September 29, 2014
Can't get a better hardtail with this level of componentry for under a grand: SRAM x7 drivetrain, decent hydraulic disc brakes, and, in the 2014 models, a Suntour front fork that's at least adequate. It's REI's house brand, so you're not paying for a big name brand, which is fine in my book -- I don't care what decal is on the downtube as long as the bike is durable and rides the way I like.
Tires seem low-end, and rims are not tubeless ready -- but what do you expect at this price point?
I got the 29er, and it is a perfect beast for rolling over the rock gardens and roots of New England singletrack. This bike rides better than bikes I test rode that cost twice as much. Highly recommended, esp if you can get one at season's end. I paid $750, which to me is a steal for this level of bike.