plenty great choices here, now take alook at the astrix "huckster", I personally tried all those bike mentioned here with the exception of the vp-free, and the huckster is second to none of them, my bike is set up with a zocchi 888r, with the slow compression upgrade and going downhill the bike doesnt believe in brakes, 8 in travel front and back tracked everything we could challenge the bike on every dh from fast all out to rocky hell gardens, but it also have amased us in north shore riding, and street/urban assaults, turned on a dime, will do exactly what you want ,when you want, no matter how skinny, tall, steep, dry or wet, bunny hooped like a a 20lbs bike but have taken 220lbs + , riders . this bike looks good, ride better, maneuvers like a snake on the technical, and no matter what you put it thru will take, smile at you and ask for more. and for under us$3000. complete bike how say dreams dont come true. check them out. and do as I do look at bike for sale sections in here, check how many astrix for sale, and then how many banshee, specialized,santacruz,rocky mtn,konas,norcos,etc,etc. my point is if there so awesome ...why they selling them. it like the tour the france, every rider there is top notch, but lance is one of a kind , so check the huckster, it will surprised you but never disappointed you.