Entry-level mtn bike- recommendations please
Due to time constraints I haven't been able to take up mountain biking this year, but would like to start next spring. I guess I would fall into the 'beginner' category as far as mountain biking (and skiing for that matter). Any recommendations on good entry-level mountain bikes. I would mostly be using in the Canaan Valley area (in fact, I'd probably keep the bike up at my place there since I don't want to have to either put a bike rack on my car or haul it in the car to/from Baltimore all the time). I am looking for something well under $1,000! That is VERY important! I don't plan on doing any hard-core biking any time soon (simply due to time constraints) so therfore don't want or need something that will break the bank that I may not get to use much. Any ideas would be appreciated. I've hard only good things about Blackwater Bikes. Do you think they would have any quality models for UNDER $1,000?
Your cheapest bet would be a hardtail. That will work fine for rail grade trails. However, if you want to get into more technical terrain like the Plantation Trail, a dual suspension x-country is the way to go.
I bought my wife a used Kona Cinder mountain bike at Blackwater Bikes for around $400. The bike was from their rental fleet and had hardly been out. It has a Manitou front fork, disk brakes, and a decent parts spec with a lot of XTR components. Overall it compares pretty favorably to the Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail I bought 4 years ago for over $1000. You should check out BWB next time you are up in Canaan and talk to JR or Roger - especially with the biking season winding down, they may have some deals. You can't go wrong with a $400 bike - if you really get into MTBing and want to upgrade you can easily sell that bike for $200-300 on eBay.