I am new to cycling, well technically, yet to begin... I'm looking for a bike in the $1500-1800 range. In my research I've decided a 29er hard tail would be the best bike for me. I'll be using it mostly for commuting to work daily, about 5 miles each way, and some recreational riding on the weekends. For the most part, everything will be streets, roads and bike paths, but I'd like the option to go off-road if the urge strikes me in the future. Nothing too technical as I've not ridden a bike in over 25 years. It'd probably be easy fire roads and singletrack, at first. That's why I'm looking for a hard tail mtb. So far I've been checking out the 2010 Gary Fisher X-Calibur and Paragon. But before I make a purchase, I wanted to get some more input. Are there any other bikes in this price range that I should take a look at? I'd like to stay away from buying from an online vendor, so something that I could get through a local bike shop would be best. I'm in the Southern California area.