New Rider...New Bike? Suggestions for under $600
I have recently been borrowing my brother's Trek 4500 to go riding through street and off-road trails with a few of my friends. However, now that the weather is getting better, it's getting tuffer to find a decent bike to borrow. Therefor, I am now in the market for a new or used bike. I have heard that I shuld by a new bike and find a local bike shop rather than going through the internet, but since I have already been fitted for a 19.5in or a large, I don't think it makes a diference. I plan on riding trails from time to time, but am certain that I wll use the bike for transportation and local area fun rides. I am into fitness so I know that the bike will get good use. Personally, I think a hardatil is the best choice.
At first, I visited my local bike shop (http://highgearcyclery.com/index.cfm) and was planning on spending about $300 on a Trek, however I was told that spending a bit more money would get me a much better bike. I began thinking along those lines after a friend of mine had problems with his Trek 3700 on a beginner trail.
The bike the store recomennded was the Cannondale F300 (http://highgearcyclery.com/itemdetai...gId=39&id=3298) They said that it would be a better buy and be much more reliable and comfortable. I liked the idea of buying a better bike and decided to make the price of the Cannondale the highest price I was willing to pay at $549.99. Now I have been researching and found other bikes within the price range that have been recomended throught Bikeforums.net, I would appreciate any suggestions that could help my purchasing process.
The Specialized Rockhopper http://highgearcyclery.com/itemdetai...gId=39&id=3341
2006 Iron Horse Maverick Team Mountain Bike http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=3050
Iron Horse Maverick SE Mountain Bike http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=3050
Trek 4300 http://highgearcyclery.com/itemdetai...gId=39&id=3361
I would have to say that the decision is between the F300 and the rockhopper, but am open to any other suggestions. I understand the components aren't the best, but I am looking for the best deal.
Marzocchi has Reverse Arch technology now? Or is that just wrong in the picture? Anyways.. the Cannondale seems to be more appealing to me than the RH. Also Cannondale tends to keep its value after it's out the shop. That's just me... a noob... who knows a little bit of this and that.