Dilemma: when two rather different bikes both feel like a keeper on test rides....
Have been shopping around for my first mountain bike, and have narrowed it down to two (fortunately, both at the same LBS):
A Trek X-Caliber 6 29'r, and a Giant Talon 27.5 4
Have only been riding a road bike for the last several years, so the MTB experience is unknown turf for me.
I rode both for a good while, and while it was only on pavement, I liked them both equally, they just felt different as you would expect. Price is about the same. I'm just under 5'8" and while the 27.5 felt a little more "my size" in a way, the 29 Trek felt fine too(though it looked big to me) and really comfy actually (as others have stated, it felt like I was sitting "in" the bike, while with the 27.5, more "on top", yet both were comfortable and hecka fun feeling).
My initial purpose is light trail riding once or twice a week, taking it on camping trips for tooling around wherever we are, and likely using it as a multi-purpose bike around town as well. Nothing aggressive for now--we'll see where it leads of course. I'm in SoCal, and there's plenty of good riding nearby of varying intensity I'm told.
I feel I'd be happy with either one, I even like how they both look--I almost feel like I should flip a coin it's so close. But am I perhaps not considering something given the different wheel size and my intended uses/inexperience with mountain bikes? Should I ask for an off-road test ride? (would be tricky, given the locale of the shop--would have to drive them somewhere).
Any 2 cents appreciated.