So i'm new to the game, and everyone keeps telling me that one of the best upgrades i could make to my el cheapo is new wheels. This is a mongoose xr-75 MTB which i know is a crap bike, but i got it for free. I went to my LBS yesterday and had them put on shimano brifters and adjust the brakes. I also put a new shimano 7-speed cassette on and had them adjust the derailer... it now shifts like a normal bike.
One of the major problems I'm having is transfering power to the ground, especially while climbing. I can feel the suspension bouncing while Im pedaling and it seems like alot of energy is being wasted. I would also like to retain the ability to take this bike offroad.
So my questions are :
Anybody got a reccomendation for a new set of lighter wheels that wont cost an arm and a leg, and that I could still take offroad?
Reccomendation on a new shock with a lockout (doesnt have to be remote) or can someone fabricate me something to put there?
Anyone got a reccomendation for any other upgrades besides these two? I would like to eventually swap out the front fork for something nicer, but this will probably be one of my last upgrades. I'm basically only going to be using the factory frame, which i will probably then swap out or redesign in the future once I get back to the states.
I know these might be kind of obtuse questions, but we all start somewhere and i appreciate any advice in advance.