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  1. #1
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    RIP 9 RDO vs. Czar vs. Ripley

    I have a (wonderful) dilemma. Can't decide which high end boutique 29'er to buy and wondering if the more experienced here could help out.

    Background: I'm a relatively intermediate 44y/o rider in the relative flatlands of Fort Worth, although we do have some very nice, challenging, and rocky trails. Mostly XC riding but I do venture to the mountains of Colorado 1-2x/y. I have been riding and loving a 2010 RIP 9 alloy for the past few years but recently rode a Scalpel carbon 2 in Park City and had a blast. Unsure whether it was the significantly lighter weight, the carbon frame, or both, but it was fun and fast. I am looking to purchase one of the high end bikes above but no demos in my area. I did demo a Sultan but, other than the pedaling and better components, it seemed similar to my current RIP and just didn't fit as well. (I demoed a medium but would ride a large Czar given my 5'10" height.)

    Further complicating things, I got the suggestion of just upgrading my medium RIP, which fits me well and I love. It currently has old S-RAM 9 components with Stan's 355 rims.

    I know it is a lucky problem to have but I would appreciate any and all advice. I've read through numerous threads here and got some great pointers but not the clarity I am craving. Thanks for the feedback!

  2. #2
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    Well, if you're asking us to help you choose how to spend your money -- which is always fun! -- I would choose the Czar in large, with the XT package, and an upgrade to carbon wheels.

    That's how I equipped my XL Czar, and it is an absolute hot rod! Firm, not harsh, really stiff laterally, light, and quick handling without being nervous. Honestly, it is so much fun that when I hop back onto my trusty Sultan, it seems dull and a bit sluggish, unless I'm in the really tough chunk (which is seldom these days).
    The drive towards achievement and success is the motive power of civilization.

  3. #3
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    I have a rip 9 rdo with xt, flow rims, and a 29 talas 140. I like it. If I was ordering today, I would seriously consider the new alloy rip 9 with a pike fork.

    I also tested a scapel alloy version. It was a fast feeling bike.

    Good luck. Don't think you can make a bad choice here.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    I have a rip 9 rdo with xt, flow rims, and a 29 talas 140. I like it. If I was ordering today, I would seriously consider the new alloy rip 9 with a pike fork.

    I also tested a scapel alloy version. It was a fast feeling bike.

    Good luck. Don't think you can make a bad choice here.
    +1 on the new alloy rip 9, quality stuff.

    However you can't really go wrong with your choices, there are all great!

  5. #5
    Meat Clever
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    I've ridden both the Ripley and the RIP - not the Czar. The RIP struggled in tight corners, both up and down, it was not fun. The Ripley handled tight corners without complaint. I have ordered a Ripley. The Czar is getting great reviews and appears to be a great bike, just depends on what your priorities are.
    Quote Originally Posted by VanillaEps View Post
    A little bit of pee just trickled out of my pipi when I saw that.

  6. #6
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    Going off your description above I too would vote either Ripley or Czar. I've owned both the Rip9 RDO and Ripley and the Ripley accelerates faster and is geared more towards aggressive XC. The Rip9 RDO is a burly carbon trail bike. It is very stiff, very plush yet pedals well. It isn't an XC bike though. The carbon size large frame weighs in a 6.7 lbs.

    Of note, the size large Ripley is more like a size medium Rip9 RDO. I would make note of your stack/reach preferences when deciding. I felt just right on the size large Rip, but a tad cramped on the size large Ripley. I'm 5'11 and prefer longer top tubes and short stems however.

    Just to add to the confusion, you really need to consider the Yeti SB95c as well. Size large frame weighs 6 lbs, aggressive geometry yet pedals very well.

    Like you said, it is a great problem to have. The Czar is very desirable as well and if i leaned more towards XC/marathon rides I would love to have one.

  7. #7
    Long Live the Gorn!
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    Adding to the confusion ... seriously you need to get out and ride a medium Pivot 429c it's right in your wheelhouse...ride one if you can.. If its not right at least you will know if it is right then it's right

  8. #8
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    Another great suggestion. In other words, you've got some demo riding to do sir

  9. #9
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    I have read about the Yeti and the Pivot both and they sound like very comprable, great bikes. But I am trying to get less options so I deleted them because.....I dunno. Alphabet? Color choices? Racism against Bigfoot and his brethren?

    I doubt I will be able to easily demo any of the above. The local dealers don't have these models on the floor and demo trucks don't make it this way very often it seems. At least not soon enough to quench my burning lust for a carbon FS 29'er.

    I have read very rare negative things about the RDO (doesn't do switchbacks as well as others, is the heaviest) and the Ripley (not as good on the descents) but not the Czar (although it has the least travel of the group and is probably the least "trail" oriented).

    What about just pimping out my current RIP? Anybody think I could make it significantly faster/livelier?

  10. #10
    Daniel the Dog
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    Sizing is key. They are all good bikes. My Niner Jet 9 RDO in medium is too small at 5'11". I'm going to Outerbike and will try some bikes. I have to admit, I"m leaning towards a Czar just because I like Turner.

    The Niner Jet 9 RDO has funky cable routing.

  11. #11
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    The Czar is lovely looking indeed. I've always wanted a Turner. It's one of "those bikes" for me.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobenw View Post
    I have read about the Yeti and the Pivot both and they sound like very comprable, great bikes. But I am trying to get less options so I deleted them because.....I dunno. Alphabet? Color choices? Racism against Bigfoot and his brethren?

    I doubt I will be able to easily demo any of the above. The local dealers don't have these models on the floor and demo trucks don't make it this way very often it seems. At least not soon enough to quench my burning lust for a carbon FS 29'er.

    I have read very rare negative things about the RDO (doesn't do switchbacks as well as others, is the heaviest) and the Ripley (not as good on the descents) but not the Czar (although it has the least travel of the group and is probably the least "trail" oriented).

    What about just pimping out my current RIP? Anybody think I could make it significantly faster/livelier?
    You're good enough, you're smart enough and doggone it you deserve a carbon bike. Once you ride a carbon trail bike its hard to go back to aluminum.

  13. #13
    Carbon & Ti rule
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobenw View Post

    What about just pimping out my current RIP? Anybody think I could make it significantly faster/livelier?
    Short answer is no don't even try, I was in the same boat as you a couple of years ago.

    loved my Rip9 & just wished it was lighter & more alive when I wasn't in the ruff stuff.

    Many many bikes later I have what I wanted, Rip9 RDO.

    I have a 2012 Rip9 alloy in my shed at the moment with XX1 & carbon wheels & although it is a great bike it is not a patch on the Rip9 RDO.

    The CVA on the new Rip9 RDO & New Rip9 alloy is set up different to the old Rip9 & pedals very nice.

    If you Like your Rip9 but want a bike that is more alive, Start with a new Rip9.

  14. #14
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    I own both carbon Superfly and Jet9rdo. I followed a guy at Santos trail this past week and he was very fast on twisty turny XC...he was on Rip9rdo and me on Jet9rdo. He had the electric blue with matching fork and it looked so nice in person.
    I have no experience with the Ripley or Czar, but would like to try down the road.

  15. #15
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    Having ridden none of those bikes, the CZAR looks hawt!

  16. #16
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    Since you said "I would appreciate any and all advice" here is my opinion, and thats all it is my opinion. First off, since you get to Colorado 1-2 times a year, any XC bike can handle that for the most part. Then if you most ride in D/Fort Worth area I think the Rip RDO is big beast for your common riding.

    Seems to me that the Rip 9 RDO is a different beast than the other two you have mentioned here, which are mostly XC. Sticking with Niner, I think you should consider the Jet 9 RDO instead, this bike would be closer to the Czar and Ripley. The new Jet 9 RDO does not have crazy cable routing as they have changed. The Rip is more agressive, heavier, and just different. Doesn't make it worse, its not in the category of the Czar or Ripley. Compare a Jet 9 RDO with a 120mm front fork and your there. I'd also throw in a Tallboy 2 with a 120mm fork.

    Seems you liked the feel of the Scalpel, which more like the Czar, Ripley, Jet 9 RDO, and Tallboy 2 in terms of travel. Check for demos in the area. You are embarking on spending a bit of cash so make sure you are happy with what you get or find a shop that will let you take one to the trails. In the D/FW area there should be shops willing to help. Also check on Niner or Santa Cruz sites for demos in your area. These companies are agressive in traveling around doing demos in many cities. Look for Ibis demos too. I think you would like a XC bike set up with 120mm and this would handle Colorado anytime, maybe not as smooth as a RIP 9 RDO (because its designed for burlier things), but very well and perfect for your area. Get back on the Scalpel again too, maybe that is the bike for you. I think you'll like the Jet 9 RDO, the Tallboy 2, both light, quick, and maneuverable. The Niner and SC maybe bit on the affordable side just a bit.

    Removing the Rip 9 RDO off your list and speaking in terms of the Scalpel, Tallboy 2, Jet 9 RDO, Czar, and Ibis, these are XC/trail speed machines, light, fast, quick! Just my opinion...

  17. #17
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    Agreed. The Rip9 RDO is more designed for Colorado riding with 1-2 trips to DFW/year

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobenw View Post

    I have read very rare negative things about the RDO (doesn't do switchbacks as well as others, is the heaviest) and the Ripley (not as good on the descents) but not the Czar (although it has the least travel of the group and is probably the least "trail" oriented).
    I can only speak to the Czar but must say that the bike is far far better pointed downhill than the numbers would suggest. Stiff, predictable but an indescribably quick precise handling machine on the downhill is how it rides
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  19. #19
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    Having been on a Tallboy for a year and now a Tallboy LTc, I wouldn't buy another 100mm travel bike unless I was racing. Modern longer travel 29ers pedal so well and are available in such light frames that for anyone but a racer, it just makes more sense to be in the 120+ travel range.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin+M View Post
    Agreed. The Rip9 RDO is more designed for Colorado riding with 1-2 trips to DFW/year
    Exactly...

  21. #21
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    I agree with that last statement. The carbon Tallboy LTC is only 5.18 lbs. The Yeti carbon SB95 is 5.75 lbs. I'm selling my Pivot 429.

  22. #22
    North Van/Whistler
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillharman View Post
    Having been on a Tallboy for a year and now a Tallboy LTc, I wouldn't buy another 100mm travel bike unless I was racing. Modern longer travel 29ers pedal so well and are available in such light frames that for anyone but a racer, it just makes more sense to be in the 120+ travel range.
    The geos in the 120 range are different than the 100 range though and that does count for quite a bit of difference IMO. This from someone's who ridden a ton of 100, 120 and 130 bikes with 29 wheels
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  23. #23
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    Welp,

    I'm LOVING the Czar. I did a build thread so you can check out how it builds up,

    Turner Czar Build Thread

    And I am doing some ride reports..

    RR: Turner Carbon Czar

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillharman View Post
    Having been on a Tallboy for a year and now a Tallboy LTc, I wouldn't buy another 100mm travel bike unless I was racing. Modern longer travel 29ers pedal so well and are available in such light frames that for anyone but a racer, it just makes more sense to be in the 120+ travel range.
    Sorry but I highly disagree, depends on where you ride. So you'd recommend long travel bikes to someone in FL just because? That's silly.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Sorry but I highly disagree, depends on where you ride. So you'd recommend long travel bikes to someone in FL just because? That's silly.
    Sorry I was talking about mountain biking.

    I'd recommend something in the 120 range, like a Ripley. There's a reason you see so many Tallboys and 429cs (and and now Czars) with 120 forks on them, and I think they'd be better trail bikes if they had the rear travel to match. I'm sure there are features in Florida where you can use 120 mm of travel. If I had any racing inclination or weight weenie tendencies, it would be a different story, but I'm coming from the weekend warrior perspective.

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