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  1. #1
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    Ripley vs Niner Jet 9 RDO or RIP 9 RDO?

    Hi all, I'd love some advice.

    I have recently returned to MTB after a long hiatus (the dark ages, if you will). I race a little XC and enjoy my Spesh Epic Comp 29'er (base model), but when I go on social rides (more fun than races!), I feel like the bike is holding me back a bit- it feels too tied down, too tight, too ... I dunno, fragile?
    I like carbon, I like F/S and I like 29'ers. I don't ever foresee a need for "big air" or hucking for my bike, just XC and trail. I live in the Pac NW and our trails are often tight, wet and rooty.

    I started thinking maybe this is a function of the reduced travel of an XC race bike and maybe I should look for something more trail-capable, but still very XC-oriented. (I hate inefficiency)
    That quest has led me to the Ibis Ripley. It sounds great- just the ticket.
    However, the Niner Jet 9 RDO and RIP 9 RDO also sound good, although each may be more compromised than I'm hoping for.

    I've seen some denigrating comments on the 'net about the Jet 9 from (ostensibly) Ripley owners. Can you tell me why the Ripley is so much better? Is it the new DW linkage?

    Sorry for so many open/vague questions, but I don't think I'll be able to demo one. I'm not trolling- more like just naive. I welcome any advice.

  2. #2
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    I bought a Ripley without demoing one. Down here in New Zealand we don't have that luxury

    For the past twenty two years, I have mountain biked off and on, on a 1992 Merlin Titanium hardtail. An early one with the 1" head tube. Unfortunately, that bike got really out of date, with the 1" head tube, the cantilever/V mounts, and the WTB grease guard bb. So, after thinking carefully about what to get, and borrowing a couple of friends 29'ers (one HT, one FS), the HT a Scott, and the FS a Specialized, I decided a 29'er was for me. I kind of still liked the idea of riding a HT, but being a little (hah) older now, I figured the FS was the way to go. And having always wanted to own an Ibis, I went down the Ripley route.

    What is my opinion? I love riding it. It is a blast, and though I don't think I have the suspension tuned properly yet, I love carving through fast corners, gliding over those bumps that I always felt on the Merlin (the Merlin has a 2000 RS SID XC on it).

    When I pedal on the Ripley, standing up, it still bounces even with the Fox shock set to climb. I was told that there was little or no bob, but it definitely there. It doesn't really bother me much, because when climbing seated it feels great. Descending is great fun, though I don't do a whole lot of hill work. I ride XC and don't race.

    I don't think you would regret buying a Ripley. They are certainly popular, and most people who have them like them.

    In all honesty, after owning it for about seven months now, I still have a hankering for a hardtail. I still like the speed of a hardtail, and I can see myself getting a HT 29'er in the future, so I have can the choice of either when I go for a ride.

  3. #3
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    You get bob on your Ripley with the shock in climb? Is your fork in climb as well?

    My Ripley feels like a hardtail out of the saddle when the fork is locked out.

    What % sag are you running?

    As to the OP's question, I love my Ripley and it's been absolutely fantastic for all of the riding I do.

  4. #4
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    Yes, I get bob on my Ripley with the Fox shock in climb (when out of the saddle). My fork is almost locked out in climb.

    I'm running about 11mm of sag on the rear shock (recommended)

  5. #5
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    The Niner Jet 9 RDO and RIP 9 RDO were my top alternatives to the Ripley. I was never able to demo the Ripley before buying it, but I did demo both of those bikes. I think they are very good; I wasn't expecting the CVA suspension to work as well as it does, in fact. I really liked the RIP 9; after riding it, the Jet 9 felt a bit too harsh on bumps. It might have been the suspension setup, but I did adjust that a bit. The Jet 9 climbed fantastically but just didn't have the feel I wanted on the downhills. In contrast, I was pretty amazed at how well the RIP 9 climbed and it was fantastic downhill. In fact, on the flats I couldn't believe how well it rolled over small rocks and roots, you almost couldn't feel them. I've never ridden a bike with a suspension that did that. In the end, I felt the Ripley was the best balance, being between the Jet 9 and RIP 9. It is great on the downhills (I have a 140mm Pike, which certainly helps) but also great on the climbs. For my riding, the RIP 9 would definitely be better than the Jet 9 because it is more downhill oriented, though I don't know if that would be the case for you. I like the RIP 9 so much I almost bought one right after riding it, and my buddy did. I think the Ripley does climb a bit better and handles quicker than the RIP 9, and the frame is significantly lighter. It's quick with the 140mm fork, and would be even quicker (and lighter) with a 120.

    I think they are all great bikes. The Ripley does everything well and sits between the Jet 9 and RIP 9 along the cross-country to trail continuum, and I chose it because my rides cover the whole spectrum and I thought it would be the most versatile bike. Built light with a 120mm fork, I think it would handle pretty much as well as the Jet 9 RDO but still be a bit more versatile. If you really wanted to emphasize the cross-country side, you should consider the Turner Czar, too. Another riding buddy just bought one of those and it is a great bike. He has it built up for pure cross country with a 100mm fork; it definitely gives up plushness going down technical trails but it is super versatile and can handle pretty tough trails. He bought it after riding my Ripley quite a bit because he loved how quick it was - of course, it had carbon fiber Enve wheels and was 3 or 4 pounds lighter than my bike, which I think made the most difference. I like the versatility ofthe Ripley - it holds it own with more cross-country oriented bikes like the Czar and Jet 9 RDO, but can also be more downhill and technically oriented than those bikes.

  6. #6
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    Thanks agoura_biker- that is a well-thought out analysis of some of the things I was wondering about. You're right- they're all great bikes, I'm just a bit stumped as to which one will fit my (somewhat vague or changing) needs/wants best.
    I guess what I really need to figure out is if I want a new XC race rig, w/ some trail capability (and selling my Epic) or keep my Epic and add a trail bike w/ some XC "chops". Hmmm.

    mcam- I would be a little frustrated w/ the pedal bob, after all that is supposed to be the Ripley's speciality....

  7. #7
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    Yea, I have to admit though, I haven't contacted Ibis for advice. I will do in the next day or two.

    Still dig the bike of course

  8. #8
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    I realize I'm a little post dated but........ my two cents (if anyone cares). Get a Giant Anthem X29er 1 for half the money and I'll bet my paycheck you'll be hecka happy. Out.

  9. #9
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    If you're not in a rush....wait and demo everything you are considering. I ended up with a Ripley with a Pike 140. I do a lot more climbing than descending, but I love this bike for most of the trails I ride that go downhill. When I really feel like I want to ride light, fast and out of the saddle, I ride my hardtail. I'm getting older and probably ride my Ripley 90% of the time.

  10. #10
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    Nice bike nevermiss, gotta hard tail 29er too. For those special occasions. Cheers.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge29er View Post
    I realize I'm a little post dated but........ my two cents (if anyone cares). Get a Giant Anthem X29er 1 for half the money and I'll bet my paycheck you'll be hecka happy. Out.
    A buddy of mine switched from a Giant Anthem X 29er to a special blend Ripley and using his existing carbon hoops and said that the switch was worth the extra money. Just another opinion.

  12. #12
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    I demoed the Tallboy, Mach 429 and Ripley. I really enjoyed the Ripley. Just need to get my boss to approve the purchase. Nevermiss-I also have a hardtail trying to sell, then I am aiming on buying the Ripley

  13. #13
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    It is interesting those above that have a Ripley, but also a hardtail. I bought a Ripley last September to replace my aging Ti hardtail, and I really really dig the Ripley. Such a fun bike to ride.

    However, I often feel the urge to to right something really light and fast (like my old Ti hardtail). I can see another hardtail in my future. But like like RC Rider above, it will need Boss approval, so it will have to wait a while

  14. #14
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    I too have a slight itch for a 29er HT. If I do get one, it will very likely be a Cannondale F29 Carbon with the Lefty. Light, fast, stiff but compliant. I'll put a dropper post on it though.

  15. #15
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    For what its worth, I test rode a riply at the weekend with a fox 34 110-140mm fork. The 110mm position is the same as a 120mm pike or fox 32.

    In the 110mm position the bike climbed like a goat. Super impressed as I was also riding my Niner ROS9 SS (with a 120mm-140mm pike) that day so was in a smashing on the pedals kinda mood. Going down it definitely felt XC, but acceptable.

    In the 140mm position, the bike felt too tall. I'd even say it was cumbersome and unstable and nowhere near as dialed as a Rip9 with a 140mm fork.

    If someone want a 140mm fork on a 29er, I'd say a Rip9 is fine and test a ripley before you buy.

    That's my 2c worth.
    Last edited by mattnz; 06-30-2014 at 01:16 AM. Reason: correct typo

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge29er View Post
    I realize I'm a little post dated but........ my two cents (if anyone cares). Get a Giant Anthem X29er 1 for half the money and I'll bet my paycheck you'll be hecka happy. Out.
    This is why it is good to go somewhere you can demo these bikes you are looking at. I.E., I know guys as well that sold their Anthem X29ers for the Jet 9 RDO and said to them it pedals far superior in climbing and no pedal bobing but is plush in the rough. THey felt the 9 RDO feels like it has more than 100mm of rear travel. They said the Anthem though feels like 100mm, but nonetheless is a good pedaling bike. THey have their Jet 9 RDO's set up with a 120mm front fork. Get on that ripley though, drive an hour if you have to, to find a demo, it will be worth it to you. Then you can compare it right with the Niner's. The ripley is really that good but so are the Niners, it comes down to your personal comfortability and what you know you will ride.

    I would say the Jet 9 RDO is more XC and trail, while the RIP 9 RDO is more trail/all mountain, more all mountain if you have a 140 or longer fork which also slackens the HTA. I agree the ripley seems to be somewhere in between, very flexible in terms of how you set it up.

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