Ok I was planning on waiting on the review but I don't know how often I wlll be around. A recent promotion and summer time and I dont think I will have much spare time. This review will at times work a comparrison to my bighit as that was my reference point
This bike really eats descents. Steeper works fine, the 05 66rc really matches up well with the geometry of the bike. The bike is unbelievably balanced in the centre which makes it very good at everything. On the rough stuff the suspension actually works. Coming from a 6.5in travel bike that felt like ass to a 7in travel bike that uses all of the suspension has been a treat. The DHX likely plays a big part in that but the simple design lends itself to a very active ride. After tweaking front and back the bike rides like a dream. I am not the best rider and would probably classify myself as intermediate to low advanced (blues and easier blacks) but this bike definately instills some confidence. At this point I think it will almost be as strong as my bighit, which was a huge selling feature. The 26" wheel definately rolls faster and rolls over the rough stuff without getting as stuck.
Only downfall is the single pivot design (acts like a single) lends itself to brake jack, which can suck badly sometimes.
Wowsers. The DHX5 makes climbing a treat. The geometry doesn't lend itself to perfect climbing but it is signifigantly better than my bighit. Out of the saddle the DHX stops the pedal bob and allows the bumps to just be eaten up. I won't be breaking any records but I can get up spots I couldn't on my bighit. I don't have a long seatpost yet (damn them for using an odd size) but standing and climbing is mucho easy Man did I miss having a 26" wheel too.
Balanced...balanced...balanced. I hate air but am working upwards faster on this bike than my bighit. The bighit is VERY rear weight unbalanced. This bike enjoys being in the air and remains well balanced. I am finding it much easier to adapt to being in the air. Maybe its confidence, maybe its the bike, but either way, its helping.
I LOVED my bighit for taking corners. I could really push my legs down and rail around turns and off rocks to eat turns up. This bike is longer, with a longer wheel base. The rear wheel and rear triangle had no give, no flex and endd up making a terrific bike to really push through the fast turns.
Initially I was disapointed. The longer wheel base did take some getting used to but it truly felt like the bike was flexing under my weight when I would push off and out of corners. Every 3 runs I was truing my rear wheel and nothing ever seemed tight. I ended up ditching the s-type and throwing on a mavic I had spare. It was a bolt on 36 hole and MUCH stronger rim. BAM big difference. The bike finally felt right. Railing corners flying through the rough stuff and no flex. The bolt on made a massive difference in performance.
As with all small company frames you really have to know what you want and how you want it. Out of the box this does not match up for me against my bighit. But with some tweaking and dremeling on parts, a re-work of the rear end and then some suspension tweaking this bike fits me. It does exactly what I want and rides like a dream. I could never get my bighit to feel anymore than "ya it feels ok"...this thing rides like a dream. In the end I had to dremel my e13 chainguide to fit the very lower chainstay and still hold up my chain, longer handlebars made a world of difference in taking turns and the rear wheel change stiffened up the rear end nicely. Now if I can just stopp snapping deraileurs.