Last time I had a bike was about 16 years ago and I'm very excited to get back into it. My first ever bike was a Huffy that was stolen from my back porch 15 days after my birthday (it was the gift). I'll never forget it, the most beautiful bike in the world, camo red mountain bike. I then went through the BMX phase and had a couple bikes but my favorite was my blue GT Robinson. It wasn't as "cool" as a Performer but at that time it was the lightest bike on the planet.
So now after a short break I want to get back into the sport. I look to you for guidance as I learned in the last couple of days that the biking world has become very intricate.
My primary objective is to get a bike that I will be able to ride on the street and hit a trail or two if the opportunity presents itself. Also, while I will be on pavement most of the time at some point the 5 year old inside me will take over and I'll look for anything that will give me air. I learned today that my height and weight have become a restriction. I am 6'4 220. I also learned that a 19' bike will probably not work as well as a 22'.
I read the sticky and I have narrowed it down to two bikes.
These two fit with in the budget and I think it's a good starting point.
With your expertise, which would you recommend? Is the paved performance of the 8.4 worth the sacrifice of the off road capability of the 4300? What do you think is the all around best pick for someone looking to get back into the sport? Are there any other suggestions around this price point that I need to look at asap??