Backround, i raced motocross sense i was 4, turned pro yadda yadda, made money, got hurt end story, lol i know this does not mean I will be good on a mtb, but i used to train on them, plus i bmx'd to : ( anyways, my friend made a long trip from ohio to oklahoma where i am right now due to military, he brought his 19in jamis 29er, at the time i had no knowledge on bikes etc. So he searched craigslist for a decent bike so we could go ride, came across a trek 3700 09, paid 180 for it which seemed like a good deal. The guy said it was a 21in but it did not feel like it, I felt pretty comfortable.
My friend has been riding for a few years and the first trail we rode was a lot of climbing plus we got lost in the most technical area which had a lot of wooden trails etc. which I rode with no problems. Our ride turned into a 5 hour ride, our camal backs dry and ticks with no spray. needless to say with all the climbing and it bein my first time in years we were sore, the trek had a speedo mileage thing already and logged 21 miles, if anyone is familiar with clearbay at thunderbird lake in oklahoma then you know the elevation we dealt with. a few days later we rode at nudraper a few times, i couldnt find any other good trails online ( feel free to tell me some if you know the area) and I became addicted, my friend went back to ohio and took the trek with him sense at the time he bought it not knowing if I would stick with it.
so now i'm in the market. by the end of the week he could not stay within 15-20 seconds of me. it felt so natural and i was able to flow through the trails pretty easily once i was comfortable. i searched and even thought about buying a frame off ebay etc. but I dont know all the components to piece one together and couldnt find a good faq to do this. i know first thing is i need to go and test ride, which i have been.
I can tell once i find a bike and get comfy, i'm defiantly going to begin pushing my limits and my bike i hope, im between 5'11 and 170, i dont have a budget really for the right bike but dont plan on spending 3k. im guessing a hardtail is the best option to get the best components to begin with without spending big money? im having trouble finding what brands to be looking at besides the obvious, giant, kona, specialized, gary, trek, jamis etc? whatc brands should i look into? gearing the trek was a 21 speed? ive read 7,8,9 speeds? and all these abv. like xc, ss etc, only ones ive figured out is full and hardtail, ive read the stickies so anymore reading suggestions would be good.I guess ive typed a lot and really havent said anything useful, i hope to get any advice and maybe find some fellow oker's to ride with, so anything will help, try and be nice, i know new guys always annoy, i have been one of the vets on other forums who shake their head when reading new threads.