I come from a Motocross background but have been out for about 3 years and now want to try my hand at mountain biking. I currently have a magna peice of junk from wal-mart and I just broke the sprocket doing my first trail ride. My wife set my budget for me and I have to stick around $400. I originally wanted full suspension but I dont want to pay for it so I guess I'll go hardtail. i want a bike that I can ride around our subdivison with my wife then hit the trails(jumps, downhill, general) on the weekend and maybe race it on down the road later in life. What sugesstions can you give me? My LBS carries Trek, Fisher, Lemond but I have not vistited them yet(will next week).
The LBS told me that I need to step up my budget to get a decent bike(called them)! Is that just a sales pitch because I cant. Or should I stick with another wal-mart bike! And please dont flame me on this but other than obvious quality what is the real difference between a LBS bike and department store bikes?
Do people even race hardtails? So I guess in short what is a good all around entry level bike for $400 or less?
Thanks alot, I know i have a lot of research to do before I buy but with all the info I figure you guys can give me a good push in the right direction.
Again thanks in advanced!