I have the option of either buying a 2002 FSR xc bike or a 2012 Hardtail. Both will cost me 700ish. The hard tail will be brand new (or does that go without saying) and the 2002 has been ridden less than 200 miles and well maintained. I am pretty new at riding, and for the next year or so will be doing mostly flats over long distances.
WTP trust, Fit TRL3, Rocky Mtn. ETSX, Giant Sedona
personally I like the XC better but it's probably not the best choice just due to its age. suspension seals can wear out, frames can develop small cracks from stress, the suspension bushings can go, etc. if you can have the guy get it inspected by a bike shop first, do it. if not you're probably better off with the crank n' fail.
1984 Bianchi San Remo, On-One Inbred 456 Summer Season
I believe that mountain bikes have come too far in 10 years to be getting a bike that old. For $700 you should be able to find a pretty good newer, used bike, that will still fit the bill. If you're going to be doing long distances over flat terrain then I would also stick with a hardtail. That Cannondale doesn't look too shabby though if you want to stick with a new bike.