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If you are new to riding don't start with a dual suspension. You will get more for your money with a hard tail, it will be lighter too and more fun to ride.
 

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Benno said:
If you are new to riding don't start with a dual suspension. You will get more for your money with a hard tail, it will be lighter too and more fun to ride.
Agreed. Especially if you want to ride the same bike on the streets. Spend $500 on a used hardtail and when the fork and parts wear out, replace them with better ones, which will up the performance and reduce weight. XT and X9 components are a great buy, and I've found the Race Face XC Evolve line is huge bang for the buck.

And dual-suspension has come a long way since 2001. Be ready to drop $1500 on a good bike when you're ready for a dedicated MTB.
 
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