Right now I'm eyeing a regular HT 29er with front suspension. I could also get a 08 Specialized Stumpjumper 29er that has a full suspension.
Reason I want an MTB to be fast on the pavement is I like to ride my bike to the trails which will consist 20 or so miles of pavement riding, and the majority of it is on some rough gravel roads. A cyclocross bike is not an option, I'm definitely going with an mtb 29er.
I also will generally be using the bike for some long pavement riding, 40-60 miles with long high speed descents, so handling is important. Basically this bike is my main bike for everything. Going as fast as a road bike is not my goal obviously. I don't want to be as fast as a roadie though it would be nice, but I know there are some things I can do to be almost as fast just from some research online:
1) Use some high psi slicks. I believe 700c road tires can fit on a 29er wheel right, they just have to be a bit wider?
2) Aero bars
3) Stronger engine
So the debate for me is, is there advantage going with a HT 29er over the full suspension 29er? Wouldn't the HT 29er be more ideal for some regular roadie riding over the full suspension 29er? Will both generally handle the same on pavement? Which would be faster with slicks?