I have to give a shout out to Mike Boone (yes, the same last name as the city he lives in) and his shop, Magic Cycles. It's a true enthusiast hang out with employees who know how to grind and get your gear prepped and ready for hard assaults. You can check them out at http://www.magiccycles.com/.
Had a friend in town this past weekend and we needed some equipment for off road adventure, so I checked in with Mike about his rental program. We were out the door a few minutes later with a very fine Giant full suspension mountain bike, featuring powerful hydraulic disc brakes. The bike worked really well and was an excellent addition to our activities in the mountains.
Renting a bike also allows extensive testing of a model you may be interested in. When you're looking at a major investment, a ride around the parking lot isn't sufficient. I'm happy with my 29er, but it's a hardtail with mechanical discs; I'd like to spend a full day on a 26" wheel full suspension bike with hydraulics, and renting one would allow me to really understand the fit and feel.
If you're up around the Boone area, post a comment on my blog so I know you're in town...and stop by Magic Cycles if you want to rent a sweet ride for that epic mountain single track.