I currently own a 2011 Specialized Rockhopper Comp. I picked it up last August/September and have been enjoying it ever since. However, considering my financial situation is a bit better right now, I'm starting to realize that I can afford a bike with better components.

I have a buddy at work that wants to get into mountain biking and is willing to buy the Rockhopper from me. As a result, I've been looking at the Nine Race.

I know I'm going to get biased feedback from people in this forum, but I'll ask anyway: is this a better bike? And if so, marginally or substantially? Specialized has a pretty solid reputation. How's Felt's? Customer service?

Thanks in advance!