Hello all,Here are some impressions:
I currently ride a 650b turner dw link 5 spot and a Pivot Firebird. Both are excellent bikes. I took my FB to Whistler and not for one second did the thought of needing a DH bike come to mind. Both are excellent pedallers, athough the FB does need pro pedal for fire roads ans falts, on technical climbing and I prefer the FB for technical stuff but the 5 spot is, in general a better climber. I have also spent quite some time on a TrekeRemedy 9 and an Ellsworth Epipahny. IMO the Trek is a great first bike since it does all things well but excels nowhere, the Epiphany, again in IMO, is good only at the turns since it really rips when you want it too, and is totally dependent on propedal for climbs and is no more than an ok descender.
This weekend i got a chance to test a Yeti SB66, I have to say that it puts up a fight with my 5 spot, its a great climber without need for propedal, and a great descender as well, the top tube does feel a lot longer than normal for my M sized test bike. It absolutely looooooves to be put in the air and contrary to the point and shoot characteristics of the 5 spot its a playful bike. Really playful and fun to ride, If I didn't have the 5 spot I think I would have a hard time choosing. I wouldn't compare it to the FB because I feel thay are too different but if I had to say the FB is "better"
I also got the chance to test a SB95, now I'm not a big fan of the 29 trend, having ridden a RIP 9 and WFO I feel it does not adapt to my riding style. Granted they are awesome climbers I feel they are fun killers on the downs. One of my gripes with the niners was that I felt too high on the bikes and felt they were too hard to maneuver. The sb 95 on the other hand, doen's feel high at all, one gets the feeling of being "IN" the bike, much like a 26. I would highly recommend this bike to anyone wanting to get on the 29er wagon. Im definetely considering it.
The Best in SHOW and probably the best bike I've ever ridden is the prototype k9 all mountain bike that was made available, I got a chance to talk to Luis Arraiz and he is an awesome guy really dedicates to making A1 bikes. The bike turns, like the Epiphany, feel ABSOLUTELY endless in travel with 146mm in the back, it descnds like a BEAST, and begs to be put in the air. I cant wait for the bike to come out so that I can get one. Do some research on K9, an dif you ever get the chance, make sure to try them. Absolutely perfect.