So Ive officially converted from roadie to MTN'er. After a few rides on a FS, I figured my old, smalll hardtail was why I didnt love singletracks. After talking to a lot of shops and reading multiple reviews, Ive been leaning toward a few bikes from the LBS's that are about 2k.

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 08

And Giant Trance X1 08

(as far as I know, the differences 08 vs 09 versions are minimal.... 09 Trancex1 = 08 Trancex2

From my understanding, these are both more 'trail' type bikes with 5", as opposed to a more racing geometry with 4". By all means if there are other suggestions to be looking at, Im all ears. However, it may mean more internet shopping, as the nearby LBS's only also carry Trek and Cannondale. I may take a second look at them, but I am not as impressed with their FS setup nor the 'bang for the buck' spec-wise