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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone here have experience on both of these? I’m interested to pull the plug and get the ripley as I hear it’s a much better climber.
Mind you my instinct is only 26.5lb so it’s no slouch.
I don’t want to give up anything on the downs.
Interested to hear experiences and opinions.
 

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instinct is more capable on the downs

Ripley is a better climber....but not enough to dump the instinct for the ripley.


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mosstrooper
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Anyone here have experience on both of these? I’m interested to pull the plug and get the ripley as I hear it’s a much better climber.
Mind you my instinct is only 26.5lb so it’s no slouch.
I don’t want to give up anything on the downs.
Interested to hear experiences and opinions.
That's awesome you have a light Instinct -- I think that bike in its current manifestation makes a terrific light trail bike. Most people end up on an Instinct out of a desire to build it as a rowdier all-mountain rig but it has great capabilities as a more pedal-happy platform as well. When I first built mine it was a bit under 28lbs at 140/140 with a Fox 34 and lighter wheels and tires, but it was still a capable bike in chunky desert terrain (awesome in a place like St George). Mind you, I later went the BC edition route and the bike gained 3.5lbs (and some descending chops, especially with the DPX2), but I think the first iteration was pretty neat.

I ended up building up a Ripley v4 to fill the slot between my Instinct BC and my XC race bike, and, suffice to say, didn't love the bike. It was certainly a lively pedaler and I didn't mind climbing on it, but it felt waaay too much like an enduro bike in its geometry (esp. seat tube angle and looong wheel base) without the suspension plushness or traction to back up the geo. The DW-Link tuning on the current Ibis bikes are, in my opinion, amazing for smooth and pumpy terrain, and absolutely unpredictable in slow-speed chunder; nowhere is this more clear than with the shock tune on the DPS for the Ripley. Very harsh, spikey and lots of rear wheel skittering. (Many folks end up changing out the DPS for something different; I briefly tried a Super Deluxe but didn't find it changed the performance enough from stock.)

If you are located somewhere like the Wasatch Front, northern California or the CO Front Range, where there are lots of long and steep-ish climbs on fire roads or switchbacking climbing trails, the Ripley will definitely out-climb the Instinct -- not by a mile, but by a noticeable margin. The steep seat angle will let you grind up huge climbs with a minimum of hamstring/back fatigue and you won't have to get in/out of the saddle much at all. If you can get the rear end feeling OK, you may find the Ripley kills it on those big-climbs-to-big-descents, "winch and plummet" types of rides. Especially since you can build it at least as light, if not lighter than the Instinct. BUT, any time the riding gets technical, the Ripley will buck you around, and won't have nearly the traction (up or down) as the Instinct.

While neither of them can be built particularly light, I think the Revel Rascal and the Pivot Switchblade are two bikes you might want to consider. I'm a bigger guy at 190lbs ready to ride and the lateral stiffness of either bike is quite noticeable coming from an Instinct -- much more precise steering and less rear-end wander in rock gardens. They're both phenomenal climbers, with the Rascal seeming to excel more in slower-speed, ratchet-pedaling jumbly tech and the Switchblade more on "power moves" and quick bursts. I don't quite need Switchblade-level travel (the 155/160 BC edition was also too much bike for me, except on days of lift-served riding), so I went Rascal -- which has been a phenomenal bike for the more backwoods, rough-cut New England trails I've mostly rode during Covid. Riding a CBF bike is, it seems to me, well worth the weight penalty -- my XL Rascal is about 600g more than my XL Instinct frame was. (Cable routing is notably better, though!)

I haven't rode the 2021 Stumpjumper but if I was dead-set on building a sub-27lb trail bike that would probably be the direction I would go. I didn't much care for the kinematics of the older Stumpy but I'm intrigued by the changes and the flex pivot on the new one.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
That's awesome you have a light Instinct -- I think that bike in its current manifestation makes a terrific light trail bike. Most people end up on an Instinct out of a desire to build it as a rowdier all-mountain rig but it has great capabilities as a more pedal-happy platform as well. When I first built mine it was a bit under 28lbs at 140/140 with a Fox 34 and lighter wheels and tires, but it was still a capable bike in chunky desert terrain (awesome in a place like St George). Mind you, I later went the BC edition route and the bike gained 3.5lbs (and some descending chops, especially with the DPX2), but I think the first iteration was pretty neat.

I ended up building up a Ripley v4 to fill the slot between my Instinct BC and my XC race bike, and, suffice to say, didn't love the bike. It was certainly a lively pedaler and I didn't mind climbing on it, but it felt waaay too much like an enduro bike in its geometry (esp. seat tube angle and looong wheel base) without the suspension plushness or traction to back up the geo. The DW-Link tuning on the current Ibis bikes are, in my opinion, amazing for smooth and pumpy terrain, and absolutely unpredictable in slow-speed chunder; nowhere is this more clear than with the shock tune on the DPS for the Ripley. Very harsh, spikey and lots of rear wheel skittering. (Many folks end up changing out the DPS for something different; I briefly tried a Super Deluxe but didn't find it changed the performance enough from stock.)

If you are located somewhere like the Wasatch Front, northern California or the CO Front Range, where there are lots of long and steep-ish climbs on fire roads or switchbacking climbing trails, the Ripley will definitely out-climb the Instinct -- not by a mile, but by a noticeable margin. The steep seat angle will let you grind up huge climbs with a minimum of hamstring/back fatigue and you won't have to get in/out of the saddle much at all. If you can get the rear end feeling OK, you may find the Ripley kills it on those big-climbs-to-big-descents, "winch and plummet" types of rides. Especially since you can build it at least as light, if not lighter than the Instinct. BUT, any time the riding gets technical, the Ripley will buck you around, and won't have nearly the traction (up or down) as the Instinct.

While neither of them can be built particularly light, I think the Revel Rascal and the Pivot Switchblade are two bikes you might want to consider. I'm a bigger guy at 190lbs ready to ride and the lateral stiffness of either bike is quite noticeable coming from an Instinct -- much more precise steering and less rear-end wander in rock gardens. They're both phenomenal climbers, with the Rascal seeming to excel more in slower-speed, ratchet-pedaling jumbly tech and the Switchblade more on "power moves" and quick bursts. I don't quite need Switchblade-level travel (the 155/160 BC edition was also too much bike for me, except on days of lift-served riding), so I went Rascal -- which has been a phenomenal bike for the more backwoods, rough-cut New England trails I've mostly rode during Covid. Riding a CBF bike is, it seems to me, well worth the weight penalty -- my XL Rascal is about 600g more than my XL Instinct frame was. (Cable routing is notably better, though!)

I haven't rode the 2021 Stumpjumper but if I was dead-set on building a sub-27lb trail bike that would probably be the direction I would go. I didn't much care for the kinematics of the older Stumpy but I'm intrigued by the changes and the flex pivot on the new one.
Thanks for the very helpful input. That's the kind of info I'm looking for. I didn't know the Ripley would be skittish on the downs or the rough. Makes sense with the short travel in the rear but I just haven't heard anyone report that. Really good to know. I have also asked a lot about the switchblade on forums and facebook to get some insight of what its really like. Sounds like a one bike quiver for sure. I think it would be the perfect do it all bike but didn't know how it would climb vs the lightweight ripley. I actually test rode the switchblade 2 weeks ago. However due to big winter storm here in Canada, all I could test it on was a paved trail that was still covered with snow. All the mtb trails have 50cm or more on them so it would be pointless to bring the bike there. I really liked the longer top tube of the switchbade. I'm not a tall guy (5'7) but I really like a long bike so I can move around and it keeps the front wheel planted (in my opinion). It felt like I was "in" the bike vs "on" the bike.

I have heard and read about the rascal but not sure there is anywhere remotely close I could demo one.

I like what you said about not needing all the travel the rascal and switchblade offer. I would agree. However if it can keep up with the xc or downcountry bikes on the climbs, I'm ok with it. Gives more forgiveness on the downs.
 

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mosstrooper
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I like what you said about not needing all the travel the rascal and switchblade offer. I would agree. However if it can keep up with the xc or downcountry bikes on the climbs, I'm ok with it. Gives more forgiveness on the downs.
Yeah, I think I got lured in to buying a Ripley by all the hype around it (some of which is deserved), and ended up feeling pretty disappointed that my 120mm Ripley didn’t go downhill like my 140mm Instinct. Which is kind of unfair — the 20mm extra travel does make a difference, and relative to other 110-120mm bikes (Tallboy v3 or 429 Trail, for instance) the Ripley is pretty confidence-inspiring on the descents. At least, the geometry inspires confidence; the suspension doesn’t quite have the suppleness or traction to match. The Instinct may not have been as “efficient” climbing as the Ripley but I’m not sure the loss of descending prowess made up for the slight difference on climbs. Rocky Mtn makes bikes that just claw their way tenaciously through tech climbs and the Instinct is for sure in that lineage.

Agreed the longer top tube on a Switchblade or similar bike would be a big asset for descending, especially at higher speeds. Compared to a more XC-oriented bike, that "in-the-bike" feel of a modern trail bike really makes you want to push the pace on descents and carve through stuff at speed. The Switchblade/Rascal type of bike isn’t crazy long, though — you can still wiggle through trees and flick the bike from line to line when needed. Different story with something like a Yeti SB130 which is that little bit longer/lower/slacker and does best at high speeds.

Now that I'm doing the math, I think you could build the Switchblade up pretty light, maybe not quite 26.5lbs but certainly 27.5-28ish if I took a rough guess. 150mm Pike up front (10mm under-forked but Pivot BBs are high to begin with), 1500g carbon rims, Rekon/Dissector combo, etc. would shave some pounds off the 30+ lb. stock builds. Bummer that Pivot's Super Boost (super boosted, bro!) frames aren't more readily available frame-only. I messaged their CS to ask about getting a frame over the summer and they said they weren't going to offer a frame-only until ... well, they didn't specify. Sort of frustrating, but also helpful as it solved my Rascal vs. Switchblade dilemma and I am super happy with the Rascal.
 
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