I have a new one.
It’s a Ridgeback>Duel Track>Quest. It was the best I could afford.
It’s strong, reasonably light (but no Marin) and seems okay for a first time outing. Manitou Empire Elite forks, Shimano M495 disc hubs and some nice solid rims, with City-Slicks on her at the moment for road use (which I'm not so sure on yet). I got a deal from Samways (they can probably smell the repair bills coming). Deore Derailleurs and Bottom Bracket, 27spd etc., 29” x 2.1 wheels.
I rode home tonight, which was a pathetically short distance (about 7 miles, I think), and it seems, well, kinda ‘comfortable'. It hardly feels like I’m living dangerously, if you know what I mean, though the City-Slicks give it an 'interesting' dynamic and a hint of "there's no way I'm gonna make it round that at this speed".
A new bike always takes some getting used to and ‘setting up’. It’s a high ride, with a 19” frame but torque-hungry 29” wheels, and it's a hilly run nowdays.
I guess I need to draw some blood before it’ll feel like it’s mine.