing on this drivetrain cake of awesomeness will be XX Brakes.
However you’re going to build it, you’re going to make me drool with envy and probably beg to come over and borrow your bike.
So, how did I get Ibis to join in the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5?
Well, Ibis has a history of being great guys. And Chuck — Scot — in particular has a thing about doing the right thing.
So when I emailed him about this fundraiser, asking him to be part of it, he said:
I have not yet talked to my partners about this but we are in. I’m going to tell them right now.
Ripley it is. We can get the winner a bike almost immediately. So that should entice folks.
This looks really great. In fact, it looks freaking awesome.
We can kick in the parts that SRAM doesn’t make.
Then they went and posted their own story about this fundraiser. I especially liked this part:
We at Ibis did nothing for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. We know it’s cliché, but we rode our bikes. The calendar skipped over to December this weekend and we were experiencing temperatures that were unseasonable to say the least, 72º F in our part of California, which translates to 22º C in the rest of the solar system. So we exercised our bodies rather than our credit cards.
We decided not to inundate either your email or your senses with offers of great deals. And we’re still not going to ask you to buy anything from us. But we do want to make you aware that today is “Giving Tuesday”, and with that, we’d like to let you know about a wonderful organization that is doing the right thing.
And that wonderful organization is World Bicycle Relief. And the fundraiser is this one. And — as many of you know — Ibis has helped me in a lot of other fundraisers in the past.
And in short, I want to give Scot and everyone else at Ibis a big Fatty-style hug for being the kind of people we all want to be, while building the kinds of bikes we all want to ride.
Ibis is awesome.
More About the Ripley 29
I’m not the only one who’s kind of head-over-heels about the Ripley 29. Basically, everyone who’s ridden one is, too. Check out the Ripley 29 review page for all the reviews; here are just a few excerpts:
SEHR GUT! Critics will be enthralled by its agile handling.- MOUNTAIN BIKE GERMANY
Long days in the saddle on challenging terrain are its dream territory, but short blasts in the local woods have been equally enticing, with a couple of rides where the word ‘sublime’ was uttered….Ibis says the aim was ‘to bring the advantages of a 29in wheel to a lightweight, nimble and fun trail bike’. We think Ibis has managed that perfectly. -Singletrack Magazine
It is a dreamy combination of laser-sharp pointability and mistake forgiving stability. Combine this with the low head tube and short rear, and the Ripley is as nimble as any 26-inch bike with a 29er’s penchant for simply obliterating obstacles under pure circumference. It is divine. -Switchback Magazine
It’s ridiculously flickable in fast, twisty singletrack – big wheels and all – and even tight uphill switchbacks are easy to navigate….Taken in total, the blistering pedaling performance, supple rear end, fast-rolling 29in wheels, and quick yet stable handling make for a freakishly fast ride. We smashed more than a few Strava PRs on standard test loops, and continued to record similarly fast times on other familiar trails. -Bike Radar
The bike offers a great feeling of stability without sacrificing the all important playfulness that a proper bike must have, and it made for a feeling of traction that you wanted to quantify with high-fives and huge grins at the bottom of every loose downhill section of trail….we should mention that we actually scaled two sections of trail aboard the Ripley that we have never managed while on any other bike, as well as setting a personal best time on a local singletrack climb that always tests us. -Pinkbike.com
Ripley gives you all the tools to slay any ride, but does so in a way that allows you to just forget all that technology is there and simply ride with a big smile on your face….Few other trail bikes could be your all-day backcountry mule one weekend, and cutting-edge race machine the next….It took me riding the Ripley to realize I’ve never ridden a bike with perfectly tuned kinematics—until now. -Bike Magazine
So yeah. You want one.
A Little Bit More About the Grand Slam
In my post last Monday I gave you the general details about this fundraiser and what’s amazing about it, but there are a few points I want to emphasize here.
First, this is an amazing cause. It makes a difference, immediately and permanently. The help you give these people now gives them the boost they need to make their own lives better. Check out this inspiring video from World Bicycle Relief to get a sense of what I mean.
Second, your money is getting doubled. Honestly, that’s a pretty hard thing for me to wrap my mind around, but it’s true. Whatever you donate, someone else is matching. Your money has double power. Really, I should have called this fundraiser “The Power of 10” because every $134 you donate to buy a bike becomes two bikes, and every bike makes a difference to five people, on average.
Seriously, that’s more bang for your donation buck than I can comprehend.
Third, while the odds are that you aren’t going to win this Ripley 29 — or any of the four other bikes I’ll be talking about in the next few weeks — somebody is going to win them. Yep, five top-end bikes, in one contest. I am not aware of any other bike contest, ever, that has ever had such an extraordinary spread of prizes. So, huge thanks to SRAM and the five bike companies that have been insanely generous with their donations.
And even huger thanks to everyone who has donated or is going to donate. I love and appreciate your generosity.
So, again: Thank you for donating. And I hope you win.