1. 2016 Fuel EX 9, 2014 Soma B Side SS, 2017 Stache 5 SS. Test bike would be the B side.
2. Yes, I run an Epicon RL on the B Side currently.
3. Advanced. Very comfortable in both setup, and teardown. I come from a moto background, so I learned the value of suspension tuning at an early age.
4. Not really, pretty happy with what I have now. But if a product proves me wrong, I'm happy to admit it.
5. Depends on the end goal to be honest. I've done both in the past.
6. I recently purchased a Manitou Magnum Pro 29+ fork as an upgrade for my Stache. The bike came equipped with the base model Machete fork, and full disclosure, it's the best entry level fork that I've ridden. I'm around 200lbs fully geared up, and ride the Stache as a single speed the majority of the time. But, that doesn't mean that I don't hit the downhill sections hard, or don't need a fork with more fine tuning, which is exactly what I was looking for. Sadly, on my first outing, I simply could not get the fork dialed in, and it had to be sent in to Manitou, where they discovered the compression damper circuit needed replacing. They fixed the issue ASAP, and I had the fork back in my hands in 7 days. I'd call that good turn around. After re-mounting my fork, and inflating to the proper air pressure, I headed out for my maiden voyage. Being a single speed rider, the one thing I did not pay careful attention to was that this fork does not have a true lockout. It does firm up a lot, however, there is still about 10-15mm of travel for bigger hits. I'm happy to say this has not been an issue, and I've actually come to quite like it. The things that really stand out however, are the stiffenss of the bigger stanchions to more effectively control the bigger tires and wheels, and the sheer amount of tuning options without opening the fork up. I also own a Fox 34 FIT4, and a Suntour Epicon RL, and I've owned other forks, and demoed plenty of bikes and currently feel the Magnum is the best fork that I've ridden to date. I've attached my settings, and a shot of the fork in action on one of my favorite single speed trail networks.
Air pressure - 70psi
rebound - 6 clicks out from fully closed
IPA - fully closed
HBO - fully open
Then I simply used the low speed compression generally either fully open, or fully closed when clmibing.
I am not active on the boards, but am fairly active on the home page, and would be happy to contribute for a review. I'm pretty active on other MTB sites.