Just a follow up to the end of the "hand built" low end Rockies. Using the RM Custom 7005 tubing and the computer welds allows the 2003 TH and Fusion to have better forks than last years models for the same price. Inspect the welds vs the hand built models, you can cleary see that the computer welds are much more "polished" whild also having a definate point where the final weld was made. Supposedly they still put the fully welded frame in a jig to see if it is straight. If it is not they trash it. If the Kona frame is not straight they heat it to bend it straight.
To me the build of the Rocky is worth the extra $. I shopped the 2002 Trailhead against the 2003 Kona Nunu. While the Nuno has higher end shifters/derailers, fork, and brakes I still went with the Rocky. Why?
1) Weight - the Rocky felt much lighter, despite having the pig Judy TT fork.
2) Build quality - the look/feel of the rocky was in another league
3) Brakes - while the Nunu's disks looked cool, the feel sucked and I don't intend on doing enough down hill runs to worry about superheating my brakes.
As far as the decals go, I personally don't want to be stuck with the factory decal package forever. I like the idea that I can change it if I want to.
What's an extra couple of bucks for a better made bike that you will likely have for many years to come?