Just joined the forum, and just got bitten by the MTB bug! I was in Ecuador for a couple of weeks on an adventure trip that consisted of a ton of biking.....everything from paved road, gravel, dirth paths, downhill, uphill, etc. The trip showed me that I absolutely love biking....
I'm looking to purchase a bike now (good deals in winter?), and could use some advice. My budget including taxes is roughly $500 Canadian (I'm from Ontario).
I've been looking at Silent Sports, and Bike Depot for my bikes, as these 2 stores are very close to me with good reputations. I intend to use my bike mostly on paved road, but would like to start exploring trails in the local conservation areas. So, I'm assuming a MTB would be best.
For my budget, I have found the following that are all relatively the same price:
1. Specialized Hardrock
2. 2008 Giant FCR3
3. Marin Pioneer Trail
4. Giant Rincon
I'd love some feedback on these, or perhaps suggestions on something else altogether. Depending on how things go, I may eventually want to race in triathalons. I know a MTB is rarely used in tri's, but I cannot afford a decent road bike now with a budget of $500. My tri friends have suggested starting with a MTB, and working my way up.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Happy New Years, and thank you.