Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kemah, TX (greater Houston area)
Bikes: Surly Disc Trucker, Klein stage comp, trek 560
you are prime for a 29er unless you are a huckker type rider
if it fits a redline d440 would fit the bill... but I think even the largest 21" frame they have would be a bit small for you... good stout build and frame and the price is right.
so i'll recommend a XL surly karate monkey
... any decent shop can order a surly frame... spec it right and you could have yourself a sweet ride (although at 1000$ limit you're prob riding it rigid)
of the ones you mention... I can see why the 29er rockhopper would work for you... but if you look at fishers page the 29er 21" has the same long top tube (actualy .5mm longer)... but they are known to have some frame failures... but they also have a VERY good replacment policy.
the BIG thing though (outside of fit) is going to be the fork... the dart on the rockhopper isn't known to be very clyd friendly... i'm running a tora 318 soloair from a '08 fisher coia and it works great even under my +300# girth...
if SS is at all a good inexpensive option could be the redline monocog... the top tube length is right on and the price is nice