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First Time Mountain Bike Buyer

Old 12-15-22, 10:26 AM
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I agree with Rolla, and am still riding and enjoying a 2005 Santa Cruz Superlite after 17 years and 25,000 - 30,000 off-road miles. There are plenty of excellent choices within your price range in my neck of the woods (socal).
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Old 12-24-22, 04:16 PM
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Kinda new here, but have been riding MTB for 35 years. I was a devout 26" hardtail rider for nearly all of that time. And there is a lot of fun to be had on these bikes. And they are very capable. That being said if you can get a HT 29er on the cheap, I'd do that. Even the cheapo 29er HTs are better than the bikes older than 15 years. The riding skills (body position) that you're going to develop on that geometry will translate if you go and make the investment for a modern FS.

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Old 01-18-23, 04:27 PM
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Don't buy one arm suspension. You need special wheel hub, maintenance is hard. A good hardtail is a better choice.
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Old 01-19-23, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by John_1252
Don't buy one arm suspension. You need special wheel hub, maintenance is hard. A good hardtail is a better choice.


Just no.
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Old 01-19-23, 11:48 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by John_1252
Don't buy one arm suspension. You need special wheel hub, maintenance is hard. A good hardtail is a better choice.
A hardtail could have a Lefty fork on it though! A full suspension bike can be the better bike generally it is easier on the body and easier to go on more technical trails. I love hardtails but after riding some full suspension bikes it is hard to ride so hard.

You are correctish in that yes with a left fork you need a special hub (which a bunch of manufacturers make) but I don't know that maintenance is really much harder and really any serious tear down of the fork I am going to send to someone who deals with suspension forks regularly I don't have the tools to full take one apart or the knowledge and don't have a fork I want to try it on. SID XX and a Fox Factory are two forks I will leave to the professionals thank you kindly. I know my limits as a mechanic.
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Old 01-21-23, 02:36 PM
  #31  
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Just got back into it after a 15-20 year hiatus. Sub $1k 1 or 2 steps above entry are plentiful, way more than they were 20-25 years ago (thanks worldwideweb). Somewhere around $600 you’ll find decent components on fairly light bikes.

(shrugs). After re starting and not wanting to lay out a bunch right off the bat, that’s the way I went and have zero complaints.
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Old 01-22-23, 10:00 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by GTBecane
Just got back into it after a 15-20 year hiatus. Sub $1k 1 or 2 steps above entry are plentiful, way more than they were 20-25 years ago (thanks worldwideweb). Somewhere around $600 you’ll find decent components on fairly light bikes.

(shrugs). After re starting and not wanting to lay out a bunch right off the bat, that’s the way I went and have zero complaints.
Curious what $600 dollar bike has decent components and what components those are and what is defined as fairly light. Cheap coil forks and Tourney are usually what you find on bikes of that price. Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, GT, Diamondback...The highest spec derailleurs I saw were Altus which is one slight step up from Tourney at the bottom.

Yes you can buy a bike that looks like a mountain bike for sure but if I am hitting actual trails I will probably want to spend around 1k for a proper entry level hardtail. Sometimes you can find some stuff a little lower than 1k but it is tougher these days. The things I want are a proper air fork as the only really quality coil forks are quite expensive, hydraulic disc brakes, and a derailleur with a clutch ideally a 1x10 but Advent 9 speed is a fine entry level set with actual real mountain biking in mind. Also decent tires would be handy as well. I want something I can actually ride with some confidence out on the trails and that will last a long time.
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Old 01-23-23, 08:40 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by GTBecane
Somewhere around $600 you’ll find decent components on fairly light bikes.
Ummmm....No.
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Old 01-23-23, 11:44 AM
  #34  
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Knew I would bring out the you “must spend all the monies” types.

Yup, relatively light is around 30 pounds.

Nothing wrong with lesser components that can be upgraded as they break/ware.

confidence is in the rider.

umm yup.

isn’t the point for a new rider to get into the sport, see if it sticks, before spending a huge amount?

shrugs

did about 2000 miles on an $800 GT backwoods 98-02, rode all the trails within 50 miles, all on that bike, never needed to spend more for the same fun factor.

now passed the GT to my oldest boy, I ended up with a similarly equipped Motobecane (yes the shock is the suckiest part and first on the list) If it sticks again, sure I’ll probably go up to a $2-3k full squish at some point, but much happier laying out $600 to make sure.

to each his own.
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Old 01-23-23, 10:41 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by GTBecane
Knew I would bring out the you “must spend all the monies” types.

Yup, relatively light is around 30 pounds.

Nothing wrong with lesser components that can be upgraded as they break/ware.

confidence is in the rider.

umm yup.

isn’t the point for a new rider to get into the sport, see if it sticks, before spending a huge amount?

shrugs

did about 2000 miles on an $800 GT backwoods 98-02, rode all the trails within 50 miles, all on that bike, never needed to spend more for the same fun factor.

now passed the GT to my oldest boy, I ended up with a similarly equipped Motobecane (yes the shock is the suckiest part and first on the list) If it sticks again, sure I’ll probably go up to a $2-3k full squish at some point, but much happier laying out $600 to make sure.

to each his own.
I mean you are claiming that Tourney and cheap coil forks are decent components? They are the bottom of the barrel and not decent at all. I could see that maybe Alivio is decent enough for someone who is riding occasionally but Tourney is junk.

Also I don't believe these bikes with those low end components are going to be 30lbs they are usually quite a bit heavier because those coil forks are quite heavy and cheap wheels and frames are usually quite heavy as well. Say a Specialized Chisel Comp in a Medium size from 2021 is about 33lbs and that is a DSW aluminum frame and decent components including the venerable RockShox Judy, a fine entry level air fork.

You also are talking 600 dollar bikes in current dollars and mention a 800 dollar bike from 1998 (25 years ago) which would be according to this Inflation calculator would be around $1400 these days. Not really sure what your comparison is there.

I would say that the GT Backwoods back in the day would be a relatively fine entry level bike. The bikes you mention these days are well below that. Entry level means to me something that I can start with that isn't complete junk but isn't high end. It is something I can truly do what I am looking to do on at least somewhat. Bottom end stuff with tourney is designed to look like it but is not a good entry it is only initially cheap and really not capable of that much real riding.

In terms of replacing parts on a Tourney equipped bike it isn't worth it as the bike is all low quality, it is better to buy the bike with components you want from the get go, it is cheaper and more practical. Buying stuff as a single buyer is more expensive than buying it as an OEM who is going to buy say 10000 derailleurs to your one so you will end up getting a better deal on the bike. People often get hung up with just the initial price to the point they cannot see the forest for the trees. I look at bikes holistically and a more initially costly bike likely will cost less in the long term to maintain or in the end will have parts I don't have to upgrade to have something decent. I would rather pay once than pay multiple times. I had a customer who bought those cheap bikes and had bought one every year for about 4 years (and possibly is still doing it) and could have ended up on a bike that lasted him I mean $2400 could get you a pretty nice mid range hardtail or any entry level full sus. I would rather have had a bike that lasted than replacing it yearly with the same low end crap. Heck he could get a Chisel Comp for that price or a base model Chisel and some cash leftover for other parts and such.
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Old 01-24-23, 12:16 AM
  #36  
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Neither of the bikes I mentioned has Tourney on it.

don’t know why Tourney is so offensive, but the GT is all Deore and the Mb is Altus. The MB also came with shimano hydraulic brakes. WTB wheels, tires and saddle and I believe richty bar and stem. It does have a low end SR Sun tour front shock, but the price savings has to come from somewhere.

all besides the point, I stand by the fact that someone just getting into it doesn’t have to spend all that much money and can try it out before they lay out a lot. You’ll notice I said sub $1k, and decent (as in usable), and around 30 pounds…..

further, I fully agree with you that more money usually equals better kit, as far as this sport is concerned. But with the OPs budget, I do believe that he can get a new bike, without dealing with older stuff, and try it out, staying close to his budget.
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Old 01-30-23, 09:00 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by GTBecane
Neither of the bikes I mentioned has Tourney on it.

don’t know why Tourney is so offensive, but the GT is all Deore and the Mb is Altus. The MB also came with shimano hydraulic brakes. WTB wheels, tires and saddle and I believe richty bar and stem. It does have a low end SR Sun tour front shock, but the price savings has to come from somewhere.

all besides the point, I stand by the fact that someone just getting into it doesn’t have to spend all that much money and can try it out before they lay out a lot. You’ll notice I said sub $1k, and decent (as in usable), and around 30 pounds…..

further, I fully agree with you that more money usually equals better kit, as far as this sport is concerned. But with the OPs budget, I do believe that he can get a new bike, without dealing with older stuff, and try it out, staying close to his budget.
Tourney is just low end stuff for Shimano to put their name on. It is not of quality it is designed to be cheap and that is about it. It is found on wally-mart bikes and the bottom end of stuff you will find at some bike shops. It doesn't hold a tune well and is made of cheap plastic.

What bikes are you talking about then? You said $600 you will get good bikes. The GT is 25 years old and under current inflation would be over $1000 brand new and $800 is $200 more than $600. A used bike is a poor comparison for new bikes and pricing. I got a road bike with full Dura Ace for $400 but the bike was from the 80s but I couldn't get a new bike for that with that level of components. New bikes in the price you mentioned early were pretty much all Tourney and one had Altus but Altus is just one minor notch up from Tourney.

The fork is a pretty big deal breaker, a stem, handlebar and seatpost aren't really super important components compared to the fork. A cheap house brand stem and handlebar and seatpost so long as they work fine they aren't moving components like a front fork and don't have any bearings or anything like that. Sure would like to have Ritchey or something like that but I would rather have a nicer air suspension fork. Plus in terms of a saddle that is maybe even less important as it is so personal. It should be noted a lot of companies will put on products of a known brand to make their product look better. It could be the absolute bottom end of what they make but it has a brand name on it so it raises the perceived value of the bike.
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Old 01-30-23, 09:43 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
Tourney is just low end stuff for Shimano to put their name on. It is not of quality it is designed to be cheap and that is about it. It is found on wally-mart bikes and the bottom end of stuff you will find at some bike shops. It doesn't hold a tune well and is made of cheap plastic.

What bikes are you talking about then? You said $600 you will get good bikes. The GT is 25 years old and under current inflation would be over $1000 brand new and $800 is $200 more than $600. A used bike is a poor comparison for new bikes and pricing. I got a road bike with full Dura Ace for $400 but the bike was from the 80s but I couldn't get a new bike for that with that level of components. New bikes in the price you mentioned early were pretty much all Tourney and one had Altus but Altus is just one minor notch up from Tourney.

The fork is a pretty big deal breaker, a stem, handlebar and seatpost aren't really super important components compared to the fork. A cheap house brand stem and handlebar and seatpost so long as they work fine they aren't moving components like a front fork and don't have any bearings or anything like that. Sure would like to have Ritchey or something like that but I would rather have a nicer air suspension fork. Plus in terms of a saddle that is maybe even less important as it is so personal. It should be noted a lot of companies will put on products of a known brand to make their product look better. It could be the absolute bottom end of what they make but it has a brand name on it so it raises the perceived value of the bike.
lol, you need to re-read what I wrote. Never said a bike the same as the GT was on budget. The second bike I referenced, Motobecane fantom expert 29”, is $600, and outside the cheap fork, is a perfectly acceptable, usable, decent starter MTB, but by all means the OP should lay out $2500 to try the sport out….as you were.
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Old 01-30-23, 10:15 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by GTBecane
lol, you need to re-read what I wrote. Never said a bike the same as the GT was on budget. The second bike I referenced, Motobecane fantom expert 29”, is $600, and outside the cheap fork, is a perfectly acceptable, usable, decent starter MTB, but by all means the OP should lay out $2500 to try the sport out….as you were.
I actually did re-read what you wrote I wanted to make sure I wasn't getting anything wrong.


The Motobecane is slightly better-ish then some other bikes at the same price but it is still below an entry level bike and still has not great components. Also they list a fake price that doesn't exist and if you are paying $1599 for a bike with a generic frame and low end components like that only because it has the name of an old bike brand to give it some prestige, you are getting ripped off. I guess if you are riding once in a blue moon a bike like that is well a bike.

I don't believe I ever said $2500 I think you made up that number nobody else used it either. I did say around $1200 and gave useful info on what to look for as you might be able to get something a little cheaper. The bike you mentioned in the GT is a $1400 in today's money but you mentioned it like it would be a budget bike similar to that modern $600 bike which is completely silly.

$800 GT backwoods 98-02...never needed to spend more for the same fun factor.
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Old 02-01-23, 05:55 PM
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Who are you two staging this performance for?
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Old 02-01-23, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
Who are you two staging this performance for?
you, the OP, each other….lol
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Old 02-01-23, 06:51 PM
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Speaking of which, OP, what did you end up with?
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Old 02-02-23, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by GTBecane
The second bike I referenced, Motobecane fantom expert 29”, is $600, and outside the cheap fork
And cheap everything else.

Goodness...You fell for the BD marketing. Compare at $1799 MSRP!!!
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Old 02-02-23, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71
And cheap everything else.

Goodness...You fell for the BD marketing. Compare at $1799 MSRP!!!
sure, if you say so, it’s nice to see that the pretentious bike snobs still exist.

I was hoping in my 15 year absence from the sport that they would go away, ohh well.

ETA:

I knew exactly what I was buying, not uneducated as you’re attempting to insinuate. But thanks it’s appreciated.

If you and VB would get off your high horse you might understand that advocacy is important and works like this (on a micro level in my case) I needed a new bike so I could give my oldest the GT, as it was perfect size wise for him, and purchase myself and 2 more boys a bike, so they would want to ride as well, because to normal folks, the more interested in the sport the better.

now, I’ve always ridden GT and wanted another one, however it would have been 2x the price of the MB for similarly equipped, and add 2 more 24” bikes into that. For an interest that may not stick.

just like the OP budget rules and should t be discounted, work with what you got and all.

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Old 02-02-23, 01:53 PM
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Unfortunately you made the statement "Somewhere around $600 you’ll find decent components on fairly light bikes"

Nothing in that statement is true. What's being pointed out here, that you keep missing, is that your bikes direct bike doesn't have decent components nor is it fairly light.

High-quality components are the major distinguishing factor between a $500 bike and a $2000 bike.
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Old 02-02-23, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71
Unfortunately you made the statement "Somewhere around $600 you’ll find decent components on fairly light bikes"

Nothing in that statement is true. What's being pointed out here, that you keep missing, is that your bikes direct bike doesn't have decent components nor is it fairly light.

High-quality components are the major distinguishing factor between a $500 bike and a $2000 bike.
and what you and VB keep missing is the components are usable and the bike weighs what the GT does….

perfectly acceptable low end bike, but your elitist and snooty bull **** attitude is what turns people off, when they come places like this for info. It’s not just this thread, but please do continue.

very good, you’ve figured out what the difference of $1500 gets you….slow clap.
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Old 02-02-23, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71
Unfortunately you made the statement "Somewhere around $600 you’ll find decent components on fairly light bikes"

Nothing in that statement is true. What's being pointed out here, that you keep missing, is that your bikes direct bike doesn't have decent components nor is it fairly light.

High-quality components are the major distinguishing factor between a $500 bike and a $2000 bike.
To be fair, he did say "decent" components. To me, "decent" means functional, reliable, adjustable, and serviceable. The basic Trek bikes I bought for my kids had decent components that did what they were designed to do for many years, and responded properly to adjustments. "High-quality" is a different level where manufacturing tolerances are higher, materials quality is higher, and lighter weight starts becoming a factor in how they are built.
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Old 02-02-23, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by GTBecane
and what you and VB keep missing is the components are usable and the bike weighs what the GT does….

perfectly acceptable low end bike, but your elitist and snooty bull **** attitude is what turns people off, when they come places like this for info. It’s not just this thread, but please do continue.

very good, you’ve figured out what the difference of $1500 gets you….slow clap.
It is veganbikes if you wish to mention me us the @ symbol and my forum handle.

Bottom end bikes being at the bottom end has nothing to do with elitism or snooty bull fecal matter or anything related to bulls in any way shape or form. You have tried to state that a bottom end $600 bike has good components and is light but your story is about spending $1400 which you essentially did back in 1998 (on your $800 bike adjusted for inflation) yet you whine and moan here about elitism when someone suggests a similar actual entry level bike but for modern times with inflation adjustment.

You want to spend very little money and get a more decent bike look for a bike with less features. However decent suspension forks don't come super cheap and quality long lasting and reliable components don't have to be expensive but they aren't going to be found on new bikes for $600. There is nothing elite about facts. I know you want to complain about that but nobody here was suggesting that anyone buy a super high end bike we are suggesting getting a bike similar to that old GT you wax poetic about and these days a bike like that costs around $1200. Prices change over the years and usually they get higher and that is called inflation and you can whinge about it and yeah people don't love it but it is the facts of living in an ever changing world. Sure we all want movies to be a nickel and gas to be ten cents a gallon a quarter gets you a nice warm slice of fresh apple pie but times have long changed for good or for bad. Accept it or don't but stop thinking you live in a fairytail world.

Being able to use something doesn't make it good or worth spending the money on. A rich person has the money to burn on cheap goods, I am not a rich person (well not in money at least) so I value long term durability and something I can keep running for a long time and if I need to replace something it is worth it. If I want to mountain bike I want a bike that can handle the trails decently doesn't have to be high end but has to be good parts that are reliable and do a decent job. If I just wanted the look I would spend the $600 and be done but I want some performance. I am not telling people to go out and be my boss and get an S-Works Stumpjumper at $11k (and they want to swap out the XX1 for XTR Di2 when it comes out) I am telling people to get a decent entry level bike that can handle things and could be an OK candidate for some upgrades but won't let them down so quickly.
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Old 02-02-23, 03:51 PM
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Ok, VB. Blah, blah, blah, blah. You’re being purposefully obtuse, and attempting to put words in my mouth that I never said, but just like the other guy/gal, have at it.
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Old 02-02-23, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
It is veganbikes if you wish to mention me us the @ symbol and my forum handle.

Bottom end bikes being at the bottom end has nothing to do with elitism or snooty bull fecal matter or anything related to bulls in any way shape or form. You have tried to state that a bottom end $600 bike has good components and is light but your story is about spending $1400 which you essentially did back in 1998 (on your $800 bike adjusted for inflation) yet you whine and moan here about elitism when someone suggests a similar actual entry level bike but for modern times with inflation adjustment.

You want to spend very little money and get a more decent bike look for a bike with less features. However decent suspension forks don't come super cheap and quality long lasting and reliable components don't have to be expensive but they aren't going to be found on new bikes for $600. There is nothing elite about facts. I know you want to complain about that but nobody here was suggesting that anyone buy a super high end bike we are suggesting getting a bike similar to that old GT you wax poetic about and these days a bike like that costs around $1200. Prices change over the years and usually they get higher and that is called inflation and you can whinge about it and yeah people don't love it but it is the facts of living in an ever changing world. Sure we all want movies to be a nickel and gas to be ten cents a gallon a quarter gets you a nice warm slice of fresh apple pie but times have long changed for good or for bad. Accept it or don't but stop thinking you live in a fairytail world.

Being able to use something doesn't make it good or worth spending the money on. A rich person has the money to burn on cheap goods, I am not a rich person (well not in money at least) so I value long term durability and something I can keep running for a long time and if I need to replace something it is worth it. If I want to mountain bike I want a bike that can handle the trails decently doesn't have to be high end but has to be good parts that are reliable and do a decent job. If I just wanted the look I would spend the $600 and be done but I want some performance. I am not telling people to go out and be my boss and get an S-Works Stumpjumper at $11k (and they want to swap out the XX1 for XTR Di2 when it comes out) I am telling people to get a decent entry level bike that can handle things and could be an OK candidate for some upgrades but won't let them down so quickly.
IMO, a significant factor is what the person expects out of the bike, and how they're going to use it. I could ride a $600 MTB on all the same roads and trails as I ride my current XX1/XTR-equipped hardtail. I would go slower, I might need to walk it more, and the parts would probably need to be replaced a lot sooner, but I could make it work. I don't really want to, but I could. If I stuck to milder off-road demands, and wasn't interested in performance improvements, it might be adequate for a little longer.

Personally, if $600 was the absolute limit of what I had to spend, I'd be looking at the used market. You're going to get a better bang for your buck, and might even find something that hits way above the price.
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