There are some good mtb brands out there that have entry level bikes for reasonable prices and OK components. With your price range don’t bother with full suspension, since any full squish under 1 grand will be junk. Diamond back and Airborne both have decent cheap bikes for entry for a little more and would last a while if taken care of correctly. Or you can as hobbyist like myself do and buy a really cheap bike from, well anywhere, then upgrade the components yourself. Ebay has tons of new and used mtb components for good prices. Wheels, stem, crank & bottom bracket, brakes. Are where i find most budget bikes lacking alot. Lots of luck to ya and dont give up just because of the price tags on a dream rig. Finally getting the bike you want after saving a long time for it is epic gratifying. I’ve been saving for a Intense Tracer 275c for a long time now.