I am ready to buy my bike but now I cannot choose between two models. Both bikes are from Airborne Bicycles (I have not been able to find bikes spec'd like these at anywhere close to their prices) one is the Marauder and the other is the Zeppelin Elite.
The Marauder is a All Mountain/ Freeride bike with six inches of travel, a sram x-5/x-7 drive train with FSA 22/32 crank with bash guard, and mechanical disk brakes.
The Zeppelin Elite
The Zeppelin Elite is a 5" trail bike that is spec'd out nicely with sram x-7/x-9 drive train with FSA 22/32/42 cranks and tektro hydraulic disk brakes.
I like both of them to start and I can see possible upgrades to them both in the future. If I get the Marauder eventually I see an upgrade in the suspension to a heavier fork and a rear shock that has some adjustment in it. The mechanical disk brakes would probably have to be changed to hydraulic eventually. When I say eventually I mean when they break. In the Zeppelin I see less need to upgrade, it is spec'd pretty nice.
The Marauder is $699.95 with tax and shipping it would be $807.95, The Zeppelin Elite is normally $799.95 but they have one listed as a demo from Sea Otter at $649 and I figure tax and shipping will be about $100 bringing it up to around $750. The cost on either will be within about $50 of each other.
The big question is what can each do. Both of them should be able to handle all of the trails around this area and even the trails up in Big Bear. The Zeppelin should have the advantage in climbing and the Marauder should have it descending. Being that I am more drawn toward the gravity side of riding the Marauder will probably win, I would rather have to push a little harder going up so that I can ride harder and faster on the way down.