Best trail, best bike. Chyeah!
So, yes, the bike: Raleigh SS XXIX Hodala! Somehow I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one. I was definitely excited to get it because, 1) it is steel, baby! 853 ain't no joke. And, 2) it is my first 29er. I picked out my gear, eventually got a carbon fork to cut down the weight, got the gearing perfect, and finally got a couple of really good rides in.
I expected the frame to feel great - you can't go wrong with steel. Light enough, enough flex not to be rough (but still quick!), perfect geometry, single speed - couldn't be better. The eccentric bottom bracket works perfectly - and looks a whole lot better than my old Singleator/hose clamp setup (Bleh!).
The big surprise for me was going to 29". I have only ridden 26" prior to this rig, so, in all honesty, I kind of had my doubts. I didn't think that it would be a huge difference, but I was still a little afraid. Now that I have ridden it a few times, I will pretty much never ride 26" again (XC anyway). The whole setup is faster, and eats up rocks, roots, and trail garbage like nothing.
All in all, this bike is perfect, and I am in love.