You gave me some good reason to go directly to the HH2. Hopefully I can extended the fork, this will be more cheaper than buying a new 140 fork (My dealer is offering me to change the fork for another one and reduce the recon cost from the new one, so I won't eliminate this option too soon). So, you don't think it will mess up with the geo and balance?
I am 5-10 tall, I saw the Marin rift, but I am not really fan of the 29" wheels. I am aware of the small bump benefit, but I still consider more important the playful an "cut corner" that 26 and 27.5 give.
I am very interesting to buy the hawk hill and now that 2018 models have been released, I would like to know your opinion about the 2018 hawk hill 2 model. Does it worth the extra 500$ or it would be better to buy the model 1 and make your upgrades?
It looks like they took in consideration your advises and made the most important upgrades that you mentioned above. Except for the fork (both recon, but looks like there is something different), instead they changed they rear shock. If I consider your article, the x fusion rear shock was doing the job and it would have been better to upgrade the fork. A X-fusion fork or the revelation from the model 3 would have been better in my opinion.
Also I would like to try a 140 fork but I am a little bit scare about messing up with the bike geometry and unbalance the bike. Did you get the chance to try it out? I don't know why, but I still thinking that I need 140 travel, 120 look short... but maybe I am wrong. Maybe it is because my "dream" bike is the transition scout and I am trying to reach it. But somehow, those two bikes have the same purpose... fun factor! In fact, this is the part that I am sure of it. I am definitely looking for a fun trail / all mountain bike to ride like a best friend that you will bring everywhere... going up, going down and jump everywhere! Those 2 bikes seems to nail this fun factor... at the different price.