I went with the slide and I don't regret it. Massive upgrade over the "pogo stick," as I think it's called, that came with the bike. I'm new to MTB but I can tell it's going to be a lot more fun with the new fork. I also picked up a nice cheap used 15mm t/a easton wheel at the LBS and I'm loving the change. I don't know enough to know why -- but the bike seems to handle WAY better and obviously the terrain is less disruptive now. Thanks for the suggestions!