The Process X has a big presence on the trail – it's definitely not as much of an all-rounder as the Process 153. It's happiest at higher speeds, and on terrain where there's room to let it run. That's largely due to the wheelbase length, the result of that long reach and slack head angle.
Reach numbers keep creeping up, and head angle numbers keep going down as companies try to find the limits without going too far. I've been wrong before, but I'd be surprised if bikes go much past the 490mm mark on a size large, and much below a 63-degree head angle for non-DH bikes. Longer, slack bikes do provide ton of stability, but they can be a handful at slower speeds, and the extra effort to maneuver can get taxing by the end of a long ride.
With the Process X, those sentiments held true. When I was on my A-game and everything was clicking I had some great rides, but there were other times when I found myself getting a little frustrated with the amount of work I had to put in to get the X to wake up. In fact, I'd potentially consider sizing down (gasp) if I was planning on using the X as an enduro race bike, in order to make it a little easier to get through tight, awkward bits.
The X is happiest on high speed, rough trails, and it's also a good jumper, at least on bigger jumps. It's not overly eager to hop and pop over little trail obstacles, but put a healthy lip and a decent sized gap in front of it and it'll soar quite nicely. I unfortunately wasn't able to make it up to Whistler this year, but I'd have no qualms about using the X as a park bike; it's the sort of bike that can seamlessly go between smoother machine-made jump trails and chunky natural tracks without raising a fuss.
All of my time was spent with the Process in the 29" mode, but I did try both chainstay positions. Altering that length makes a very noticeable difference – the longer, 450mm setting transforms the bike into even more of a speed demon, and by the end of testing it ended up being the position I preferred due to the more balanced feel it delivered. In the shorter chainstay setting it was easier to break the back end free while cornering, as opposed to the longer setting, which was less drifty and more locked in. It felt like I could push harder, and also get away with a mistake every once in a while without losing traction.Suspension Fiddling
I spent more time than usual trying to find the sweet spot for the Kona's rear suspension settings. Initially, I found myself using more travel than I wanted, even with a bunch of volume spacers and 25% sag. The bike felt good in steep, rough terrain, but when things flattened out a bit that extra-deep feeling was much more noticeable – there wasn't much of a platform to push off of or into when jumping or cornering.
I eventually decided to try a MegNeg air can (something that would need to be purchased aftermarket for approximately $90) in order to try and find that missing mid-stroke support. That upgrade did the trick, and with 2 bands in the negative chamber and no volume spacers installed I was right where I wanted to be. I ran 185 psi to get 30% sag, and the overall feel was one of a much more supportive shock. There was still good traction, and I could use all of the travel when warranted, but it no longer felt like I was sitting too far into the travel.