The Epic tends to be fairly predictable in handling when I’m pushing it uphill, or when I’m descending on more gentle slopes with or without roots and rocks. Where it gets sketchy is on steeper slopes where rocks and roots are present. That steeper head tube angle wants to pitch me forward, and I can re-distribute weight to maintain stability. As far as taking the hit itself, I don’t know whether it’s the 120mm fork running out of stroke, or if its because the tire’s tucked further in under the bike that forces the tire to absorb the hit (maybe a combination of both), but it can be a little jolting. The rear suspension having the brain inertia valve, the compression gets delayed, and I know I run out of the 100mm travel quickly.
So in Northwest Arkansas, it’s completely at home in Hobbs State Park. But where our home is going to be, right next to the Back 40 trail system (and the evolving Little Sugar trail system), it’s a little less mellow. And I’m looking to do the Womble and LOViT at some point in the fall, so I don’t want to be under-biked on a 40 and 60 mile ride.