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I've historically done mostly road riding and casual easy trails but looking to branch into mtb and it seems like there is a wide range of niche types and options, kind of overwhelming. I've done a lot of research but a few questions still linger so any input would be appreciated!

There is quite a bit of decent singletrack within an hours drive but I don't plan to do anything extreme. I also do quite a bit of riding on easy gravel rail-trails in the area so I'd like something that can zip along these flat easy trails as well - occasion long full day or multi day trips on the long rail trails we have here in Missouri. Seems like maybe a 29er hardtail might be a good fit but these seems to lean into the XC category and from what I've read they are less comfortable and geared for racing. Maybe the difference is marginal, I'm not sure.

I don't have a ton of options locally - one shop is loving Marin, specifically the San Quentin 2 which is at the top end of my price range. But Trek, Giant and (I think) Cannondale are also carried. The Team Marin XC bike looks very similar to the San Q but with the 29 wheels and slightly different geometry. But I can't find any reviews on the bike. Superficial I realize but I also like the looks of the Team Marin much better as the paint scheme on the San Quentin is pretty ugly in my opinion but it's just paint so I'm trying not to factor that. They carry little to no inventory so I'm probably going to have to order something blind without testing.

Any input between those two bikes vs what I'm looking to do with it would be appreciated!

I've also been looking at the Giant Fathom 2, which looks pretty similar and same price point as the Team Marin and San Quentin. It is available with 27.5 or 29.
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