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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question:

What can the Czar do better than the Ripley?
I think I know what the Ripley does better...but have only ridden the Ibis.

I understand they are close cousins in purpose and geometry. After a lot of reading/research, I've been gravitating toward the Czar...until I was able to demo the Ibis in Moab last week.

Granted, Moab has unique terrain, which is much more aggressive than my usual riding terrain. I really enjoyed the plushness of the Ribley (120 mm front/back), and now I worry that the Czar would not be able to measure up on the descents when compared to the Ripley. I haven't been able to demo the Czar, but am contemplating a drive to So. Cal to do it. I'm definitely XC oriented, and don't want to sacrifice climbing efficiency, but if the two are equivalent in climbing, why not get
more travel for decents?

Has anyone had significant time on both bikes? Specifically, is there a winner in the climbing category, a winner in the descending category?

If equivalent in ride quality for ascending/descending, I'm leaning towards the Czar (I really think it's great that Dave Turner answered the phone when I called them up a couple months ago). But, after my Moab trip, I'm wondering if I would enjoy that extra 20mm of travel (front and back) with the Ibis.

Thanks.
 

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I have a Ripley and one of my riding buddies just bought a Czar. He rode my Ripley before making his decision. It wasn't really a fair comparison, since my Ripley has a 140mm Pike fork and big-ish tires, whereas the Czar was set up with 100mm SID fork with light tires and carbon fiber wheels, so it weighed probably 3 or 4 pounds less than my Ripley. Predictably, the Ripley was way, way smoother on rough rocky downhill trails. He went with the Czar because he liked how quick it felt - and it is quicker than my Ripley, but I personally think that is mostly the weight difference (especially in the wheels) and secondarily the longer fork.

I think the two bikes are pretty darn similar when set up similarly. I haven't ridden them back-to-back with similar builds (especially wheels), but the Ripley can be built up pretty much the same weight and it climbs great, so I think they would be really similar. The Czar is very versatile and good downhill for its travel, but I think the Ripley would have the edge there, mainly because of the extra travel. Certainly there is no comparison when the Ripley is set up with a Pike - on hard rocky trails, he definitely can't keep up. I'm happy with my Ripley because I wanted a more versatile bike, but the Czar is great and good enough that my buddy chose it. He said he wanted a bike that was a bit distinct from his other bikes (he had been riding an Ibis Mojo SL). And he is really fast with the Czar!

Both great bikes, more similar than different. I personally think you give up very little, if anything, on the climb and you gain on the descent, so I went with the Ripley - but really, I don't think you can go wrong!

Hope that helps.
 

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Living the Dream
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I think the Geo on the ripley is more cramped. Some people size up or run longer stems. This is what kept me from the ripley.
 

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Agreed. I felt that way as well on the Ripley. Otherwise I think it's a great bike. I probably would have liked it more in a next size up.
 

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After reading more and more about the Ripley.....I test rode one recently and it just "fit me like a glove" It was amazing. Now reading about the geometry and how it runs "smaller" - this is most likely why it felt so good for me too - I'm a tad over 5'5 and the cockpit was perfect for me. I'm trying so hard to replicate this feeling on my Trek Fuel EX7.....ay, might just have to wait till I can afford the Ibis :)
 

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If the Ripley geometry can be described as cramped, then so can the Czar. Size for size, they are nearly identical, reach measurements included.
 

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Reach measurements from each manufacturer's website for an XL:

Ripley (120mm) = 432mm
Czar = 434mm

Maybe I should have been more specific. Size for size, the Czar is nearly identical in geometry to the Ripley with a 120mm fork.
 

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Czar would be better for bikepacking due to large front triangle. Other than that, not sure what advantage you gain by going czar. The rip can be built as a 22 lb XC weenie screamer bike, if that is your thing.
 

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Make the trip to Southern California. I drove 9 hours to ride the Czar back in January. Dave Turner let me keep it over the weekend. I rode it along with 4 other bikes (not the Ripley), back to back, for three days. I bought the Czar. It was so quick in the tight switchbacks that it didn't feel like a 29er, it sucked up bumps better than you would think for 100mm of travel, but the big thing for me was how incredibly well it climbed. Make the trip and you will be able to make a decision on what is best for you.
 

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Very similar bikes with 120 forks on both with the Ripley having the edge in easier manuals and tighter terrain due to it's taller feeling stack and shorter wheelbase, Czar having the edge in fast, more open terrain.

That's the middle where they meet.... however the Czar goes more XC from there with a 100 mm fork and the Ripley goes more trail/light AM with the 140 fork.

If you're planning on a 120 fork on both, I think it's a toss up depending on what type of terrain or how tight your trails are swaying you one way or the other ever so slightly (brand preference/loyalty or color choices and looks may play as significant role as close as these two are). If you want to go more XC/endurance/epic bike packing etc, go Czar 100mm, if you want to build a more capable rowdy trail weapon the Ripley with 140 Pike is the choice.
 

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Reach measurements from each manufacturer's website for an XL:

Ripley (120mm) = 432mm
Czar = 434mm

Maybe I should have been more specific. Size for size, the Czar is nearly identical in geometry to the Ripley with a 120mm fork.

Right, my recorded values are for a 140mm ripley fork.

I didn't noticed while riding that the czar was so short. I have to measure the one i have on test to get a real value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like the bikes are fairly similar if the Czar uses a 120mm fork...however, this will slacken the seat tube angle, the head angle, lengthen the wheelbase, and shorten the cockpit a bit.

Can anyone speak to how the Czar is effected by going from 100mm to 120mm fork in terms of ride quality? By doing so, would this possibly give Ripley the edge on ascents as its geometry would be a bit more advantageous for climbing? Or are the changes in geometry/ride quality negligible when going to a 120mm fork?
 

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I can't comment/compare to the Ripley, but I'm running a 120mm Reba on a czar and like it. I run it a bit soft, perhaps it does make it a tad slack, but I don't think it's drastic that it ruins or changes the quality or character of the bike that much at all. It's noticeable, but doesn't detract from capabilities. I've been killing it on climbs lately with this bike! (and my previous bike, a Spearfish, was a great climber)

I only do a few races a year, so the majority of my riding is local rocky trail rides, long epics etc. so I appreciate and dig the extra squish. Makes for a great, raceable, all-rounder.... and that was what I wanted.

I think the Ripley is a fantastic bike, but geo is a bit different, bit more squish, it's going to have a bit different character is my guess. Best to demo!
 

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Have a buddy looking very close at the CZAR for a X-Large there is a *long* wait :(
Can't even find one to demo in SoCal in such short supply
 

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I had an hour on the Ripley at a demo, very fast steering with the 120mm 51mm offset fork and dw link is my favorite sus. The frame was stiff enough but was not as stiff as some of the other carbon frames I have demoed - I weigh 215. The top tube is on the short side for my preference and would be so on the Czar as the geo is close on both. Ripley has the advantage if you want to run longer travel up front. You would enjoy either one I would bet.

I have been considering a Jet 9 RDO over the Czar but unsure about frame durability and sus. Looking for XL frame to demo on either but hard to come by.
 
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