Thoughts around bike for Leadville

Hey all! I’m looking for some input on my bike setup for Leadville. Will an Ibis Ripley work well?

Some background: I’m 42, 4w/kg, 320 in ftp and 79kg. Did a fair bit of xc mountain biking when I was a teenager and got back into it briefly in my early 30s but the last few years have been all about road biking. So the mtb-bikes that I used to ride are very different from the modern trail focused geometry.

My goal for Leadville is sub 9 hours, need to get that big buckle :slight_smile: I started structured training around half a year ago and my ftp has gone up from 240 to 320 during that period, so I think there’s a decent amount of improvement left to be done in the w/kg before Leadville -I’m hoping for 4.5w/kg.

Now to the bike question: I want a trail capable bike since I’m planning to do more challenging trails than the technically simple Leadville course. In an ideal world I’d get something like a Canyon Lux for Leadville and maybe an Ibis Ripmo for trails. However, I don’t want to spend the money needed for two top of the range bikes so that would result in two entry level configurations. I’m thinking that a bike in the middle of these but with top spec may be the best option. So I’ve ordered an Ibis Ripley with Sram AXS, XTR brakes, Enve bar/stem, quarq power meeter, the 28mm carbon wheels. I believe it will be in the region of 25lbs (11.3kg) with Leadville friendly tyres.

The delivery time is long so I’ve had plenty of time to wonder if I’ve made the right decision. I only rode a demo bike briefly on a parking lot and since it’s been so long since I did any xc I can’t compare it to anything modern.

How will the Ripley perform? I know that @Jonathan used his SB100 which from various reviews that I’ve read sounds not too different from the Ripley. But maybe he would have been a lot faster with another bike… What time penalty can I expect vs a more focused xc bike?

My backup plan is to get a hard tail frame and put the Ripley’s parts onto it for Leadville, and then switch back afterwards. But hoping to avoid that…

I’ve ridden Leadville twice on a Trek Fuel with 130mm front and rear sus. 25 lbs. It’s very similar to the Ibis Ripley.

Would a hardtail or XC bike with full lockout be faster for me (the Fuel does not have a full lockout on the rear sus, but most of the pedal bob is eliminated in pedaling mode)? Maybe. But not worth buying an extra bike for (IMO).


Honestly high-end modern trail bikes tend to pedal pretty well. If you haven’t spent a lot of time on one, you’re gonna be very pleasantly surprised (maybe even shocked) at the pedaling and power transfer that you get.

My personal view is, buy the bike that you actually want to have and own, and then accept whatever penalty for the race and just build that into your expectations.

I think you’ll have a lot of fun on the Ripley. I rented a RipMo in Moab last year, which is like Ripley plus a little bit extra. It took a little getting used to–i felt like i was on stilts at first–but once i got the hang of it i had no trouble on either long or technical climbs.


I think the debate between one reasonable full suspension bike to another is likely splitting hairs. The course is not technical but it is rough and choppy in parts and obviously has a lot of climbing. Therefore it is important to get the bike set up well for the course, optimize tire pressure and minimize extra weight.

It sounds like you are going to be well positioned for a good day. Good luck!

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It’s just one race. Get the bike you’ll have fun and love rest of summer and into the future.
Pretty soon most xc bikes will come with a 120. It’s already happening.


I have just bought a Norco Revover FS120 AXS with 120/120.


Although not doing Leadville this year I would probably use it with better rolling tyres on it. I am doing the BC Bike Race which has a lot more Tech and 75% singletrack and will be using this bike for that as well as another stage race which it not so technical. A decent balance I guess.