Lately, I've been riding a lot of long travel 29ers that are absolute brawlers when the going gets steep and rough. Those bikes can have huge wheelbases which are safe and stable, but aren't the most responsive. As much fun as it is approaching downhill race speeds, taking a break from survival mode is refreshing and shredding the Status through turn tracks and jump lines is where it comes alive - basically the perfect tool to light up your Instagram reel with.
Small bumps are handled decently with minor feedback on the chatter and it remains composed on the big hits for a bike with 140mm of travel. That rear wheel feels like it has to work a touch harder because it is right underneath you, especially compared to the Stumpjumper EVO - the traction master. The rider's attention should be drawn to the Status' responsiveness rather than focusing on compliance. You do feel slightly on top of the bike, rather than "in" it, which does give you that leverage to pick the bike up off the ground and snap to get on the gas.
That extremely short rear center corners on a dime, but because so much of your weight hinges over the rear axle you have to put your weight a little lower and farther forward when you really start to open up things at high speeds, otherwise larger impacts on the front wheel can cause it to leave the ground. You might say that's more dependent on the rebound speed of the fork, but that slight shift in weight bias is a better compromise than slowing down the fork's rebound.
As for that Fox Rhythm fork, it actually performed above my expectations. I did tend to prefer a higher air spring pressure and the damper controls fairly open. Striking a balance between low speed support when diving into the corner and being a bit overbearing if closed much further on repetitive, high frequency bumps was a fine line. With that said, the Rhythm 36 can accept the highly regarded Grip2 damper should you want to puzzle away.
Clawing back at the Status' technical capabilities, the 29" front wheel and slack head angle do wonders for trucking over bomb holes, finding front wheel traction, and generally keeping the rider from going over the bars. The high BB setting is going to be for riders that want the most responsive ride for tricking jumps or need the clearance on slower, technical trails. If you're heading to the bike park for a chair lift or shuttle bump, the slacker setting only takes a second to flip the chip and will promote safer travels at high speed.
Does the Status remind you of the Enduro SX, or is it just me?
Call me crazy, but I would even be tempted to see what this bike would ride like with a 27.5" front wheel, especially for the super shredders out there that want the most responsive bike to tuck into steep landings and move about in the air. Obviously an external lower cup or raised crown race would be necessary to compensate for the smaller front wheel.
As a firm believer of n+1 being the perfect amount of bikes, I've always wanted to replicate the dual slalom bike I bodged together and used as my trail bike back in 2009, before dropper posts and wide range cassettes existed. It shouldn't come as any surprise that my time spent on the Status has resurrected my craving for slalom bikes, however, with much more versatility this time 'round.