Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bakersfield CA
Bikes: '13 Roubaix Elite Apex, '13 Stumpjumper FSR Elite, '14 Demo 8 II, & '13 Stumpjumper Comp HT
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I just bought two of these, Hardrock 29er, last Christmas. Each of my boys, ages 11 & 13, got the version with hydraulic brakes. They ride them everywhere from the roads, local orchards, and out on some real single track. They are perfect for you intended use. The Fast Trak 2.0 tires they come with roll nicely on the road and on hardpack, but they lack grip when the terrain gets loose. I will be switching these out to Ground Control 2.3 for them when I can afford it.
I have both a hardtail, Stumpjumper Comp HT, and full suspension, Stumpjumper Elite FSR, mountain bike. I prefer to ride my hardtail in conditions like you are describing. There is no need for the added weight of rear suspension. I love to go out and ride 25 miles through the local almond orchards on my hardtail.