Just wanted to share my new acquisition with everyone...
After much research, deliberation and riding 15 or so bikes, I settled on the 21" '04 Jamis Dakar Sport. It just felt right. The Fox Vanilla coil over in the rear is dialed in so I've got minimal bob (surprising for my size - 6'4", 240lbs) and still gives great support on the rough stuff. The Manitou Black front fork is fantastic, too.
Oh yeah, it was only $900 on sale and has a 90-day price guarantee.
I'm happy with the overall spec, though the handlebars are in no way intended for big guys and will be upgraded soon. Deore shifters/derailleurs ain't great either, but for now, they're fine.
The guy at the LBS also said I might want to upgrade the wheels on there to some RhynoLites - any other suggestions for wheels or other components?
Pics to come soon!