Just started riding lifts for the first time this summer. (2011 Kona Operator). I ride mostly at Vail, Keystone and Winter Park, in that order. If your considering buying a DH bike, I suggest going for it. It's insanely fun and if you push hard it's really good training. Perhaps the coolest, unexpected byproduct of the DH bike was that it made the HD more fun to ride. What i've found is that the big bike is the balls. It teaches you to hit the big tables, gaps and drops. But it's just preparing you to slay it even harder on the HD. I've found that learning trails is great for the down hill bike, but once I get them dialed, the HD is more fun ride. (An most of the time, faster.) Sure, everything feels a little bigger and you've got to be a bit more precise, but it's incredible what that bike can handle and it's way more playful than the kona.
Anyways, just more praise for the HD. The more capable Operator only succeeded in teaching me that the HD is more capable than I realized. Now I reserve the Kona only for the gnarliest of trails and the HD is my #1 lift service bike. That's a pretty sweet thing to say about you're all mountain rig.
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