I started riding back in the early '90's so I wouldn't call myself a newbie. But, in the last few years I haven't been riding much. Been getting back into and want a new bike. I'm currently riding the first MTB I bought, a Trek 830 Mountain Track. It's a Cro-Moly frame, rigid. I've ridden it a lot and would like a better frame, lighter, and better components. I like to ride trails but end up spending a lot of time on roads, too, just to keep in shape. I really enjoy riding up hill and moderate downhills (but not aggro bombing). I don't jump or huck or whatever. :-) I like slow, technical rides that require patience and endurance, not adrenaline and speed. Does this make me a Cross Country rider? Or, if not, what category does this place me in?
Also, I've been looking at bikes. I'd like to spend less than $1K. I really like the Specialized Stumpjumper but it's a bit more than I want to spend. Is it significantly better than the Rockhopper? For my kind of riding will I notice the difference if I spend the extra money? I may not buy another bike for many years so I will justify spending the extra money that way. :-) TIA!