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In Search of Full Suspension
I like a shock in front that isn't too squishy (my current Judy XC is a little too spongy even on the highest setting) and I found the Elite shock to be one of the nicest shock I've ever ridden. The rear shock is also a nitrogen charged unit that gives 4.7" of travel and has a recoil adjustment (so does the front for that matter). The aluminum swingarm is well positioned and has bearings not just bushings. The componentry is LX rear and XT crank and front. The bike weighs in at about 28lbs- not heavy but not light either. Now back to the test ride: I found that the K2 4000 climbed like a hardtail! Virtually no suspension bob and it was not a factor at all under any of the climbing situations. The weight however was noticeable (compared to my hardtail) and although it was not horrible I did notice it. The performance of this bike on the fast downhill was nothing short of fantastic, the med. size fit my body well 5' 7" 160lbs and my comfort AND control level was higher than it has ever been on a hardtail.

While in the saddle bombing down the trail at light speed I never once felt squirrelly or out of control. I also did some high speed panic stops to see how the suspension would respond- very fast stopping and once again good control. Ordinarily I like to ride steep technically challenging single tracks so I was very anxious to see how this bike would perform. When I hit the technical part of the run I didn't know what to expect. The bike was unbelievable (I'm running out of adjectives). Instead of hitting obstacles while out of the saddle and trying to maneuver the bike on the front wheel while waiting for the rear to come back to earth I scooted back on the seat and just flowed over whatever was in my way. The rear suspension ate up everything and I was in complete control riding faster than on the hardtail.

There were three hardtails on this ride and I waited almost five minutes at the bottom before they showed up- not because I was a better rider but because the full suspension allowed me to ride faster and in more control and in comfort. I went into this ride thinking the K2 4000 (even at the incredible price) would have to knock my socks off to make the switch from hardtail worthwhile (because I love my Big Sur) -and it DID.

The only complaint is the weight (not a huge complaint) but I figure I can always switch parts later to lighten it up. I was still worried about the front shock holding up, so I e-mailed a bunch of people from the reviews I had read (good and bad) and most of them wrote back. The bottom line is there are some problems with the electronics on a few forks, but for the most part if maintained well they hold up fine. If you like a fork that tracks well and isn't too spongy it's a good choice. Plus, I just liked the way it felt. I liked, no loved the way this whole bike felt and in the final analysis isn't that what counts?

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