Hello. I'm looking for a somewhat basic mountain bike. I doubt I'll be dropping off boulders or the like, but I need something with better off-road capability than my Cannondale Silk Path 300 (I'll be keeping that, so this'll be a 2nd bike).
I *hope* to do good off-roading, but the immediate plans are limited to dirt trails on Long Island, NY (some not entirely unimpressive), and use down near the beach; jumps will be if I drop off something I don't plan to. I've biked areas where the Silk Path simply fails: some dirt hills that are too steep and the rear tire just spins, for example. Trickier, I've done areas down near the beach with a LOT of sand, and end up walking the bike for 1/4+ mile at a time. I know sand may well foil any bike, but I was hoping to at least have a fighting chance.
With the beach in mind (not ON the beach, but NEAR it), if possible, something that does well in sand would be good. I've been looking at the Trek Fuel 70, but I'm not sure how well it's suited for my intended use--I doubt I need rear suspension. For my use, disc brakes are desirable, mainly because of the issue of grit (sand) damaging rims.
The bike shop I frequent sells Gary Fisher, Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, and Giant.
Any help would be appreciated.