The pistol is a decent bike, and has a pretty nice price tag. That said, it does have its drawbacks, particularly the rear shock. Its somewhat unique mounting system means that you probably won't be able to upgrade it--which would eventually be nice to do since it is a single pivot bike. Now, the Trance 4 is only a little more, and although the parts spec might not even be as nice as the Pistol 1, you get a much better frame. It doesn't come with disc brakes, but since the wheels are disc-ready, you can upgrade those later. You may be able to find an '05 Trance 4 for less than an '06 Pistol 1.
I hate to badmouth a Giant, but the Pistol is probably not what you want to end up with as your first FS. It's a good bike, it works, but after the inception of the Maestro rear suspension on the Reign, Trance, and Faith the single pivot is becoming... outdated. A FS is going to feel great compared to a hardtail regardless of design when descending, but on flatland, and uphill, a good design is worth every extra penny. Basically what you get with the Maestro design vs a Single pivot is much better climbing and flat pedaling efficiency. When climbing, you get reduced pedal bob, and more efficiency. The bike is basically going to resemble a hardtail when your in the saddle but soak up the bumps when they happen to find you. My opinion, save up a couple more paychecks, or just drop it all on the card and get a better design. Reign eats up climbs like crazy, and can handle some nasty turrain downhill, I own one, love it. Trance is a great XC bike, climbs like a homesick angel and handles the flats easily. Faith handles drops and big air like a mountain goat, and is a fantastic downhill bike with a good enduro personality as well. Take your pic, thats my advice, you should get some sweet deals on '05 models and '06 models will be discounted soon!
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