I haven't ridden a bike in years, and I am now looking to buy a used bike. Both of these bikes are being offered locally in the $900 range, and I suspect the Big Hit would be a better choice for a truly hardcore bike. But I would like to buy an all purpose bike, something that will be decent on tarmac, and give me the opportunity to take it off road as I choose to. I will probably end up buying a cheaper hardtail, but a truly great bike is tempting. I had a cannondale hardtail 10 years ago in highschool and I loved it as an all around bike, so I may be partial to them.

Which would you choose, if it was used for occasional commuting, exercise riding, trail, and possibly more in the future? Or would a used hardtial for $300ish be a wiser choice?

thanks