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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's about time I get a mountain bike again; it's been a few years since I sold my Pugsley and now my only MTB option is my cross bike with 40mm gravel tires on it. Not really enough to have a great time on trails.

The only mountain bikes I've owned were said Pugsley and a Surly Troll, so both pretty heavy, comfortable, none too quick or lively-feeling bikes that felt more like touring bikes with fat tires. I'd like to look into something lighter and with substantially more trail-oriented handling.

I want a hardtail; FS seems like overkill (and takes away framebag space) and I've had my fill of rigid and want to try suspension. The option to switch in a rigid fork would be nice (or I could get a bike with suspension-corrected frame).

I'm not super attached to plus tires being better than regular width, but I'd like the option for them for when I'm in sandy stuff.

(Edit: forgot to include this at first) No strong preferences on wheel size, but I'm around 5'9" and I assume the most logical move would be to go for a frame that fits either 29" or 27.5"+.

I'm also not totally attached to steel, but I tend to favor it. I'd like to do a good amount of bikepacking or even rack-loaded touring with the bike, which puts me off of carbon a bit. Still, I'm open to considering all materials.

For bikepacking reasons I also want as many braze-ons/attachment points as I can get.

Similarly, I'd like a bike that would handle well with Jones Loop bars as well as with regular MTB bars, even if I have to switch out stem length. I don't know if I could do a lengthy tour without the Jones.

And I'd like a bike with staying power, that I'll still be happily riding in 10, 20+ years.

Those are pretty much what I'm looking for. My budget is flexible; I could go up to (or even above) $2500 for the right bike, but I'd be happy to pay less as well. I'm not in a huge rush to buy, so waiting for sales to pop up is certainly an option.

My local shops all carry a few brands each, but it's hard to know what's out there and what I'd be able to find for a test ride. Thanks for your suggestions!
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