$3k Alloy Choices - Unlikely Comparison- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    $3k Alloy Choices - Unlikely Comparison

    My only current MTB is a 2010 Redline D440 with some mild upgrades. The bike has a 1x8 wide cassette, 2.3" tires and mechanical disc brakes and upgraded cockpit. It is time I finally go full suspension, and I'm looking for a bike to replace (or possibly supplement) this current bike. We also just picked up a Norco Fluid FS2 Women's for my wife a few weeks ago and she is really excited about doing more riding with me.

    For reference, I'm 41, live in central CA (Visalia), grew up riding BMX but I'm no longer a hardcore rider. So, no hucking off of huge drops and jumps, but I will spend some time in the air. Trails I have ridden or plan to ride include Skyline at Three Rivers, Hensley Lake, Woodward Park/Sycamore Island, Tesoro Viejo, 007 @ Bass Lake, and then various trails along the central and northern Coast of California (Pismo/SLO, Monterey, Santa Cruz, etc.).

    After some exhaustive searching and "bench racing" I think I have come to my two final candidates.

    2020 Norco Fluid FS1
    Pros
    Cost
    Spec (Fork, Drivetrain)
    Dealer
    Styling
    Similar to the wife's FS2

    Cons
    Suspension Travel (maybe)
    Brakes?
    Weight
    Not a "local" bike company
    5 Year Frame Warranty
    Not enough bike?

    2020 Ibis Ripmo AF
    Pros
    Spec (Suspension)
    Geometry/Kinematics
    "Local" company
    7 year Frame Warranty

    Cons
    Cost
    Weight
    Dealer
    Too much bike?


    The Norco would be from the same dealer we just bought my wife's Fluid from. They have been great to work with and did give us a really good deal on her bike. We've also had them do some service work for us in the past. This shop is about an hour away.

    The Ibis would be from another shop which is also about an hour away. Historically, I didn't care for the sales tactics in this shop (years back), but my last visit there was actually quite nice. Rather than trying to push me on to a bike that clearly wasn't right for me (long travel DH bike) as they had done in the past, they simply tried to direct me to a different brand (Specialized instead of Ibis.)

    We have two shops here in town, but I just can't see anything in their offerings that would convince me to work with them. One shop is all Specialized, and I just do not care for how the shop operates. The second shop sells Trek and a few other brands, and I would definitely buy from them if they had what I was looking for.

    Other bikes that made my shortlist after comparing hundreds...
    Santa Cruz Tall Boy
    Under spec'd/over priced for what I would be looking at.

    Santa Cruz Hightower
    I demo'd one a weekend ago and loved riding it. BUT, the spec was way higher than I can afford. And like the TB, what I can afford is under spec'd/over priced.

    Norco Sight A3 29
    Lower spec than my top contenders, and I'm not sure it will pedal as well. Too much travel?

    Giant Trance 29 2
    Actually a pretty comparable spec to the Norco for a little more cash. I would prefer a little bigger tire and less slack STA. This one, I could consider and it would be from the same shop as the Norco.

    Giant Reign 29 2
    Some specs are lower, and I don't care for the styling as much. Too much travel?

    So what do you think?

    Stick with the shop that has already worked with us and get the Fluid FS1?

    Spend the extra bucks at the other shop and get the Ripmo AF?

    Get the Fluid FS1 as a replacement for the Redline and sell or convert the old bike to city use?

    Get the Ripmo AF for bigger rides, and keep the Redline for more chill XC days?

  2. #2
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    Ripmo AF! For 3K it can't be beat!

    I have the carbon Ripmo and it is the best bike I have ever ridden! The AF is the less expensive brother that is slacker and a little heavier. You would not be disappointed. I take mine on all sorts of trails and I never feel under or over biked on any of them. I am 51 and live in the Sacramento area and ride everything from Auburn to Tahoe to Downieville.

  3. #3
    No Clue Crew
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    Ripmo AF or the Trance, which is such a rad bike.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  4. #4
    BrassBalled DropbarNinja
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    Ripmo and Fluid are two different bikes. Both will be awesome. Just depends on what you're looking for. Never ridden a Ripmo but looking at the numbers, it'll be a bike that'll want to go fast and more point and shoot and will probably get you riding chunky stuff without getting as fatigue as fast. The Fluid however will be easier to pop and throw around with the shorter more conservative geometry and will get you less tired on the smoother stuff to pump.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToYZiLLa View Post
    Ripmo AF! For 3K it can't be beat!

    I have the carbon Ripmo and it is the best bike I have ever ridden! The AF is the less expensive brother that is slacker and a little heavier. You would not be disappointed. I take mine on all sorts of trails and I never feel under or over biked on any of them. I am 51 and live in the Sacramento area and ride everything from Auburn to Tahoe to Downieville.
    I think I've watched every single video, read every review and gone through the entire monster thread for the Ripmo AF on here. The bike seems to be pretty universally praised. The only real negatives I have seen from owners is that the some people have found dialing in the suspension difficult and that the price premium for the SLX build isn't justified.

    I was hesitant to even look at longer travel bikes due to likely sacrificing pedaling/climbing efficiency. However, the high praise of the Ripmo meant I couldn't help but take it into consideration. I tried the Fresno dealer for a demo but they had none in stock, and didn't even seem familiar with the bike. I then tried to set up a demo direct at the Ibis headquarters in Santa Cruz and they don't have demo AFs. Instead, I demo'd the SC Hightower. I was thoroughly impressed with how well that bike pedaled and handled the trails at Wilder. Supposedly the DW Link on the Ibis is just as good if not better than the updated VPP on the SC.

    The suspension components on the Ripmo AF NX build are on point, and the rest of the build out seems pretty nice as well for the money. I really wish the SLX build wasn't a $1000 premium.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Ripmo AF or the Trance, which is such a rad bike.
    What would you say makes the Trance a superior option to the Fluid? The specs seem pretty comparable with trade offs going either way and a pretty close price point.

    https://99spokes.com/compare?bikes=n...020;*z.MD|w.29

    Quote Originally Posted by mrpercussive View Post
    Ripmo and Fluid are two different bikes. Both will be awesome. Just depends on what you're looking for. Never ridden a Ripmo but looking at the numbers, it'll be a bike that'll want to go fast and more point and shoot and will probably get you riding chunky stuff without getting as fatigue as fast. The Fluid however will be easier to pop and throw around with the shorter more conservative geometry and will get you less tired on the smoother stuff to pump.
    Your assessment is the same take away I have from looking at the two bikes. There do seem to be a few people who claimed they got the Ripmo AF to be more poppy and flickable with suspension tuning and a tire change. Those 2.5" Assegais are BEASTS. Even heavier than the 2.6" Minion DHFs and Forekasters on the Norco.

    Based on the video below, tossing the Ripmo AF around might be more a matter of skill level.

    https://youtu.be/Mf2g7dMyPqg

  6. #6
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    Your local Trek store has a Fuel EX which splits the difference between the Norco FS1 and the Ibis Ripmo.

    Shop location has also been important to me. I would hate having to spend 2 hours in the car to stop by the shop to ask a question or pick up a small part.

  7. #7
    No Clue Crew
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    I generally only talk about bikes I have direct experience with. I've never owned the Norco, so I have no opinion. I have owned the Trance (and the plastic Ripmo (not the AF) and the new Hightower). The Ripmo and the Trance are both incredibly rad bikes, but ultimately meant for different purposes. The Hightower was an outlier for me; I did not like it at all.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by offroadcmpr View Post
    Your local Trek store has a Fuel EX which splits the difference between the Norco FS1 and the Ibis Ripmo.

    Shop location has also been important to me. I would hate having to spend 2 hours in the car to stop by the shop to ask a question or pick up a small part.
    I've taken a look at Trek in the past, and took another look last night. Mostly for the same reason you mentioned, the local shop. The "middle ground" on suspension travel could be a good compromise.

    However, compared to the other bikes I've been looking at, the Trek Fuel EX 7 has a lower spec fork and brakes than all of them. And it has what I would consider to be the lower spec drivetrain in the NX. If all of the other specs were superior, I could probably ignore the NX drivetrain on the Fuel EX 7. The Fuel EX 8 corrects these deficiencies, but with a pretty significant jump in price up to $3450. More than I am willing to spend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    I generally only talk about bikes I have direct experience with. I've never owned the Norco, so I have no opinion. I have owned the Trance (and the plastic Ripmo (not the AF) and the new Hightower). The Ripmo and the Trance are both incredibly rad bikes, but ultimately meant for different purposes. The Hightower was an outlier for me; I did not like it at all.
    I actually really liked the new Hightower, but the bike I had a chance to demo is not the bike I can afford to buy.

    I went by both of the Fresno shops on Sunday to talk with them. The Ibis dealer doesn't stock a single Ibis bike. So, I couldn't even ride a standard Ripmo to see how it felt. They only special order when someone wants one. And like before, they did try to direct me toward a Specialized. If I were to order a bike through them, they do offer free lifetime basic tune ups, should I decide to take advantage of that. Otherwise, there isn't much incentive over ordering a bike bling from an online retailer.

    At the other shop, I discussed options from Norco (Fluid FS1) Giant (Trance 2, Reign 2) and Scott (Genius 950). I also had a chance to take a Trance 2 in my size out for a spin in the parking lot. I felt pretty comfortable on the bike and found it even easier to get the front wheel up on that bike than on my wife's small Fluid FS2. I'm not sure if that was due to geometry or weight. The Giant was clearly lighter than her bike, and likely lighter than the FS1 model would be.

    I spent time talking with the shop owner and one of his salesman that does a lot of mountain biking. The owner of the shop thought that I should really test out a Scott Genius before making a final decision. The Genius is a step up in travel, just below the Ripmo. I'm just not sure about the whole TwinLoc design. Perhaps this could give me the best of both worlds, considering the range of bikes I have been looking at?

    The salesman suggested I might be better served by a lighter bike with less travel. Since I currently ride a rigid 29er and have no choice but to pick my line carefully, he said this type of bike might better suit my riding style. He is a Norco guy, has owned several and has just recently purchased a Torrent for himself. Even so, he though that the Giant Trance 2 might be the best choice for me. My hesitations with the Giant is the even shorter rear travel at 115mm and the most conservative geometry of the bunch.

  9. #9
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    Here's an option that sits between the Ripmo and The Norco. 140mm travel front and rear.

    https://www.orbea.com/us-en/bicycles.../cat/occam-h20

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velorangutan View Post
    Here's an option that sits between the Ripmo and The Norco. 140mm travel front and rear.

    https://www.orbea.com/us-en/bicycles.../cat/occam-h20
    Thanks for the heads up on the Occam. My 8 year old son actually rides an MX20, but that is my only familiarity with the brand. Spec looks to be on par for the price point, though I do wish that it came with 4 piston brakes (520s) as the standard spec, rather than 2 piston (500s). Orbea is another brand that is available from the same dealer as the Ibis. I know they don't stock them, so it would be another special order deal.

  11. #11
    Sir Shreds-A-Lot
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    gt sensor or force
    first you get good, than you get fast

  12. #12
    No Pavement Nation (NPN)
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    Id get the Ripmo and keep the Redline...

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