My fiance and I are moving into a new house at the end of June, and due to the massive amount of dirt roads and trails around the area, we'd like to get bikes.
Back in the early 90s I had a GT Outpost that I pounded on but never broke. Once I got my driver's license, the bike stopped getting used. When I went off to college I bought a DiamondBack Sorrento Sport with some cheap no-name front shock. This was the first bike I'd ever owned with a front shock. I hated it so much that I sold it after 6 months and haven't owned a bike since.
Now that we're looking at bikes, I need to keep my cost reasonable (after all, we're buying a house!), but I don't want something that I'll be unhappy with.
One thing that seems to have the biggest impact on my impression of a bike is how soft the shock is. On that old Diamondback, I'd bottom it out riding off of curbs, and I hated bobbing up and down when I peddled.
I test rode a Diamondback Trail Response Sport that's got the RST Gila Plus T6 shock, and I like the bike except that I'd like the shock to be significantly stiffer. I don't need a bike that rides like a cadillac. I just want a fork that can provide some cushion on larger stutter bumps that could cause me to lose control of the bike.
I'm not an overly agressive rider anymore, but I'm a heavy guy (250lbs) and I want something that's going to be durable.
On to the questions:
1. Are stiffer springs available for that RST shock?
2. Is the Diamond Back Response Sport a good bike for $500?
3. Any other options in the >$500 range that I should take into consideration too?
Thanks for helping another noob.