The V10's voracious appetite for speed was apparent from the moment I pointed it downhill. It's a very well balanced bike, and it didn't take long at all to get accustomed to its geometry. At 5'11” I was right at home on the size large, and while I probably could have handled an extra-large, I'd rather have a little more maneuverability instead of prioritizing straightline stability over everything else.
The V10 delivers a highly engaging ride, and there was a snappiness to its handling that especially enjoyable, especially when it came to hitting larger jumps. That's when the V10 would absolutely soar, launching further than I expected on a number of occasions. The low slung top tube helps keep the bike from feeling too tall, and provides plenty of room for maneuvering when extra body English is required.
What about cornering? The grumbling about 29ers not being fun has started to die down, but I'd encourage any remaining naysayers to hit up a series of high speed bermed turns aboard the V10 29 without cracking a smile. It delivers an incredibly stable, locked in feeling – imagine the motorcycles that zoom around the Wall of Death at county fairs, or the way astronauts get pressed into their seats during blast-off, and you'll start to get the picture.
Yes, it does require higher speeds to make the most of its abilities, and if you're solely focused on squaring off corners and rolling tires off rims it may not be the right tool for the job, but otherwise it's an extremely entertaining (and confidence-boosting) ride. I kept the chainstay in the 445mm setting, but it is nice to have the option to go longer, whether that's to adapt the bike to a certain track, to suit rider preference, or just to try something different.
Despite having all the travel, the V10 doesn't feel ridiculously plush, but in this case that's not a negative attribute. It manages to filter out just the right amount of trail chatter without muting it completely, a trait that made it easy to keep tabs on what the wheels were doing when I was making my way through a slippery rock garden, or searching for traction on an off-camber tangle of roots. Bigger impacts and g-outs were handled without any issues, and there wasn't any unnecessarily harsh ramp up at the end of the shock's stroke.
The V10's stability carries over into the high speed straightaways as well – I reached my mental speed limit well before the V10 ever did. While it's designed to be piloted at race pace as much as possible, the V10 29 remained relatively manageable when the miles per hour drop. It's a big bike, but it's not so sprawling that it can't handle slower speed, steep and technical maneuvers. There are obviously limits, but I was impressed with the V10's downhill versatility.
The only nitpick I have with the V10 is in regards to the seat tube angle. No, this isn't related to climbing performance – it's due to the potential to buzz the tire on the seat. I thought I was running my seat high enough, but ended up needing to raise it even further to avoid hearing that telltale 'bzzzt' of fabric on rubber. That wasn't too big of a deal for me, but riders with shorter legs could potentially find themselves wishing they could lower their seat further than what's possible.