Q. I'm new to this mountain biking thing because I've only been doing it for about six months to lose weight after a serious rugby injury. I want to get a new bike and I need it to meet the following criteria: it has to be able to take my 17-stone weight and be able to cope with long rides on muddy tracks but also some downhill sections. My budget is £700 - so what bike should I buy?
Julian Smith, Tondu
A: The Kona Hoss cross-country hardtail is a good choice for a burly fella like yourself. The 2007 model costs £700 complete - bang on your budget - and it's built around a beefy Kona Clump frame made from butted 7005 aluminium, ideal for rugby-playing riders. Other parts include a super strong Marzocchi Dirt Jumper IV fork, an FSA crankset, Shimano Deore mechs and shifters, Hayes Sole hydraulic brakes, strong wheels with Alex rims and Shimano/KK hubs and Kona finishing kit. The Hoss Deluxe with a slightly better spec is also available for £150 more. See www.konaworld.uk.com or call distributors Paligap on 0117 9823673.