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So I have gotten a lot better since starting MTB'ing a little seriously in April.
Currently ride a Specialized HRXC Disc, that was 400 dollars total been doing well but starting to notice its limitations componentry wise, but still a good handler.

I test rode some "real" bikes, although they were only parking lot test rides. One being a New Specialized Epic which felt great, not too squishy, and a Vassago 29er Ti Single Speed, also felt AWESOME. Loved the feel of both bikes, but def wont be doing 29er now.

Of all the trails I ride ,in my opinion FS isn't totally necessary but nice to have, generally the trails are smooth.

Anyway here is my conundrum, this is where I could use some help from people who have been in my shoes and perhaps chosen a certain route, or have experienced both sides.
I don't mind hardtails at all, no back problems, still 24 years old so no worries yet. Also, Im open minded enough to go into the FS world.

Now here are my choices -

Used Moots frame build up, most likely YBB or Rigormootis, with my own selected parts, will be doing a 1x9 setup, with a good 100mm fork. With X9 drivetrain, pg991 casette, CK hubs, in the end will cost me a little more, and used frame, so no warranty. BUT, I will be transferring my bottom of the barrel parts from my HRXC Disc to ride it, and upgrade little by little but wont take long to acquire parts. Guessing about $2700-3000 built

2nd choice would be a 2008 Specialized Epic Comp complete, brand new, warranty, from the reviews seems to be a nice bike to transition from HT to FS. No wait time to build it up. Cheaper. $1600

2008 Trek Fuel Ex9 brand new, old model being clearanced by my LBS Awesome parts, don't think itll need upgrade for a LOONGGG time. Warrantied $2500

2008 Scott Spark 30 $2300 , being clearanced by LBS, 25 lbs! Pretty good components, can't complain still. Warrantied

I know it's an apples to oranges comparison, but those are my choices, and if anyone can chime some light, drop some wisdom, or recommendations, I'd love to hear it.

Thank You!
 

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Harshing my mellow, man..
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Epic. Then get yourself a pair of 650b rims and tires, and have a sweet race bike. You'll have better rolling than the 26" tires, but won't be as hard to get going as the 29". You'll thank me later.
 
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