I was able to get the bike finished over the weekend. Here's the fished product:
I went for a short shakedown ride yesterday, and the bike performed well. I think this bike is going to be a blast.
There's a reason the big boys use 20mm thru axles on their downhill bikes. I never knew how much a regular quick release axle flexed until I felt the rock-solid stiffness of this 20mm system. On the first rocky downhill the front wheel went right where I pointed it.
After riding with rigid forks much of the last 10 years, and never more than 80mm of travel when I did use a suspension fork, having 130mm felt awesome. I'll probably get used to it, but right now the fork feels bottomless and unbelievably plush.
The downside of the comfortable, upright position and big travel fork is losing some climbing ability. This bike isn't exactly light, and when the climbing gets steep the front end wants to come up. This requires you to weight the nose of the saddle to keep the front end down. I am OK with some climbing deficiencies, though, because this bike is going to be ripping fast everywhere else.
That's it for now. Later.