...for the proverbial $500 MTB. (I might go higher for the right deal.)
I've read the stickies which were very informative and have helped me narrow things down. I'm looking for specific recommendations for my situation. I'm primarily a roadie. I do a 40 mile RT commute 2X's a week and ride our road tandem with wifey 30-40 miles at least once a weekend. So the MTB will be #3 in line. I have a park with some trails near my house so I hope to get over there at least once a week and bang around. I'm in So Cal and there's lots of large parks with great trails. I hope to get to those once or twice a month. This bike's not going to see a ton of use hence the more moderate investment.
I want to ride primarily single track, technical type trails and want to be able to go fast and hard. I'm 43 - way to old to freeride or DH But I'm also well insured so I will take some adrenaline surging risks. I'm 6'2", 240 (and dropping) with a 34" inseam. I feel like a need a really strong frame so that if I do hit a jump or a drop I don't have to worry about breaking it.
Spec's of what I think I need:
22" or XL frame (steel? 6061?)
Good front shock
Specific models that seem to fit (looking at '05s since I can get a good deal):
- Secialized Rockhopper
- Trek 4800 (I almost don't want another Trek, although I love my 5200, I don't want to be a trek groupie)
- gary Fisher GED (My preferred LBS has a great deal on the GED - $700. A bit over my budget but that certainly seems like a killer deal. I know this is considered a freeride bike. Does that mean it woudn't work well for what I want?
Thanks for your suggestions.