I'm writing this just after assembling a brand new test bike that I'm looking forward to spending a load of time on, a 155mm travel, carbon fiber machine from Transition that weighs just a bit over 27lb with dual-ply tires and a dropper post. It's not an inexpensive bike (there are plenty of those to choose from if that's what you're looking for
) but it also has suspension that is everything but a downhill bike in its capabilities. As good as it is, the Patrol's suspension, any bike's suspension for that matter, needs to have its knobs turned to roughly the right position in order to get the most out the fork and shock, not to mention the springs needing to be right for your weight in order for any of those settings to work properly.
The Patrol's FOX fork allows you to tinker with low-speed compression, high-speed compression, and rebound while a shock pump is used to alter the spring rate. The RockShox shock provides rebound, a multi-position low-speed compression switch, and an air spring to adjust. That's seven different parameters to use to your advantage, which is less than many other bikes, and it only takes twenty minutes of reading to know how all of those will affect your ride. Yes, suspension is a luxury - just look at what BMXers can get away with without it - but, if I'm going to have it, I want it working for me rather than against me.
Your $1,000 fork and $700 shock can be set up to do more harm than a rigid bike ever could; they could allow you to go quicker over rough ground than you ever thought possible; they could save your ass when you make a boneheaded move. It's all about those dials; you see, but how many of us take the time to make things as best as the could be? Or even halfway decent, for that matter? How many of us walk out of the bike shop and never bother making any changes? This poll isn't a name-and-shame gathering, though, as there's got to be something said for just getting on with it, and skill and dedication are always the most important factors. That said, I'd argue that I'd want to get the absolute most out of my pricey mountain bike. Why bother spending many thousands of dollars if you're not going to have the machine working for you rather than against you?