Welcome to the dirty side….you will love it. I did a little looking around and here are some ones that caught my eye. I would also check mtbr as they are more XC oriented. also if you do some exploring there are a TON of bike reviews there as well. I also really like the Bike Magazine message board, Ask Soul Rider, he has been in this sport a LONG time and REALLY knows his stuff. Anyway have fun on this new trail you are on….its full of twists and turns but is hella fun and you get to meet some great people while your at it.
A great bike for under $1200
A nice bike at a great price ($849.00)
2003 Iron Horse Hollow Point
I know I am gonna get flamed for this but for the price ($1299.00) Its a good deal.
A little more than you want to spend ($1470) But a great bike.
Specialized Sutmpjumper FSR
Looks like a good bike…could be a better spec for the price ($1299)
Trek Fuel 80
A great bike for the money, and Mountain bike action liked it…all that for $999.99
Schwinn Rocket 1
Not to bad for $1099.00
Fisher Sugar 4+
Oh…and please don't listen to the people telling you that Sinky's and Norco 4x4's will do you….they are more freeride bikes and while being more plush will not offer a great XC experience.