I'm upgrading bikes and a little bit unsure what to get (still fairly green). I've been looking at getting a steel hardtail that weighs in at 25#s, or an AM FS -- 30#s. I've been leaning towards the hardtail because it's used (lightly 2.5 yrs old) and I can get it at a better price. However, it seems to be sold as a "race" bike. I have no interest in racing. I like riding singletrack -- and earning my downs. I really enjoy the descent. I was riding the local trails yesterday on my friend's FS XC bike and felt like I was probably glad to have a little suspsension in the rear, but I hear steel is a very forgiving ride downhill (maybe even comparable to an inch of rear suspension).
So I guess my question is are these "race" bikes (Jamis) up for taking me down bumpy descents or are they only ideal for smooth flat riding and climbing? Would I be better off coughing up the extra cash and going with an AM?
Thanks everyone in advance for the input.