alright here is the deal. sold my 4300 and need a upgrade, willing to spend around $850. i think i've narrowed it down to the 05 hkek and the 05 tassajara disc. i like the disc brakes and tubeless on the tassajara, but it is the gold series 6061 t6 frame and the hkek has the platinum zr9000 frame but with no disc. the tassajara has manitou axel elite with lock out and the hk has rs pilot sl but i'm not sure if it has lock out? is motion control essentially lock out? Anyway, any insight you guys could offer would be greatly appreciated!!! Any other reccomendations about other brands in the sub 850 category?
Motion control isn't an actual lockout, but it does reduce bob when hammering on the pedals. I'd definitely go with the Hoo Koo E Koo over the TJ Disc. Much nicer frame, plus you can upgrade the HKEK to disc brakes at any time since it has the mounts and comes with disc hubs. Figure $70 a wheel for Avid BB7's with 6" rotors. You can use the existing FR-5 levers, as that's what I have on my Specialized. The HKEK also has a full LX drivetrain. The TJ Disc has LX rear, but Deore everything else. Not even a comparison in my book. Give up the discs for now and spend the money on the HKEK.
Look for an 04 Tass. You can usually get one at a discount now and the frame is domestic (USA) vs the 05 China made frame. With the money you save upgrade components as you need to. Test ride the Tass first because the Genesis geometry is not for everyone. I like it because I am a rodie also and am use to being stretched out a bit. They (Gary Fisher) claim the geometry will keep you from going over the handlebars. I recall this quote as I was going over the handlebars of my Tass for the 3rd time. Actually love the bike and learnig MTB skills will keep me from crashing over the front a lot more than the geo of any bike.
The discs are crap as said above. Don't be lured in by the brakes. The bike retails for around $600 without the discs. Also, you'd be surprised about discs and how they don't make much of a difference over V-Brakes. Get the HKEK.