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I'm an old Ironman guy. My latest was Ironman Couer d'Alene back in 2006. I was 41st overall out of 2600 and threw down a sub 5:15 bike leg on the 112 miler through the mountains. Didn't say that to brag, but I do take biking pretty serious. Problem: that was just about the last time I got on the bike and that was about 25 lbs ago and a lot of lost muscle.

Always thought I'd get back into triathlon, but I think if I do it would be Xterra. I'm finally selling my tri bike this week and hope to get around $1,500 for it. I'm planning on throwing $1,200-$1,500 into a MTB.

I'm on the east coast (Georgia) and am looking to get something that will help get the mtb wheels under me (never really ridden off road) and could be a good racer should I ever want to get into Xterra tri's or any kind of race.

I'm 5'6, so I'm assuming I'd need a small frame. I'd like to race at some point, so I'm hearing a hard tail is the way to go. Not really interested in downhill.

I was sponsored by Specialized previously, so I somewhat tend to search eBay for these. Don't know a whole lot about other brands. Any input?

I'd like to try to find a gently used bike that would get me all set up. Any ideas or direction?
 

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spec4life???..smh...
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for $1200-$1500 you've just bumped into two bikes that me and my cuz have recently purchased

i purchased my 2010 Rockhopper SL Pro for $1300 flat, and he got his 2010 Stumpjumper Comp for $1500 flat. Both are similar hardtails, with the SJ having slightly better components. i personally don't think its worth the $200 difference, but his is about half a lb lighter than mine. mine weighted 25.5lbs and his weighed a notch under 25 in the 24 range.

i'm 5"6 also and i fit perfectly into a 15-16" size S bike. If you're going to race maybe you'd want to get the stumpjumper for the more aggressive stance, or you can do that yourself by getting a longer stem + flat handlebar, which is what i'm doing with my RH.

also check out the Cannondale F3 with the lefty fork, thats a great bike for $1500-1600. good components that are similar to our (RH/SJ) bikes but a nice stiff fork thats a level above my Reba and his Fox
 
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