March 28, 2009
The low center of gravity makes this bike very stable over all kinds of terrain, and especially on switchbacks. This is my first full suspension, and it handles technical singletrack like a dream, but also climbs like a mountain goat.
Once I got the suspension dialed in, I can force a slight pedal bob when mashing the pedals hard while seated, but out of the saddle pedaling has zero bob, yet the rear suspension keeps the rear wheel glued to the ground over bumps and uneven trail surfaces. Propedal FTW!
It's a little heavy (28 lbs for a small) but I got thornproof tubes with puncture sealant by mistake that are ridiculously heavy and stiff; I will be swapping those out.
Also, I am a clyde so I got WTB freeride rims that should never give me structural problems, but they are not as light as some of the XC rims that are out there.
If I swapped out the tubes and rims, I could get it down to about 26 lbs, which is actually quite respectable for a bike this capable.
The bottle cage lacks space for a full sized 24oz water bottle.
the suspension propedal adjuster is VERY hard to reach while riding.
The front derailleur is hard to reach for adjusting, and there is not a lot of room for installing it, finding one that fits can be challenging. (Hint: Shimano FD-M750 or FD-M760 are your best bet) The newer Trance has moved the rear shock and eliminated this issue.
I got this as a 2006 frame with RP3 shock and built it up myself with a Marzocchi fork and a mix of Race Face, XT and XTR components. One decision I am very happy with is getting top notch hydraulic disc brakes, as this bike will fly on technical downhill, and you will need massive the stopping power!
The frame geometry creates some challenges for adjusting as mentioned above, but once you get used it, it's tolerable. The flipside is that the squat suspension is very stable through the technical stuff. I've re-ridden two trails so far that I had previously done on my hardtail and it's like they are completely different trails!
As for the suspension popping out of propedal, I have only seen this when I attempted to engage the stiffest setting, but missed and pushed the lever too far into the "neutral space" around the top. According to the Fox manual, this no-man's land is equivalent to the softest setting, and won't hurt the shock at all.
Just make sure you fully engage the setting you want, and it WILL stay there.