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I belong to many forums and a lot of times when a new guy comes on and asks a very general question he either gets ignored, hammered, flamed or all three. Lol. If you've read this far and want to give me your .02 I'd appreciate it. The budget is $500.00 MAYBE a little more. My Son will be 15 this year. He's around 5'9" now, I think he will top out at or close to 6'. This will be his second mountain bike, he has outgrown the first one. I'd like a general or all purpose mountain bike. I'm looking for your opinions on best bang for the buck bikes. Thanks in advance.:thumbsup:
 

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Look for a good used bike - not older than 3-4 years max - locally. You can find them on craigs list - just look daily and over a period of a week you should find a lot of options

If you go new you can go for a specialized hardrock as mentioned above but $500 makes it tough. You should also look at 29er bikes (29 inch wheels) but standard 26 inch is fine also and you will find more used 26 inch bikes.

Make sure you get him a bike with disc brakes, they are common now and MUCH better than old school V brakes

I ride with my 9 year old son and got him a cheap Trek - now i see all these used bikes i wish i had gotten him

By the way - your son should most likely get a medium sized but could also ride a Large - so make sure you get the right size - at 6 foot - he will need a large forsure.
 

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If you could push to $599, the large 19" Jamis Dakar is a good bike to grow with:
http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/BI272B15-Jamis+Dakar+Xc+Bike+09.aspx

I've had a few I bought as frames, they are tough enough and since they have standard components, can light up as he improves. I'm not small, 6'0 and 240 ish, the bike never gave me an issue. I sold them for and upgrade in travel, but no other reason.
 

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Jamis Trek And Specialized are probably your best bet in that price range. Go to the different sites, or your local bike shops and see what they have by way of those. I'd recomend the specialized hard rock, but I don't really like the new models as much as the older ones(2005-2007ish). Jamis has a lot of good stuff for pretty cheap though. Most treks are going to be pretty strictly trail and might not handle being beat up as well as the others. That's just my experience though. Probably go with a large frame. Because of geometry on the different models though it might be good to see how he fits on some of them and decide that way. A large from one company might fit a lot larger than a large from another. In that case a medium would be the way to go.
 
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