I'm in my late teens and an avid cyclist. i recently decided to take up mountain biking and i ended up riding some trails in southern ontario and i enjoyed it quite a bit. on my first time on the basic trail i fell nearly a dozen times cause i tried to go a little fast but by the end i'd learn my lesson about when to speed and when to worry about control.
by the time i got to the advanced and more technical trails, learning when to shift my weight, stand, sit and things like that were more natural and i only fell once.
i want to get more serious but not before testing the waters first and making sure that i dont get myself in too deep.
i dont have access to the more advanced trails for a while now but i am visiting some more basic trails in ontario and i purchased a cheapo dual suspension bike (Iron Horse Axion DX) to start me off.
i know what you guys are thinking about the brand and such but please keep in mind that im on a student's income and i cant afford to spend over $900 for an amazing bikes until i've tested the waters and learned my way.
i purchased the the $500 bike for 250 when it was on sale and its been decent on the basic trails although i was lucky enough to use a friend's Kona bike for the more technical trail.
if you've been patient enough to read this far, my point is, where do i go from here?
i know the Iron Horse will eventually fall apart and iv spent some cash on bike accessories that could easily be transfered to a newer and better bike.
i will soon need to buy a serious mountain bike and only use the iron horse for casual rides and i need to know what bikes are good for MTB, under $1000, good for XC trails with lots of climbs, i dont mind buying used
dual suspension, full suspension, or hardtail?
which bikes/brands are good, and where are good used/new bike stores in the greater toronto area?
p.s. which other accessories are decent add-ons?
which helmets are lightest/best? should i change to sports sunglasses (which), cause my other ones stayed on my face but did bounce a lot. i dont want cleats but i want good solid pedals instead, where can i find a cage to hold two bottles? i need to know the little things
remember im on a budget, no oakleys for me (yet) but i can get things like bolle and smiths at a discount, as well as sugoi riding gear
unlike you i'll keep this response short- get an "all mountain" bike if you want to ride all sorts of terrain, specialized's enduro is a great bike. as far as accesories go go with whatever feels the best, test out what your buddies have and ask the guys at your lbs.
I don't know whether I'd go dual suspension or full suspension in your case. (sarcasm...they're the same)
For your described terrain with as much climbing as you seem to have...I'd say get a nice hardtail. There's a killer deal right now on the Jamis Dakota Elite at Jensonusa.com. I know it's about $100 more than your $1000 budget, but it's on big time sale. Much MO-FO-YO-$$.
There are sooo many brands out there these days and 1k will get a very nice Hardtail.
Specialized: Rockhopper, Stumpjumper HT (year end closeout, or used)
Gary Fisher: Hoo Koo E Koo
Jamis: Dakota, Dragon
Gosh...that's just the tip of the ice berg. Best thing you can do is find a good LBS and buy a year end closeout that they will be able to back up your waranty and give you free tune ups for a year.