Just curious, are you concerned about the reported flexiness of the RIP, particularly compared to the lateral stiffness of your Knolly? I've got both the RIP (and WFO) and Delirium on my "next bike radar", I'm curious to here you compare and contrast them once you've got your hands on a RIP.
I'm not too concerned about the reported flexiness on the 1st generation Rip9. We rode it last year at I-bike and, for whatever reason, I think I liked the '08 better than the '09 we rode this year. It just felt lighter more playful and a bit more XC. I didn't notice the '08 being overly flexy but it didn't feel as stiff as the Sultan ....... and it's nowhere near as stiff as the D-T, nor would I expect it to be (Duh).
Though the bike it would be replacing is the HH100x which is
arguably the stiffest 4" travel XC/trail FS 26er bike around for the weight (just under 6#). So I'd be a bit disappointed if the Rip9 felt a lot flexier than the HH, I guess. Didn't seem like it when I rode it, though.
If I could get a leftover '08 Sultan built up for that price (if there are any left) I'd have to seriously consider going that way. Love the Sultan. (couple of nice used frames in the classifieds right now for around a grand... and some of the parts from the HH would transfer over.... so that's also a consideration.)
Any comments on the Manitou Absolute 29er 120 fork with 20mm TA Hex axle on that spec? Is that an '09 model?