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  1. #1
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    Suggestions for 140mm 29er Bike

    Hello, I have recently gotten back into mountain biking after being away from it for almost a decade, it is mind-blowing how much bikes have changed. So far I have demoed a Kona Process 153 and a Trek Remedy (27.5). I really liked the in-your-bike feel of the Kona as opposed to the on-your-bike feel of the Trek. I also felt that the descending position of the Kona was more comfortable as I was better able to get in a position where I could drive the majority of my weight through my feet. The cockpit of the Trek felt cramped, and it felt like I could never bring my weight far back enough. However as one could imagine it was much better at climbing. When climbing on the Kona I wanted to bring my butt as far forward on the saddle as possible and it still didn't feel like enough, and the saddle was all the way forward. Before I spend 100s of more dollars blindly demoing more bikes, I would like some suggestions for some bikes to try next, it is hard talking to bike shops about this as they usually only have access to two or three brands. Basically I like the roomier cockpit of the Kona and the drive-through-feet position on the downhills, but something a little more capable and comfortable on the climbs. Thank you!

  2. #2
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    For sure look at the Giant Reign 29. I also hear nothing but good stuff about the Guerrilla Gravity Smash. There's a lot of stuff running around in this travel size, but as you've already noticed, some of it is set up to climb better, some descend better, and some a bit more balanced. The trick is find one that's balanced but leans slightly towards descending. Usually the geometry is a good start for giving away where the bias is, but there won't be any substitute for actually riding some of them.

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    Where do you ride? What was your skill level before you left the sport? Why have you settled on a 140mm 29er? What are the good riders in your area riding?

    There are very few bad bikes today; so really anything you buy is going to be rad. The flip side, there are so many rad bikes, you can end up in a weird feedback loop that prevents you from making a decision.

    If I were in your position, I'd demo whatever I was interested in or fit me locally and buy what you like best. The riding is more important than the bike.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Where do you ride? What was your skill level before you left the sport? Why have you settled on a 140mm 29er? What are the good riders in your area riding?

    There are very few bad bikes today; so really anything you buy is going to be rad. The flip side, there are so many rad bikes, you can end up in a weird feedback loop that prevents you from making a decision.

    If I were in your position, I'd demo whatever I was interested in or fit me locally and buy what you like best. The riding is more important than the bike.
    I have a pretty blingy Switchblade. I rented a lower end Stumpy for a week. I was impressed how well it performed. There was nuanced differences between the two, but I agree with Blantant. Unless you find a bike that is on the extreme as far as geo or complexity, they are all pretty good.

    FYI - the new Switchblade is going to be released sooner or later.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Where do you ride? What was your skill level before you left the sport? Why have you settled on a 140mm 29er? What are the good riders in your area riding?

    There are very few bad bikes today; so really anything you buy is going to be rad. The flip side, there are so many rad bikes, you can end up in a weird feedback loop that prevents you from making a decision.

    If I were in your position, I'd demo whatever I was interested in or fit me locally and buy what you like best. The riding is more important than the bike.
    This... all very valid questions that need answering before you can move forwards. There are plenty of bikes that are less than 140mm rear today, even getting down to 115mm, that hit way above their weight class when it comes to descending.

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    I ride mostly in the Harrisonburg VA area, lots of big rocks and gnarly trails. Most people I've talked to don't recommend going below 140mm for my area, and also go with 29ers for better roll-over ability. I'd say my skill level is between intermediate and advanced, I did a lot of skiing growing up and I currently feel comfortable riding down black diamond trails on Massanutten west slope. I'd say I like to ride aggressive and push my limits. I understand the best way is to demo many bikes, but I just want some suggestions to narrow down my search instead of blindly demoing and blowing through hundreds of dollars. Again, I really like the in-your bike feel of the Process, but something perhaps a little lighter and easier to climb with.

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    New Ibis Ripmo AF. Done.....

    I have been waiting for the new Giant Reign 29 for about two years. But know the Ripmo AF with DVO front and rear. 3k. No one can touch that right now

  8. #8
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    - See if you can find yourself a demo day so that you are not "paying" to demo the bikes.
    - Do some research on REACH measurements and you will probably want something that is closer to the measurements of the Kona vs. the Trek. Reach is going to be something that is correspondent of the HTA and STA so those numbers will play into it, but for the most part Modern "Trail bike" geometry will have you in the HTA of 67-65* and STA of 77-75*.
    - Pick a price point and see where that leads you. There are plenty of articles out there from the last couple of years that compare these bikes and will give you the general knowledge you are looking for (Bike Mag Bible of Bike Test, Enduro Mag Comparison, Pinkbike Comparisons, etc.).
    - From there figure out what components you want and start narrowing down the list. Some people love SRAM/RS but hate FOX, some people love SRAM but hate Shimano. Bikes will come spec'd with different things at different price points but all will be good in their own rights.
    - Don't count out the little guys. There are some great offerings from groups like Guerrilla Gravity, Fezzari, Diamondback, etc. that can easily compete in all aspects. As someone that went with a GG Smash, I can tell you that she has no problem keeping up with my buddies that ride all variety of bikes (Intense, Santa Cruz, Pivot, Scott, Trek/Spesh, Giant, etc.). The one thing I love about the GG is that while she is a bit portly at 37# for my spec'd build, she pedals just as spritely as my old 31# trailbike that had a much more "XC" oriented geometry. Many people that have the GGs say that they pedal WAY better than you would think.

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    The three bikes I've actually ridden that I'd consider:

    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Evil Offering
    Pivot Switchblade

    There may be others, but those are the ones I'd consider. The Pivot is my favorite of these three, but I don't like Shimano and they don't go on sale, so I'm riding an Evil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    The three bikes I've actually ridden that I'd consider:

    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Evil Offering
    Pivot Switchblade

    There may be others, but those are the ones I'd consider. The Pivot is my favorite of these three, but I don't like Shimano and they don't go on sale, so I'm riding an Evil.
    The Hightower, along with the Ibis Ripmo are two bikes I'm thinking of demoing next. Of the three you've ridden, is one particularly close to my preferences for ride feel?

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    The new Hightower would be a great East Coast bike with its higher bottom bracket making peddling through and up tech easier same with the Offering. The Ripmo tends to wallow a bit mid travel making peddle strikes an issue this is fixed with the new AF version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    The new Hightower would be a great East Coast bike with its higher bottom bracket making peddling through and up tech easier same with the Offering. The Ripmo tends to wallow a bit mid travel making peddle strikes an issue this is fixed with the new AF version.
    I've been looking at the Offering and I'm glad people mentioned it because I'll definitely take it into consideration. The only issue is unlike the Hightower and Ripmo there are no Evil dealers within a day's driving distance from me so it would be a blind buy should I go that route.

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    I'd take a look at the Orbea Occam as well if you can.

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    Wallowing mid-stroke on a Ripmo? Really?

    OP: I've owned many of the current bikes in this segment. The Ripmo and the new Giant Trance are the two best bikes I've personally owned in the last couple of years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    The new Hightower would be a great East Coast bike with its higher bottom bracket making peddling through and up tech easier same with the Offering. The Ripmo tends to wallow a bit mid travel making peddle strikes an issue this is fixed with the new AF version.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  15. #15
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    My 28 yr old son has the Ripmo, carbon version. He loves it. We were riding in Moab - TWE - and it was amazing how easily he was getting the front end up, even on steep descents with ledgy drops. It was like he was flicking it all over the place effortlessly. Anyway, that was his comment on it....effortless!

    I'm on the Trance Pro 29 1 and that was fine for me on TWE, but I didn't (and can't) rip it like he does.

  16. #16
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    Go to an Outerbike if you can, also look up free demos locally.

    The Kona bikes are gonna ride better than a comparable Trek cuz they are better bikes 🤣

    There are a shit ton of bikes thatíll fit your needs, asking for suggestions will bring out everything under the sun.

    If you like the way the Kona rides, get a Kona. They got a new 29er thatís popular.

    Pretty much every new bike is good, I picked mine because theyíre domestic made AND because itís a great riding bike both up and down.

    Make sure you want a 29er, they are a compromise no matter what anyone says.

    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalBach View Post
    Hello, I have recently gotten back into mountain biking after being away from it for almost a decade, it is mind-blowing how much bikes have changed. So far I have demoed a Kona Process 153 and a Trek Remedy (27.5). I really liked the in-your-bike feel of the Kona as opposed to the on-your-bike feel of the Trek. I also felt that the descending position of the Kona was more comfortable as I was better able to get in a position where I could drive the majority of my weight through my feet. The cockpit of the Trek felt cramped, and it felt like I could never bring my weight far back enough. However as one could imagine it was much better at climbing. When climbing on the Kona I wanted to bring my butt as far forward on the saddle as possible and it still didn't feel like enough, and the saddle was all the way forward. Before I spend 100s of more dollars blindly demoing more bikes, I would like some suggestions for some bikes to try next, it is hard talking to bike shops about this as they usually only have access to two or three brands. Basically I like the roomier cockpit of the Kona and the drive-through-feet position on the downhills, but something a little more capable and comfortable on the climbs. Thank you!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    If you like the way the Kona rides, get a Kona. They got a new 29er thatís popular.
    I would, I just would prefer something a little less sluggish feeling on the climbs.

  19. #19
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    Just my opinion, regardless the category, it's hard not to consider a Santa Cruz these days. With their lifetime warranty on frames and wheels, free lifetime bearing replacement and excellent customer service reputation, it seems like an easy choice. Of course you should ride one first.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    Just my opinion, regardless the category, it's hard not to consider a Santa Cruz these days. With their lifetime warranty on frames and wheels, free lifetime bearing replacement and excellent customer service reputation, it seems like an easy choice. Of course you should ride one first.
    Yes, the Hightower is definitely on my list of bikes I will be demoing

  21. #21
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    Harrisonburg is an interesting place to be a mountain biker. I've ridden a lot of stuff there on rigid bikes long before there was any sort of real suspension. But yeah, you for sure have more fun with suspension. Just because I know where you're riding, I'm going to make a much smaller suggestion than what you're looking at in general, just to give you something mull over. Give the Giant Trance 29 a ride if you can. I think it's a shocker given "how little" travel it has. I run mine with 2.6" tires on it, and while it hasn't been to the GW yet, I've ridden plenty of stuff that reminds me of the GW and wondered if maybe this wouldn't be the perfect bike up there. It's an astute climber, and a composed descender. If you buy one though, do get a model with the DPX2 or better shock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalBach View Post
    The Hightower, along with the Ibis Ripmo are two bikes I'm thinking of demoing next. Of the three you've ridden, is one particularly close to my preferences for ride feel?
    Treks feel cramped to me and I can't stand over the next size up, so I'm definitely not the person to ask about Trek.

    I also don't need the steep seat angle to keep the front end down on modern bicycles. If I had one I'd probably slide the saddle way back.

    I think you'd find any of the three would have good weight balance, climb well, and descend even better. The Santa Cruz, Evil, and Pivot, all of their models, pedal so well compared to any other bikes I've ridden that it's hard to criticize any of them. I haven't ridden this year's Hightower though--it's much slacker than last year's and has the steeper seat angle. Last year's Hightower is a lot more like my Evil.

    Also, I'm not a huge fan of 29ers in general, but I'm on a small. If I was a bigger person, I would only ride 29.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalBach View Post
    I would, I just would prefer something a little less sluggish feeling on the climbs.
    Define "sluggish".

    Tires make a bike feel sluggish, weight can also contribute, sometimes wheel size, even the fit between the bike set up and the terrain. Picking a bike that feels good up and down, on all terrains, that's a big set of boots to fill.

    There will also be something about a bike that is not ideal for some aspect of your riding. For example, I typically ride 27.5 coil suspended, 140/160 bike, DHR/High Roller 2.8, so not a light bike and lots of friction. I ride this bike on long days with lots of climbing because I want a bike that can handle the downs; all my big rides are technical. I took out my 29er XC 120/120 bike the other day, it sure was light and fast, but on the somewhat technical downs I was left wanting for more traction and more comfort.

    I'm of the mind that more is better, but to a limit, I also have two bikes to choose from; the XC bike is being rebuilt for ... wait for it .... down country
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    So you ride around Harrisonburg? I lived in Blacksburg for six years, then moved to Knoxville for fifteen, lots of good riding out there, rooty and rocky, little bitchy climbs. Back in the day I rode 29er SS and muni, but these days I'd go for an agile short travel 29er with short chainstays.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    So you ride around Harrisonburg? I lived in Blacksburg for six years, then moved to Knoxville for fifteen, lots of good riding out there, rooty and rocky, little bitchy climbs. Back in the day I rode 29er SS and muni, but these days I'd go for an agile short travel 29er with short chainstays.
    I'm going out to Massanutten west slope tomorrow with a SC Hightower I'm demoing, very excited

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    Harrisonburg is an interesting place to be a mountain biker. I've ridden a lot of stuff there on rigid bikes long before there was any sort of real suspension. But yeah, you for sure have more fun with suspension. Just because I know where you're riding, I'm going to make a much smaller suggestion than what you're looking at in general, just to give you something mull over. Give the Giant Trance 29 a ride if you can. I think it's a shocker given "how little" travel it has. I run mine with 2.6" tires on it, and while it hasn't been to the GW yet, I've ridden plenty of stuff that reminds me of the GW and wondered if maybe this wouldn't be the perfect bike up there. It's an astute climber, and a composed descender. If you buy one though, do get a model with the DPX2 or better shock.
    Cotharyus makes good points. I've ridden my rigid SS on a lot of trails in Harrisonburg area (even the SM100!). Huge travel isn't necessary, but does make it more fun.

    My current bike is 140/130 (29+ front, 27.5+ rear), and it eats up the trails at Massanutten West. A Trance 29er, even though it only has 130/115 travel front/ rear, probably is the bike I should go with since I'm getting a new one. It really will perform well all around.

    But I ordered the new Giant Reign 29er with 160/146 travel. Because, well, I just want the extra travel because it's fun!

    A Santa Cruz Hightower would also be a great choice. I have a couple customers I've sold them to, and they really enjoy them. Very capable bikes.

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    Take a look at the Rocky Mountain Instinct. Sounds like it would suit your terrain and is super versatile with Ride-9, the ability to go 140-170 up front, and 140 or 155 rear travel. That as well as tire selection can take it from a 28 lb bike to a 34 lb enduro weapon (running coil susp front and rear helps too

    With a dual fork and shock quiver I raced technical xc at 140 (Fox 34)/140 (DPS), and the BC Enduro series with my 170 (36)/155 (DHX2) setup.

    Climbing, it is among the best of the bikes I've owned (Evil Following, Rocky Element, Yeti SB95c, Trance advanced1, Mojo HD) especially in technical terrain, and stable on high speed chunk descending. Being able to tune the BB height, STA and HTA for your style is huge IMO.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    Just my opinion, regardless the category, it's hard not to consider a Santa Cruz these days. With their lifetime warranty on frames and wheels, free lifetime bearing replacement and excellent customer service reputation, it seems like an easy choice. Of course you should ride one first.
    I'm hearing they no longer do the lifetime bearing replacements and since Pon Holdings bought them that things are slowly going downhill - as in not a good direction. Can anyone else confirm this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    I'm hearing they no longer do the lifetime bearing replacements and since Pon Holdings bought them that things are slowly going downhill - as in not a good direction. Can anyone else confirm this?
    That would be a bummer if true. I haven't heard anybody grumbling about bad customer service lately, and they still list the lifetime bearing replacement on their web site. But in the end, there never seems to be a good outcome for companies that get bought out.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  30. #30
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    Still has it on the Santa Cruz site. Not super-recent, but I had a free complete bearing kit supplied for an OG HT a couple months back.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  31. #31
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    Maybe I missed it, what's the budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalBach View Post
    I ride mostly in the Harrisonburg VA area, lots of big rocks and gnarly trails. Most people I've talked to don't recommend going below 140mm for my area, and also go with 29ers for better roll-over ability. I'd say my skill level is between intermediate and advanced, I did a lot of skiing growing up and I currently feel comfortable riding down black diamond trails on Massanutten west slope. I'd say I like to ride aggressive and push my limits. I understand the best way is to demo many bikes, but I just want some suggestions to narrow down my search instead of blindly demoing and blowing through hundreds of dollars. Again, I really like the in-your bike feel of the Process, but something perhaps a little lighter and easier to climb with.
    Check out the new Kona Process 134. Updated geo, better tire clearance (up to 2.6"), steeper STA, pedals much better, variety of build kits in aluminum and carbon. https://www.konaworld.com/platform_process.cfm

    Also a big fan of the Ripmo. The SLX AF gets my vote for best bang for your buck.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
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    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalBach View Post
    I'm going out to Massanutten west slope tomorrow with a SC Hightower I'm demoing, very excited
    I'd love to hear your thoughts on the HT versus the 153 you demo'd.

    I just demo'd the Ripmo carbon GX on the year round get down in Knox and was impressed. This week I'm going to take the Hightower and Megatower for back to back runs down High Voltage at Raccoon.

    I use to live just outside of Staunton. If you're GW hungry, I'd make sure to get something that you don't mind climbing on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PissGuh View Post
    I'd love to hear your thoughts on the HT versus the 153 you demo'd.

    I just demo'd the Ripmo carbon GX on the year round get down in Knox and was impressed. This week I'm going to take the Hightower and Megatower for back to back runs down High Voltage at Raccoon.

    I use to live just outside of Staunton. If you're GW hungry, I'd make sure to get something that you don't mind climbing on.
    The difference in climbing compared to the Process was night and day, I was blown away by how the Hightower just chugs along, my legs stayed fresher for longer and the seated climbing position was very comfortable for my body. The Trek Remedy gets a lot of praise for it's climbing ability but even compared to the Remedy the Hightower was a better climber for me. On the descents the Hightower is incredible, it carves the corners and is stable on steep terrain, and the bike feels very well balanced when going through super slow technical terrain, I never felt like the bike was about to tip over. The Process 153 definitely has more squish, and is more of a enduro sled when compared to the Hightower, but I ended up enjoying the more poppy feeling of the Hightower.
    Let me know how the three bikes compare, I am very curious to hear your thoughts.

  34. #34
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    I recently got a Process 153 Cr as my bigger bike for Tahoe/Downie etc. It's just an all round fantastic bike that actually climbs better than many bikes with that much squish. I'm
    definitely interested to hear how it compares to the 134 though. By the looks of it, the 134 has basically the same geo and linkage, just less travel.

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    Trail pistol.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalBach View Post
    The difference in climbing compared to the Process was night and day, I was blown away by how the Hightower just chugs along, my legs stayed fresher for longer and the seated climbing position was very comfortable for my body. The Trek Remedy gets a lot of praise for it's climbing ability but even compared to the Remedy the Hightower was a better climber for me. On the descents the Hightower is incredible, it carves the corners and is stable on steep terrain, and the bike feels very well balanced when going through super slow technical terrain, I never felt like the bike was about to tip over. The Process 153 definitely has more squish, and is more of a enduro sled when compared to the Hightower, but I ended up enjoying the more poppy feeling of the Hightower.
    Let me know how the three bikes compare, I am very curious to hear your thoughts.
    Well, there was a slight change of plans. I ended up not taking the Megatower out as I ended up going out solo.I did spend a solid 6 hours riding the HT between two different locations near me. Morning ride was on a local DH flow/jump trail. Right off the bat I felt like the Ripmo and HT had a lot more in common than not. Both were very fun, fast and predictable. Climbing seemed spot on with each other, very efficient across the board. They felt great airing out and pushing berms as well as playful transitioning in the turns.

    The big difference to me was added stability on the HT through more chunky terrain and drops. We have some larger drops than what I was able to test the Ripmo on, and the HT felt so controlled, especially perceivable since several of them require fast turns in or near the landing and controlled breaking is essential. The bike just gripped so nicely the moment the wheels touched down.

    In the high speed chop, the HT felt much smoother. I was really impressed with it's capability here. This bike just wants to go FAST. That said, I was even on the R build with the dps/yari combo since it was all that was available. I'll be going with the S build if I pull the trigger on this one.

    Hightower has moved to the top of the list.

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    I demo'd about 8 new bikes and ended up with a Ripmo AF. I can say from my demos, I preferred all designs with no pivots in the rear triangle. If I had to go with one that did, it'd be an axle pivot. Going from a four bar bike to a Ripmo or new SC bike, you can feel the rigidity. The new VPP and DW link just pedal so well over things and descend great. All around awesome. Also, I eliminated any bike that didn't have the latest geo or a bb lower than 340. Narrowed down to Ripmo, Hightower and Offering. Ripmo AF is coil compatible, fits up to 2.6s and is only 0.85 lbs heavier than the Hightower Carbon C frame. Some of the parts are a bit heavy though so that brings it up. New hightower is very good though. Intense just revamped the Primer's geo and that would be worth a close look. They're light too. The Occam, Troy and Remedy are supposed to be good split pivot bikes. Not sure about their geo though.

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