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I've been riding my MTB for a while now and I want to get into some technical trails. So far I've been riding paved trails with some simple dirt trails. This past weekend I went with a group of guys and tried a beginner "technical" trail. It was fun to say the least and it was nothing major (rocks, stumps, 1ft drops, etc...) It was a good experience and I'll be doing it again. I am unsure how my Trek 820 is handling the abuse. I mean its nothing crazy but everytime I did a small drop or hit a stump, etc... i felt like the 820 isn't really made for this stuff. The front fork is not the greatest. This could all be in my head as all the guys I was riding with owned $700-$2000 bikes. They all had FS bikes.

Anyway I want to save up and purchase a FS bike but don't want to break the bank. Is there such thing as a FS Budget bike? I mean i see the dept. store fake FS bikes for cheap but I dare not buy one. I'm better off with my 820. Anyway what do you think of the following?

Specialized FSR XC
Trek Fuel 70
Haro Extreame X1
Haro XLS R5

I mean I do not want to spend more than $1k on a bike. The Haro Extreame X1 looks like its more in my price range ($650). Any opinions? I will not be doing any DH, Freeride, stunts... just trail riding. Probably will try more technical trails next year. In no rush to purchase a new MTB.

When is the best time to purchase a new MTB? Like when our shops having the sales, discounts, etc... to move inventory? Thanks!
 

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That Jamis is nice. I had an 03 basic Dakar and was pretty happy with it. Pedaled really well.

They come with a good frame warranty, the 03 had a lifetime frame warranty, double check if the 04 have that.

There is an mtbr member who post under the name Fonseca who put in a lot of time into his Dakar and had a couple of warranty claims that seemed to go pretty easily.
 

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I have test road the Jamis's and they are nice bikes. I also own a Trek hardtail but when I was shopping I found that their FS bikes were way over priced. I ended up buying the Giant NRS1. Their suspension system design in my opinion is one of the best for XC riding. However, you can't go wrong with the Jamis. The best advice I can give you is test ride and shop around. There are a lot of bikes out there.
 
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