Now you're talking with those last few words underlined.st-rider said:Just skip to the last paragraph if you don't want to read my rationalizations.
Problem is I'm a starving community college prof. with kids so $3K+ bikes are out of the question.
6'3 185 lbs (175 coming soon after new bike purchase)
48 yrs old, been on two wheels of one type or another for my entire life but not on mtb's much for the last 10 years. My dream bike would be.....or maybe a RIP 9.
Pick up an extra class or two for the semester to get the course overload $$$ and get yourself a RIP 9. There's a fully built XL RIP showcase/demo bike on eBay at the moment you could bid for and save some money compared to buying new.
That's the advice from this same weight, 6'3", 49 year old, college professor with kids and the wife/stress anything over $2K syndrome. Get the dream bike and enjoy the next 5 - 10 years riding it.