I'm a big fan of hardtail MTBs. The simplicity of the design and the requirement for some dexterous finesse over the rocky bits while riding a hardtail frame never fails to make me happy. (I don't go as far as riding with one gear and rigid forks, though.)
I've ridden a couple of bikes with big travel rear suspension, and I did have fun on them. Being able to point the front wheel anywhere you like and fly over terrain that would make your stomach churn and knuckles turn white on a hardtail bike is exciting. But it kinda removes you another level from the trail. Like cars with ABS, Traction control, limited slip differentials, air conditioning, heated seats, auto-dipping headlights and permanent four-wheel-drive, it definitely helps you go further & faster in more comfort. But ask any car fan - the ones where you're directly connected to the engine and the brakes and the steering rack, with no servos to help you out, are some of the most fun to drive.
They let you feel it. They make you work for it.
So I was excited to get the chance to ride a titanium bike. I'd heard a lot about frames like this. The way they are light like carbon but with the 'ping' of steel. The way they flex in the corners. And of course, the way they look isn't half bad either.
On the first ride, I started to get what it was everyone was on about. You really can feel the spring in this frame. And once you get used to it, you can start using it to your advantage. Compressing the bike into berms and dips and using the spring of it to punch yourself out and onward down the trail. After a few more rides and one 24 hour race (up at Relentless 24), I finally admitted to myself that I'd fallen in love with this bike and had to have it. The guys at Kingdom Bike kindly obliged and let me buy it as a demo model.
If anyone is in the market for a Ti frame with a bit of an edge to it, take a look at Kingdom's frames.
I'm very happy. Thanks, guys.
(P.S. Mine doesn't look quite as clean as in the photo any more.)