I am currently in the market for $500-600 range hardtail. I've been looking at several models within this range and I've narrowed my choice to a Specialized RockHopper. Other choices were Cannondale, Trek, Fisher and Fuji (all of which my neighborhood LBS's carry as I'm not looking for a used bike).
The problem (or perceived problem) I'm having is the specialized component group. As far as the shock wise, every one of the bike in this price range is either Rockshocks Dart 2 or 3. The FD and RD is where RockHopper seems to be lacking. Most other bikes in this price range seems to be a Deore or better. The Rockhopper is equipped with Altus/Alivio.
I really would like to use my closest LBS but am I getting less of a deal? I would really appreciate your opinion. Thanks