So one of my friends expressed interest in getting a mountain bike. He hasn't ridden anything since high school 12 years ago or so so I figured he would just be cruising sidewalks, etc. He is about 5' 9" and 240lbs. He didn't want to spend much so I lined him up with a $400 hardtail Giant that I figured would do the job just fine.

That was 2 weeks ago. I went riding around with him the other day and he is trying to jump everything in site and riding a lot more aggressively (and better) than I thought he could. Now he is STOKED and wants to get onto some trails. I think that he will stick with this, likely loose some weight and keep getting better.

I know I won't be able to convince him (or his wife) to spend for a really good bike, but thinking maybe $1,500 tops. I will get to looking for something used for him. Bikes that came to mind might be the beefier model of the Blur with some stout FR wheels, like Azonics or Transition.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.