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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
EDIT:
After trying several different bikes I went a new direction and picked up the new 2019 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon in May 2018 and I am totally happy with the descision
:thumbsup:

Hi, I’m going to be building up a new bike next year and after researching I’ve narrowed it down to the only 2 bikes that meet my strict requirements:
1. 110 to 120 rear travel
2. 120 to 130 front travel
3. 29er Wheels
4. Boost spacing
5. Threaded bottom bracket
6. 31.6 Seatpost
7. Must be able hold a large water bottle in the triangle
8. Head Angle between 67° & 68°
9. Full Carbon Frame
10. Available as a frame only option

I have these requirements based on how and where I ride and to easily transfer the upgrades from my current FS bike, 2017 Scott Spark (Which will get it’s original parts put back on and kept as a spare bike).

Below are the bikes that I researched but didn’t meet my non negotiable requirements. A few of the bikes below look real good, but I just can’t accept anything other than the requirements above : Pivot Mach429, Evil Following MB, Specialized Camber, Transition Smuggler, Salsa Horsethief, Yeti SB4.5 (waiting to see new ASR), Intense Primer, Kona Process111, Niner Jet 9 RDO, Orange Stage4, YT Jeffsey, Canyon Neuron, Whyte T-130, Trek Fuel EX, Devinci Django, Spot Mayhem 29, Cube Stereo 120, Norco Optic & Fluid FS, Turner Czar, Orbea Occam, Cannondale Scalpel SE 2 and any Giant.

Some background:
I’m 178cm (5’10”) 80kg (176lbs), I’ve been riding for over 30 years, I’m from Southern California  but live in Denmark  where we don’t have mountains or long steep climbs or descents. We do have a lot of great trail systems with both fast and flowing and short steep and technical. I use my MTBs to commute to the office (every day, all year and all weather) and hit the trails on the way home if the trail conditions/weather allow.

Next spring I’m headed back to SoCal for a few weeks and will be renting demos of both bikes. I would like know your opinions on how they compare to each other and my current bike. (Plus I’m bored and thought I would start up a thread for entertainment)

The only real differences that I see that stand out is that the Tallboy can switch to 27.5+ and the Ripley can accept 2.6 wide 29er tires. Also VPP vs DW link suspension.

Anyone here who has experience on both bikes that can give me some pros and cons or any advice or info I may not have thought of?
 

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Hi, I’m from New York and I own a V2 LS. When I think of Denmark I think of wet and flat muddy trails, very different from California conditions and riding. I haven’t ridden in either of those two places, but have lived in a nearby country. You have selected some nice bikes, many of which I haven’t tested or demoed. As far as the tallboy vs LS the decision would come down to wheel size. The tallboy is more versatile in that it can take both 29&27.5+. However, the 2.6” is the “best of both worlds”, and is going to be a fair bit more confident on the down hill. The bike is near impossible to go otb on, with speed. I’m sure your aware of the slight differences in warranty as well. I don’t much care for the added weight of plus tires, but can appreciate it for snow and sand. I eventually decided I would get a fat bike, so I got the ripley instead. I also liked that the main pivots were shielded from the elements. I have commuted a little bit on the ripley as well. So the bike’s suspension is so good that I keep it in trail or open even when commuting. It does bob, through the tires and suspension otherwise, another reason I feel having too much cushion in your tires can be a bad thing. I’ve heard that the LS is in between the HT and TB. IMO the sizing feels a bit different as well, so that would likely infulence your decision if you demoed them side by side.

In your case, it sounds like you have many needs in which the clear advise would be to buy multiple bikes instead of dropping a ton of money on one bike to do it all. Can you not buy and sell a bike for your needs in Denmark? The reason I mention this is because if your frame cracks or something the headache of an international warranty claim may become real. I’m not certain what the company policies are and I feel they would take care of you here as long as you have proof of purchase. I’ve ridden a few of the other bikes on your list, but I’m not sure how useful such comparisons would be. Also, fitting a large watter bottle is a bit tough on my LS, even with a side loader, it occassionally hits my shock lever. I would also recommend shimano for a mtb commuter bike if you still go that route, due to cost savings.
 

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Don't forget that the tallboy can take as long of a dropper as you can fit on. The Ripley is limited to 125, maybe 150 if you size down. Both are great bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you jokaankit & alexbn921 for the replys, lots of good information 😊

Not sure why I would need to buy multiple bikes, I already have 3 MTBs and 2 of those can do everything I need 👍 plus my intention was to buy a frame set and transfer my current upgrades from my 17’ Scott Spark and set the Spark aside for a loaner/backup bike.

... but now there is a new development in my situation:
Since my post I built our shed into a bike workshop and was hoping that would give me extra room for a 4th bike (6 counting my girlfriends bikes) but it didn’t work out that way. I just couldn’t make the space. Even with 2 bikes displayed in the house and 2 locked outside.

My Spark pretty much fits right in between the Tallboy & Ripley and now that I completed the rebuild this week (sans new wheel set) I have fallen back in love with it and when my new wheel set shows up it will be everything I need/want. Only thing is the annoying pressfit BB but now I just invested in all the proper tools so not a big issue... yet.

I am still planning to demo the SC & Ibis and other bikes while visiting SoCal in spring but for now I’m going to ride my Spark a while longer, save my cash and wait to see what the next generation of bikes bring to the table.

I’ll post up a picture of the finished Scott Spark + upgrades this week after I get the last details finished 😊
 

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Even in terms of sprinting / straight line acceleration?
Easily, also the new Ripley is nothing like the old Ripley, it's a very poppy feeling bike now. The Mayhem climbs like an XC bike but decends like a AM bike, the frame is super stiff and when you first ride it the bike will feel a little funny at first because of how steep the seat tube is, but that feeling will go away and it just rips.
 

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The spot is closer to a Hightower than a tallboy. It has a relatively short reach along with limited dropper clearance. I do like the look of the bike.
 

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The spot is closer to a Hightower than a tallboy. It has a relatively short reach along with limited dropper clearance. I do like the look of the bike.

Spot and Hightower have pretty much the same reach. Eg. 18.7 on XL size. Spot has a shorter ETT not reach. Agree on dropper post clearance.

I have both in XL. I run 150mm dropper on both. Could run 170mm on HT. Spot is a much better climber. HT goes down with more confidence. It is unstoppable. I have to be more careful on Spot.

So I would say Spot is right in between HT and Tallboy.
 

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I actually sold my Hightower when I bought my SPOT.
I preordered a Mayhem frame last week (they are out of Large frames) to replace my OG Ripley. I still love my OG Ripley which I had set up with a -1 Works Angleset and a 130mm Pike, but it's almost 5 years old now and I've been looking for a suitable replacement. With the Mayhem being a great climber (like the Rip) and more capable on the DH it ticked all the boxes for me. Being a small, local CO company is a bonus.
I'm actually keeping my Hightower to compliment the Mayhem. I have the HT set up pretty burly with a X2 and a 150 Lyrik, so plan to make the Mayhem slightly more XC/Big day/All around trail ripper. Hopefully they will compliment each other well.
 

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I personally own a Ripley LS v2 and have had extensive time on the Tallboy (newest version) along with owning and riding the original I bought in '09, and just recently sold it after getting the Ripley...and then selling my Intense Spider 29c as well. My best friend also owns an Evil Following...so between them and myself we have the Ripley LS, Evil The Following, and Tallboy at our disposal.

To me, the Ripley LS is a bit more versatile bike if you're an aggressive rider. The Ripley is a ripper, period! I believe it fits squarely in between the Tallboy and the Following in terms of how the geometry and suspension behaves. By this I feel the Tallboy is a bit more taunt and more progressive with a bit better pedaling mannerisms. The Following is vastly more plush, solid, and feels strong. It climbs well, but if you jumped on the Following after riding the Tallboy, you'll definitely feel a difference in acceleration. To me, the Ripley falls squarely between the two. It feels slack and low like the Following, but it has that eagerness to get get up to speed like the Tallboy.

The riding dynamics and the suspension behavior is completely dialed. I recently went to a DVO Diamond and have it set up at 140mm and I truly believe that's the way to go. It does have a low BB, so the longer fork helps, but also the DVO just does an amazing job in complimenting the rear suspension. Everything is just so predictable, and you can just motor through rough stuff and it just eats it up.

Now I will say that the Ripley is not without fault.
1) They run small. I own a size medium, and I clearly need a large at 5'8-5'9. To the point where I have to run a setback post to get my 55mm stem and Renthal bars (with low sweep) to get me happy in the bike. Its perfect, but it prohibits me from running a dropper. However, the byproduct is that the bike feels incredibly small and balanced under me, and I can just whip it all over the place and I feel so nimble but at the same time incredibly confident on the bike.

Keep in mind, I have the V.2 and I know there are some significant changes in the design with the suspension so I can only speak to the V.2 and its been a pain in the ass for servicing, and I am underwhelmed by the engineering for the rear suspension. My biggest frustration isn't the eccentrics, its the dogbone and shock apparatus. Its not stiff, and Ibis knows it, and I believe that is why they beefed up the top eccentric link to compensate. I do know the front shock hardware has been beefed up for the V.3 but on the V2, they have some aluminum races epoxied to the dog bone to act as a pivot. No bearings what so ever. It cheesy, its flexy and I don't like it. The main reason is that because there is no bearing, the 4mm bolts can work themselves loose even with locktite, and the only way to access them is to remove the wheel....which isn't tool-free (which is easily resolved by buying a new rear thru-axle with QR).

If you don't do your own maintenance, and prefer a shop that you trust does the work, I believe you'll be just fine with the Ripley because chances are they'll get it right.

The benefit of owning the Tallboy is their amazing warranty and customer support. Its undeniable, and can be the difference with your ownership experience. As far as the Evil goes, my friend's has been problem free, and maintenance free. He loves the bike, but he's in the position where he can move onto the newest and greatest at any time. Its his primary bike, but he splits his time with the Following and his Yeti ASR..which is closer to the Tallboy, but I wouldn't recommend it as a "trail bike".
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Wow... lots of great response and information, I love the short travel trail bikes and this is some good reading :thumbsup:

The Spot Mayhem29 looks like a great bike and seems like it should be a good climber based on the reviews and steep seat angle but the 66.7 HA and 130mm travel may be overkill for me, I won't know until I ride one. I'll add that to my list of bikes to look at.

I will add to my original post by saying most of my riding isn't "crushing it" or very aggressive, again no long descents or climbs where I ride but a lot of punchy steep short climbs and short steep descents and a mix between fast and flowy and slow and technical.

I guess my priority #1, now that I think about it, would be long day out comfort. I mostly ride alone and when I can I try to ride the full day hitting as many different trails/forests as my ass can handle. Plus I ride the road between them to get to each destination. (40 mile/65km days) and multiple days in a row at varying distances.

When I do ride with others it's either a group of fast XC riders or my slow friends that take a breather every 20 minutes :rolleyes:

i also do some XC racing only for fun, not trying to win, just racing against myself and having fun. I have just signed up for a 12 hour race happening in May which I'll be riding my Spark at.

I am also a bit of a weight weenie and like my bikes to be sub 27lbs/12.3kg.

So my new question is which of these bikes would be the most comfortable to ride all day?
 

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Wow... lots of great response and information, I love the short travel trail bikes and this is some good reading :thumbsup:

I'll start out with the Spot Mayhem29, that looks like a great bike and seems like it should be a good climber based on the reviews and steep seat angle but the 66.7 HA and 130mm travel may be overkill for me, don't know until I ride one. I'll add that to my list of bikes to look at.

I will add to my original post by saying most of my riding isn't "crushing it" or very aggressive, again no long descents or climbs where I ride but a lot of punchy steep short climbs and short steep descents and a mix between fast and flowy and slow and technical.

I guess my priority #1, now that I think about it, would be long day out comfort. I mostly ride alone and when I can I try to ride the full day hitting as many different trails/forests as my ass can handle. An I don't have a car anymore so I ride te road between them to get to each destination. (40 mile/65km days) and multiple days in a row at varying distances.

When I do ride with others it's either a group of fast XC riders or my slow friends that take a breather every 20 minutes :rolleyes:

i also do some XC racing only for fun, not trying to win, just racing against myself and having fun. I have just signed up for a 12 hour race happening in May which I'll be riding my Spark at.

I am also a bit of a weight weenie and like my bikes to be sub 27lbs/12.3kg.

So my new question is which of these bikes would be the most comfortable to ride all day?
Even my old Tallboy was very comfortable to ride all day, and an excellent bike to log miles on. I don't think the new one is any different in that regard, and its now slightly more capable.

I didn't see the list of other bikes, but I have experience with the Turner Czar, Yeti SB4.5, Yeti ASR (turq), Pivot 429 SL&Trail, Intense Primer, and Process 111 (owned one) along with the Norco Fluid and Niner Jet 9 RDO

The Turner Czar and the Yeti ASR are pretty close, but you're going to get a stouter frame and more sophisticated suspension with the Czar...compared to the current ASR.

The Yeti SB bikes are pretty amazing, but they do come at a premium price, and you can get a quite a bit more bike for the money otherwise. The Yeti SB bikes don't leave much left to be desired, and if I had the money, one of my dream bike builds is a Yeti SB5 Plus built as a 29er.

The Norco Fluid on paper is an interesting bike, but I really feel the Optic (which aligns to compete with the Tallboy directly) is a more balanced bike. You could add the Sight 29 into the conversation as a bigger bike option since you mentioned the Intense Primer...squarely competitors.

I have a mixed opinion about the Pivot 429. I have a friend that went through 3 frame warranties with the SL. He ended up selling the warranty and buying a Norco Revolver. I've ridden the Trail model, and its damn good. It feels like a stouter less nimble Ripley LS. That's the best way I could put it. I don't like the Pressfit, and the Ripley felt faster....and I also like the Blaze orange better as well.

The Kona Process is an interesting bike. It rides really plush for 111mm, but it feels beefy and chunky. Its not a fast accelerating bike. I would seat it closer to the The Following in terms of ride acumen and geometry...neither of which are fast accelerating bikes, but they do instill a boost of confidence.

I'd say, if you're relying on your bike as transportation, like I said about Santa Cruz's warranty and service, they really can't be beat. And at the prices that you can get the Tallboy Online at Competitive Cyclist...it would be at the top of my list.

The only one I didn't mention is the Jet 9 RDO. Very close to the Ripley, well-rounded, but who knows whats going on with Niner, they just filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Even my old Tallboy was very comfortable to ride all day, and an excellent bike to log miles on. I don't think the new one is any different in that regard, and its now slightly more capable.

The Turner Czar and the Yeti ASR are pretty close, but you're going to get a stouter frame and more sophisticated suspension with the Czar...compared to the current ASR

I'd say, if you're relying on your bike as transportation, like I said about Santa Cruz's warranty and service, they really can't be beat. And at the prices that you can get the Tallboy Online at Competitive Cyclist...it would be at the top of my list.
I am very curious to see what the next gen Yeti ASR will be like.

The Tallboy makes the most sense for me considering I do have a couple local Santa Cruz dealers and like you say, life time warranty is hard to beat... but for some reason I’m attracted to the Ripley, can’t wait to demo them both.
 

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I am very curious to see what the next gen Yeti ASR will be like.

The Tallboy makes the most sense for me considering I do have a couple local Santa Cruz dealers and like you say, life time warranty is hard to beat... but for some reason I’m attracted to the Ripley, can’t wait to demo them both.
I don't know anything about the next gen Yeti ASR.

I do know the Tallboy comes with a Rhythm fork which is a version of the Fox 34 which means for $130 more you can buy the MRP Ramp Control Cartridge which allows some interesting things to be done with your fork setup.
https://www.mrpbike.com/rampcart/

What I am getting at is that you can setup your fork more preferably without having to keep your ending stroke/bottom out in mind. For most people, they have to run more PSI in their forks to keep from bottoming out, but that also effects the initial and midstroke performance.

Here is what Pink Bike says, I've ridden it, and I plan to get one for my Revelation fork, but my Ibis has a DVO, so no need. As far its usefulness or something you may be interested in, well that will all depend on if you actually use it...
https://www.pinkbike.com/news/mrp-ramp-control-cartridge-review-2017.html
 

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MRP ramp control cartridge does the exact opposite of what a good air spring should do.
There is a reason that no major manufacture or pro rider uses one.
I have a feeling that most people associate a fresh service on their fork with the increase in compliance from the the MRP cartridge.

A metered orifice in an air spring will give you high volume wallow on g outs and excessive brake dive with weak mid stroke support. At the same time it will give you small volume harshness on big hits and high frequency medium bumps.
Trek does the opposite with it's reaktiv shocks. They have a small volume to large volume transition to give you all the same claims as MRP. The trek system gives you a very linear rate.
Rant over.

Plenty of other systems like Ohlin's 3 chamber air spring and Fox's Evol work pretty damn good.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Santa Cruz is my choice!

Santa Cruz Tallboy + Chameleon combination wins my choice. (Turns out a multiple frame set purchase is the way to go)

I got to ride around on a Tallboy, Chameleon and a 5010 and they just fit nice 👍

I currently have 2 bikes I ride often, a Cube Reaction HT (mostly winter/bad weather) and Scott Spark FS (Summer/weekends), and love the option for 2 bikes which is all I have space for.

When the time comes to replace those 2 bikes the Tallboy/Chameleon combo just makes sense for these reasons:

1. Local Santa Cruz dealers (No Ibis dealers in the country)
2. Lifetime frame warranty. (Already on my second carbon hardtail frame)
3. Customer service (based on my research and the replies above it should be awesome)
4. Versatility (having a set of 29er and 27.5+ wheelsets that can be swapped between bikes can’t be beat) 👍
5. Compatibility/Standards (Can swap any parts between bikes + transfer my current components over)

I have enough spare parts lying around I can build the Chameleon now but I need to have some restraint 😊

Thanks for all the great replies, now I just need to get out and ride what I got 👍

P.S. I’m still going to demo both bikes...
 

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MRP ramp control cartridge does the exact opposite of what a good air spring should do...
I've been kinda saying that ever since I heard of it. There are air spring systems where there's a higher pressure chamber separated from the main chamber by a valve (e.g. DRCV) or a travel limited IFP (e.g MRD-IRT). Those can make sense, though whether the benefits outweigh the cost/complexity is a question.
 
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