The Good: The Rune V2 is an amazing descender, climber and is makes you way more handsome that most can handle.
The Bad: It doesn't do my laundry or make me a post-ride cocktail, but I will be able to cope.
I have been a mountain bike rider for over 27 years. I am bigger guy clocking in at just under 200 lbs and I ride aggressively. I made the leap to 27.5" wheels with the Rune V2. I have been a Santa Cruz fan since '99 having owned five of them. I test rode a fully decked out Bronson and a number of other 27.5" wheeled bikes last fall. I was all set to buy a Heckler (the Brony did not really do it for me), but several of my friends had Banshees and would not stop raving about them. I pedaled theirs around and was duly impressed with the feel. After doing some research I found that the new Rune was a better fit for me in terms of geometry and value being not much more in price than the Heckler as I would be building mine from the frame up. I knew the updated Nomad would be arriving soon, but I did not wish to wait nor did I want to pay over $3K for it when the Rune had virtually the same geometry (in the low setting, does anyone use any of the other settings???). I was a little misty to depart from my love affair with SC, but Banshee had the same qualities that made me really dig Santa Cruz way back (small company, progressive thinking/design, not trying to be everything to everyone, big value for the money and great customer service). Let's dance!!!
I have now been on my Rune in it's "Black Death" colorway for almost a month and every ride has blown away any preconceptions I had about what this bike could do. First, it climbs so well it's ridiculous. My friend and Banshee cohort said "It's almost sad how well these bikes climb" and I could not agree more. You have no excuses not to pedal up everything. The traction and geometry allows it to motor up and over stuff that most bikes would spin out on. My first big mountain climb, I was floored at the Rune's ability to dig in up and over the slickest wet rocks and roots without any fuss. I kept waiting for when I would be forced to dismount, but it never came. I don't expect that you will win any KOM's, but you can keep most XC twerps in site until you you get to the summit.
When you get to the descent, "it's on" as the kids say. This bike gets up to speed faster than anything I have thrown a leg over. It mows over the sketchiest stuff without a peep and its manners in flight are impeccable. In fact, I find that I am having to push this bike further than I have (or have been comfortable doing) in what I thought was possible. I am going faster, jumping higher and taking corners faster than ever. Lately I have been leaning the bike harder and harder through turns purposely trying to get it to break traction and it's crazy how hard it is to do...the evil beast clamps on like pit bull on meth. Crazy man, crazy!!!
In closing, the Rune V2 smokes and I am looking forward to many more long nutty rides on it. If you are looking for an aluminum Nomad 3 at less than half the cost and none of the bs hype get the Rune V2. You will not regret it.