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I have been searching here and talking to my LBS about bikes for about a month. I am tired of hearing the local guys rag on other frames and swear thiers are the best...which is why I havent picked a bike yet. I am looking to spend about $600ish for a new bike. I have looked at rockhoppers, haro flightlines, gt avalanches and many others. I am looking for a hartail frame that can be built up as the parts need to be replaced since I probably will never have a need to get a FS bike for around my area. I will be using the bike for sprint adventure races in the Austin and north texas areas. Looking to hear opinions on frames in my price range, but I have a feeling they may all be to close to even worry about. If it helps, I am about 6', 180 lbs...
 

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With your budget, and your desire to do some racing, I'd look for a used bike. Doing so will mean that you'll get a lot more bike for your money. Most good bikes sell for half, or less, of their original price.

Problem is that you need to make sure that bike is in excellent mechanical condition. If you're not EXTREMELY familiar with mountain bikes, then you'll have a very hard time determining if a bike is in good condition. You don't want to buy a bike that needs hundreds of dollars of repairs, and that could easily happen. Any used bike you consider needs to be carefully inspected for signs of drivetrain and suspension wear, and signs of any dents, abrasions, and cracks in the frame.

I recommend taking any potential purchase to a smart bike shop for examination. Find someone who knows their stuff and is impartial.

Good luck!
 
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