I've been able to get in two solid days aboard the new Gambler so far, just enough to start getting a handle on what this bike is capable of. The first was a day of shuttling on steep, rooty, natural tracks, and the second day was in the Whistler Bike Park, where I hit up everything from the techier bits in the Garbanzo zone to jump-filled trails like A-Line and Dirt Merchant. I kept the bike in the geometry configuration it came in, with the flip chip in the low / progressive setting, and the chainstays in the longest position. At 5'11" I went with the size large, and so far I've been very comfortable on it. I'm sure I'd be able to handle the XL if I wanted to really maximize straight-line speed and stability, but I'd rather feel like a pilot than a passenger, so the 460mm reach of the large works well for me.
The light weight of the bike is noticeable, but there's still plenty of stability on tap – you're not going to mistake the Gambler for an overgrown trail bike, which is a good thing. After all, part of the reason that DH bikes are so fun is that they let you get away with speeds and line choices that wouldn't be possible on anything else.
Even though it gained a little length and bigger wheels, the new Gambler is much easier to throw around than the previous version, whether that's while navigating through a tight, technical chute, or lifting up and over a chopped up section of trail. With the flip chip in the progressive setting, it takes barely any effort at all to get the shock to begin moving into its travel. That sensitivity came in handy on the more natural trails where I wanted as much grip as possible, but it wasn't as beneficial in the bike park – I'm planning on trying out the more linear setting next to see if the difference is noticeable. In theory, it should provide more support at the beginning of the stroke and make the bike ride a little higher in its travel at the cost of a little bit of bottom-out resistance.