I have a friend who wants to get back into cycling. He doesn't want a hybrid or a comfort or a road bike. He wants a Mtn bike with front suspension.
He currently rides a full suspension X-mart mtn bike (weighs 35lbs!!!) and he's pretty rough with it. He'll sometimes take it to the trails .....but he does most of his riding around the City.....but he enjoys being able to decend stairs, etc. He's also able to keep up with me (somewhat) on 30 mile rides on pavement. It's just that we'll lose him on hills when he has all the extra weight to carry up.
He doesn't want to lose option of going off pavement....so that's why he's willing to carry the extra weight of a Mtn bike.
Now, here's the question.....I know absolutely NOTHING about mtn bikes. He wants something around $400. I think I can push him up to $500 (if the bike is THAT much better).
I suggested looking at the Specialized line:
What other suggestions should I give him? What other bikes should he test ride? I'll bring him to the LBS one day. He seems to be ready to pull the trigger.