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MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike?
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I'm going to pull the trigger on a downcountry bike (yes, I used term and I like it. Deal with it.). I've narrowed it to the new Norco Revolver 120 or the new Ripley. If I get the Ripley I will probably put a 120 Step Cast on it to make it a 120/120 bike. Both bikes are in the right ranges for me on the important geo numbers, not sure yet if I will do a custom build or stock (interesting that neither comes with a mechanical X01 build option).

These bikes are the finalists because the brands are sold at my shop, thus I'm not considering the Yeti/Trek/Salsa/Pivot/etc entries in this category. I had considered the Blur, but I don't like the geo.

This bike is going to complement my Bronson. I'm leaning toward the Norco because it's more of an XC bike that has been trail-ified, whereas the Ripley seems more like a trail bike that has been XC-ified. (I'm looking for something that is as different as possible to my Bronson in the downcountry genre).

For reference, I'm about 155 pounds, I'll be riding this bike on a variety of trails, lots of up, lots of down, lots of miles, probably some marathon races and possibly a few shorter races as well.

So which one? Any input is appreciated. Thanks.

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Any run that doesn't include pooping in someone's front yard is a win.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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No recommendations here just a couple observations. IMO, the difference between the Ripley and the Bronson isn't huge. Have NOT ridden the Norco but a quick look it's spec'd damn nice and even at msrp would be a pretty nice ride. Anyhow IMO, there's more of a contrast between the Norco and the Bronson and that may be what you're after.

The danger with a bike that crosses lines like this is that unless you live in a place where you couldn't ride the Norco everywhere, you might find yourself not using the Bronson as much. I've got some burly schtuff right out the door so I'd never ride my xcm whip on some of those trails, but the mach 6 works alright.

Like what you propose to do with the Ripley (I really liked the older more trail oriented version and would love to get some time on a Ripmo), sorry... back on track, I have a lot of friends/acquaintances running lighter trail bikes w/ two fork (and wheel) options. Specifically something like the Pivot Trail429 with the fox 34 bumped up to 140/150 or swapped for 36 or an MRP ribbon and some ~30mm id rims for say Moab/Sedona and then SC34 and some lighweight hoops for marathon racing. I kinda like my race bikes to be light since most xcm courses are pretty non-tech (a few exceptions but generally) and my all day fun bike to be biggerer. ymmv

Good luck!
Last edited by: Tim_Canterbury: May 24, 19 18:28
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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I have the Blur TR and a SC hightower LT. I am biased to SC however because I get good deals at my shop and I love the lifetime warranty (which I've never had to use). I do use the the lifetime free bearing replacement though!

I built the blur up from a frame as a do it all bike but biased to speed - 110 stepcast 34, the 25 mm carbon wheels, nobby nic front/icon back, XO1,a 170 dropper, guide RSC brakes and the double lockout. Total weight is 23 mid or so for XL.

I'm super happy with it to be honest. It climbs super well, is super fast and far more capable then I thought it would be. Rear suspension is super plush, feels very balanced, super stiff. I swap stems depending on how I feel, run a 60 mm for making it pretty playful to a 80 or 90 for when I want to go really fast.

I don't exactly know why you think the geometry isn't great, I guess the STA is 0.5 degree steeper on the other ones?
I have a 32 inch inseam, 180 lbs geared up. I find the pedalling position quite good, as I was abit apprehensive about the 74 degree effective which for me and my long legs turns into a 72 or so actual. That's the biggest problem I have with the hightower, but it also is not something I really notice as it climbs WAY better then a 6 inch enduro bike should.

When buying the blur I also considered a scalpel (super fast, but also quite unforgiving of mistakes), the trek top fuel (not the new one, but the 32 stepcast was flexy), and the rocky mountain element (the suspension felt mismatched.. 120/100 and the 100 didn't feel as push as the blur..). We don't have a ripley dealer around here so I can't consider those.

I live in Ontario so its not like there is a ton of crazy climbing or descending here, I have the hightower for when I fly down to tuscon, out west or I go to the bike park and downhill.
I think ultimately you need to try them both and see which one speaks to you more. I love both of them and will totally change it depending on how i feel.. play around and be stupid - hightower, go workout - blur. I also thought of the tallboy but ultimatly felt its easier to make a blur more trail like then a tallboy more xc like. I also wanted to have more delineation between my big bike and my go fast bike.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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Stack and reach of those two bikes is a world apart.

Ripley is "old school" Short and tall. Norco is more modern, Long and Low. So long in fact that i'd be a Medium when I'm a large in most other brands.

In my opinion, that alone makes the choice easy.

The above poster is a physiologist employed by PEARL iZUMi. However, statements are not made on behalf of nor reflective of PEARL iZUMI in any manner... unless they're good, then they count.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [xtrpickels] [ In reply to ]
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xtrpickels wrote:
Stack and reach of those two bikes is a world apart.

Ripley is "old school" Short and tall. Norco is more modern, Long and Low. So long in fact that i'd be a Medium when I'm a large in most other brands.

In my opinion, that alone makes the choice easy.

xtrpickels wrote:
Stack and reach of those two bikes is a world apart.

Ripley is "old school" Short and tall. Norco is more modern, Long and Low. So long in fact that i'd be a Medium when I'm a large in most other brands.

In my opinion, that alone makes the choice easy.

Hmm, no, you must be thinking of the old (version 3) Ripley. The one that just got released (v4) is thoroughly modern. 76 degree seat angle, 66.5 degree head angle, 475mm reach (size large). If I go that route, I'll use a 120mm fork, which will steepen those angles around half a degree and increase the reach by 5mm or so.

That's the very reason I took the Blur off my list. The 100/100mm version has a reach of 460mm, which is bordering in 'modern', but adding the 120mm fork reduces that to about 450, which is shorter than I want (although still out there compared to XC bikes of 1-2 years ago).

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Any run that doesn't include pooping in someone's front yard is a win.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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I’d go with the Norco.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [GreenPlease] [ In reply to ]
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I’d go with the Norco too based on how you want to use the bike. But damn, that new Ripley is a sexy beast.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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I know you said no pivot but they release a new Mach 4 SL on Thursday. Geo is solid, lots of kit options, or frame. And DW link is hard to argue against. Might be worth another look.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [Dgconner154] [ In reply to ]
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Dgconner154 wrote:
I’d go with the Norco too based on how you want to use the bike. But damn, that new Ripley is a sexy beast.

Yeah, that's kind of where I'm at right now. Norco is more of a beefed up XC bike, Ripley is a light trail bike. I had all but decided on the Norco, but then one of the guys at the shop started convincing me just how capable and fun the Ripley will be. If I didn't have the Bronson the decision would be easy...

In many respects the Ripley is a 'better' bike, just trying to decide if it makes sense with what I currently have and my goals.

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Any run that doesn't include pooping in someone's front yard is a win.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [rr_runner] [ In reply to ]
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rr_runner wrote:
I know you said no pivot but they release a new Mach 4 SL on Thursday. Geo is solid, lots of kit options, or frame. And DW link is hard to argue against. Might be worth another look.

Oh yeah, that a nice looking bike. My buddy has a trail 429 that he loves. The new Trek that dropped last week is interesting as well.

However, I'm on a shop 'team', and I get very generous deals on bikes. It's strictly an MTB shop, and they have a rule that if you're going to race, you need to do it on a brand they sell. I'm not positive that I'm going to enter any 'official' races on this bike, but I don't want to be in a situation when I want to race but feel like I shouldn't. And I don't want to risk pissing anyone off when they've been so good to me over the past few years.

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Any run that doesn't include pooping in someone's front yard is a win.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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CCF wrote:
xtrpickels wrote:
Stack and reach of those two bikes is a world apart.

Ripley is "old school" Short and tall. Norco is more modern, Long and Low. So long in fact that i'd be a Medium when I'm a large in most other brands.

In my opinion, that alone makes the choice easy.


xtrpickels wrote:
Stack and reach of those two bikes is a world apart.

Ripley is "old school" Short and tall. Norco is more modern, Long and Low. So long in fact that i'd be a Medium when I'm a large in most other brands.

In my opinion, that alone makes the choice easy.


Hmm, no, you must be thinking of the old (version 3) Ripley. The one that just got released (v4) is thoroughly modern. 76 degree seat angle, 66.5 degree head angle, 475mm reach (size large). If I go that route, I'll use a 120mm fork, which will steepen those angles around half a degree and increase the reach by 5mm or so.

That's the very reason I took the Blur off my list. The 100/100mm version has a reach of 460mm, which is bordering in 'modern', but adding the 120mm fork reduces that to about 450, which is shorter than I want (although still out there compared to XC bikes of 1-2 years ago).

You are entirely correct. I had the older Ripley in my table and didn't realize they updated it.
Thank you for the correction.

The above poster is a physiologist employed by PEARL iZUMi. However, statements are not made on behalf of nor reflective of PEARL iZUMI in any manner... unless they're good, then they count.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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probably the one that looks like a session lol
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [A_Hooligan] [ In reply to ]
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A_Hooligan wrote:
probably the one that looks like a session lol

Ooh, well played Hooligan, well played.

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Any run that doesn't include pooping in someone's front yard is a win.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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If you've got a Bronson for playing around, DH, Enduro, etc then the Revolver is the better compliment. But a better upgrade for XC would be a rear shock with remote lockout. That way you don't feel like you're riding a pogo stick when you pedal out of the saddle.
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Re: MTB peeps: Which downcountry bike? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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Couldnt resist!
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