Currently two of my big contenders are the Ibis Ripley and Turner Czar. Geometry and frame weight are nearly the same. I'm currently on a Yeti ASR-C, size L, with a 24.4 TT, and a 100mm stem, wobblenaught fit. In both of those choices I would need to go with an XL to get a similar TT length, either of those would be a 24.6 TT, which would let me go with either a 90 or 100mm stem. Even HTA is about the same between the two bikes. The big difference is the Ripley is 120mm travel and the Czar would be 100mm. The Ripley is supposed to have a really efficient pedaling tune per DW though, so I'm wondering if I'm inherently giving anything up race-wise (cat 1, looking to podium this season) by going with 120mm bike over a 100mm bike if they pedal similarly, have the same geometry and weigh about the same? 120mm fork is about 1/2lb heavier than the 100mm fork, that's about the only difference. Outside of racing, more travel is just more fun in rocky Arizona...
Other option would be a Spec Epic. Since I've added a shock with remote lockout to my Yeti, the automatic lockout of the Brain seems more appealing. Platforms and DW are good and all, but there's nothing like a real lockout.
HT's kill my back, not really an option. Will be doing XC Cat 1, as well as some 50 and 100 milers.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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