|From RCMT: Road/Cyclocross/ Mountain/Triathlon|
I have a couple of rides on this bike. I have some observations.
Regarding fit, the large size frame fits great. I am just close to 6'1" tall. Top tube length is longer than any other mountain bike I have owned by about 1/4" including my last bike a custom built Curtlo SS 29er, but it feels really good. I have done nothing to the set up other than change the saddle, everything else is exactly how it came out of the box.
The XT components are stellar. I have most had either singlespeed mountain bikes or bikes with XTR shifters over the past 5 or 6 years. XTs are great. They don't have quite the refinement that the XTR seem to have but these seem to shift just as accurately--except for the granny gear. But that is just a set up error by the person that built it. I need to adjust the limit a bit. I keep forgetting because I rarely use the granny gear. I tend to prefer to mash the pedals up a hill.
The Fox F29 fork is stellar so far. I don't notice it. The wheel stays on the ground. I thought I might have heard it making some noise at the end of last nights ride but it was just the cable housing clicking in the frame's cable stops. Travel is very smooth and controlled. The lockout is on the fork and hitting it while riding is not as easy as having it on the handlebar like the Reba I had awhile back. I messed with the rebound setting a couple of times and haven't messed with it since. It feels great.
The wheels are not light but they seem durable. The hubs are also XT and the rear is the new one that has a much quicker engagement than the Shimano hubs I have run before. The sound of the hub is akin to a DT240. Not quite the angry bee sound that a Chris King rear hub makes. But then, it doesn't have the drag that my last King rear hub had either.
I guess I did change one other thing out on the bike. I took off the tires. I installed a Panaracer Rampage on the front and then a Schwalbe 2.4 Racing Ralph. The rear was a bit too wide and when I would go into a hard corner the tire would buzz the frame just a bit. For last night's ride I put the original rear tire back on, a Kenda Nevegal 2.2. It worked out great. It climbed well, it had a good feel with 30 lbs. of pressure in it. I will probably go a bit lower next time. The tire may not roll quite as well as the Racing Ralph, but it is good enough. The Rampage is still my front tire of choice. There is about a 200 gram difference between the wider Racing Ralph and the Nevegal. The Nev' is the heavier one. I swear I could feel the weight, but it may have been just in my head.
Overall, this is a stellar bike. It is a great package deal. Smartly spec'd and no skimping on areas that many manufacturers skimp on to lower a bike's price or to save money. It is XT all the way through and the Fox fork was a smart choice I think. Bike weight is about 26.8 as it sits. Kinda porky for a hardtail, but the ride makes up for it.