Lets see here... Kona: 4 grand... Giant: a little over 2 grand. Right now I do cross country and tryin to get the trials skills down to help me on the trail. I really want to get into freeride and I think my current bike (late 90's Norco Java) is kinda limiting me as far as that goes. On pinkbike.com there are some really sweet Giant AC 2's. I originally wanted a Santa Cruz Bullit, but the Giant is cheaper, and I've heard some reviews that the Giant compared to the SC are pretty similar as far as doing drops and stuff.
My friend rides a Kona Stinky and i have to say the thing is great. It is awesome for drops and it holds up to trail riding really well too. Kona makes some sweet bikes. I also have a couple of friends that ride the AC's (AC 3 and the AC 1) They're both pretty sweet too. The AC 3 is a good intro bike for free ride. They are all pretty sweet bikes but if i had to choose i'd go with the Stinky.
Hope that helps. Cheers
Transition Dirtbag, Kona Roast 2002 and specialized BMX
The piston moving into the body is two inches...Thats the stroke...like a lot of forks have a 5inch stroke...due to the way the bike is designed (a 4 bar rocker system) a 2 inch stroke equates to 7.875 inches of travel.