Looking to buy a new bike... help?
I'm fairly new to the sport of mountain biking, been riding now for a little over a year and a half, and I've worn out my little old Trek and I'm looking to upgrade to a better bike... I'm not well versed in all the bike/trail lingo... but I ride three or four times a week on various trails, labeled "advanced" according to mmba.org and mtbr.com which i've used to discover new places. I like tight, technical trails, lots of downhill, switchbacks, etc.... As far as skill goes, I can bunny hop with the best of them, log piles, bridges, drops, etc... I'll try almost anything... and I'm looking for a bike that can keep up with me now, but also be able to grow with me as I get into this more seriously...
I visited the LBS and a 2007 Marin Hawk Hill SE priced at 560 was suggested to me, however they only carried Marin, Novara, and K2, and it was the only place I've checked out so far. I'm looking to spend anywhere from there up to a grand. I also have a connection at an LBS where i can get an employee discount on Gary Fishers and Treks if there are any decent options there...
Anybody have advice or suggestions??
Well are you looking for a hardtail for full suspension bike? For that price range (hardtail) I would look for a bike that comes with avid BB5/7 brakes, ride bikes with sram and shimano derailers, personally I like the quicker shift of the sram components myself so that would be another I item I'd look for. I also prefer the thumb-thumb shifting of sram components on my cannondale f5 over the thumb-finger shifting of shimano on my trek 6500. I think I'd also look for a 29er for giggles just to try out. From there I'd buy the bike that meets those criteria that fits me best.
Drive to all the your local bike shops you can and take them for a spin. You'll be surprised to see how quickly thoughts change after a block or two. By the time you spend up to a grand, the components are all going to be pretty decent, so it becomes a game of finding what bike is most comfortable to you.
your LBS sounds alot like REI...