Hey everyone. I'm looking to buy a new mountain bike before summer this year. I used to ride very seriously (300+ miles a week), but stopped in the early 90's after my third and final bike was stolen. I just ended up getting into other sports. Anyway, I decided I can't stand not doing it anymore and want another bike. Problem is I don't know what is good out there anymore and could use some suggestions. I'm looking to spend around $1500 an change out the door for a decent hardtail.
First a few questions:
1. What type of riding do you primarily do? I am assuming XC since you did 300+ miles a week.
2. Do you want full suspension or hardtail? For the price point you are looking at you can get a very sweet hardtail with good components that will be very comfortable on long rides
3. What's the area like you ride in? Lots of rock gardens or roots? A 29er usually fairs better for my taste in rocky situations compared to a 26er.
4. What's your weight and size? If you are a clydesdale rider like me (285 lbs here)then you need to be more selective in the type of material your bike is built from so steel might be a better choice for you than aluminum.
For $1500 you could pick up a nice trek 6500 with clipless pedals and some good accessories
you could pick up a nice gary fisher 29er or build a karate monkey 29er.