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MTB (In)decision - advice, please.

GG53GG53 Posts: 20
edited January 2014 in MTB beginners
Hi guys.

I'm a long-time lurker, a roadie, and first time poster on the MTB section of BikeRadar.

I'm after some advice on an MTB purchase.

My current off road bike is a Giant Hybrid Seek 2 with 42mm Land Cruisers. I've done 250 miles in the past two weeks over the usual trails (Tarmac, gravel, aggregate and woodland) as well singletrack roots and deep mud and puddles. On the plus side, the bigger wheels eat up the trails and climbs. On the not so plus side, the lack of front suspension jars when up against immoveable dips, steps and rocks etc, and is tiring over long rides, there is limited scope for wider/knobbly tyres, and there is absolutely no mud clearance between the front mech/seat tube and the rear wheel, resulting in abrupt stops and deep mud diving.

I've loved the off road stuff so much, I would like to get something more appropriate, though within a sensible budget as road cycling is still he preferred option (can I say that on this forum?).

My limit is £400, which is adjusted by LBS discounts or no online/other store discounts. My LBS (with whom I have a great relationship, buy all of my road bikes, and servicing etc) is Giant/Trek, Halfords is a hit and miss local, and Evans is good, though 15 miles away.

I've got a few choices, and would value some advice and opinions. I had thought about a 29er, but the lack of mud clearance seems to be an issue.

http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... 65499#tab2

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-gb/bik ... ifications

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-gb/bik ... 007/66774/

http://www.evanscycles.com/products/nor ... 2#features

I know the forks are not good on entry level bikes, so that is something to upgrade.

Many thanks in advance.

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