I was able to demo a Sentinel two weeks ago out at Alsea falls here in Oregon. All I can say now is I'm sold, sign me up, I had an absolute blast on that bike!!! It was and XL frame with GX eagle build kit.
I had never ridden at Alsea falls and have heard different options of the trails. My opinion is that it's basically all flow style, nothing hard or super technical but fast, and traction was rated as hero level that day. It's the complete other end of the type of riding I typically do so it was really fun for me.
Now on to why I liked the bike...The harder I pushed it the better it got! It took a little bit to get used to the SBG style of sitting more forward on the bike but once I did and really pushed and leaned the bike over in the corners the bike just followed my line without hesitation. I found that I was over clearing some of the jumps because the bike ran so fast, I was having to brake check before just so I didn't over shoot the landing...Nice problem to have. There's a section of trail at Alsea thats mainly just a flow/pump section that I previously would of thought the sentinel wouldn't of shined on, but I will tell you what I had a sh!t eating grin the entire time! I loved how when I would make a mistake in the air or get way off line the bike/suspension just ate it up and plowed through it.
I wasn't able to doing any technical or hard climbing as Alsea is all paved and fire road climbing. It definitely feels like a pig in those situations and the climb switch is a must. The Maxxis 2.5WT tires are amazing on the DH but slow rolling going up, I'd love to see what this bike feels like with a 1600-1800 gram wheelset (although who am I kidding I can't afford that). I'm no XC racer but I'm usually the guy waiting for others at the top of the climbs so I don't mind having a bike that helps keep my dad bod in shape.
Drew from transition was there on behalf of transition and he's an awesome guy if you ever get to meet him. He had the same response to this bike as I did, this bike isn't for everyone. If you are a beginner or lower level intermediate rider this bike is probably not for you. That's where their Smuggler/Scout is going to shine. I would need more time getting used to manualing this bike as it's way longer than my size large Knolly Endorphin. If you like to push your bike, go fast, huck, drop, etc. like to get rowdy and try different lines that may not always work out but this bike is amazing! But for me who can have only one bike in my quiver I'm sold on the Sentinel. Now I need to decide on the Pinot Red or Gunmetal grey, thinking the Grey