I bought my first bike back in the 90's. It was pretty worthless, so I ended up not liking it at all. I'm trying to get back into mountainbiking for fun/exercise, but I can't do it with my current ride. So, I'm shopping.
My leading candidates are the Gary Fisher Marlin or the Specialized Rockhopper (base model).
At one LBS, I found two remaining 2008 GF Marlins (silver). One is new at $590 and the other used at $500. The used one needs a new 3rd chain ring and a new pedal. I'm guessing the damage is from 1 bad crash because everything else looks decent. The store said those repairs would be made for free. I don't feel too much difference with the "genesis" geometry which is supposed to push your weight a little more above the rear tire.
At another store, I found a 2007 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc (silver). The ticket said $900, but they were selling it at 20% off, so that brings it down to $720. We think I'd need a slightly shorter stem because my back felt a little stretched. The week before, I quickly tested a 2009 base Rockhopper in a parking lot at another store ($700) and liked it. I do really like the bends on Specialized's handlebars.
If I was comparing an '09 Rockhopper versus an '09 Marlin, I think I liked the weight, fit, and look of the base Rockhopper better. They're both $700. However, the option of getting an upgraded '07 Rockhopper at that same price level versus an '08 Marlin for much cheaper kind of complicates things.
Of course the sales rep tried to sell me on the merits of full suspension, but I don't think I'm ready for that in ability and budgeting.
Does anyone have any insight here? There are many component differences. Do you think that the '07 Rockhopper Comp Disc can be further discounted from $720?