Looking for a 29er to replace my mid 80;s mountain bike. I need to be able to keep up with my 13 yo son, and my new GT Peace 9r ss is fun, but I fall behind him when we ride together.

I found the Access on sale at Performance Bike (their house brand I take it) and it seems well equipped for the sale price of $700. I also found the Motobecane 29PRO @ bikesdirect and that bike appears to have even better components (XT der, remote lockout fork, Juicy hydraulic brakes).

Based on the components, the Motobecane 29PRO appears to have the edge. Is there any real difference in the quality of the frames, or are they just another batched frame from China? At this price level, I know the frames won't be great, just don't want junk. I'm not that hard on bikes, at least not yet ;-)

Also, another option is perhaps making the GT Peace a 1x 9. I have a Sram X-7 derailleur & twist grip in the parts bin, and I could use the rear wheel off my Salsa Fargo until I get a dedicated rear wheel, but the horz dropouts on the GT don't look like I can get a hanger to mount on them. Anyone done this?