I've only ridden this one in SE MI. I kind of stopped riding XC but what I remember it was pretty good. Im from northwest ohio and got to say, the area sucks for biking and skiing. I hope you are somewhat north, it probably opens up a lot of options
Highland recreation area has some INTENSE single track, extened rock fields and brutal climbs, with awesome swooping downhills. Far and away the best trail system i have ever ridden, and i have ridden almost all the trails in the area, one of the climbs is probly pushing 250 feet vertical it is amazing!!!
Thanks for the help, guys. Now...on to bikes. I've been to two different local bike shops, and they both told me totally different things, so I'm not sure what I really want. I pretty much think that I'm gonna go with a hardtail XC bike. One shop told me definitely go with a 29'er if I'm a beginner MTBer because it will be easier to climb and get over obstacles and be more fun, but the other shop said stay away from 29'ers and go 26 full suspension (I'm not going to be able to afford a fs bike) because it's way more fun and easier to maneuver, quicker, lighter, etc, especially coming from a BMX background. I've been looking at the Giant XTC 2 and XTC 29er 2, but I'm kinda torn on which size wheel to go with. I was also looking a few bikes from Kona, Trek, and Specialized, Any input?
You could probably even low ball a bit and get to $300. Its definitely not the greatest bike but it will work for XC riding and you can always sell it and upgrade in the future. I think the most important thing is to get some saddle time right now.
Im 5'9 and i ride a 26 inch whell gary fisher wahoo disk, its a really nice bike and is pretty cheap, definatley go for the hardtail, as the extra suspension adds weight and lots of price to the bike. I personally prefer a 26 inch rim just because they are lighter and all you have to do is pick the front wheel up a lilbit to have the same performance as 29ers.
Go with a used bike. I ride an old Specialized Hardrock (with Rim Brakes and an RST Fork. :-O ), but I still have fun. I would like to upgrade the fork, but it would triple how much I bought the bike for. ($100)