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If you are near a variety of bikeshops try a few and then compare. Fit and feel are one of the most important first steps. Depends on your budget too.
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then on what style of riding you will be doing, this will give you how much travel you need in the suspension department,
Then I would look at bikes with Shimano discs (not an avid fan).
Maybe now your down to 25 percent of the market to trawl through, then read reviews in that style and price range, and check for specials.
If do the homework, the bike presents itself.
Good luck, for me half the fun is the hunt
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Frame, suspension, groupset, wheels. General quality of the minor bits.
Groupset is the easiest since there aren't that many options so it's a direct comparison.
Wheels are often pretty meh regardless unless the real top end. Consider the originals as spares awaiting an upgrade.
Saddle, bars, grips etc they often get customised anyway. The shop may even do free/cheap swaps pre purchase.
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The first thing to do is work out what type of riding you'll be doing so yu can narrow down the necesary suspension travel range, then pick out your bike shortlist in that range, and read the notes on each one.
Bikes can be broadly categorised by suspension travel, but there is some crossover between categories with variations in frame geometry. Broadly, XC bikes have around 90-120mm rear travel - these have tight, steep geometry for agile handling, but tend to suffer with technical descents. Trail bikes have 120-140mm reat travel, slacker geometry for better descending, but still reasonably agile for a wide mix of riding. Typically the most versatile range of bikes. All-Mountain ("Enduro" is the current misused buzzword - Enduro is a race format. not a bike type) have 150-170mm travel, very slack geometry very much optimised for pointing down, yet still somewhat rideable up hills. 180mm plus is the realm of full-blown Downhill sleds which are horrible to ride anywher else.
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