Hi all, like many new riders I started with a budget of $600. I ended up with a Trek 3900 Disc, decent starter bike with low end components like you would expect at the price. Now I have the option of upgrading, or holding out one more season. My current budget would be $1300, and at that price I was looking at the Cannondale Trail SL series hardtail bikes or an 2011 Trek Fuel EX5 (entry level full suspension) that is on clearance at my LBS. I know hardtail vs. full suspension is a discussion on its own.
I'm really wondering if it is worth going from the $600 entry level bike to a slightly higher up $1300 bike, or if I should stick with what I have for another season and upgrade next year which would increase my budget to the low to mid $2000 range. Just looking at the spec sheets it's hard for me to know how much I'm getting for my money, and while I can test ride around the parking lot, that's not the same as being on the trail. I welcome thoughts from those who have likely gone through this same situation when they started out. Thanks.