Pros: The aluminum frame that makes it like weight is great, the thumb shifters are pretty sweet and the quick release of the brakes and wheels are also nice.
Cons: The stock seat is very uncomfortable, the front deraoilleurs are garbage, I bought my bike 3 weeks ago and I brought it back to be adjusted, just got it back and now the chain pops, cracked the sprocket and bent the chain.
Recommendation: I also mainly ride on asphalt, looking to ride in trails once the gears are corrected, I ride to help loose weight and keep fit. I recommend them recalling the 09 models to correct the derailleurs. over all not bad for the cost the 3 times i got to ride it out of three weeks and always in the shop do to the derailleurs
Pros: Nice solid frame, heavy but I don't feel like I'm going to brake it. Its got Shimano everything; front and back derailleurs. The stance is very aggressive, feels very stable going through turns fast. Only cost $200.
Cons: Disc brakes would be sweet, definitely went and bought the same seat cover the guy above me did, made the difference.
Recommendation: As the guy above me said, I haven't been biking on single track for too long, but used to bike 10+ miles a week when I was younger, and this thing is definitely worth the money. Even on the single track though, this bike is sweet, instantly made me want biking to be one of my major hobbies.
Pros: It is a solid bike, looks great, seems to shift good and handles great.
Cons: I wish it had disc brakes and the seat is uncomfortable. I went out and bought a Bell Gel Seat cover and it is now much better.
Recommendation: I don't have much experience mountain biking. I bought this bike from Dicks Sprting Goods in Dec. 2008. I paid $240.00 for it. I have been on several rides from 6.5 to 9 miles. It performs great. in the beginning I wasn't sure about the gears but now that I have figured them out a bit it is much easier to ride. I would say that if you are an in-experienced rider this is a great bike for you. It is relatively cheap and solid. Have fun.