Well I was in Denver and needed to rent a bike for a few days, I went to a shop looking to rent the Ripmo but it needed a new fork when I got there and I didn’t have time to wait. Lucky for me they did have a Ripmo AF to try out!
My daily driver is a Ripley V4 right now with a few other bikes in my past. I only mention this to give you a frame of reference.
The first thing I noticed about the Ripmo AF were it’s nice welds of aluminum and of course the hefty feeling of the bike! It was a beast compared to the Ripley(carbon).
It’s around a 1 degree slacker angle in the head tube, and to me it feels a little longer reach compared to the Ripley. Also it’s a longer travel bike at 147mm/160mm.
I felt instantly at home on this bike, the geometry was spot on for me! Its a little different spec-wise than the carbon version of the Ripmo. I wasn’t expecting to like this bike as much, but wow I was tempted to pick up a frame!
The longer feel in my opinion gives it a more playful feel as compared to my Ripley. I would say the Ripley wants to keep the front end planted on the ground, while the Ripmo makes it easy to hop off things and launch it with more control. Maybe this could be to the longer and slackerness of it? That could possibly slow the steering down some to give it a smoother or more controlled feel.
On the uphill, I really couldn’t feel the weight of this vs the Ripley. It did feel like the front end wanted to rise up a weee bit quicker than the Ripley though, but barely. I was surprised I didn’t feel the weight. I did have to walk a few of the climbs but I blame the elevation and lack of training not the bike.
In the turns the two bikes felt the same, I almost liked the Ripmo more as it felt a little easier to balance in a turn.
The downhill was SO easy on this bike, it took everything I could give it and then some. Nice balance, soaked up all the hits small and large, and just was a fun bike to point downwards!
What didn’t I like about this bike? For one, it felt a little ‘cheaper’ than the Ripley. Things rattled, I believe the internal cables were hitting inside the tubes. Really that was all, it performed well, climbed nearly as well and descended really, really well!
As I said, I was so close to picking up a frame, but decided it would just be overkill for my daily trails in Michigan. For a travel bike, going to more rowdy areas, this would be my go to bike!