120 Miles on my Ripley V4 - Here are some pros and cons- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    120 Miles on my Ripley V4 - Here are some pros and cons

    (I upgraded a bit ago from a Niner Rip 9 RDO. I do a lot of climbing and mostly flowly down-hill trails. I'm not huge, but I'm a bigger dude.)

    So first things first, I love my Ripley V4. It is an absolutely amazing bike. I have a Large blue frame with the XT drivetrain, 4-piston XT brakes, carbon wheels, and fox factory shock and fork. But here are some of the CONS:

    Steep Seat Tube:

    When I first started riding this bike, I was flying up hills way faster than on my Niner even though the weight difference was only a couple pounds. The climbing position is amazing and efficient. But after 4 or five good rides, I started to get some nasty runner's knee that I'm still dealing with. It never bothered me much when I was riding, but afterward, it would swell up and be painful. So I moved my feet as far forward with clip adjustments as I could, and I moved my seat back as far as I could and raised it as high as I could stand. That seems to have reduced the stress on my knees. But, I'm also a little slower now. Its possible this wouldn't be an issue for everyone, but it seems to be pretty common with this type of geometry.

    Nobby Nic Tires.

    I love these tires, but they throw up dust and rocks like nothing I've ever seen. Combine that with the geometry of the bike and the frame can really get hammered. I immediately covered a lot of the surface after the first ride, but I already had a little chip in the paint.

    Squeaking and other noises

    It may just be my bike, but it started sqeaking around the joints and suspension after the second right. Sounds like an old spring mattress on a honeymoon. I need to take it in to see if they can help me figure it out.

    On descents where I hit the washboards, the bike rattles more than I would expect. Also, the hub is pretty noisy when you coast. Not the noisiest, but still, something to think about if you are sensitive to that.

    "Short" travel

    I tried out a bunch of other bikes, some with more travel (Ripmo, SB130, Hightower) and some very similar bikes (Trail 429, Tallboy, etc). I felt like the Ripmo was probably more bike than I needed. I'm pretty split on this, but when I hit the chop at high speeds, I often wish I had more suspension. The Fox 34 does its best, and it is really pretty great, but I'm going to strongly think about swapping it out for a 36. Still, the rear shock does get a little overwhelmed, and I'm not even doing big drops and gap-jumps. For me, I think the sacrifice on the descents is completely outweighed by how well the Ripley climbs, but I guess my point is that I didn't really see the limitations on the initial demos. Those became much more clear after I put more miles on it. (But no matter what, it kicks the tallboy's ass. Sorry SC fans)

    The 800mm handlebar

    I'm split on this as well. After 120 miles of riding, I think I would stick with the wide handlebars, but things can get pretty tight in the woods. The Ibis handlebars actually have little spacers in them that you can remove without any cutting, but then they are too narrow for me.

    The Bike Yoke dropper post:

    My old bike had a Lev dropper post, and I think it was much more smooth and responsive. The Bike Yoke is OK, but it hesitates sometimes. It's just fine, but not my favorite. (The lever position and type is really good though).

    Water Bottle Option:

    I like to do some shorter rides, so I like to have a water bottle in the frame for those, rather than carrying a pack. You are limited to a smaller bottle and it gets completely trashed with dust. This is really not a big deal. But something worth noting.


    Now for the PROS

    The Fox Factory suspension with the Kashima coating just looks amazing on this bike, and it really does perform well (if you don't max it out). I'm glad I sprung for the Factory.

    The XT 1x12 drivetrain is superb. You really can shift to an easier gear under power without too much fuss. (Shifting to a harder gear under power is a noisy affair and I avoid it). I really think the XT was a good pick. Nothing against SRAM, but I just don't like it quite as much. And I would never go up to the XTR level, but I'm not that kind of rider.

    I upgraded to 4 Piston deore brakes. They are fantastic. Absolutely worth the upgrade.

    The Carbon rims are amazing. I was very hesitant, but I got a good deal, and I'm really surprised by the difference. I don't really think the weight is the issue for riders like me, but the acceleration and stiffness are awesome.

    Nobby Nic tires. I know I put this in cons too, but I love these freaking tires. They try to hit me with rocks all the time and completely cover my water bottle with dust, but they are so good on turns. They give me a lot of confidence.

    Lizard Skin Grips that come standard are fantastic.

    The Geometry really is fantastic. It tries to murder my knees, which sucks, but I love the position in the cockpit both for climbing and descending. I'm 6'0 tall with short legs, and the Large fits me really well. My low back, butt, shoulders, neck, and basically everything other than my knees really appreciate the size and geometry.

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    How does the DW link feel vs CVA? Both up and down?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiveo View Post
    How does the DW link feel vs CVA? Both up and down?
    It's a little hard for me to say. The DW link is better on the climb, but I don't know if I'm sophisticated to separate out the geometry and wheels and stuff. I do know that the DW link is extremely efficient, (even in the open position) on climbs, whereas the CVA had a little more pedal bob and I would often lock out the CVA. It was an older suspension though, to be fair.

    As for the descents, that RIP 9 with CVA was awesome. It had the same amount of travel on the front and rear, but I felt like it handled the chop and the jumps I do better. But, the Ripley is so "poppy" and lively. I have more fun on the descents on the Ripley, even though I'd probably say the CVA performs better at providing stability and absorption.

  4. #4
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    Hmm, one thing that's not mentioned when it comes to shorter travel bikes is how relevant the rider weight. For example, this bikes has 17% less travel than a Ripmo but rider weights can vary by 25-50% easily. I always recommend a heavier rider consider this when thinking about how much travel they'll need and use.

    Side note, if you have the regular Deore 4 pistons and not the SLX or XTs, my front Deore pads rattled like crazy. I thought it was the fork but then swapped brakes and confirmed it was the Deores. Worth checking since you said the bike is noisy. Part could be coming from there. Also make sure those cables are zip tied up front.
    2020 Ripmo AF

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfr4dr View Post
    Hmm, one thing that's not mentioned when it comes to shorter travel bikes is how relevant the rider weight. For example, this bikes has 17% less travel than a Ripmo but rider weights can vary by 25-50% easily. I always recommend a heavier rider consider this when thinking about how much travel they'll need and use.

    Side note, if you have the regular Deore 4 pistons and not the SLX or XTs, my front Deore pads rattled like crazy. I thought it was the fork but then swapped brakes and confirmed it was the Deores. Worth checking since you said the bike is noisy. Part could be coming from there. Also make sure those cables are zip tied up front.
    Thanks! I have the XT deore 4-piston brakes. But I'll still check and see if they are rattling and if they are secure.

    As for rider weight, I do agree that is a factor, but the ability to adjust the firmness of the suspension can counter-act some of that. It is definitely something to consider, but I think the bigger factor is still the type of trails you like to ride. I think I would still choose the Ripley over the Ripmo or Yeti SB130, but the travel question is closer now than I thought it was when I was doing demos. I think the shorter travel bikes just feel so lively and fun that it can give you the sensation that the bigger bikes are sloshy and imprecise. But I think if you rode a ripmo for two months, that contrast would be gone and the extra travel might be worth the sacrifice. But for me, it still isn't.

  6. #6
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    The for review. While I believe u about seat tube angle con, is it possible knee is bothering u from something else? Both knees btw?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1lawnman View Post
    The for review. While I believe u about seat tube angle con, is it possible knee is bothering u from something else? Both knees btw?
    It is absolutely possible that something else is going on with my knees. But both knees are bothering me in the same way, they didn't bother me with my old bike, and they have been bothering me less since I made the adjustments to my seat and shoes. So my best guess is that the geometry and riding position were at least factors that contributed to the runner's knee issues.

  8. #8
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    Hope so. For you and me both. I've got one on the way

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1lawnman View Post
    Hope so. For you and me both. I've got one on the way
    I think itís very individual specific. This was a big concern for me and my knees seem to really enjoy it. I have a bum knee that I had acl and meniscus removed 23 years ago. At over 150 miles on the bike and with a few 15 to 25 mile rides on it my body seems to like this geometry. I actually have my seat a bit forward of center and still no issues.

    Iím not doubting that it can cause knee strain from some folks. One thought I had in the beginning was to slowly build mileage on the new bike. It definitely uses some different muscles. I went on several short 5 to 10 mile rides early on and I had actual muscle soreness the next day. I donít usually get sore muscles even from a long day on the bike. Fatigued legs absolutely, but not acute muscle soreness. This made me realize that I was not using these muscles on my older more traditional Geo bike.

    I would definitely say give your body time to adjust. The hard part is when an issue starts with the knees I have found it very difficult to get it to quiet down without taking som time off the bike. I had an issue several years ago from ramping up mileage too quickly that a tendon on the insides of both knees would flare at around 5 to 10 miles. It took winter and some PT, followed by slowly increasing mileage on the trainer(barf) to get the issue to go away.

  10. #10
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    Went from RIP 9 rdo to RIPMO. Definitely noticed change in STA too. Very different muscle groups. But, Iím 6í2Ē and mostly legs so my actual STA on the Niner was like 71 degrees. I think my body had learned to handle that less than good position after back to back RIP 9s (since 2011)which had that significant bend in the seat tube that meant the taller your seat, the more you were back.

    Had to adjust slowly as was said- really over months. Now, I am dialed in with it and much prefer. Wonder too if you might adjust with some time. Take it slow and perhaps keep the cleat position change-its just better and this geo allows for it.

  11. #11
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    I definitely think that the adjustments in my position and maybe just getting used to the bike has at least stopped additional knee problems. They still linger a bit, but they are gradually feeling better.

    I would guess that the majority of riders won't have the same problem as me, but it is something to watch for that seems to be common enough to at least think about if you start to feel a little sore. So taking it slow with the new bike (which might apply to any new bike) is good advice.

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    I eliminated a lot of knee pain on my mountain bikes going back to flats.

    I still use clipless on my gravel bike. The freedom of movement, comfort and reduction of knee pain made the return to flats an easy choice for me.

    I run OneUp aluminum pedals and five ten Freerider pro shoes. I love the combination.

    I went from a Niner Jet 9 RDO to the Ripley V4 this season. Iím loving the Ripley!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack24 View Post
    I definitely think that the adjustments in my position and maybe just getting used to the bike has at least stopped additional knee problems. They still linger a bit, but they are gradually feeling better.

    I would guess that the majority of riders won't have the same problem as me, but it is something to watch for that seems to be common enough to at least think about if you start to feel a little sore. So taking it slow with the new bike (which might apply to any new bike) is good advice.
    It certainly is a point worth considering. There may be some specific body types or lengths etc. that wonít get along with this new geo. I think the moves you made were smart choices. I could see how seat back/cleats back would help. I started pushing my cleats back a couple years ago and when I got the Ripley I buried them back as far as they would go on my shoes. I feel like for me itís a more comfortable/powerful position. I hope the knee pain clears up for you.

    Out of curiosity on some of you other comments as far as squeaks go, are you often riding in wet weather. The reason I ask is I am originally from Michigan but have lived in Colorado for the past 20 years. I can say without a doubt the riding conditions in Michigan due to water and sand were much harder on drivetrain/ bearings/ everything than what I deal with now. Now itís only dust and the longevity I get out of components is staggering to me. My Ripley has been very quiet fortunately as any squeaks will drive me insane in short order. Hope you are able to get these sorted out as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thenry View Post
    Out of curiosity on some of you other comments as far as squeaks go, are you often riding in wet weather. The reason I ask is I am originally from Michigan but have lived in Colorado for the past 20 years. I can say without a doubt the riding conditions in Michigan due to water and sand were much harder on drivetrain/ bearings/ everything than what I deal with now. Now itís only dust and the longevity I get out of components is staggering to me. My Ripley has been very quite fortunately as any squeaks will drive me insane in short order. Hope you are able to get these sorted out as well.
    I live in Northern Utah and it is all just dusty, especially this season. But I have sprayed it off, so the squeaking could be tied to water from cleaning it. I'm trying to narrow down the source of the squeak. I'm pretty sure it is in the pivot/bushings. I'm getting used to it, but it is pretty constant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jack24 View Post
    I live in Northern Utah and it is all just dusty, especially this season. But I have sprayed it off, so the squeaking could be tied to water from cleaning it. I'm trying to narrow down the source of the squeak. I'm pretty sure it is in the pivot/bushings. I'm getting used to it, but it is pretty constant.
    Same conditions that Iím riding in then. I have also sprayed the bike down and driven it for 2 hours through a rain storm at 80 mph come to think of it. If you wouldnít mind posting when you figure it out I would appreciate it. If I could do a little preemptive maintenance to avoid the squeaks I am all for it. Otherwise I do a tear down/ wear check, and re-grease when the weather turns cold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jack24 View Post
    I live in Northern Utah and it is all just dusty, especially this season. But I have sprayed it off, so the squeaking could be tied to water from cleaning it. I'm trying to narrow down the source of the squeak. I'm pretty sure it is in the pivot/bushings. I'm getting used to it, but it is pretty constant.
    Have you checked the seat clamp? My Bike Yoke squeeks like crazy but if I grease it every 2 months, it's silent.
    2020 Ripmo AF

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfr4dr View Post
    Have you checked the seat clamp? My Bike Yoke squeeks like crazy but if I grease it every 2 months, it's silent.
    Agreed. My V4 was being quite noisy, and it was all due to the Bike Yoke seat clamp. The bolts have no washers, a good cleaning and greasing of the bolt heads and barrel nut-to-clamp interface completely silenced the bike. Other than that, it is the quietest bike I've ever owned.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfr4dr View Post
    Hmm, one thing that's not mentioned when it comes to shorter travel bikes is how relevant the rider weight. For example, this bikes has 17% less travel than a Ripmo but rider weights can vary by 25-50% easily. I always recommend a heavier rider consider this when thinking about how much travel they'll need and use.
    So are you hypothesizing that a heavier rider can use a bike with more travel and have it feel like a shorter travel bike? The reason I'm asking is that I'm currently on a Mojo 3 but thinking seriously about pulling the trigger on a HD4 frame to have in reserve and/or build over time. My biggest concern is how much of the nimbleness and poppiness I may lose making this change. I'm 6'4" and 210 lbs. without riding gear.

    Thanks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABQ Clydesdale View Post
    So are you hypothesizing that a heavier rider can use a bike with more travel and have it feel like a shorter travel bike? The reason I'm asking is that I'm currently on a Mojo 3 but thinking seriously about pulling the trigger on a HD4 frame to have in reserve and/or build over time. My biggest concern is how much of the nimbleness and poppiness I may lose making this change. I'm 6'4" and 210 lbs. without riding gear.

    Thanks!

    I'm interested to hear the response on this too. In my experience, it is not the case. As a bigger dude, I can adjust the suspension to take my weight and create a balance between weight and resistance. I somehow doubt that a properly adjusted Ripmo would feel the same to me as a properly adjusted Ripley would feel to a 140 lb person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jack24 View Post
    I'm interested to hear the response on this too. In my experience, it is not the case. As a bigger dude, I can adjust the suspension to take my weight and create a balance between weight and resistance. I somehow doubt that a properly adjusted Ripmo would feel the same to me as a properly adjusted Ripley would feel to a 140 lb person.
    Iím a lighter rider but I would think this would be the case. I would think you would lose some of the things that make a short travel bike fun if you jump to longer travel due to body weight alone. That would be the equivalent of someone telling me that because I am a light weight I should need less travel to go over the same terrain as a heavier rider. The reality is unless you fall outside the tuning options light or heavy(at which point custom tune) you should get the amount of travel you want for your trails and style of riding. Sure you may benefit building the bike with more heavy duty parts then I will but that has nothing to do with the amount of travel or the intent of the bike. The only outlier I see are frames, wheels etc. that have a manufacturers weight limit on them.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by thenry View Post
    Iím a lighter rider but I would think this would be the case. I would think you would lose some of the things that make a short travel bike fun if you jump to longer travel due to body weight alone. That would be the equivalent of someone telling me that because I am a light weight I should need less travel to go over the same terrain as a heavier rider...
    Yeah, I agree. I suppose there is probably a case for some element of scaling travel to rider size for extreme outliers but as a practical matter for the vast majority of riders your travel should meet the requirements of your riding style and trails, and a good bike setup takes care of everything else.

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    In the past, when I ran more....I would get IT band issues every time I was forced to change shoes that had a new heel to toe drop, arch changes, new sole stiffness, etc. if I went at it too hard, I would get a flare up. I always had to slowly build mileage back up to get my legs adjusted to the new shoes. If you were riding regularly enough on your RIP and switch to the new School geo, I think it makes 100% sense your body could react negatively especially if you have sensitive knees like me.

    AS for CVA vs DW...I rode several Niners but ultimately abandoned them due to repeated warranty issues (2012-2015), but I found CVA to be more active and plush than DW. Did I like it more? Hard to say cause the geo of my old RIP and Jet were so steep compared to the HD3, but I do think the CVA was/is a great suspension that climbed well (not as well as DW) and descended really well. Until I put on a Cane Creek DBAir IL on my HD3, I was never able to get the sensitivity I has on the CVA when riding XC/Chattery terrain. I still like my Ibis better than my Niners. The geo/fit and 27.5 is a better fit for me. Still interested in trying the Ripley though.

  23. #23
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    I am in similar situation-switch from 6 years on OG Ripley to SB130-major geo change. Knee pain came on immediately. Love the steeper sta and pedaling position of the SB130, but I have been creeping my cleats back, as it seems necessary. I no doubt ramped up the miles too quickly, but am slowly getting my legs used to the pedaling position. Iíve probably put in 5-600 mi on the bike now. Canít say for sure if I can live with 77deg STA long-term, but things seem to be going in the right direction for now.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockinrod42 View Post
    I am in similar situation-switch from 6 years on OG Ripley to SB130-major geo change. Knee pain came on immediately. Love the steeper sta and pedaling position of the SB130, but I have been creeping my cleats back, as it seems necessary. I no doubt ramped up the miles too quickly, but am slowly getting my legs used to the pedaling position. Iíve probably put in 5-600 mi on the bike now. Canít say for sure if I can live with 77deg STA long-term, but things seem to be going in the right direction for now.
    Part of the problem is you get a new bike and you just want to ride the thing all the time. At least that is my experience. Iíve personally created knee strain/pain for myself in the past by ramping up mileage and intensity too quickly on a bike my body was completely adjusted to. Having Said that I do think these steep seat tube angles are at the limit or have gone too far for many body types. If I had to pick between knee pain or getting forward on the saddle for steep climbs I pick forward on the saddle no questions asked.

    I hope you are able to continue to adjust to your new bike and able to get to a comfortable riding situation. Nagging knee pain sucks!

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