Rode W2 at Afan (How busy has that place got!) yesterday. Looking for a bike that has that hardtail zip and agility, but doesn't beat up my ageing and increasingly dodgy back. Most of my riding is Malverns, FoD, local (rooty) woods with a few away days/weeks.
The demo came with Fox 120 QR15s/New Hope Brakes/Hope Hubs on 317s and Maxxis Ardent tyres. Trails were mostly dry.
It is the best short travel bike I've ridden by some way (and I've ridden a few!). Extremely agile, superbly neutral in the singeltrack, excellent traction everywhere, really noticeable on rocky climbs (only thing better was my old 5-spot), nicely balanced and seems to hold speed extremely well.
On the last section of the Wall (ZigZags?) I wondered who'd put all the jumps in? Clearly just carrying more speed through the corners. I even managed a few of the rock drops on whytes/wall that I've not done for a few years - even tho it's a "short" travel bike, it doesn't feel like a Superlight or something a bit more racey.
When you look at the bike, it doesn't really make sense. It's not that light even when compared to a Five, it's still a single pivot with a clever shock (which you definitely need, as it bobs without pro pedal on), and nothing looks very different to say a - ahem - commencal.
But it rides brilliantly. I can see how it would deal with 90% of all the trails I ride. It's as much fun as my HT and way more comfortable. I would have been a broken man at the end of yesterday's ride on that.
Downsides? Low BB means you get the odd pedal strike. Quite short in the TT (I had an 18in, and I'm 5ft11 in old money) and definitely suits an elbows out, weight over the front riding style. It's not something you can leisurely ride, it seems to respond to being pushed as hard as your dare.
Other downside? Price. You're nearly into Turner/Other exotica money there. And it's hard to see where that money has been spent. Until you ride it.
I best go check my bike to work scheme tomorrow see what's what
Be interested to hear from anyone who owns one.