I need advice. I'm relatively new to biking and I'm looking to purchase a bike that will allow me to experience many facets of biking. In particular, cross country, downhill, dirt jumps and observed trials. Once I decide which type I like the best, I can further pursue that by puchasing a bike better suited for my needs.
Both of those are cross country bikes and aren't going to handle downhill or dirt jumps very well, though that's not to say they won't be able to handle them at all. I'd say if the $300 is in good shape it's probably a better buy. That rigid fork on the other bike would be hell on a downhill course but would really teach you how to be smooth on the dirt jumps though. The bruiser would handle the downhill and dirt jumps a lot better but depending on the gearing and the geometry would probably be pretty crappy on a cross country course.