The bike is heavy - but reasonable - at 27.3lbs. With 16 speeds, it has enough granny to make it up steep climbs without wheelie'ing to your death, and it tracks as a good XC bike should. I've been riding the Leader for awhile so I'm used to what it is capable of - but what truly has changed this bike is the new fork.
I bought the Suntour Epicon RLD off eBay for a $238 bargain. After reading as many reviews as possible, I found that riders were very happy with it for XC - the features and adjustability are everything you'd want on a good fork. Air, rebound and remote lockout makes this fork run alongside quality forks such as the Rock Shox SID Race that cost twice as much.
On the trail, the fork tracked very well and did not pogo whatsoever. I was impressed how quiet it was, and on the rocky descends, it sopped up the bumps and softball sized rocks just beautifully. The true test of the fork was the Rocky Ridge descend and it was easy to go fast down that trail with complete confidence.
I somehow managed to nail the air and rebound, and I had full travel on the worst of it.
Out of the seat climbing without the lockout didn't feel like I was bouncing around and when I did lock out the fork, it did not give as much as my SID Race fork did. Horizontal flex was unnoticeable.
All in all, I think I actually like this fork much better than my SID Race.
I'm curious to see how the Epicon RLD fares in the long run, but for $238, one really can't complain. I will update my review after 3 months of use and I expect it to work just as well then as it does now.