It's late and I've been ruminating on my impressions of the new bike. The first thing that struck me is how much traction the rear end has under power. Normally, if I need to get out of the saddle and mash, I would have to go down a cog or 2 to keep from spinning the rear tire. With the new bike, no gear changes are necessary. The thing just stays glued and goes forward. Another observation about the pedaling behavior is that there is little to no suspension action due to pedaling forces. I noticed that there is a very slight (< 1/8" of shock stroke) amount of movement in the suspension when pedaling on the road in the big ring.
I've also been relishing is how active the suspension is. Pedaling, coasting, it didn't matter. After years of riding macpherson strut bikes (Amp, Stinger) and 4 bar walking beam Turners and this was something completely different. With the lighter compression damping, the small bump sensitivity is unreal. The downside is that it's more difficult to use small bumps to catch a little air. The plushness gives the feeling that the bike has more travel than the specifications tell you. I finally got the brakes bedded in on this morning's ride, so I can't really say much about the performance under braking. So far, I haven't noticed any stiffness issues. The combination of the Reba with the Maxle Lite, the I9s, and the frame definitely feel solid. There was no loss of steering precision when going throughs some rutted up sections of the trail. Definitely confidence inspiring, though I still need to hit some chunk on it to push its (and my) limits a little more.
Overall, I am really digging the new ride. I miss the lighter weight of the TNT bike on the climbs, but my legs are adjusting. The pedaling performance is definitely at least as good as TNT with ProPedal on, without the drawbacks. In general, the handling is about the same as every other Turner I've had. Nice and neutral and balanced. The bigger difference is that the new bike is a large and has a longer wheelbase, so I'm still adjusting to how I have to approach tight turns. Mostly this involves beginning to turn in sooner than with my old, medium TNT Sultan. On the descents, it blows doors on the old bike and left me thinking that it descends even better than my old 5.3 Spot.
Oh yeah, and a couple of obligatory pictures for those that missed them before:
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Thread: My First Week with My New Sultan