I've been riding my ARC for about a week now. The bike is amazing...thats all I can say! Here's a quick recap of my thoughts after about 5 good rides...
- The ARC is a little over 4lbs lighter than my previous bike. This is a HUGE difference. I especially notice it on climbs, and the bike feels much more nimble under me. Light = Good!
- The frame is stiff... but not as stiff as other aluminum frames I've had, which IMHO is a good thing. I've had several Cannondale hardtails and those always beat the crap out of me. A couple years back I had a Specialized S-Works hardtail which I liked quite a bit, but so far I like the Yeti much better. Its definitely not as "plush" as my previous Ibis steel hardtail, but the Yeti's loop stays seem to smooth things out quite a bit. More on this later when I get a chance to race the bike.
- I am still playing around with my Fox F100 fork, but so far it's awesome. I've been using the lockout quite a bit... reach down and lock it out prior to long climbs, then I just need to remember to reach down and UN-lock it when I get the top. I'm still learning how to use the adjustable lockout force, which will supposedly let you leave the fork locked out all the time, and it will "blow off" when rough terrain is encountered.
- The Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes are incredible. Even on really long dowhills, I am not getting any fade, and stopping power is near perfection. I like them quite a bit more than the Avid Mechanicals I used to use. And so far I'm getting no squeal.
- The new lightweight Selle Italia Flite Kit saddle is pretty comfortable. Since I didn't go with the gel model, I was a little worried about comfort, but so far so good.