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I think Dave nails it in this review.
I have a v1 Ripley with a Cane Creek Inline air damper and a Pike fork. I have ridden all of the different versions over the years, and also the Ripley v4 at a weekend demo event this June. Rode it with both the standard tires (NN) and the Ripmo tires (DHF/Aggressor) on the same trails on the same days, just to make sure the tires weren't playing a trick on me. Tires make a huge difference for the bike feel. Then I rode the Ripmo on the same trails (yes, they were great trails) in the same conditions. With the same tires, it feels damn close to the Ripley going up, but som much more FUN going down. Even with beefier tires the Ripmo is really great allround bike.
I came away a bit unimpressed with the standard suspension performance of the Ripley, especially on the downhills. The suspension design itself, which is familiar and solid, makes it so easy to push beyond the limits of the CTD and the F34. Even when bouncing off the stops the bike is still super composed, but leaves you wanting for more. The Ripley just deserves way more capable suspension units (Ibis, do you read me? How about DVO Sapphire 34/Topaz, or Lyrik/Super Deluxe as an options on the Ripley?).
Ripley and Ripmo are close, so that you can pick the best for your riding, but not risk to go wrong.
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