I would like to know and I would like to understand a thing or two about mountain bikes. I have recently purchased a Giant Ds 2 and I was very upset afterwards. After almost 500 dollars in repairs, it was brought to my attention that some mountain bikes are not really design to take a beating. HUH? Why call it a mountain bike if you can't take it in the mountains. I am very bruital on the bike and I pouunded my bike in the ground, but atleast twice a month my bike was in the shop getting check up and tune up. The problemn was the parts(mainly shimano deore) could not keep up. Another issue brought to my attention was the weight factor. I am 6'2 250 and the store owner said that the bikes aren't really design for someone my size. Well I decided to go into a Jeykll 600 made by cannondale. I would like to understand a thing or two about whether I should get the 2000 dollar bike or get something else. I would like to understand why someone would not create parts and other components for "mountain biking"? Why do these parts that cost a arm and a leg fall apart or don't preform well? What would be a good bike for a guy my size? I am willing to pay 1500 to 2000 dollars on a mountain bike that looks attractive and handles like a expensive bike should.
I can understand your frustration. If you're new to mountainbiking, it's very easy to think of bikes as indestructable, and as you've found out, the majority of them aren't. It's always a good idea to go for a bike with a liftime warrenty on the frame, and if possible some sort of warrenty on parts too. I can't really speak for Giant bikes, but I've heard alot of good things about Cannondale bikes, and they're homemade in the USA!!! I ride a Trek 8500, and have ridden it hard for almost 10 years, racing, trial, tricks, you name it, I've done it. It may be worthwhile trying to improve your technique too, but that'll come with time.
I feel your pain. I learned the hard lesson the hard way just like you did. I bought a Schwinn Mesa for about $360, and I got what I paid for - jack crap.
I seized the shocks, bent both rims, and turned my bike into an automatic (it would sporatically shift gears for no reason).
Since then I have bought a Trek 6500, and like Rich, I can't say that I have ever heard anything of Giant bikes. I know a couple of people that have Cannondales and love them. There are two C-dales at my LBS that I am trying to save up for to buy. As for my Trek, I love it. I haven't had any of the problems that I had with my cheaper Schwinn. I would strongly recommend a Trek (look for their new Fuel 100, Fuel 98, Fuel 90, and Fuel 80) to anyone looking to buy a bike for the first time, or for someone looking to upgrade.
BTW, I am 6' 7" and 200 lbs. I don't weigh as much as you, but I am rough on my bike. My Trek actually FITS me, and it takes quite a beating.
You might want to look into the Bruiser One or Bruiser Two, I believe that they are made by Cannondale. Tough stuff.
Say this word too yourself as you are riding.and I'm serious here...smooooth...it is the big hits that'll take there toll on you're bike, believe me the lesser the angle of impact, the longer you and your bike will last !.. just remember...SMOOTH...FLOW..go with IT....