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I am relatively new to Mountain Biking. I have used a department store Magna bike for a couple of years mostly on road riding with my kids. I first rode trails a couple of months ago (in Florida) using the Magna. All fire road and beginner stuff. About a month ago I was able to borrow a Cannondale CAD2 (approx. 14 year old hardtail police bike) which I have been using. The difference is like night and day. I am still riding primarily beginner trails with an occasional intermediate trail but intend to ride harder over time. I am absolutely unwilling to go back to the crappy Magna. I would like to spend around $500.00 on a worthwhile full suspension bike (less money is always better). I started looking at the Motobecane 700DS then saw the 400DS uses the same frame. Am I likely to be happy with either of these bikes? Any problems with either of these bikes? Is the difference in components that significant? Any suggestions in my price range?

Thanks for the input.:)
 

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At $500 stick with a hardtail. For the beginner and intermediate trails you won't need any more and you really can't get a decent full suspension for that much. Full suspension bikes at that price point will just not be as enjoyable or as durable as a $500 hardtail. When I bought my first real mountain bike it was a Fantom Comp for $600. I still have the bike as well as another Moto full suspension bike and a steel xc hardtail. I think the 700ht would be a better bike overall.
 

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gdpolk is 100% correct.... I have also been riding a hard tail Motobecane bike for sometime now. The hardtail will help you more in xc riding especially if you ride mostly in Florida. With a dual suspension bike like the 400 through 700 DS line you are looking at a 35 to 40 pound bike. The 700 HT probably weights around 28-30 pounds which will make for an easier ride especially if you are climbing hills. The components are probably about the same, but can easily be upgraded. But if your are set on the full supension try the Windsor 6900 Full Suspension line on Ebay or bikesdirect.com. This bike is a little lighter then the 700ds and has the same specs. Good Luck!
 
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