Thank you for a detailed review!
A couple of Qs:
1. Overall mirror and mirror box weight
Per HO's specs on UL14 page, the "Optical tube" weighs 40.0 lbs.
Per their Sandwich Mirror page, a 14" mirror is ~7.8 kg = ~17.16 lbs.
Does this mean their mirror box weighs ~40-17=23 lbs? Seems high.
If you don't mind, whenever you can, will you please let us know the individual weight of the mirror and the mirror box?
2. Mirror adjustment time
From the time you get the scope outside to it being ready for observation, how long it takes for the mirror to reach thermal equilibrium?
The last time I checked the base + mirror was about 30 lb, but I need to revisit this and do a proper job of weighing. It was really hard to get the thing situated on a bathroom scale. Once I get something that can properly weight these, I'll get some more accurate estimates for all of the components, but I think ~30 lb on the base+mirror is about right.
And I'm sorry to waffle about 'thermal' time as well, but I've been in Phoenix since I received the scope, and the inside and outside (evening) temperatures have been about the same. This is another area where I'll be posting better information once I have the tools. I just received my "Gerd Neumann Jr. 10 mm Ronchi Eyepiece" (a German quality mounted Ronchi grating) and used it last night on Vega. The lines in-focus and out-focus are perfectly straight, though I'd like to put this on an artificial star to eliminate seeing. Later on in the Fall, I'll see how quickly things settle. It is a smaller mirror, and sandwich, so I would expect fairly fast equalization.
The other thing that I'm upgrading on is collimation. I currently have a $20 Gosky laser collimator, which for the money is great (I think even better than the similar Hotech which often needs recollimation out of the box). My only complaint is that Gosky's tube is slightly undersized, which gives it a chance to wiggle off-axis (I have little pieces of tape to center it). Because I like shiny new things, I ordered Farpoint's box of 3: 2" laser, cheshire and autocollimator; it should be here in a few weeks. In my experience, it pays to be OC about collimation. Farpoint has had good reviews, plus in talking with them, they seem to be a top notch company.