I just had one of best rides of my life on this bike today . Yesterday, I installed Salsa Woodchipper bars and a new rear tire. It's a Novara Buzz and I don't really know what its intended purpose was when they designed it, because I bought it as a frame.
Today, I took it for its first ride of the year and it was great. I worked my ass off and eventually it paid off when I achieved that feeling where I can pick my line between roots and I can flow through a corner with little effort and maintain my speed. It's that feeling when I'm comfortable on the bike -- a settled feeling
I didn't have any way to tell if I was riding faster than normal, but it felt faster and that's the important thing.
The other bike I ride off road is a dual suspension 29er with 2.3" tires. It allows me to ride sloppy. It forgives me when I pick a poor line or lazily roll over a set of logs. The Novara forgives none of my mistakes and makes me focus on the trail more intently.
This is turning into analysis and I've promised myself to ignore that sort of thing when riding and enjoy.