So I am looking into buying my first mountain bike and have doing quite a bit of research but cannot decide. The bikes that I am considering at the moment are:
Diamondback Response XE - $400
Specialized Hardrock '12 - $423
Specialized Hardrock '13 - $440
Specialized Hardrock Disc ' 13 - $520
Giant Revel 2 '12 - $370
Giant Revel 3 '13 - $440
Giant Revel 1 '12 - $500
Giant Revel 1 '13 - $525
Ideally I do not want to go over $500 but if the quality saves me in the long run from shelling out more money than I can bite the bullet. I am looking to go trail riding in North Carolina. i eventually might like to ride around on the road but would look at different bikes if I decide to go that route. I have not had a chance to test ride any of them yet but am hoping to tomorrow to see firsthand. I don't know much and may be wrong but from what I am reading I don't the components are too much different for most of them. I was looking more at the Response or the Hardrock Disc based on them having disc brakes but is this a necessity? Will this be a big deal if I passed on disc brakes? Would the disc brakes on the Response be quality? The Response seems like a great price but I am not sure how I feel about buying it from Dick's unless I get the extended warranty. The local bike shop will let me test ride them and will also offer service as well so that is a plus. What would you recommend? Am I going to notice a big difference from the others as opposed to the Response? I don't really want to buy something I end up upgrading later but I also don't want to pay a ton since I am getting started and want to make sure I want to stick with it. I went to one of the LBS around and the guy recommended a RockHopper. I think his advice was great and he was wonderful it is just more than I want to spend on a bike. I think he knew his stuff well but I just can't go that high.
Sorry for the long winded post but what would you recommend?
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