I’ve transitioned in 2012 to riding mostly fully rigid. I enjoy flowing down the trail, feeling every bump in my bones. I believe my riding has improved as a result. My lines are better, they have to be. Some trails however, are much less fun without suspension. I’ve heard great things about Manitou’s forks, so when I want to get squishy with it, look for me riding my shiny new Manitou Tower Pro sometime this summer.
As for brakes, I can’t wait to replace my Avid XX with a set of Hayes. My experience with the XX has been a complete debacle. I’ve used Hayes disc brakes on past bikes with much success and their lineup has only gotten better since then. After much research and talking with other racers and mechanics, the choice is clear. It’s Prime time!