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I've been riding mountain bikes for over 20 years and over the last few years my preferences and style has trended towards bigger trail bikes, but my roots are decidedly XC. My last bike was a mid travel 29er and I loved it, so I wanted to see what a long travel 29er would feel like. I can honestly say this bike is a game changer. It's given me the confidence to hit trails and features that I would have balked at before. My buddies have even commented how it's changed my ride. The bike is just so forgiving thanks to the big wheels, big travel, and moderately slack head angle. To be sure there's a small sacrifice when it comes to climbing, mostly due to the extra weight, but I think it's worth the price. It still feels nimble, however, and once you get used to the way it rides I don't think you sacrifice much in the way of agility or playfulness. SWAT is cool too and to some extent is also a game changer. For the first time in years I've been riding with nothing strapped to my back. The overall quality is exceptional, and the crew at Bingham's Cyclery did a great job on the assembly. I haven't had anything creak or come loose and the wheels are as true and tight as the day I walked out the store. This isn't a bike for everyone, but if you want a bike that will give you that extra confidence to hit that feature you've been eyeing without having to buy a DH bike to go along with your trail bike, this is the bike you want.