In the Mountains of Los Angeles with Jeff Kendall-Weed on his Ibis Ripmo 29’r

Los Angeles’ riding needs no introduction to the readers of this website. In fact, active readers and followers on our Instagram will recognize some of these spots. When people express an interest in coming to LA to escape the brütal winter months, I kindly oblige, especially when it’s people like Jeff Kendall-Weed. We’ve all seen him riding in videos, but I was curious to witness it in-person. His trip fell in-between a few other photo shoots, so it was going to be tricky, but I made sure to clear a few days of my schedule to take him out and show him some of my favorite trails in Los Angeles. Oh, and he was bringing down a brand new Ibis Cycles Ripmo, a long travel 29’r, which was just icing on the shred cake!

Zone 01: Mount Lukens – Lukens Truck Trail, Blue Bug

Maybe it was a Monday, or a Tuesday, but I remember it being fairly early. Jeff and his videographer Logan were staying in Altadena, at the base of the Angeles National Forest. I swooped by to pick them up in the ‘Cruiser and we drove out to Mount Lukens’ West Face, to climb up the Lukens Truck Trail, all the way to the top – coincidentally, the highest point in the City of Los Angeles at 5,066′.

This is one of my favorite rides and is one of the hardest mountain bike climbs in the area. I loaded up my camera pack and lifted it, realizing it’d been a while since I’ve packed in three lenses and two bodies. Then, I went over to Logan’s pack and picked his up and immediately regretted any complaints circulating in my mind. Videographer’s packs are insanely heavy and Logan hoisted it up a 5,000′ mountain with no complaints. Ok, maybe we all complained a little bit.

At the top, Jeff saw a line I was hoping he’d see, a jettison off a large concrete cistern. It’s practically a huck to flat, with a rather large drop, so none of my friends were ever too keen on “sending it.” One sketchy ramp later and Jeff was airborn. Full. Send.

Going down Lukens Truck Trail is Blue Bug, named for the blue VW bug near the entrance of the trail. It’s one of my favorite trails, with lots of jumps and exposure. At the end of the day, you descend into the setting sun. It’s really something else…

Zone 02: Chilao Region: Horse Flats, Hillyer, Silver Moccasin

My friends are shredders, but Jeff is a different kind of talent. When my friends first took me up to the Chilao Region, my mind was blown. It seemed like there were lines everywhere. Over the years, a bunch of people have found their own lines, and many people find these lines on their own, so as a rule, I never point out other people’s lines, hoping to avoid any hurt feelings. With Jeff, however, all I had to do was show him the trail and he made his trail wizardry work.

Some of these spots will look familiar, others will not. I was amazed at how Jeff picked out jibs, jumps and all while jammin’ full speed ahead down the sandy trail.

We planned on camping there for a night and riding the trail for two days. At the end of the first night, I realized I left my truck’s lights and fog lights on. Upon returning to camp, my batteries were dead. With a Toyota turbo diesel, most require a 24v starter, so that’s bad news for two dead Optima Red Tops, which have very little deep cycle abilities. Plus, my truck was parked down deep into the site, so we had to push it up the hill in order to jump it. After a full night of uneasiness, I was relieved to find it crank up immediately… It was the perfect way to end an amazing three days on the trail; not having to deal with that headache! We loaded up and rolled back down Highway 2, to the City of Angels.

Jeff’s Ibis Cycles Ripmo 29’r

Ripmo? What’s the Ripmo?

“The love child of a Ripley and the Mojo HD4, the all-new Ripmo is a big wheeled slasher that’s always down for another lap, whether that means a big climb or a tailgate pad. With a sub six pound frame and 145mm of ef cient dw-link rear wheel travel (160mm front), this is the most versatile bike we’ve ever built.”

With 29″ wheels, 145mm rear travel, 2.6” tire clearance, and 160mm front travel, Ibis’ latest bike presented something new for Jeff, who usually rides 27.5″ wheels. The 29’r provided stability in some instances, yet technical difficulties in other. Overall, at the end of the trip, Jeff got more and more used to the bike and began pushing its limits. Unfortunately, by that point, his body had reached its limit. This is not a review of the Ripmo, so for more technical info, head to Ibis.

Next time, we’ll bite off a bigger piece of the pie that is Los Angeles’ trail networks. Check out some videos of Jeff’s latest exploits at his Youtube. Check back on Wednesday for the full experience, in video, to launch.

  • Christopher San Agustin

    Mad sends!

    • So many sends.

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      Thanks Christopher!

    • White Mike

      HELLA SENDS! Jeff slays it.

  • Ive been riding bikes non stop since I was a kid. I owned a mountain bike (not that I lived in the mountains) back in the 90’s. I even pretended I was an X games rider for several years on my mongoose during the resurgence of BMX in the late 90s/early 2000’s. I’m a full time commuter today, and I don’t think I have even 1/1000 the skill necessary to handle a bike like this. Even a full suspension bike. I’m certain I’d kill myself quick.

    • R.P. Treb

      Or have the time of your life! Get on trail buddy it’s all positive. Don’t pay attention to my profile pic.

      • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

        Haha nice R.P., yeah, I’m all about controlled risk and progression, and ironically, I feel more at risk commuting around town than on a singletrack! Dang cars!

  • Kyle Marmesh

    I love seeing photos and watching videos of Jeff! He always has a smile on his face and just seems like one of the most positive dudes ever. His riding style reminds me of what riding bikes as a kid was like—not that I could shred even a fraction of what he does—but the sketchy ramps, boosting off of anything and everything, and just how much fun he makes everything look! So rad you got to spend some time with him.

    I’ll be down in LA in April, staying in Monrovia. Never ridden there—any suggestions for a 2-3 hour ride? Coming from Tahoe, so I’m down with the techy and climbing.

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      Thank you Kyle!!!

  • Ryan

    Photo #3, I was like, “Does he not know John’s view on cairns?!…oh, it’s a ramp!”

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      Hahaha I laughed Ryan, thanks!

  • AdamBike99

    Livin’ Life. Vicariously.
    Right here. Thanks John!

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      Thanks for checking out the article, Adam!

  • chrismoustache

    Maybe time to add some solar to the roof? A little something to keep those Optimas topped off.

    • Nah. I’ll just leave the lights off. No room on the roof.

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      We were so bummed for John, but then the Cruiser started!!! All was good again.

  • Gettin’ at it!!

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      Thanks Trailyeah!

  • JON STEEL

    he has the most awful riding style with the exaggerated elbows and arse out everywhere….looks so false…i was told to do it by a photographer once,but it looks so shit

    • Jimmy

      You obviously do not send it

    • Michael Rutter

      He’s trying to make the most out of some mediocre trail features in a beautifully scenic setting. I think he’s doing a good job.

    • Truth Hurts

      He looks less knees / elbows / arse out in his riding vids. Odds are that JP was clicking multiple frames and chose the most dynamic of those for each setup. Oh the other hand, I’d totally look like a gangly spider in my photos if I could shred as fast / smooth / poppy / trials’y / ludicrous jump-y as JWK.

      https://youtu.be/cg6Wvo2mGV8

      • JON STEEL

        i will check him out and am sure you are right about his vids

    • Internet desk chair expert status over here. I didn’t tell him to do anything, it’s usually the people with no style that get told to do that by photogs…

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      Hahaha thanks for the feedback Jon! Let’s ride some time!

  • Michael Rutter

    Nice to see some content with wheels getting off the ground!

    • Isn’t that what we usually post over here?

  • Jeffrey Chase

    Is there/will there be a video of this posted by Jeff?

    • Ray Penrod

      There are already a few videos on JKW’s YouTube channel. In one, he mentions the video referred to by this article as “coming soon.”

      • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

        Stay tuned- video comes out tomorrow!!!

    • Yep!

    • Jeffrey Chase

      Wooop. On Pinkbike this morning!

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      Yep- in the video column right here on the Radavist!

  • Justin Scoltock

    Man I love the San Gabriels and seeing someone like Jeff shredding so hard makes them look even better!

    • R.P. Treb

      Exactly made such good use of the natural hits. So stoked on these pics.

      • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

        Thanks RP- John’s photos are AMAZING, and it was an honor to shoot with him!

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      Thanks Justin!

  • JON STEEL

    ok maybe i was a bit harsh…where there was no action in one or two photos the way the body has been exaggerated is so unnatural but i know it looks more dynamic…just looks posed too much cause no one rides like that normally.Am i a keyboard warrior no,do i send it yes.Came 10th in my class over 30s in the Megaavalanche i am a high level mtb instructor with15 years experience,motorcycle trials instructor and bmx rider for38 years so i THINK i know what i am talking about…Jeff come over to Bulgaria and ride the treacherous trails at my back door,Vitosha mountain ,you would be made very welcome…apologies if i offend but i am not a sheep,i have my opinion

    • Lucas West

      Doesn’t matter how many decades of experience you have dude. Don’t shit all over something beautiful.

      • JON STEEL

        it wasn’t beautiful,i wasn’t shitting on it,i suggested two or three photos looked too posed and unnatural

    • Dude. Tact. Look it up.

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      Thanks for sharing, Jon! Bulgaria sounds amazing!

    • R.P. Treb

      That’s right Jon Steel your not a sheep , your a KOOK.

      • JON STEEL

        better to be a kook that can spell than a norm that cannot

        • R.P. Treb

          Your argument may NOT be true , (because nobody wants to be a kook)however, the complexity of the conversation has started to make me feel like a younger man. And by younger i mean 2nd or 3rd grade. No thanks!

    • Webster

      Show us how it’s done hotdog! I want see this undiscovered talent.

  • sam hopwood

    Every shot of his face he has that massive smile. Pure stoke. Makes me wanna get out. Just wish we could get some of those dusty trails over here in the UK, its like a salmons back pack at the minuet!

    • Jeffrey Joseph KendallWeed

      Haha thanks Sam!

  • AngryBikeWrench

    Just watched the video as well. So. Unbelievably. Smooth. How much faster you think you’d get just by following this guy, paying attention, and trying (and failing) to keep up? Just blows my mind. And all with that grin on his face. Just makes me happy.

    • Jeff Kendall-Weed

      Haha thanks Angry!