Had a '97 for the longest time with XrC derailleuers. I beat the crap outa that bike. It held up like a champ til it got jig by a truck on Hwy 49. So I got a new one. Best hardtail you can buy.
Great mountain bike. If you need a beater to ride around, but a 15 year old one of these for $150 on craigslist. If you need an awesome mountain bike for trailing riding, buy a new Rockhopper. It's a solid choice.