Bike nerd – I will definitely keep you posted. As dlawson says, this is a tough time to buy with lack of inventory & demo, so I will keep holding out for the item I know want. Fortunately, many DTC brands & other retailers offer some sort of free return.
At this point, I would rank Ripley as 1A for what it’s worth. The geo & reviews seem spot on. 1B. is likely upsized Neuron as I can’t get over the price for spec…yet.
I need to look into the Epic EVO – coming from an XC bike I am a little gun-shy about staying too far on this end of the spectrum, though I am intrigued about maintaining uphill efficiency & speed. The new Stumpjumper is now on the list as well as it looks very, very nice.
Early on, I ruled out Santa Cruz & Yeti based on initial price research. That’s a tough sell for me.