Quick unbiased reveiw on my first experience with the whole 29'r single speed hardtail thing:
Test bike: 2006 Gary Fisher Rig large frame 18T rear 32T front
Test location: Boyette
Test trails: Pretty much everything except Pandamonium, the meadows, and woods trail.
1) Is it noticeably faster? Yes, my eye's watered more than usual (two test riders thought so too and they both want one now)
2) Did it make me faster overall? Yes (waited on other riders at the end of the trail much longer than usual)
3) Is it fun? Yes
4) Does it lower my confidence level on technical downhills? Yes, forces you to think before you drop.
5) How is the steering? Felt like my old ten speed on tight switchbacks but everything else seemed fine.
6) Did I make all the uphills that I usually make? Yes, but I couldn't be lazy about it or react at the last minute. I even made that nasty climb out of South Abyss! Granted it is easier than it used to be.
7) Will I try it at Alafia? Yes, but I'm doubtful that I'll like it near as much out there.
How did it do on the two track trip out to the main trails? Needed another gear, did fine on SST though (almost kept up with Benjibbad)
9) Do I think it will make me a better rider? Yes, for sure.
10) Do I like the idea of back to basics? Kinda
11) Will I sell my FS bike? No way!