All from the same company: Airborne. I'm keen on their designs and specs for the price range.
Given my weight, I'm not sure about a full suspension, but that's the option for two of the bikes. I haven't done any off-roading on a bike other than my CX rig since the days before suspension was on EVERYTHING, so I don't know squat about it. Here's my quandry...
I'm a light Clyde at 205 - 210, but that's still kinda heavy for full suspension if I understand correctly. Can I manage with a full suspension if I (eventually) outfit it with a stiffer shock than the stock model?
I'm still a bit of my old daredevil self, and I used to beat the snot out of my old Stumpjumper. I don't know how it held up, considering I did drops off loading docks and rode it ballzout down flights of 40+ stairs. I'd like to do things like that again; maybe not quite so crazy, but close; and that's where the toss up between 3 bikes really starts.
There is a hardtail 29er XC bike. While robust, I'm worried about 29er wheels and a hardtail if I decide to land it a little bit on the less-than-delicate side. It would be a good bike for much of the riding I'd do on light to medium technical trails, but less likely to hold up if I felt like taking it on a huck run at the local dirt park.
Next is a 5" f/r travel trail bike. 26" wheels, a couple drivetrain components that step up from the previous (X7/9 mix instead of X3/5 mix), but the front fork is a slight step down to compensate in price for a rear RS Bar 2.1; and that's my real question with that bike. What do any of the MTB Clydes think of a guy my size on a Bar 2.1 rear and Tora 289 front end? Am I headed for double-boinger territory, and would it hold up to a mix of trail riding, possible jump sessions, and maybe the ocassional DFL finish in a local race series?
The last possibility is a 6" f/r travel all-mountain and freeride bike. Very unlikely candidate for the race series with its weight and gearing, but certainly ready to hold up to a jump session beating. This one stocks a Spinner Cargo 340 fork (never head of 'em) and a Marzocchi Coil-F rear. I'm more concerned that if I want to take it out on a non-brutal trail that I'd be disappointed in the performance trying to climb or just cruise around on flatter sections, and find myself wishing I'd had gone with the trail rig instead.
So, if you were me, which one would you be most inclined to go for and why? What about least likely, and why?