What is a fast mountain bike to buy?

As of right now I have a Schwinn Midmoor Hybrid bike that I bought for some commuting to and from work and for riding around my city in general. I've come to realize that I am really into off road riding but I also like speed. The bike I have right now does well on the road but it doesn't compare to an... show more As of right now I have a Schwinn Midmoor Hybrid bike that I bought for some commuting to and from work and for riding around my city in general. I've come to realize that I am really into off road riding but I also like speed. The bike I have right now does well on the road but it doesn't compare to an actual mountain bike on rough surfaces. So now I'm looking for a fast mountain bike under $500 that has the speed I need on paved surfaces. Any suggestions on a good mountain bike or maybe just another hybrid bike that's well suited for off road riding? Once again I want good speed (i know not as fast as an actual road bike but something in between) and good off road capability. Thanks
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