I currently have an 02 Rockhopper 19" and I'm starting to think it's a bit small (I bought it when I was 11, I'm almost 19 now... O.o). I'm pretty sure I want a steel hardtail, and ideally I can just toss all my parts from my Rockhopper onto that one (minus BB, headset, cables, and whatnot). I'll end up doing mainly XC, some long distance touring. A full suspension frame is pretty much out of the question because of money and longevity; I want a frame that will last me for the rest of my schooling (rest of undergrad, grad, probably even DMA) and hopefully longer.
Currently I'm looking at the On-One Inbred "Not Sliding Dropout" model. It's cheap, steel, and I've heard good things. If anyone has any experience with these frames, I'd greatly appreciate some input
Are there any other good XC steel frames under around 500 bucks that you guys recommend?