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Need help! I'm looking to get back into mountain biking after 12 year absence. Raced BMX when younger and then moved into a Stumpjumper which I rode fairly aggressively, but never raced. I eventually sold it. Now I'm 35 6'4" and 230lbs. (Yes, I'm fat!)

I just test rode of a new 06' stumpjumper HT disc and loved it. Also test rode a GF Rig, which was nice, but I think I want a geared bike, and I liked that I could really toss around the stumpie with the smaller wheels...brought me back to them olden days. The stupjumper is apparently a well packaged bike for the $$$$. I can have it for $1450 out of a chain bike store in MPLS.

However, based on all the info here, I'm really leaning toward a 29" wheeled bike. It looks like that may be the best package for my build. So, I'm looking for advice on a good steel frame wtith component set that won't set me back anymore than $1450. I've checked out a lot of the frame builder's websites...most seem to be way out of my league $$$ wise. The Surely frame is attractive as they indicate on their site that it is affordable (although I don't know what it costs yet) , and they're local. When I test rode the rig a guy at the store told me GF will have a steel frame that can accomodate 29" wheels in geared or SS versions for 2007, but I believe it may cost too much, and from what I've read here (thank you all), I may be able to get a better fitting frame than Fisher can offer by going to one of the smaller manufacturers.

I'd like to commute with the bike occassionally, pull a trailer with kiddo, and be able to hit the trails, although not as aggressively as I used to. Any thoughts, comments, advice, warnings will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
 

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Isn't Ben Witt - forum poster - in the Minneapolis area? If so, I'd say contact him and start from there.

I think his shop is Milltown Cycles and he knows his 29er stuff real well. I bet he could help steer you in the right direction to build up a great 29er that would fall within or maybe even below your budget.

http://www.milltowncycle.com/
 
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