A nice bike, like the Klipsch ladder, is a slippery slope that is even more fun to ride.
This summer I sold my 2013 Trek 3700 for a little more than it cost me five years ago due the Covid shortage on new bikes.
I had picked up a 2018 Norco Storm 1 last fall for $550 (about half the cost of new, and a pretty fair price) and initially thought I would keep both bikes but the improvements in technology made the decision to part easy.
29 inch wheels(clearance and smooth rolling), hydraulic brakes(sure and accurate stops), lockout shocks(for road use) and at least a 9-speed cassette(always a better, faster, or easier gear) are minimum requirements now. A dropper post is sweet too for changing elevations.
It all makes sense once you get back on the seat. Which will probably be a pain in the butt until you find the right one. Too soft and you lose power, too hard and you lose the will to go on, lol.
Would love to find a carbon fibre full suspension on the used market some day. I would expect to pay a couple grand for one. But man would you ever fly on a lighter bike.
I might even consider trading my LSI Splits for the right bike. Have to cross that bridge when I come to it.
Either way the wind will always be in my face.