Fuji Outland Comp
I recently test rode this bike and was really impressed...the bike really fit me well (the 21") and its good spec for the money....the brakes were great and the rear suspensionseemed perfect for my weight (260)
I can get the bike for around $1300...what else should I be looking at? I also rode a Haro shift R3 and a Trek Fuel 5 and I liked the Fuji much better.
Also , on a side note: it's funny how easy it is to justify a higher budget once you start looking at stuff more in depth.
I don't know much about the bike, but $1300 generally seems like a good deal for a FS bike that you like and works well for you. Only other thing to ask is what the warranty is, if the shop will do free adjustments, and if they'll give you 20% or so discount on any accessories that you buy along with the bike.
I'm building up an '06 Fuji Outland frame now. I don't know a lot about that frame either, except that the '06 was an older design. But after owning a Cannondale, Specialized, and my girlfriend's Trek, I'm excited about riding something unusual. I think all the bikes are pretty good nowadays, and the rear suspension design of that new Outland is proven.
If I were you I'd just make sure it has a lifetime warranty on the frame and swingarm.