I was in the same boat as you recently. I eventually decided on the Diamondback Overdrive. I'm supposed to pick it up this Sunday actually. Since you mentioned Specialized, you might want to ask your local dealer how soon they can get ahold of the 2010 Hardrock 29ers. The shop near me already has one. It's stickered for $600. Just a few more suggestions to confuse your situation. I'm new to the whole scene so I'm sure someone will be along shortly to give you some better options.