Specialized Rockhopper Mountain Bike Review

Specialized Rockhopper is a tried and true classic for one reason It’s a great bike!

If you aren’t familiar with the Specialized Rockhopper series of mountain bikes than I know already that you are literally brand new to the sport of mountain biking, and that’s ok. I fact that I am so confident in saying this, should tell you how much of an icon the Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike has become.

The Specialized Rockhopper has been around forever, and for one reason, it’s a great bike! I am too lazy to look it up but if I recall correctly, the Specialized Rockhopper has been around for more than 20 years! In a very fad-driven industry, that speaks volumes as to just how solid the Specialized Rockhopper really is, so let’s talk about why.

The mountain bike industry is absolutely gaga over Full Suspension mountain bikes these days and hardtails have kind of fallen out of favor but I have to tell you, for most riders, a hardtail is more than enough mountain bike and they have a lot of advantages over their more complicated cousin. The Specialized Rockhopper is a hardtail, aluminum frame mountain bike.

If you ask me, much of the Rockhopper’s success can be attributed to the foundation, the M4 aluminum alloy frame. It’s practically a work of art. Specialized is very particular to engineer their bikes towards both sides of the spectrum, the technical and the visual, meaning they make sure their bikes look and perform equally well.

The Specialized Rockhopper frame is acknowledged by many industry experts to be one of the best designed and best handling hardtail frames on the market. A great foundation to start with.

Specialized Components

SRAM X7 Rear Derailler in Black

The fork is always a component that a lot of new buyers fixate on as they think the fork will magically improve their riding ability. A great fork can make a ride more enjoyable, no question, but it won’t make a difference to a newer rider. The Specialized Rockhopper is equipped with a RockShox Recon SL100mm coil spring fork.

This fork is great for beginners as it is dead simple to setup and maintains. Once you become a more skilled rider, you may find yourself wanting to upgrade the fork down the road, but 95% of the time, this fork will be adequate for most riders.The frame is a great base with which to hang the rest of the quality components that you expect in a mountain bike.

When your plan is to go deep into the woods, you want to know that you are riding something dependable. The components on the Rockhopper have changed over the years but the 08 Rockhopper Comp Disc that I am reviewing is nicely equipped with a combination of SRAM X7 and X5 shifting components, Avid Juicy brakes, DT Swiss rims and Specialized Fast Track tires. Very good quality components at this price point, no question.

Specialized Rockhopper Handling

sram-2007-x7-shifters

The time I spent riding the Rockhopper for this review was great. It’s not an ultra lightweight bike and it doesn’t look like it came from the future, but what it does do is handle, ride, climb and descend very well. It gives me a piece of mind knowing that if I am going to be 20 miles deep into a trail, that my bike is rock solid and has very few things that can go wrong with it.

The Rockhopper will not disappoint in the handling department and is likely more bike than most riders can handle until they get a fair amount of mileage under the hood.The Rockhopper is one of my favorite bikes, you can tell that already. I am a big fan of simple and not the biggest fan of cutting-edge ultra high-tech type bikes that are extremely complicated.

The Specialized Rockhopper is simple and straightforward but yet, a good rider can throw one of these down trails at unimaginable speeds. The Rockhopper is known to be a great handling bike that can carve corners with the best of them.

Pros:

The Specialized Rockhopper offers a number of pros but here are a few that I noted:

    • Strong, durable and attractive frame.
    • Good, predictable handling that reacts dependable every time.
    • Good geometry….very comfortable to ride.
    • Reasonably light for this price point.
    • Price – Great bike for a great price.

Cons:

    • The pedals – I hated them. Upgrade early….save the aggravation.
    • Saddle – Very uncomfortable…as most stock seats tend to be. Get fitted and upgrade.
    • Fork – More than adequate for most but may need upgrading as your skills improve.

Specialized Rockhopper Review Summary:

A great testament to the Specialized Rockhopper is that it has survived over 20 years of fads and trends and is still as good of a choice today as it was 20 years ago.  Another testament to Specialized is that they are definitely a company that “gets it.”  What I mean by that is they understand bicycles and they invest a lot of money in developing products that not only work but appeal to the consumer.  Chances are that if you ever buy a Specialized brand mountain bike, you very well might always own a Specialized Mountain Bike.  They inspire that kind of owner loyalty in their products and I think that’s great, especially in today’s world.

The Rockhopper is a perfect choice for new riders and those whose rides don’t take them down the steepest of descents and who don’t want the complications that come with more complex full suspension bikes.   A great choice for someone who simply wants a solid mountain bike that they can maintain and ride for a long time to come.  If your skills do improve to the point that this bike won’t cut it anymore, it’s a very upgradeable frame if you so choose to stay with a hardtail.

Scott

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