I took the 8.5 on a 20-day Grand trip this spring, and LOVED it. It was fast, comfy, stable, and yet the hull was loose and it flat spun easily when I wanted to. Super stable, never got knocked over running anything, only playing. It was easy to stern squirt in those big deep eddy lines, too. It had good bow volume and rode up stuff instead of plowing under. I just rented/demoed it from the shop here in Jackson, and didn't come home and buy it, but would have happily added it to my quiver of boats if I'd had some spare cash. All in all, it was a great boat, huge improvement over the RPM for sure. I would have no hesitation running stuff like Gore, Upper Animas, Numbers, lower N. Fork Payette in it.
So many rivers, so little time..........