I can't remember having this much fun on a bike... hammering through a forest trail in a road position (down in the drops) is just an amazing thrill.
In general it feels like a road bike - same type of handlebars means same kinds of positions and similar feel.
But then you can hit a trail, or gravel, and it just floats through as if I were on my hybrid. No shocks meant full power from the pedals to the wheels, it's got a great solid feel.
- Sand - thinner tires + narrower handlebars = tricky
- Brakes - I don't know if they're just new or this is status quo, but I had to really squeeze to get the bike stopped, especially downhill
- Gearing - this bike has a double on the front, which on some of the steep trail hills will be a challenge (my hybrid has a triple). I'm used to spinning, now I have to learn to spin a low but even cadence uphill
- Faster than the hybrid - no shocks means all the power at the pedal gets to the rear wheel, and the position is much more aero
- Stronger than the road bike - takes the wider tires with no fear of puncture, it's an off-road machine that can deal competently with on-road
- Great feel - I could really feel what was under me and how the bike was reacting to what was under me. Maybe this is the lack of shocks, but I felt very confident even when I got moving fast!