OK I am a little OCD, particularly when it comes to my bikes. I think the size, geometry and weight of a bike are likely a lot more important to me than they might be to a 180 lb 6' guy. All I have to do is see how they can toss their bikes over a 6ft fence vs my epic struggle to get mine over to see we are not having the same riding experience in certain ways. I am picky about how my fork and shock are set up and a few clicks of compression or rebound damping can mean the difference between a fun vs a tooth jarring ride...several of my guy friends don't know what those buttons are for and couldn't care less. I currently own 2 great bikes...a 6 year old Ibis Mojo SL, recently updated with new bits, and a 6 month old Ripley 29er, both small. They both have LeV droppers, identical high end 2x10 drivetrains, brakes and shifters, light wheels and the same tires. They both weigh 26 lbs with pedals. The only difference is the Mojo has a Fox Talus on it and the Ripley has a Fox Float. I have very light wheels on the Ripley to counter the 29er tendency to be a bit slower on acceleration. I have ridden the Mojo many more miles than the Ripley obviously but I have ridden the Ripley over 500 miles, so enough to have a good feel for it. The Ripley is faster in open terrain..up and down...I love just letting her...er....Rip...over everything...she smooths out the bumps and has better grip in corners, off cambers, and climbing. But as soon as I am on something tight, or narrow sidehill with big dropoff, steep and tight switchbacks up and down...I want my Mojo. She is much easier for me to maneuver with faster handling and agility..and that is after adjusting bar and stem lengths to maximize performance on both bikes. When the switchbacks get really steep downhill, it is disconcerting to find myself rubbed by the tall back tire on the 29er..and if I am not clipped in...which I will do sometimes with one foot if I'm in a situation where I may need to bail fast...toe overlap definitely can happen on sharp turns. The standover is good on both of them at the lowest point but the Mojo's is lower over a longer distance which makes it easier to move around over the bike in technical terrain. Riding both bikes has been a terrific learning experience and...yeah...i hope to demo a 27.5 with 5-6 inches of travel soon !
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