Will turn 58 in the fall and am semi-retired. I like bikes for exercise and fun. Most of my years i didn't have time to sleep, much less recreation, but that's all changed now and I'm happy about it.
I have an old Raleigh road bike that's 25 years old. Works good other than now needing new tires. I'd almost always leave it in 2cd or 3rd gear and rarely ever change gears. I'd ride a 7 mile paved bike trail and if i was going downhill i was coasting and i never got in a hurry ... so that's my speed. I just like to take my time.
I now want a mountain bike for riding down logging roads and 4wd roads to the creeks inside the national forest. Some of these roads will be steep enough I'll have to walk in places. Some will be rock gardens, but for the most part, a jeep can with difficulty, get down them.
True to my old habits, i doubt I'll make much use of gears, which makes me consider a single speed. I do like simplicity.
I have a newer Walmart bike, a "Next" brand. It's single speed, but the gearing is too tall to suit me. Other than that, it has 2.1" wide tires and you can really tell a nice difference in cushioning with the wider tires on this little county road i live on. I also like the handle bars on this Walmart bike they are old style turn up and towards the rider instead of down and away from the rider. That's one of my biggest preferences.
Should i forget the fixed gear and do with a conventional bike? It's not like I'm going to wear one out. I keep them indoors and that 25 year old Raleigh looks a few months old. Plus, if i go with a fixed gear, who's to say which gear / teeth i should get - that's questionable.
I can afford any but I'm thrifty. I drove into the city to buy a new Giant XL Revel 2 and they had sold it the day before. Looks like that model isn't going to be made anymore and there's aren't any in my state.
In summary, what mountain bikes would you recommend i consider, that have handlebars turned towards the rider, where i don't have to lean down like I'm racing And should i shy away from the fixed gear, even though, once i pick a gear, i probably will leave it in the same gear. Thanks for your advice.