The first thing I noticed on my initial outing on the Murmur was the smooth steering that was especially predictable as the bike leaned and carved into corners. It may be the best steering I have experienced to date on a 29er, thanks in part to the 46mm offset of the Selva fork, matched to a 45mm stem and 64.5º head angle.
As speeds increase, the stability is massive. Thank God for some forward-thinking lads that started making bikes much longer a few years ago. I found the longer chainstay and more centralized riding position on the bike allows more aggressive use of body weight to balance between the front and rear contact patches when grip is needed. Also, deliberate shifting of your weight forwards and backward to lift and un-weight the front or the rear wheel as you take on severe gradient changes into chutes, over edges and large obstacles is easier - and provides a more dynamic ride characteristic with practice.
The Murmur holds a line and tracks superbly in the array of angled and wet limestone the bike was subjected to, with masses of grip around flat and loose corners. I seemed to hold a line however irregular the trail was – sometimes feeling the rear wheel fishtailing behind me while the front was making progress. The Murmur carries speed over obstacles and "pops" easily. I did notice some chain slapping noise, which was quieted after a lathering of rubber tape on the left stays.
Well, all of the above sounds great doesn't it? I loved the ride, and I would happily ride this thing all year in my terrain. The weak point of this bike is the suspension bottoming. It needs more end-stroke progression. I could improve this with volume spacers and more high-speed compression. Bottoming out the steel frame was not harsh, but if I were hitting more jumps and flat landings I would be more concerned.
The major characteristics of this bike are its compliant steel frame and smooth damping, which in most aspects, make it a very easy bike to ride bike as conditions toughen and you weaken. If you ride smooth hardpack, love railing berms, and trying to out-sprint your mates from of every corner, you will probably want something stiffer and more responsive.
The flex of the frame will be impacted a lot by total rider weight; at 75 kg the bike didn't seem out-of-control flexy to me, but riders weighing up and over 90kgs could find this chassis too vague. A little more stiffness in the front triangle and the front portion of the swingarm would firm things up, while retaining that "steel is real" feeling.