Hey everyone! This is my first post, and I know you probably get a million "help me with a new bike" posts but this one is going to be a little more specific.
I've been seriously looking at Giant's bikes because of their suspension systems. Efficiency is very important to me. I need a new bike, bad. I rode all last year on a 99 Nishiki Bravo, a department store bike that I got in 5th grade! I'm currently 19 years old. It's way too small for me at 14.5 inches (I'm 6' and 185 lbs) and is completely rigid.
I got into mountain biking last year and it kinda changed my life. I spent years in a sedentary life, rarely getting exercise. When I started a regimen I would end up stopping because I just wasn't that interested. I was starting to get overweight and I was very self conscious about it. Then one day I just randomly started biking at a nearby park with a friend and I got hooked on it big time. I biked as much as I could all summer, and put over 250 miles of trail riding on my bike, biking several times a week. I'd usually average about 12 miles per trip. It got to the point where if I couldn't bike for some reason I got really upset.
So this year I want to mountain bike a lot more, preferably every day, but I really need a new bike. If I have to, I'll do it all again on the Nishiki, but I'd rather not. When I biked I'd be pretty sore afterwords and my wrists would hurt from tree root city on one of the trails we like. In buying a new bike I want to make sure that I'm not limited in what I can do. I'm not interested in tricks or jumps or anything at the moment, but I really want to get into some more technical riding, and want a bike that can deal with it.
The trails I usually ride on are double track with more tree roots than you can shake a stick at. There's also several areas with some decent size rocks and other obstacles, as well as some major erosion, which can be pretty fun. Occasionally there's some smooth single track that my rigid bike eats up but that's unusual. This summer I plan on expanding my riding, there's a lot of other parks I want to bike at, hopefully they'll be more intermediate/advanced.
The first thing I'm trying to decide is 4" of travel vs 5". In my case the Trance vs Trance X. I can get an 08 Trance 2 for under $1000, and the Trance X4 weighs in at $1400. At this point in my life I really don't want to spend anymore than $1500. I'm currently starting a business so money is a bit tight at times, although I do have full time employment. Is the extra inch of travel something I'm really going to enjoy? Are there any major advantages/disadvantages either way?
Also, what else is comparable to Giant or Specialized as far as suspension? From what I know they seem to be the leaders as far as efficiency, at least at this price range. I also realize that these are bottom of the line models, which I don't mind at all. The main thing I want is a good frame to build on, even if upgrading later costs me more. Money won't be as much of an issue then. Besides, my Nishiki held up fantastically last summer, and I'm sure the new bike will blow it away in terms of quality, and I also take very good care of my bikes/cars.
Thanks in advance for the help! Looking forward to the replies.
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