It must be the thrill of the hunt that I enjoy. For the past few months, I've been researching "affordable" (sub-$1500) 4X/DS rides to hit the local DS, BMX and pumptrack trails with. While the new GT La Bomba looked to be a fierce contender with its upscale kit and all-new alu frame, I just couldn't make it past the hideous bright orange paint and unproven lineage. The Giant STP 1 was also an interesting ride, but didn't impress with the low-grade kit and purple color. I guess the OEMs think everyone who rides these has dyed hair and painted nails.
In the end, the Santa Cruz Jackal won me over for its simple, clean design, above par spec and wide variety of frame color options. On order through Alpha Bikes in Alpharetta, I expect to take delivery in the next week or two. Will be sure to review the SC in detail after a few rides.