Recommendation: I bought this bike new (2013) as a left over. Wanted to get a full suspension bike as my other one was a hardtail. I wanted to get a lockout on the rear shock so I wouldn't loose any pedaling force on the climbs, because I am a big boy (240 lbs). The rear suspension equiped Brain shock is amazing. When you pedal it's like pedaling a hardtail, but when you get in the ruff stuff, the suspension actives on it's own and soakes it all up, no adjustments or lockout to frig around with.
I love this bike and after getting a flat tire today, I will be getting better tires for it. See you on the trails.
Pros: Lightweight, accelerates quickly, great braking power.
Cons: Stock tires are not great for regular trail riding. Can be tough to keep the front end down when climbing steep hills.
Recommendation: It was not my intention to buy this bike when I visited my Specialized dealer in the spring of 2010. I was looking at a Stumpjumper and took a couple models out for a test ride, but then this bike - a factory demo - became available and I knew I was in trouble within 20 seconds of riding it on the trail. Coming from a much older full suspension bike, I was blown away how light this bike was and how much fun it was to ride. I had a wider, carbon flat bar put on the bike in place of the stock bar, and off I went. This bike just wants to go. A few of my fellow riders have commented on how quickly I'm off & ahead of them when we start riding. The suspension travel is fine for riding here in Michigan, and it's held up well in other areas that I've ridden it as well. My only complaint would be the stock Fast Trak tires. They maybe good for racing - which is this bikes intended purpose - but for normal trail riding they suck. They get loose way too often. It took me a couple of different tire picks before I had Specialized Captain Control tires put on the bike and they make a huge difference. I'm able to rip it up on the trail now with much more confidence.