First, Thanks to all who replied to my "Good deal or not" thread.
Well, I ended up buying the used 02' Rockhopper FSR for $500.00 and so far couldn't be happier. The Judy fork, though still lacking, is performing much better since I cranked up the pre-load (still plan on replacing) - the pedal bob is there, but hardly noticeable while actually trail riding - and the bike as a whole is just a ton-o-fun to ride.
Compared to my 15 yr.old Giant ht I've found these differences ....
... Geometry of the Rockhopper is much more aggressive than the Giant. Every steep downhill had to tell myself "Get back, get waaaay back!
... Feels like I'm sprinting on the climbs! (Well, as much as a beer-bellied 43yr. old can)
... The toe clips w/straps that came on it have definitely inspired me to try clipless in the near future.
New riser bar and stem, along with Rhyno Lite/XT disc ready hub wheelset should be here tomorrow. Can't wait to try the riser bar.
All in all, this bike has upped the fun factor to my trail riding ... And, I get the enjoyment of never ending upgrades!