I’m a smaller rider and am having trouble finding a bike. I am borrowing a friend’s 2008 stumpjumper that is two sizes too big. Ideally wanted to buy full suspension used, hoping to avoid a hardtail as the terrain I am riding is very technical. Unfortunately, it seems I can only find bikes that are either super cheap or way too expensive. Came across a listing for a Fuji Reveal 1.5 https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/SearchListingDetail.aspx?id=3068153&make=681&model=86890 that is selling for $400. It is in excellent condition–obviously very cheap for full suspension–but components are not good, esp. the mechanical brakes. However, I just want to get out and ride for the next two months as I won’t have anywhere to store a mountain bike after this summer. Should I save the $400 and stick with the way-too-big stumpjumper or buy something cheap that fits a little better?
As a general rule, you’ll have way more fun on a bike that actually fits you than one that doesn’t, regardless of componentry. And when the time comes to upgrade, you can always get a few bucks back from it to put toward a better bike. Win-win.
Go for the Fuji. My first FS was $500 that I purchased in 2008. I got me into XC and was well worth it. Plus, you could add some small upgrades like pedals, hydraulic brakes, stem and handlebar to fit your riding style better. It will make your rides more enjoyable.
Years ago when I bought my first MTB (a hardtail) I wasted months looking for a deal on a size XL mtb bike. I did finally find a bike I was happy with but months I could have spent riding were lost. I discarded an assortment of suitably sized bikes because I felt the components were inadequate. However MTB are mostly modular. If there is something that you don’t like it can probably be swapped out for better components. I have made plenty of upgrades over the years. Including replacing the garbage spring fork that came on a bike with otherwise great components for a much nicer air fork. The combined cost of bike and fork were still much less than buying a hardtail with a better fork.
So my take on your situation is that as long as you buy a bike that isnt locked into a dead component standard ( like for instance straight steerer tube or integrated derailer hanger) even if the other components are lacklustre you should go for it.