The Delano Peak's geometry felt very familiar, likely due in part to the fact that those numbers are nearly identical to the Norco Optic I've been using this year as my personal test sled. The Delano Peak has 10mm more travel at the front and rear, but the fact that the reach, head angle, and chainstay length are nearly identical meant that I didn't need to re-train my brain to get accustomed to the handling.
Slower speed, technical puzzles are where the Delano Peak felt most at home, those awkward bits of trail where you might need to do a little rear wheel lift here, and a shimmy around a tree there to get through without dabbing. It's an easy bike to get off the ground, whether that's to pop off the lip of a jump, or to skim over a chunky section of trail. That trait allowed it to perform well on steep trails, as long as they weren't too
rough – I never felt like I had to fight it to make a line choice change or switch my angle of approach when coming into a corner.
The DPX2 shock's compression tune felt very light, and just like on the climbs, I ended up spending a lot of time with the 3-position dial in the middle setting for more support, reserving the full open position for times when I wanted maximum traction and didn't mind the reduced platform. The open position can be fine tuned to add more low-speed compression, but I do think Fezzari could have gone with a slightly firmer tune without any issues. Up front, that new 36 was smooth and silent, and I didn't need to stray far from the suggested base settings to find a comfortable set up.
The Delano Peak's limits start to appear at higher speeds and in rougher terrain. 'Twangy' is the best adjective I can come up with to describe how the frame felt when things got extra-hectic. It's a little more country and a little less rock-and-roll than, say, the Nukeproof Reactor – there's only so far that it can be pushed before you're reminded that you're not on an enduro bike. Riders who are able to make better line choices and adopt a more energetic riding style will get more out of the Delano Peak than those who want to smash through everything.