I read the general mtb info thread but still have a couple questions, sorry if they are common newbie questions.
I recently started "mountain biking" on a couple trails through the reservoir near my house.
I am using my old bike (possibly from 02-03) which is a GT Palomar, I think it is just a recreational bike and I was about 14 when I got it. The bike has no shocks and 21 speeds and I think it might be a little small now. I've ridden a couple times with it but don't go really hardcore. (I ride over/off roots and rocks but don't jump most logs) I also am not sure if a good bike will help me climb hills but right now I make it about half way up most steep hills before i have to jump off and hike it.
I'm looking for a decent bike that will serve as a good base to add upgrades later as I get more intense and less broke. I've read a couple threads about good beginner bikes but does anyone have any recommendations for something that would be easy to add upgrades to?
I am 6'4" and 240lbs, 20 years old, I'm pretty sure I am done growing. I think I need a 21" frame? The inseam in my pants is 34" or 36" depending on the style. I'm not sure about my price range but it is definitely under $1000, hopefully around $600, if they sell the bike at REI I might be able to go a little higher as a friend gets an employee discount ;-)
Also do you have any feelings one way or the other on clip pedals? They seem like a fun accessory that would aid in jumping logs.
I've looked around local bike shops a little but am always a little wary of advice from salespeople so I decided to try here first.
Thanks in advance and sorry for the huge post.