Originally Posted by Fudbeer
take a look at decathlon they have some very fairly priced bikes if you want to spend more james cycles give good advice but the chesterfield branch is better than the sheffield one i would also avoid suspension on the cheap bikes
cheap suspension on bikes is realy nasty,heavy and hardly moves unless you jump off high walls ect... then it moves only an inch or so.
Good names to look for in Suspension is RST, Rockshox, Mozochi,Manitou. These are run of the mill stuff found on basic and high end bikes.
ZOOM and names like that are bad forks and no better then hard end forks. The basic give away with cheap forks is the fork legs, if they are welded into the brace then they are nasty. This means that cleaning and oiling is going to be a major issue , if you even can.
Then there is the Porche of forks like mine Mr Dirts USD big hitters. 10" of travel, open oil baths, Air and spring hydrolics, Wet bushings, Bolt through axel, Oil/Air mix levers & hand made in USA. Snip at ?1500 a pair.
Disk brakes are the way to go now mate. Ypu can pick up hydrolic oil ones now on bikes aound ?120 !!! These are super powerfull and work btter in dirt & rain. V-Brakes are ok, powerfull but squeel like pigs and loose power in wet and mud.
wheels, You want deep fat rims with as many spokes as you can. This means more numbers stronger rims. I have 2.3inch wide rims with 36 spokes. thses will be stronger than 1inch rims with 32 spokes.
I'd also advise eBay at moment with alot of people getting bikes for christmas The surplus has goto go somewhere ?