So I got my Hardrock back on Tuesday with Hemisphere EX tires (not the new version, previous model). Shop installed for free and got a decent deal on them.
My early AM ride today was on the Hardrock with the new tires vs. my Giant with Kenda Kwest 32c tires.
Wow! What a difference! I love both bikes, but there's something about how "beefy" the Hardrock frame is that makes me a bit more comfortable on the cr*ptastic roads we have here post-winter (potholes, gunk on the road, etc). They're a fatter tire (1.95 vs. the 1.5s that bdinger and others have dropped on their MTB), but I pumped them up to about 80psi (max spec on the tire) and they definitely have a nice feel to them vs. the Revolution Knobbies that came stock on my '07 sport.
Very easily got the bike up in the 14mph range, avg. speed (I was plodding along this AM since I was dog tired) was around 9-10mph. Definitely have to do something about the fork at some point, but I'm quite comfortable now using the Hardrock as my morning ride and my ride when my wife goes with me (on her '03 Boulder SE with Serfas Drifter 1.5s).