- It is a much better, and by better, I mean stiffer, responsive, resolute, snappy, etc, pedaling bike then the Karate Monkey (KM). The KM was not a dog, but when you hit those very steep grades or times when you were really reefing on the bars and barely turning the cranks over, the Km would just kinda go "uuuunhhggg" and slow down like a tired dog looking for shade. It would keep moving, but it did not feel all excited about it. The Dissent looks at the hill and dares you to turn the cranks over and hammer, cuz it knows you will give up before it does. It is very stout and racy feeling. That is good.
- It is a fair amount more abusive then the KM as far as overall ride quality. It is not crazy beat-you-down stiff, in fact the rear end feels very smooth but that big, oversize and gusseted front triangle, the one that makes the BB seem so rock steady...it will let you know in no uncertain terms that it is no luxury liner, sit back and float over the trail, ride.
- It is a very good handling bike. It is more stable then the KM when things get fast and rutted...the KM would push the 'tighten sphincter' button real fast, but the DiSSent just runs through with very little fuss. So, it is more stable and it is a bigger bike then the KM, longer wheelbase, etc. So why does it turn so much better too? Very nicely done. If I danced through the woods more and bounded over ruts and rocks less, I would go for the 19" frame, but the XL supertanker version is still easy to move down the trail. It is harder to get the front end up then the KM was, despite the same CS length.
One thing I would hate to lose is the fabulous response that the frame gives to hard pedaling efforts. I will keep riding it and tweaking things for a while and see what happens. If it is not for me, I will move it to another buyer and take what I learned to the next bike choice. What will that be? Dunno. I still have to finish up some work with a custom builder I know and if I could blend some of the qualities of this frame into a steel one and gain some cush in the overall ride, that could be the holy grail.
Of course, the grail is just a myth. Maybe the perfect bike is too.