So i just sold off an old bike and want to take that cash and put it towards a mountain bike, and i have a few questions for you Seattle folk. Im looking at something in the lower end and have no problems running upgrades on it (mtb parts are cheap!) seeing as i dont have a lot to dump into an initial purchase. Im very comfortable working on my Cervelo so i dont think ill have a problem tuning/fixing whatever comes up on this cheaper bike.
I guess what i want to know is what should i be looking for to get me out and going? Cougar mountain looks like a good place to ride (in relation to where i live) with plenty of trail options. Will a hardtail do me good out there, or should i really be looking into full suspesion? Also 26" or 29er? Im not going to be doing some crazy free rides or anything, i just want to get out and get into the world of mountain biking without breaking the bank. If i decide i like it then i can worry about getting something crazy later.
Right now this seems to be my top pick under $700 Cannondale Trail 5 Bike - 2014 at REI.com
I like the Cannondale brand and im hoping some of that cadd tech trickles down into this frame. Id also prefer to buy new that way i can make sure i get something that fits properly and has a warranty.