My friends and I do it all on hardtails... jumps, drops, urban, freeride, etc. I really don't feel that 'beat up' at the end of a long ride.
Azonic Steelhead < my pick for a frame
Giant STP series
Kona Scrap/Shred/Roast/Cowan series
Gary Fisher Mullet/GED/PHD
Cannondale Chase series < my pick for a complete bike
Money wise, you always come out ahead buying a complete bike (even at employee prices), and it seems to be especially true in this "aggro" category of bikes. My coworker priced out a basic Azonic Steelhead build using cheap and used parts, and it cost more than his price on a Cannondale Chase 2, but building can also be a really cool experience.
commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)
Last edited by seely; 09-20-05 at 08:28 PM.