I'm about to buy my first, and hopefully last MTB and I want to make it a good one.
I've been using a wonderful Panasonic Team America, all Dura-Ace road bike for the last 20 years, supplemented over the past four years in Italy by an Olympia hybrid city/mountain bike.
I now wish to graduate to hardtail, and thought I'd pamper myself with something really good. Maybe custom or semi-custom titanium or steel.
I've been looking at Thorn, Moots, some nice German bikes (Endorfin, KTM, Norvid, etc.), and Independent Fabrication. I'm particularly interested in the Rohloff hub, hence those brands.
1) of course, recommendations as to frames and kits in general, since I'm basically ignorant...
2) which brand, or which geometry would be best for me, given the fact that I'm only 5'3"? Is the top tube length important? Seems that way - hate to have to reach out too far, etc.
Thanks for the input!