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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! I'm looking for a new mountain bike and I need some advice. First of all, I'm not going to use it for true mountain biking. I live in Houston, Texas - which is as flat as it gets. I'll ride off-road trails and while I realize that mountain bike is an overkill for this, it is my personal preference.

My price range is $500-$700 bucks and I'd like the best bang for my buck in this range. I need front suspension and I definitely don't need the rear one - so I'm looking at hardtails only. Given the purpose, I don't think I need disc brakes, but I kind of like them. Hydraulic are probably too much though - I think mechanical is enough.

I am kind of picky about shifters though - I'd love Shimano Deore in the rear - which is very hard to find - but I'd like an Alivio or about the same. I don't know much about suspension forks and other components - so I'm looking for some basic guidance in do's ad don'ts here.

I used to have a Felt Q620 years ago (I think it was a 2004 model) - which came with Deore at the time at below $500. If I could get the same one again, I would - but they don't have such deals anymore.

I seriously looked at Giant Talon 27.5 4 as well as Trek Wahoo Disc 29 and recently zeroed in on Giant Revel 29er - but the store had issues with the lead time from the factory and now I'm back looking again.

Given all of the above, what bike(s) would you advise I look at? Any input is appreciated!
 

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I am pretty familiar with Giant bikes and they give you quite a lot for the money. I would look at the Talon 29er since the 29 inch wheels will give you a lot of speed on the flat areas (which Houston has a lot) and the Talon has some nice upgrades over the Revel. I have never been a fan of the G2 geometry in Trek bikes but it all comes down to personal preference and some people like them. If you are serious about biking, there is no such thing as overkill since you can always travel one day to find some more challenging trails youll be thankful for those upgrades.
Disc brakes aren't a must but I do recommend them. Try to get the best fork you can with your budget since it will make riding much more comfortable and enjoyable. The lower end shifter offerings from shimano and sram may not be the best but they work if adjusted properly and so I wouldn't worry too much about them. I started out with an entry level bike and the fork and brakes were the main things I appreciated improving whenever I upgraded to a higher end bike.
Oh and Im from Texas too and there are some great trails outside of Houston if you are willing to travel although people say Houston has some challenging areas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am pretty familiar with Giant bikes and they give you quite a lot for the money. I would look at the Talon 29er since the 29 inch wheels will give you a lot of speed on the flat areas (which Houston has a lot) and the Talon has some nice upgrades over the Revel. I have never been a fan of the G2 geometry in Trek bikes but it all comes down to personal preference and some people like them. If you are serious about biking, there is no such thing as overkill since you can always travel one day to find some more challenging trails youll be thankful for those upgrades.
Disc brakes aren't a must but I do recommend them. Try to get the best fork you can with your budget since it will make riding much more comfortable and enjoyable. The lower end shifter offerings from shimano and sram may not be the best but they work if adjusted properly and so I wouldn't worry too much about them. I started out with an entry level bike and the fork and brakes were the main things I appreciated improving whenever I upgraded to a higher end bike.
Oh and Im from Texas too and there are some great trails outside of Houston if you are willing to travel although people say Houston has some challenging areas.
Thanks for a detailed advice! I tried to figure out a difference between Revel and Talon and got thoroughly confused. I looked at Giant website and they seem to have only one variation of Revel and Talon in each wheel size, while on my local bike shop's site they have multiple versions of both Revel and Talon ranging greatly in price and components.

It even appears that higher grade Revels are actually nicer than lower grade Talons. Can you give me a bit more input on what are the upgrades from Revel to Talon? Also, any advice on good trails to ride in Houston area?
 

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I believe the Talon has a better frame than the Revel. There are different levels of Revel and Talon with each having a different set of components. Another option if you want to consider is the Specialized Rockhopper. Theyre great bikes from my experience. Ive had good experiences with Bike Barn if you want to take a look.
Jack Brooks park has some good trails that are worth checking out.
 
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