I've spent almost a whole year looking at other people's fancy bikes and wishing they were mine, so it's about time for a dream-build update for 2012.
Keep in mind that this is all stuff that I would actually buy and use. No Tune, no AX-lightness, nothing hand-polished by blind Germans with organic q-tips. I like light stuff, I like strong stuff, and I like American-made, gosh darn it.
Without further ado:
Frame: WW custom hardtail (for FS frames, add $900)
Fork: Fox F29 taper steerer, 15mm axle (travel is up to you)
Headset: King taper
Stem: Thomson X4, or for the weight weenies, Ritchey WCS 4-axis
Bar: Easton EC70 or Haven Carbon
Shifters: X-9 trigger (or gripshift, hopefully, if the darn things are ever released!)
Front derailleur: XT or X-9 2x direct mount
Rear derailleur: XX medium cage
Cassette: XX 11-32 or 11-36
Cranks: XTR 2x and XTR BB
Seatpost: Thomson Masterpiece
Brakes: Magura MT-6 w/Storm SL rotors
Skewers: Front included, rear 10mm DT through-bolt
Wheels: Enve XC or AM tubeless rims laced to DT 240 or King hubs
Tubes: None, 1 qt of Stan's goop, baby!
Tires: Maxxis Ikon, Ardent, Ignitor, or any combo you like
Grips: Ritchey WCS foam
Saddle: WTB Speed V ti
The good news? That's a ~21# bike (or less, if it's a 650b or 26er - this assumes 29" wheels) that will actually handle most anything you can throw at it. The bad? It'll set you back a cool $5600 (or $6500 for the full suspension version).
I'll do the SS, smart-money, and dirtbag 2012 builds over the next week or so, so stay tuned if you're looking for something configured a little more affordably.