Hey Im another person looking to get into the sport of mountain biking. Im 5'9" 185 lb 19 year old with some pretty short arms. Im looking for my first bike to be a hardtail of course because all i have to spend is $500. Ive looked at alot of the threads already posted and know that i definately am not going to WAl-Mart. I live in the bush in Alaska so i wont have the luxery of test riding bikes. Im not even sure what size bike i need. The main type of riding im going to be doing is Freeride and XC. Ive heard alot of people recomending the Fisher Marlin. Giant Rainier, Trek 4500. I was looking at the trek 3500 but i was wondering what your opinions were. Im looking to get into it as another hobby but i have no problem upgraded when needed. I hope it doesnt seem like i was just blabbing but i figured to get the most help people need the most info.If anybody that is about my size could tell me what there riding that would be great to, Thanks for any help.