Why the heck do so many people blindly choose "Cannondale, Trek, Klein" etc bikes??? Cause everyone else is blindly buying them ??
I'm sure some models are fine, but there are so many more mfg's out there that have so much more to offer... Yes they cost more, but buy used...
I have bought many bikes over the last 5 years, and I have to tell you that buying a used boutique bike is better than buying a so-so popular brand bike that is brand new. You can usually find a used one year old bike that originally sold for $3000 for $1500 today. This usually allows you to get better components (ie disc brakes, better front/rear shocks, and component group).
Check pout MBR classifieds, and look for Titus, Turner, Ellsworth, Santa-Cruz, Ventana, RockyMountain..