Ask Pinkbike: Ripmo or Smuggler, Powerful Brakes & Tough Tires

Nov 20, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  

Here at Pinkbike, we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul-searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand-picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.




Transition Smuggler vs. Ibis Ripmo

Question: @ozarksagd asks in the All-Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum:: I'm looking get a more efficient 29er with a steeper STA and reduced offset fork for aggressive all-mountain riding, all-day epics, and 4-6 enduro races per year. I'm located in NW Arkansas, so lots of short technical up and down, long flow trails, and medium to big jump lines. I enjoy it all. I want a bike I can throw on the truck and ride comfortably in a wide range of mountainous areas.

While at Outerbike, I demo'd a Transition Sentinel, Scout, and Smuggler, an Evil Following MB, Pivot Firebird 29, and an Ibis Ripmo. Out of those, the Smuggler and the Ripmo were standouts. Both felt quick, poppy, and efficient. But a well equipped Ripmo is nearly $8,000, while the Smuggler is $6,000.

Worth noting though is I would have to swap the Smuggler's DPS rear for a DPX2 and would probably upgrade the wheelset as well. I would likely run the 36 on the Smuggler at 150mm.

Does anyone have experience on both bikes? Namely, I'd like to hear people's opinions on any limitations felt with the shorter travel Smuggler or conversely, anyone who feels like the Ripmo is too much bike.

*Note: I believe it's a fair comparison due to both bikes having nearly identical geometry numbers. I'm not interested in the Sentinel. It feels too long for my tastes.


bigquotesThe geometry numbers may be similar, but the Smuggler and the Ripmo have two very distinct trail personalities due to their different suspension designs and amounts of travel. They'll both work very well for the terrain you described, but you'll want to consider exactly where your performance priorities lie.

If I had 4-6 enduro races on my calendar I'd go with the Ripmo. That extra 25mm of rear travel goes a long way towards taking the edge off of bigger hits, and makes it easier to maintain speed in rougher terrain. I'd recommend going with the Fox Float X2 on the Ripmo vs. the DPX2 – it gives the bike a plusher, more ground-hugging feel. There's also the fact that you can fit a wider rear tire on the Ripmo, which gives you more options to adapt to the conditions on race day.

Both bikes have similar reach numbers and steep seat angles, which creates a very comfortable climbing position; the difference lies in how the suspension behaves when you're grinding uphill. If you don't like flipping levers the Ripmo is the way to go – that DW-link suspension layout gives it a very crisp feel when climbing, while the Smuggler does best after moving that little blue lever into the middle setting for extra support.

The two bikes have the same frame only price, but the different part specs make it a little trickier to keep the final price of the Ripmo down. Ibis do provide the option of uprgrading the suspension components or wheels, and if I was in your shoes I'd probably go with the GX model, upgrade the fork to the Grip2 damper and the shock to an X2. I'd also find a way to swap the Deore brakes for a set of SRAM Codes. All those changes should still keep the price around that $6,000 mark.

No matter what you end up choosing, you're going to have a bike that's capable of delivering tons of fun out on the trails – I thoroughly enjoyed the hours I spent testing both models. 
Mike Kazimer

For press release
Transition Smuggler
Ibis Ripmo XX1 2018
Ibis Ripmo




What is the Most Durable Plus Tire?

Question: @dannyfag asks in the All-Mountain/Cross-Country Forum: Anyone had any experience with plus tires? I got quite a heavy bike with Minion front and High roller rear, both 2.8. One trip to the Lake District and I was hounded with flats on the rear. I started with tubeless and then had to put tubes in, as I had some major cuts in them.

I am going on the same trip and can`t bear to be repairing loads of flats mid winter on some of my favourite descents. I just bought a Vittoria tire insert, but I am wondering what the most robust rear 2.8 tire on the market is? Are the Magic Mary 2.8 any good? I did have the 2.35 on a DH holiday a couple of years ago and they seemed really good.



bigquotesIf you are already having problems with the 2.8 Minion DHF (it's one of the tougher plus alternatives), you will probably slash up the Magic Mary on the same trails. Your salvation may be in the new Eddy Current 27.5 x 2.8 inch tire from Schwalbe. It was designed specifically to handle the abuse handed out by 55-pound eMTB's, topped by riders brandishing 250 to 500 watts of battery power boost up and down technical trails. If you don't mind riding a 1300-gram tire, you'll appreciate its durability and massive traction. Look for an upcoming review from Paul Aston. RC

August Aston Product
Schwalbe's Eddie Current 2.8" x 27.5" is a rear-specific tire is intended to handle the extra 250 watts and additional 55-pound weight of an eMTB. If you have the legs, and need a more durable plus tire, this may be it.




Most Powerful Brakes?

Question: @seismicninja asks in the Downhill Forum: So I sold my Saint 810 set because I wanna try something else. Nothing wrong with them and I love them, but I want to try out some other brakes just because. I care much more about sheer power than modulation. So what brakes do you guys recommend that have EQUAL OR MORE power to the Saints? Not interested in any two piston brakes except possibly Formula RO's. Thanks

bigquotesShimano's Saints are one of the most powerful brakes out there; every time I get back on a bike with them installed I think "Holy crap, these are unreal!" Some people don't like the 'Servowave' action and of the lever, as it adds to the force needed to initiate pulling the lever, but I don't mind this personally. They also have some other great advantages like their IceTec rotors that genuinely seem to help with heat build-up, and thanks to the alloy carrier, seem to stay straight much longer than a conventional one-piece steel rotor, especially in 203mm size.

But if you want more power, there are some brakes that offer similar power, like Magura's MT7 (I don't like the short HC3 lever and much prefer the cheaper, longer levers), and Formula's new Cura4 downhill brake promises more power over their great 2-piston version. There are various ways of measuring brake power to claim the top spot, but in the words of the Highlander, there can only be one – the Trickstuff Maxima.

I reviewed the previous Direttissima that was a brake with incredible power, modulation, and feel, but it wasn't without a few problems: too many fiddly little Allen and Torx keys for my liking, a weak lever clamp that didn't tighten enough on my carbon handlebar at the time, and some rotors that could snap (these were recalled) if doing trials moves and braking while moving backward. All of these issues seem to have been solved with the Maxima that should be launching on Kickstarter any day now, at a whopping €990 per set.

Obviously, the price is insane (although a pittance compared to the €12000 MotoGP caliper I saw being prototyped at Cero a few years ago), but, I imagine this will be the best brake you can buy. It has an improved lever clamp, tool-free adjust, Trickstuff's own "Power" pads, 223mm rotors, bigger pistons, Goodridge braided hoses, Bionol organic fluid, it's made in Germany, every unit is assembled by the same guy for consistency, it's super lightweight, and has a range of anodized colors for everyone – what's not to like? Well, the price of course, but Trickstuff only offer one option, and that is with all the bells and whistles. You cannot save a few Euro's by choosing a standard hose, different pads, or cheaper rotor, this time, these Germans are out to prove a point. Oh, and they claim it has 25% more power than the Direttissima (with the same size rotors and pads) and more power than every other brake on the market. They also claim that it (and the Direttissimma) are the only brakes in the world that can be bled 100% perfectly, so it should never need bleeding, ever – don't shoot the messenger.
Paul Aston


The Maxima from Trickstuff promises to be the world's most powerful MTB brake. It is without a doubt the most expensive.



132 Comments

  • + 143
 I know what bike Missy would choose. Wink
  • + 4
 Too accurate!
  • + 6
 GG all the way.
  • + 18
 Because of a job transition she made long ago?
  • + 3
 or she'd chose the "Last Herb"?
  • + 1
 Hahahahahaha
  • + 2
 I love dealing in puns & innuendos.
  • + 79
 Likes power, doesn't care that much about modulation, has Saints, goes looking for brakes. I'd say the guy is missing the boat on this one...
  • + 3
 How so? I'm the guy who posted the question.
  • + 8
 In the question I said I was using 810's and even after bleeding, new rotor and new pads the power was never amazing to me. I ended up getting a set of mt5's and wow. The power was exactly what I was looking for. More than the saints I had. One figure stoppie power on my DH bike. I never could do that with my Saints
  • + 6
 @seismicninja: These guys did a comprehensive review on all the big guns.

enduro-mtb.com/en/best-mtb-disc-brake-can-buy

Trickstuff and Saints came up trumps for power.
  • + 7
 @dubod22: actually Magura and Trickstuff
  • + 5
 @seismicninja:

I can vouch for MT7's, they're extremely powerful. Get the HC3 levers with them, you can adjust the leverage on them to make them even more powerful or to get some more modulation.
  • + 3
 @theg-man: I ended up with MT5's which are the same as the mt7 without the contact adjuster and they had lots more power than the Saints i had.
  • + 0
 810 brakes Are from 2010? any modern dh brake is gonna be better in every way. Modern saints are not all that new and still are thought to be one of the most powerful but not the best feel.
  • + 3
 As a heavy guy, I have a Shimano XT M8000 front brake, and I need like moon orbit disturbing brakes. Also would like to be 50 pounds lighter, I gained like 50 pounds weight lifting intentionally, and now I'm just fat.
  • + 1
 I am 75kg and XT8000 offer me all the power I need. Got Codes and they are just a notch over what I need. A bit overkill but increase in comfort. If Saints are too weak for you, they are either faulty or you may be missing the boat. There is simply not enough grip in your tyres to utilize any more power. Deadlift and work on your braking hygiene. If you want stupid strong brakes Formulas you don’t want fit the bill perfectly. Their piston surface (hydraulic leverage) will quite possibly equal or trump one of Saints
  • + 1
 Not really much help, but the best brakes long-term are Shimano M780's. I stock piled a few sets before they became completely unavailable. They're like M8000's but without the flexy lever and inconsistent bite point
  • - 1
 @IllestT: I found 780s to have less modulation than M8000. Actually my 8000s work well now. Solution: neglectance. I stopped giving a sht about them, gave them a shitty bleed bottom to top, simply flushed the system, didn't even bother to tap calipers and cables. Lots of oil bottom up, close the bottom blled port, pump the lever a bit. 5 minutes - done. They work great since then. Not perfect but great. Funny enough I wanted to give them a proper bleed like a month ago. Didn't work. Shitty fast flush again and vuolais.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: M780's only feel more wooden (less modulation) because the lever doesn't flex like the M8000 does
  • - 1
 @IllestT: Woody? I found them a bit... tinny! Wink
  • + 1
 @seismicninja: you already went full german with magura, but i can vouch for the Cura4, i have them on my propain Spindrift and it's almost frightening the stopping power they can deliver. i'm close to 90kg and with 203mm rotors breaking is like throwing an anchor on the ground. they take a couple of runs to bead in but once they do it...howly sheeeeeeeit!
  • + 1
 @seismicninja: wellp if you want the best don't wait for the Maxima.
Get the Direttissima levers with Goodridge hose connected to the Magura MT 7 caliper.

We Germans call that thing Trigura.
  • + 1
 @dubod22: this enduro mtb test is faulty. At the braking torque test, where no thermal properties count, they found out Guides to be stronger than Codes. Saint and Zee should have the same power. Cross Country Level brakes faster than 4 piston MT5?

I think that the pad-disc combination and proper bedding in has a much bigger difference than what brake to use.

Biggest braking power to get without buying trickstuff is to mount a 220mm rotor and try out different pads.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Funnily enough I just did the same thing with my XT M8000 rear brake because of the crazy weird bite point issue (back to the bars - scary). Flushed new fluid through from caliper, only took 5mins to complete. What came out was grim, looked like Voodoo sauce! Now all good again (I fancy the new M9120 4pots mind you.. Is that sleigh-bells I hear? ????)
  • - 3
 @GoWithTheFlo: back to the bars is nowhere as scary as full on directly. I got that just before going right in between two trees on Bolderloypa in Hafjell. Wanted to do a slight brake check right before it, ended with rear wheel lockup, going sideways. barely made it between those trees Since I started treating them a bit like garbage they stopped having the bite point issue hahaha Big Grin
  • + 1
 Another bonus to maguras is thicker rotors, so they dont bend as easily when you lean your bike against stuff.
  • + 1
 @Kitejumping: except Shimano, Hope or any other rotors with alloy spider will be stronger
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: my experience with ice tech rotors is they bend super easily.
  • + 1
 Can somebody compare Shimano M8000 and Hope X2?
  • + 1
 @seismicninja: Yes, the current crop of Shimano brakes are ridiculous to bleed. Shimano used to be the easiest and most reliable to bleed. Now Shimano advises internally routed bikes should be hung on a wall to bleed the rear, you need to tap the caliper and hose to knock loose the air bubbles over the pistons that the bleed circuit by passes. The caliper and hose need to be vertical for the bubbles to float up to the master cylinder.

See their pics of their clear acrylic calipers with handy yellow arrows and red circle.

We're not done yet... you need to rotate the brake lever 15 degrees in both directions, watch the air bubbles come up into the funnel and hope their slip on bleed hoses don't slip off and f*ck the whole process up. Ridiculous.

Did you use anything but Shimano fluid? You destroyed your brake. Can't rebuild it because Shimano does not sell kits for that. Buy a new brake. Buy one from a company that understands how the real world works outside the utopia of Shimanosphere. Magura is no better on this point about fluids and the blue blood is an on line only purchase in Canada as far as I can tell.

1000.00 per brake is stupid. There are new brakes coming on the market regularily. Any of the current brakes are excellent if you learn how to set them up properly. Good luck in your search. Anyone heard how the new Hayes brake is? Has anyone seen or riden one?

If you buy a brake that uses DOT4 you won't ever be stuck to find fluid for it and a case can be made for both fluids.
  • + 1
 Had numerous M870s and M8000s. Yes certain M8000 have problems with bite point that likes to wander off but not all. I have a set now that are solid. And just had another set that we’re also solid. But I can also attest to the new levers being flexy (did they do that on purpose?) maybe it’s good for some but I prefer M870. I’m building a new bike and they’re going on. I’m 65kg, it’s a downhill bike for park riding and I know it’ll be plenty. And I’m used to the feel.
The M810s in question sound like something was wrong with em maybe? Only thing I’d suggest is getting some M820s if power is what you want and you don’t fancy getting a mortgage for some brakes.
PS they’re just as easy to bleed as ever, old or new. But if you got one of those M8000s that’s poop, nothing you do will help. I did a hacked vacuum bleed to see if I could fix it. It didn’t work.
  • + 3
 @davemud: I have no will to defend Shimano because their latest brakes suck. But you are overreacting about bleeding. It is easier than it has been. Just flush it with lots of fluid bottom to top, then oump the lever a bit. Done
  • + 1
 @davemud: well thats all fake news. I used fiddle with vertical this. 15 degrees that. Now i gotta say im rollin with wacki. Just a quick gravity bleed with a funnel. Couple pumps on the lever to void all bubbles and voila, fresh to death
  • + 1
 @davemud: also been running finish line mineral oil in my 8000’s for like 2 years. Still no mass destruction
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Gooooorn. That’s a nice woody sort of word.
Gives me confidence
  • + 1
 @whistlingcoyote: thank you for getting my reference. There are some decent people left in this world.
  • + 26
 Has ridden both bikes, but still can't decide, so asks the internet for advice..?
  • + 6
 Exactly. Winter is coming to the northern hemisphere, leaving riders not enough daylight to ride and waay too much time for FOMO. My advice would be to keep your 'friggin Saints, close your eyes and pick either bike and ride, ride, ride
  • + 5
 Have a look at the new Knolly Fugitive LT.
  • + 3
 @gnralized:

Yes, the Fugitive is very comperable to the Ripmo, and for the same money you will get better suspension and components on the Knolly. It should be ok in the odd enduro, www.knollybikes.com/single-post/2018/09/13/2018-Canadian-National-Enduro-Series-Champion-Trail-Builder-and-Community-Advocate---Daniel-Shaw
  • + 2
 Some details were left out. Loved the Smuggler but my test ride was on no-platform SPDs and couldn’t get on one again all weekend once I had my pedals. When I rode the Ripmo, it was the last hours of the last day and they wanted it back quickly - so I went to more gnarly trails and it absolutely crushed them. The problem is synthesizing those limited experiences into a major purchasing decision. That’s why I went looking for some opinions from owners.

What I need/would love to do is ride each one again on my local trails. I’ll end up getting one and being happy with it, but it’s not a small amount of money and I think some due-diligence is good. I also enjoy researching.
  • + 13
 "Ive got rid of a set of really powerful brakes that i loved just for the hell of it, please advise me on what really powerful brakes to buy?"
My advice is go and see a doctor and ask for a check up from the neck up!
  • + 2
 To be clearer I never felt the Saints were really powerful. Hence why I was looking elsewhere
  • + 3
 @seismicninja: i have Saints on my enduro bike and Codes on my DH. The Codes seem more powerful to me, plus on long steep chutes the Saints become rock hard with heat. Codes need to be bled way less often as well.
.
  • + 1
 @Rubberelli: saints need regular bleeding or they lose power.. mine does insane stoppies
  • + 1
 @andydhteam: I went 2 years before one of my codes needed a bleed. I probably did 10 Saint bleeds in that time. I also have a hunch that once the Saints get too hot the mineral oil vaporizes and the brake turns to shit for the day. The Codes are much more reliable.
  • + 2
 in a german press release, trickstuff stated that Maxima brakes were calculatory (so if you used the same pad/disc in everyone):
23 % stronger than SRAM Code
25 % stronger than Trickstuff Direttissima
27 % stronger than Magura MT7 mit HC1/3-Hebel
35 % stronger than Shimano Saint/Zee
46 % stronger than Hope V

Cura4 is missing because too new
  • + 10
 @ozarksagd I have a 2018 Smuggler and I love it. The geo is insanely comfortable and I've raced an enduro on it. It is a bike that makes you want to get rowdy as hell and I constantly rally it on trails that would sometimes be considered beyond the bike's capabilities. However, there are times that I wish I had more squish. My previous bike was a 27.5 bike with 160/160. I have my suspension dialed on the Smug but still bottom it out on bigger jumps and rocky sections of trail. One bottom-out actually bent the shock bolt... So yeah, if you're planning on jumping more and racing it for more than half of a series, it might not be a bad idea to either up the rear to 130 or look for something bigger. But that's just like, my opinion, man. Come spring time I'll be looking for more squish.
  • + 4
 I love my 2018 smugg but it came with the wrong rear shock and wrong fork. The rear shock in particular is my issue with it, not the lack of travel. I've done some dumb shit on it but still never had a need for more travel over being smoother on landings or picked a better line through rocks.

That being said, the smugg should have been spec'd with the 36 up front from the get go if they were going Fox. I swapped the 34 out for a lyrik and have a Super Deluxe rear shock coming this week. That damn rear shock is total trash and cant wait to get the super deluxe on it.

120 rear/with 150-160 front is the perfect combo for 99% of riding outside real top level DH or freeride stuff. Putting the 160mm fork up front made the thing gobble rocks like im riding on a sidewalk.

tl;dr - that rear shock is trash and transition should be embarrassed they put it on such a capable bike.
  • + 3
 I have the '19 Smuggler and while I absolutely love it and am happy with the 120mm of rear travel, I think the stock DPS shock (even the pricey factory one) is a let down and the bike deserves a DPX2/Topaz/Super Delux/etc. It gets overwhelmed on hard descents. There's a reason Transition opted to switch the 18 smuggler from a Fox 34 to a 36 in the '19 version. Doesn't really make sense that they didn't change the rear shock as well. Ah well, easy enough upgrade down the line.
  • + 6
 Smuggler is a great bike but the suspension is too linear for a bike with rowdy intentions. For a bunch of bros who drink beer and do big jumps, the suspension on the Smuggler is parking lot plush like those awful Stumpjumper SixFatties of a few years back. Needs a DPX2 and the biggest air spacer available just to be rideable. Ripmo needs the suspension of the HD4. It ramps up more than the Smuggler but is still very much a trail bike. It pedals way better than a Smuggler thanks to DW. You can also put something bigger than a 1.95 Aspen on the Ripmo. Geo on both bikes is dialed. Transition did it first though if that matters.
  • + 2
 I have no idea how any of you are complaining about parts spec on a smuggler... Its built how it is intentionally. This year alone I raced a smuggler with a fox 34 and monarch at NAEC, Trans BC Enduro, CA Enduro, Aspen EWS, Scott Enduro cup, MES, and a smattering of spots in-between. At nearly every race I was in top 1/3 in Pro cat.... Finesse and bike control can make the "need" for a bigger shock seem trivial.
  • + 1
 @pandafoo: I'm interested to know if it could take a 210mmx50mm 130mm shock. Did you go with Super Deluxe in 120mm? Mine has the Fox 34 Grip 2 Performance Elite in the front and I'm satisfied with it. Had the option to go up to a 150mm Fox 36 but wanted to keep her lean and mean. No issues with that on my end. In my mind, if this was either 130/140 or 130/150 it would be even more of a party animal.
  • + 1
 @cycling-trivialities: Agreed, there is no "need" for a bigger rear shock. I certainly get by and the stock DPS hasn't stopped me from riding anything, and I could race this bike as is and still have fun. I just think little burlier rear shock would suit this bikes characteristics a bit better. And when I say "a bit", I mean it. Maybe 10% improvement? I don't fault Transition, per se. As you said, it was built intentionally. Just a preference of mine. I plan on grabbing a DPX2 or a Topaz over the winter to test out!
  • + 2
 @joepax: I haven't tested it myself but there's a thread in the Transition pb forums where somebody posted a 210x55mm shock couldn't be run cleanly due to interference and possible damage to the frame. Maybe a custom 210x52.5mm shock could work? But that would only bring you to ~126mm of travel. Not exactly a huge difference and I doubt you'd notice.
  • + 1
 Living in the same area and riding the same trails and races you're in @ozarksagd, I say get the bike that you enjoyed more. But, if you're worried enough about racing, get the more efficient pedaling bike for the enduros around here. You're usually faster on the bike you're most comfortable on though also... $.02
  • + 1
 @gbeaks33: Topaz on the Smuggler is forking amazing. Do it. It transformed the rear end of the bike.
  • + 1
 @gbeaks33: Here's a link to my thoughts on it when I first got it.

www.instagram.com/p/BmMJLGCAkcA
  • + 2
 @BaeckerX1: that's on the previous smuggler, yes? I presume adding one to the newer SBG models would be a similar upgrade. My only hesitancy is I find the stock DPS climbs *really* well when wide open (in my opinion). It's super supportive and I don't need the climb switch. I found the same thing on my previous Monarch on my YT Jeffsy. Piggyback shocks I've ridden have tended to suck on climbs and need the switch. The reviews and Kazimer above say the DPS works best in the middle position but I found that one a little bouncy so I just leave it open. I really don't want to upgrade my shock for an improved downhill performance and then feel like I have to use the climb switch for every uphill.
  • + 4
 @wibblywobbly: shit bro, can I have your autograph?
  • + 1
 @cycling-trivialities: didn't know Jose Gonzalez raced mtb! Good riding and good music.
  • + 4
 Had a 2017 smuggler and loved it. Now have a ripmo and love it more.
  • + 1
 @wibblywobbly: I guess this is where I get confused...if a Ripmo (or SB130) pedals "way better" than the Smuggler...and I presume it goes down better...and likely weighs about the same...what would be the point of getting a Smuggler (or any "downcountry" bike)? Might as well just get a Ripmo/SB130/Offering.

...or am I not understanding?
  • + 1
 @smartyiak: Yeah I don't get it either. I think what Kazimer is saying is that the suspension acts differently on both bikes. There's no way the Ripmo with a 160mm fork climbs faster than the Smuggler. I haven't ridden the Ripmo but I've ridden the Ripley and HD4 and I'd say i'm more comfortable and faster at climbing on the Smuggler. I also wouldn't say the Smuggler is a down-country bike either. Those are things like the newer Santa Cruz Blur, Yeti SB100, etc. A bike with a rear travel 120+ is still in the trail category, or light enduro. That's what the Yeti SB130 is. Or is it all mountain? What about aggressive trail? Who knows!
  • + 1
 @smartyiak: Smuggler is FSR. If you don’t flip the switch, it bobs. Ripmo just motors forward. Ripmo just feels quicker when climbing.

I love my Smuggler. I also got it like three days before the Ripmo came out. Had I had the option I likley would have gone Ripmo.

What I really wanted was a Ripley with modern geo and more progression.

One other thing to consider, after years of breaking frames, Transition overbuilt the heck out of the Smuggler. I’ve seen several cracked Ripmos and it you have Ibis’s iffy fit and finish. Paint on the Smuggler is also better than any Ibis I have seen believe it or not.
  • + 2
 @wibblywobbly: my smuggler had a pedal bob until I figured out the correct shock settings. No bobbing since just FYI.
  • + 1
 Thanks for your input!
  • + 1
 I'm a little late to the party, but I have a 2018 Smuggler and I really like it, but the comments that the suspension components are underwhelming are true.

Mine came with a 34, which was just a bad decision from the start. I have a reduced offset Ribbon on it now that is a big improvement, the 36 GRIP2 would be even better. I would avoid getting one with the 34, so any model from 2019 should have a proper fork on it.

The DPS in the rear is blech and really lets the bike down. It's underdamped and bottoms harshly for me. I've run both the Topaz and a DBCoil IL, both were big improvements over the stock shock and made the bike feel a lot better. I'd suggest something like a Topaz, TriAir, DBAir/Coil IL, or DPX2 if you buy one. Personally, I feel like the coil has been best for me, but it isn't for everyone.

I think one thing not mentioned is the tire clearance. The Smuggler has a much more limited tire clearance than the Ripmo, so if you plan on running anything above a 2.4 (or more likely a 2.3), then it won't fit. That said, I feel like the rest of the bike feels great enough to not be too bothered by it, although it'd be nice to have more clearance.

Another review on NSMB that I read for the Ripmo said it had problems on chunky terrain at speed, so that's something to consider.
  • + 12
 That rim has a good collection of dents... Wondering what rim that is.
  • + 2
 Surprised to see this comment so low. I'm pretty hard on components, and have had my fair share of wheel troubles, but that rim is absolutely disgusting, someone has no idea how much air to put in their tyres.
  • + 5
 It's a Roval 35mm from a Specialized Kenevo, review coming up next week, but being in America, you won't be able to read it. The dings in that picture are the least of that rims problems! I had a ton of punctures using Grid tires on the first ride, then a massive storm rolled in, and I decided to get the hell out of there on the rim - along 5kms of Finale's finest rocks. It's a soft rim, but in its defense, it is still going and holding air tubeless!
  • + 3
 @paulaston: Why won't the Americans get the review?
  • + 8
 @vid1998: PB's servers don't have the capacity for e-bike comment debates between Americans.
  • + 1
 @paulaston: "The dings in that picture are the least of that rims problems!"

Well, you just made a brutally honest review right there, we don't need any more.
  • + 1
 @paulaston: Sorry Paul, I should have taken into account the "punctured at the start of a race run" scenario which can indeed result in such a sorry looking rim Smile
  • + 11
 Longer travel, beefier tires. Man up. Next
  • + 10
 It honestly shouldve been Ripmo vs Sentinel
  • + 1
 This is the comparison we need
  • + 1
 I own both, and I can say they are way different bikes, the numbers don't tell the full story. I didn't understand this until I rode each every day.
The Sentinel really is a DH bike that you can pedal up hill. The BB drop is amazingly low, and your pedals will be level in most turns. The Ripmo bottoms out more harshly (both have the Fox DPX2) I'm a huge fan of reduced offset, but it feels more "at home" on the Sentinel than the Ripmo.
On the Ripmo I'm setting PR's on climbs vs my old 125mm Turner Sultan (DW-Link too, same weight) I'm setting small downhill PR's vs the Sentinel. If you have to have only one bike Ripmo is the way to go.
  • + 6
 Hope Tech E3 brakes FTW! Power and modulation, as well as being tough, and easy to work on. Plus they look like mini moto brakes, which is boss.
  • + 15
 E3s aren't even close to saints in power terms, even the v4s are only just getting on for the same, saints are literally obscene, can't wait for a m830 update to the saint line, it must be coming soon, the new 4 pot xtr brakes are supposed to be as powerful as m820s.
  • + 4
 That’s cause they are the same brakes lol @inked-up-metalhead:
  • + 10
 @inked-up-metalhead: I have both on different bikes. same rotor size on both bikes. I would give the power edge to Saint, but the Hope's are not that far behind with better "modulation", whatever that means.....I personally don't like squishy brakes(what modulation actually means) so I like the Saint brakes better....let me "modulate" the power with a little thing called the synaptic connection between my brain and index finger. Smile
  • + 3
 @conoat: I agree with your comment about modulation, I can’t really understand why people say shimano brakes don’t modulate well - surely it’s just about being used to how the power is delivered on different brakes. I’ve just moved from shimano to hope V4s and now worried I’ve made a mistake. They are fully bedded in, but the instant jab of firm braking (when you’ve got the traction for it) doesn’t seem to be there. Maybe I just need to get used to them? Or get stronger index fingers? The other thing is that without mentioning body weight, surely claims about being ‘powerful enough’ are not comparable. It takes a lot more to stop a 70kg rider than a 90kg rider. Have I made a mistake going Hope? Please say it ain’t so...
  • + 4
 While I'd definitely say that the bite and force of the saint is more immediate, the Hope calipers are the stiffest things out there, and the outright power of them when fully applied is more than any of us mortals need.

Also; to just call modulation squishiness is absolutely off the plot. Hope brakes can feel insanely stiff pending how you set them up, they just don't have a literal mechanical lever behind the blade putting uneeded force into it.
  • + 1
 @aps62: yeah as much as I like hopes that grab from saints is too nice to go back, I'll be running saint m820s right till they bring out new ones. I dunno what country your in but if you can order some uber bike race matrix pads, they make a brake in need of bleed feel brand new, putting them in my saints was almost too much at first, lots of rear wheel locks and the odd front wheel lock almost had me changing back to organic pads, got used to them now and won't go back, would love to try some maximas but highly unlikely to be able to afford some.
  • + 1
 @inked-up-metalhead: thanks for the tips! I’ll def try those pads, hadn’t heard of them before but just googled and they seem good price and positive feedback on forums.
  • + 2
 @sherbet: interesting. I just re-read the review on Vital which echo your sentiments. I definitely think you have to live with a product for a while before judging. I had shimano brakes for three years and kept learning or figuring out new tuning tricks with them, so agree set-up is key. I have a total of three rides on Hopes, and no fiddling yet, so should shut about them for now!
  • + 0
 @aps62: yes you made a mistake. Try adjusting your braking points...but power is power if your in the steeps
  • + 1
 @aps62: I found that Hopes are incredibly sensitive to setup. Went from Shimano to E4 and had the same thoughts as you. It's vital to get a good bleed and the calipers properly lined up. Even then they never feel quite as crisp as Shimano but it's possible to get them close with patience.
  • + 4
 Never thought I’d say this, but SRAM Code RSCs are my new favorite brakes. Maybe not the same top end as Saint but much more usable thanks to amazing modulation.
  • + 1
 They are awesome.
  • + 2
 I went from Saints to Magura MT7, both running 200mm front and rear.

The Maguras definitely have more power, but despite the reviews I'd read I find them to have if not exactly worse moderation, its not as "nice". The levers have a bit of a wooden feel to them whereas I loved the softer non-linear action on the Saints. Race cars are setup with stiff pedals and drivers modulate by force, rather than displacement of the brake pedal and that's kind of how the Magura's feel. I have left them on my bike though because the extra power is addictive even though you don't really need more power than the Saints. I've read about people using Shimano levers with the Magura calipers and that's something I'm going to look into.

Both of them kind of suck in the wet compared to an old pair of Formula Oro's I had. NOt sure if its pad compound or just that the big brakes don't work well until they get a little heat in them - if you are braking hard and getting hot then they work as normal of course, but intermittent braking on wet trails and rain they just seem to lose a lot of power.
  • + 2
 I had similar feelings about my Maguras still far preferred them to the constant bleeding of the Shimanos I was running. So I swapped out the pads mostly on a whim. Much better. I've been using Trucker Co sintered metallic pads in them and it's mint.
  • + 7
 Trp quadiems!
  • + 2
 I've changed my Zees for E4s (not quite Saints but similar and a comparative swap if you ask me). The Zees were great for bone-dry, 'I want to stop yesterday', slamming on the anchors braking. Which I loved for while. Then came the inconsistent bleeding and horrible slimy trails back home.
So I went for a change and bought some Barnoldswick Billet.
The power is there although not as much as the Zees but I have set up the reach and throw of the lever to how I want and feel like, which is a big improvement. The power is there but it's not as direct as the Shimano units. Less an instant 100%, more subtle when you want it to be.
But hey, each to their own, I just ride bikes to have fun and spend my payslip on something.
  • + 1
 @dannyfag also check out vittoria's dh versions of the martello/mota. They're a huge 2.5 - way bigger than maxxis and specialized 2.6 and slightly larger than schwalbe 2.6 ers. Great casing too in the DH version. And, they're usually super cheap online.
  • + 1
 Ripmo as my daily driver, climbs like a beast, descends like a beast
Sentinel as my park bike, DH bike geo, still fun to ride on trails
Same headset, BB , dropper, fork, if something is broken on one bike I can steal it off the other
Weather we're riding trail, park, or shuttles I always have a bike ready Wink
  • + 4
 Man alive...the pricing on those brakes is insane but what a work of art. They almost look industrial.
  • + 2
 Oh how ironic it would be if Eddy Current became the best grwvity tyre Schwalbe ver made. Because it looks just like it is... won’t squirm on hard surface like Magic Mary.
  • + 2
 Very cool. Thanks for including my question! I missed this a few days ago, but it’s great reading through the comments now.
  • + 2
 If dw link and mini or dual link bikes work better than horst bikes, Why do mnfgrs choose to take the Ghetto route?
  • + 1
 I believe its because the patent ran out on the horst link so they dont have to pay for dw licensing? Maybe also save money designing 1 less rocker link.

Also I've heard many dw-link bikes get chattery at speed (mojo hd3?) and it strikes me that transition prefers to set their bikes up to be fun on the downs.
  • + 1
 Because link bikes don't necessarily work better than Horst bikes. All designs have tradeoffs. I prefer Horst link bikes because they are more active/supple under power. Better for tech climbing (IMO).
  • + 3
 @dannyfag Surly Dirt Wizards all the way.
  • + 1
 If you are looking to race the Arkansas enduro series, the smuggler would serve you better as they are legally courses with only some gnar. BME s I'd go for ripmo all the way
  • + 0
 I had Hope V4 brakes on my old Nomad that I done everything on for years...So I thought I'd try Saints on the Bronson,broke a collar bone. Hope V4 on my new Nomad. Hope v4 gets my vote
  • + 2
 The guy asked because his High Roller was failing, and you answered as if his Minion was failing. Many fails all-round!
  • + 3
 Hope mono 6ti with tech 3 levers
  • + 3
 Just about to build this set up but using mono6 calibers and hope floating 225mm rotors. HOPE they are worth a shot
  • + 2
 @luhtiis: Oh buddy, they are. So much powah
  • + 2
 Wouldn't something like the Commencal Meta AM 29 be a good bet for a beefy race-ready 29er?
  • + 10
 It sure seems to work for Cecile Ravenel, but it wouldn't be my first choice for riding somewhere with lots of technical climbing, or without really long descents - at nearly 36 pounds it's a bit of a tank.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: Thagts fair, I'm riding around on 34lbs of Remedy 7 right now, and I'd add 2 more for bigger wheels and more squish.
  • + 1
 Jeffsy 29 and toss a 150 or 160 up front. Super efficient for climbs and now kills on the dh at 2g less than either mentioned.
  • + 8
 @azdog: YT had a bike in stock to sell??
  • + 1
 Yeti SB130.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: Geometry and suspension layout is more important for me then the weight alone. Sure it helps but if your bike is 29lbs and have ultra low saddle ° like my bike with 65,5° and the saddle almost 15 inches behind the BB. With the eagle and same chainring upfront this bike was worse then my older Enduro with 38lbs and almost all weight was saved from the drive train and wheel's where the weight really matters. Also the older bike was on gx 1x11 10/42 . Was faster uphill , better climbing on technical stuff ...
  • + 1
 @Serpentras: True dat.
My Delirium is about 16-16.5kg and Im able to climb more comfortable and efficient than my previous shorter travel enduro bikes which were also lighter.

Schattberg to Hackelberg is kind of a bitch but only because of the 42t in the back... With eagle or a Sunrace cassette it would be even easier
  • + 4
 new hayes dominions!
  • + 2
 Yeah, I wouldn't count Hayes out. Only brake with grub screw alignment I think. Honestly, this is just me, but when I never cared whatsoever, everything just worked out, like I just rode my bike, didn't get into the details, and everything was just fine, I don't think there is a clearcut winner, and a loser, when everything is a "good" option.
  • + 2
 Hope V4, braided lines, double wall vented disc rotors, race matrix pads. Awesome AF!
  • + 1
 €900 for a brake set Eek that is ridiculous!!! 900 euros are $1360 Canadian wtf lol
  • + 1
 Another knock off brakes, I’m waiting for the Brembo brakes for mt. Biking!
  • + 3
 You might want to check this out: m.pinkbike.com/photo/3408206
  • + 2
 they did them a few years ago, first batch were just plain too powerful and would lock up the whole time, plus they were €500 each if i remember correctly
  • + 0
 It’s 30lbs for an average longer travel MTB, plus 55 lbs? E-MTBs weigh 85 pounds? Damn. That should keep their market share small. /s
  • + 1
 From the terrain that guy rides a transition scout would be perfect
  • + 0
 Check out The Homie Shred Fund - A Free Bike Stuff Marketplace, on Facebook.
  • + 1
 Man, they ain’t tryna ride.
  • + 1
 brakes: formula cura 4!!!

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2018. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.097569
Mobile Version of Website