I had the chance to demo this bike last fall in Chequamegon NF. 30-40 mile ride. I'd buy this bike in a heartbeat if I had the money. It never felt sluggish. Even on sections of hero gravel, it rolled well. On the rougher roads it was awesome. I've also ridden the original Deadwood 29+ on the trails of Chequamegon and loved it. I think the plus tires would be great for exploring forest service roads. The traction these tires provide make climbing great.
Thanks for replying! I spoke with my local Salsa dealer today...I may be in luck, all sizes are sold out except XS...I'm 6'6" and need an XL. As luck may have it, the inventory says XL Rival builds have a restock ETA of 3/21. My dealer was flabbergasted that more are going to be available. He says usually once they are gone, that's it for the model year. I'm thinking I may back order one and hopefully get on the list.