I've taken some test rides at LBS in my area and I've been looking on cl for the past month. I've been riding mostly rooty and rocky single track, mostly XC and some all-mountain for a year. Right now my weakness is definitely climbing over sustained obstacles (I have a 26er hardtail now).
Two bikes I've got it down to are a rockhopper at the LBS and a Jamis on CL. They are definitely very different bikes but both are nimble and fast handling, which I like.
The RH is a 29er with a sram X0, 1x10 drivetrain, tora fork, and mid range hydraulic disc brakes.
The Jamis is an '09 Dakar XCR Expert stock components. They guy is tossing in a shock pump, pedals, and wireless trip computer. The bike is in excellent shape.
The prices are about the same. I'm mechanically inclined so I'm not too worried about support from the LBS, they didn't have a great deal on that anyway.
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Thread: Which bike should I get?