NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS!
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: From Sarasota, FL sitting in front of a computer spewing random thoughts!
Bikes: Intense Uzzi SL, Masi Speciale, Trek 3700 Nashbar Single Speed, Old Cilo Road frame
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As a general rule of thumb, newbies should stick with hardtails.
Why? Well, since you are new to riding, you probably don't want to have a huge cash outlay. Decent full squishy bikes cost more. Significantly more.
Secondly, as you develop your skills you'll find out what aspects of riding are more appealing to you. You can then get the "right" bike for you once you figure out what the "right" bike is.
Thirdly, you're going to be hard on your equipment. You are going to be like a bull in a China shop. Once you get used to riding, learn some more skills, learn how to shift and when, learn how to brake and when, learn how to move around the bike, learn hoto bunnyhop or jump...etc. You're bike is going to be pretty well used up. Then it'll be time for your next bike.
As a mere suggestion, don't spend more than $500 on your first bike.
Now, to open a litle debate. With that said, getting a full suspension as your first bike isn't necessarily a bad idea, just a more expensive one.
Some will argue that you should learn on a hardtail so you learn to pick smoother lines, and that riding a full suspension bike handicaps you a bit because the bike corrects some of your errors. I say if you like it, get it.
Now, from what you've described as your riding style, 60% road, I would stick with a more XC (cross County) style bike.
Thinner tires, less suspension travel, lighter weight.
Now, you mention 40% xc/dh. What is DH to you? Does this mean climbing a trail and going down the other side, or are you talking about riding at a ski lodge in the summer with chair lifts and doing nothing but screaming down a mountain.
Two entirely different bikes!
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
"Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger