Hi, it's my first post here and the name is Dave and I'm in Ontario. I'm a 45 yr old with a few lbs to shed and was in your same shoes just last week. I have a Cannondale F500 CAD3 now and really like Cannondale. BUT,,, I went into this purchase with an open mind and narrowed my choice of bikes to a Cannondale Prophet 6oo or 800, a Giant Trance3 or a Trek EX-7. A local shop gave me a good price on a Prophet 600 but the idea of having to wrench the front wheel off and having to have a special reciever for the fork did me in. So I looked around here in the Niagara area and found a sweet deal on a Trek EX-7 for 1900 CAD. I think the bike has the best parts on it for the money. Around here the EX-7's have LX cranks on them instead of the Bontrager, so that was a bonus. I did some research on MTBreview on the parts on the bike and didn't like what I saw about those JONES AXC (sp?)tires that are on it. Apparently, they're crap and downright dangerous, so I bought a set of Continental's Vapors for it (LBS recommendation).
I've put 40k on it on the road and really like it. I find myself going for the ditch every once in a while just to play with that suspension. I do have a little bob in the rear even in the lockout position while I pedal fast but it seems that the gate adjustment has an effect in the lockout position too. I'll have to play with it but the rebound is set properly for bounce. For a 30 lb bike, it sure rolls down the road easily. Tomorrow I'm going to get it muddy for the first time, can't wait. Dave