I don't race but I'm looking for a decent full suspension XC bike in the $1500-$2000 range. I'd like to get LX components or above, hence the price range. I've toured the various LBS in Phoenix and riden the following around the parking lot: Trek Fuel, Specialized ??, Klein Adept, Giant NRS, Fisher Sugar.
So how do I predict which one will feel the best on the trail? They all feel about the same in the parking lot. The LBS reps say that you really have to drive it on a trail to see if you like it.... but no chance in hell that I can trail-demo or even rent a $2k bike.
Any tips or hints on how you can really tell which frame is stiffer, etc? How do you narrow it down?