I'm looking for a quality entry-level bike for offroad use. I'm primarily a road cyclist and recently started gravel grinding and have two bike suited to those purposes. I live in beautiful NW Minnesota and there are lots of singletrack trails around the lakes and sandhills in the area. I've been riding my gravel grinder on them (flatbar, 700c x 40mm) and it does great until I get into the loose stuff. I'm looking for a 29er that has a MTB geometry and can take a 2"+ tire. I'm looking at strictly recreational riding so a hardtail with limited front suspension is fine. Budget is a concern.
My LBS has a Trek Mamba in my size left over from last year. It has a mix of Deore and Alivio components which I am fine with. Anyone have a Mamba or any information on pros and cons for them?
I'm 50 y/o and 230#. Not looking to go hardcore MTB, just to mix things up and have some fun on the numerous offroad trails around here.