The Good: Great pedaling power, DH capabilities. Amazing all around bike. If you can afford just ONE bike, this should be at the top of the list.
The Bad: The only thing I can say negative about this bike was the Geo on the '11 version was not my favorite. On the '12 and '13 they corrected this though, bringing the geo in line with more AM/trail rather than full on DH. All of this can be changed with different parts though, and is more of a personal preference than anything.
The pedaling power is what really struck me about this bike. While there was natural pedal bob from the forces of my leg pushing down, there is NONE generated from the actual motion of the crank spinning. I really noticed this when I would change gears from the 36 outer ring to the 24 inner. Different gearing, same ratios, but the smaller ring always has a burst of acceleration as soon as you hit it. I found myself staying in the lower front ring as long as I could most of the time for this benefit. I looked into it and the reason for this is the up and forward curve in the lower suspension link. The design is such to prevent the rear triangle from being pulled in or traveling upwards under pressure from the cranks, mainly with a smaller ring. If you can imagine an increasing chainring size in the front, the larger it gets the more it pulls the rear triangle up, and the smaller it gets, the more it pulls the rear triangle in towards the bb. The curve in the link gives a natural lockout when using the smaller rings, forcing the curve of the rear triangle to go up for bumps and obstacles but locking it out whilst the crank and small ring are pulling it in towards the bb. I’m not sure where the breaking point is, but I know that there is a noticeable difference between a 24 and a 36 ring and how much of your pedal power is transferred to the wheel. It’s also really noticeable when you stand up to mash the pedals. If you have a very clean pedal stroke you can crank this thing uphill with ease, but as soon as you stand up on the pedals and mash away, you are reminded that you are, in fact, riding an 8” travel bike. This is where the geo comes in again with shining colors, as the seat tube angle makes this bike do the crossover with grace. With the seat low you have a very capable FR/DH bike that rips corners and berms, jumps with pop and handles DH with all the other 8” bikes. Put that seat up high and pedal smoothly, you don’t even notice the suspension anymore. The main benefit to this is having little to no pedal induced bob while retaining your full suspension travel over bumps. Even going uphill it lets your bike roll over stuff instead of locking or stiffening the suspension like most of the competition. . As the pedaling power is such a strong suit with this bike, I found I enjoyed it most where the terrain was not overly steep up or down. Perfect example is Porcupine Rim in Moab. The first climb has always been tough for me but this bike just ate it up, it keeps traction to the dirt so well and your pedal stroke just moves the bike so fast, I was blown away first time I took this bike up that. Once you start descending a little there are some long flat-ish spots with lots of rocks. As this is an old jeep trail there are a few lines to choose from, all of which very rough. On a big travel bike it gets exhausting pedaling through those, and on a smaller bike they can really beat you up. The ONE ate it for breakfast and kept going. I really noticed the suspension doing its job over the rocks, and I was surprised to see how fast I could pedal through it at the same time. Both the suspension and transmission work together so flawlessly that neither interferes with one another, both work great and don’t hamper the others performance. A truly unique design... Fun, fast, graceful.