So a little sizing info just to start. I am 6'2" and about 215 lbs, I ended up going with a size xl and swapped out the stem for one a bit shorter. I also added in a dropper post for good measure.
First off, let me say that I have been abusing my 26" hardtail for the past few years and finally saved up the money for a nice upgrade. I ride trails that have a bit of everything from 5 mile fire road climbs to nice 4 mile twisting descents with rocky, root covered sections that have some nice 3-4 foot drops and some descent jumps. I have always looked at climbing as the payoff for the good stuff to come, so I don't really care about how fast I reach the top. I just want to have the energy to enjoy the downs.
Unlike some guys that can afford a bike for every situation, I have been searching for one bike that I can use on basically everything I will ever want to ride. I demoed quite a few other bikes that would be considered all mountain, and after testing the enduro, I just had to have it.
I took it out for my first ride yesterday, I only had time for a somewhat mild 10 mile ride on my local trails that are mostly twisting single track, with some small drops and 3-4 foot jumps, but I thought I would give everyone my preliminary thoughts.
Was the bike a bit overkill for this type of ride? Certainly, but who cares.... It was a blast to ride. It handled the downhill just as you would expect, flawlessly. The normal drops that rattled my teeth out of my head on my hardtail, I barely even noticed. For the first time in years, my hands weren't cramping when I reached the bottom of the downhill. And just like the early reviews said, it is crazy fast on the downhills. Another nice bonus, was how quiet it is. No chain slap, just a nice squish of the suspension.
How did it climb? I think quite well actually, considering my fat ass, and the fact that I wasn't concerned with having a bike that weighs 25 lbs. All of the single track climbing was great, I was able to crank sitting or standing (with the shock in trail mode) without noticing much bob in the suspension. I will say that I finished my ride on a 7% average sustained 3 mile fire road climb that, I will admit would have been a bit more enjoyable with a talas up front. Of course, I should also mention that I was so excited to go ride, that I didn't take the time to get everything dialed perfectly. I found that my saddle was pointing a little too towards the sky when my dropper post was fully extended, so when climbing seated for long periods of time it felt like the nose of the saddle was going for a bit of a nature hike. So to avoid unnecessary probing, I moved back more than i normally would which gave me the feeling of sliding off the back of the bike a bit.
All that being said, I was also able to clear sections that I have never gotten through in the past. Specifically I made it through a section at the end of the ride, that I have tried periodically in the past on my 26er and that I have never gotten through. It is a section of single track that is about a 12% grade of sandy hell. Normally, I would have lost traction and died about 3/4 of the way up. This time, no issues whatsoever.
So, my overall impression after one ride, is that I had a blast and can't wait to ride again. So for me and with the amount I spent, this bike should fill the need for a general all rounder that I can ride about anywhere and have fun.
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