I saw the $500 thread, but am curious about mid-range bikes. I have a more difficult situation because I am a small woman. (5 feet tall). There are a number of choices in general in this price range, but it's been hard for me to find a bike that has good geometry for me AND has good components. Right now I am leaning towards a Gary Fisher Tassajara GS (the women's specific version). The Tassajara has Deore and LX components and is disc brake compatible if I decide to upgrade later. The 2005 model is $600 at my LBS. I am pretty close to buying, but I wanted to know if there is anything else I should consider.
This bike will be for semi-aggressive trail riding. I will not be racing, but I intend to ride at least 2-3 times a week on trails that are relatively technical (not a Sunday stroll). I am somewhat of a newbie, but not a "I want to replace my dept store bike" newbie - let's just say I am a semi-experienced, informed newbie who isn't quite ready to fork out $1000 or more, but doesn't want to continue riding my '97 Spec Hardrock which is a tank!
I want that in-between level bike that will help me get better at the sport so that in 3 years, I'm ready for really good one! Suggestions are appreciated!
Thanks for reading!