I haven't been in the woods in over a year and the last time I rode it was on a Niner Air9 HT. The time I rode before that, Iron Horse HT 26er from 1999 (with V brakes).
I rode the same stomping grounds that I've ridden for the past 10 years so I feel this review worth at least 2 cents.
After the bike was prepped for my weight and my pedals were installed we headed off on a 90 minute ride, short...but sweet. There was one hill I could never make it up (maybe I made it once, but I seriously doubt it) and on Sunday I powered up the hill like it was nothing!! This bike can climb very well. The brakes worked great, the shifting was awesome but I wasn't impressed with the small block 8s (maybe it was the rain or that these trails are just always wet) and it took me a while to get used to the width of the handlebars (why are they all this wide???).
Bottom line, if you're looking for a decent bike, consider this. I know I'll be looking at one after the wedding next year (the bike I rode was a demo from the shop I go to all the time).