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  1. #1
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    Recommended upgrades for a Hardrock Sport Disc 29

    Hello, I'm obviously new to both the forums and to mountain biking (at least on trails); I'm basically just looking for some guidance with a future upgrade path.

    -short story, skip to next section if you prefer-

    I picked up a used Mongoose XR-Comp from a friend for $200 to make sure that this (sport) was something I would really enjoy and mainly to make sure I would stick with it before spending more money than necessary on a higher quality bike from my LBS. Well the reason I started biking was to help with weight loss and now it has sort of turned into something I would really like to continue doing, hopefully, for life.

    For the past four months or so I've been riding at my local trail / park and really haven't done anything more than the beginner and intermediate trails yet. I don't really know how many miles I put on the Mongoose because I didn't even pay attention to the bike computer that my friend had installed, I actually don't even know if it was set up correctly but either way it really wasn't long after that I started having issues while riding on any type of terrain that wasn't as smooth as my neighborhood roads. I eventually snapped the crank with bolt clean off the bike / driveshaft. Of course this happened while I was a couple or so miles deep into the trail.

    Three weeks ago I purchased a 2012 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 29 from my LBS. I actually purchased it with the help of my brother for almost $300 less than suggested retail price. My brother previously worked at this shop and now rides with a professional road team (although I don't think he is consider to be a professional rider yet) so he was able to get me a great discount.

    So far I've only transferred the little Bell bike computer from the previous bike, I purchased some Shimano clipless pedals / Specialized shoes and I also picked up a couple of Cygolite lights for riding when I can't get to the trails before everything turns to blackness.

    -actual question-

    I'm 100% happy with the bike at this point especially since it's such a huge jump over what I was riding previously and as far as I'm aware I really don't need any upgrades yet but I wanted to find out from you guys what (and at what interval) upgrades I should plan for in the future. I would also like to know if there are any stock components on my bike that I should look into replacing sooner due to how much the upgrade will help or just overall quality concerns of the stock components. I'm currently riding 50-60 miles a week and I plan to continue riding my local trails and will hopefully work my way up to the more advanced trails. I'm really just a beginner trying to soak up as much info as I can from sites like this one and the bike savvy people around me. There is so much info out there that it's a bit overwhelming.

    Please let me know if I've left out any information that would assist in recommending an upgrade path.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't put a lot of money in it. But I have a couple friends that ride Hardrocks and they keep breaking shifters because they are plastic. Wheels are also a big weak point. Maybe you could find some almost new take offs from a stumpy or rockhopper.

  3. #3
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    Ok, thanks for the advice.

    When you say that you wouldn't put a lot of money into it.. Does that mean that I basically picked out a bike not worth upgrading? Also, how much money are you suggesting is a lot? Where should I be drawing the line?

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    First I'll say there is nothing wrong with the bike you chose as a beginner mtb. I've been riding for 7 years, racing for 2 and have helped several friends get new bikes. I've found that someone starting out is usually happier and rides more with the Hardrock than spending more $. It is a trail worthy bike and doesn't break the bank in case you decide you don't like riding off road. They are also easy to sell on Craig's list and usually get 75% of your investment back.

    There is a line you need to decide on how much to spend that is worth it on the bike you have. The hardrock is a $500ish bike and upgrades costing more than $200 don't make a lot of sense when you could get a Rockhopper for $200ish more and get many upgrades. Then the upgrades go on and on depending on your perspective. The Stumpjumper, camber, full suspension, etc...going all the up to a full race carbon epic 29er at $10500.

    The Hardrock has two big weaknesses that will break from what I've seen. The plastic shifters and the single walled rims. Upgrading these can be done for less than $200 with used wheels, but won't get to you a high end level. Everything on the bike is lower end compared to $2500 bikes. But the $2500 bikes are considered low end compared to the $7000+ bikes so keep that in perspective. However, the Hardrock is big upgrade from the department store bike you had and is capable of off road riding.

    I have a friend and his wife that purchased Hardrocks last spring. They had never ridden and now ride at least once a week. This is a lot of use on the Hardrock and they are not holding up very well. They are now buying a Stumpjumper comp FSR 29er ($2500) and a Safire FSR ($2500) 6 months later. Now it makes more sense for them to spend $5000 on bikes when they ride at least once a week and want to ride more.
    My wife and I ride $7500 each bikes and I just purchased her a new 29er at $5800. Our first bikes were $500 Rockhoppers and now we spend 3-4 days a week on a bike and race 15 races a year. Riding our bikes is big part of our lives now and what we choose to spend our time and money on.

    My advice...ride the Hardrock upgrade parts to the next level that break. If after a year you love mountain biking and it is now part of what you want to do...then spend what you can afford to get something better that is better all the way around. Stumpjumper or even a Camber would be a good choice.
    A stock Hardrock will bring $275+ used in decent shape. A used upgraded Hardrock will still bring about the same. So spend your money wisely and save up in case you love this and want to ride more.

    Good luck and just ride. Some good advice I heard a few years ago was stop reading the internet about bikes and go outside and ride the one you have. I have to remind myself of that sometimes.

  5. #5
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    Wow! 1st post and I have to say ^ hit it just perfect. I ride and old FSR XC Comp and added a few upgrades. I am now at the point where I am either gonna dump a lot of cash on this FSR or buy a new Camber 29er. I doubt I will spending money on my old setup. I have ridden that bike to its full potential and now need something better. Do the same. Ride it till it breaks or until you feel the bike is holding you back.
    BTW Hi guys!

  6. #6
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    Your brother's not training with a pro team because of his bike.

    But on any bike worth keeping, I think it's worth making it fit well. There's your first upgrade. If you can't make the saddle work for you, get one you can. Get the stem to make it fit. If a stem isn't enough, get handlebars that are better for you.

    Sounds like you already did the pedals.

    Nice tires make a really disproportionate difference in how the bike rides. They should match what you want out of your riding and your bike. So look at what more experienced riders who ride the trails you ride the way you'd like to be riding them are riding. (And maybe get something grippier, if you're looking at XC dudes.)

    At this point, you have a choice. You've made the changes that will, IMO, make the biggest difference in how the bike rides. There are still some parts you can buy that will make a big difference. But they're more expensive. Tires and saddles are already expensive. If you got an inexpensive bike because you aren't sure if you're going to like the sport, stop upgrading it now. Just ride the hell out of it.

    If this is your real pricepoint and any future bikes would have to cost about the same, reselling this bike to get a new one is stupid - you'd be getting about the same stuff, albeit a little newer, and you'd be back to zero on fitting, you'd need tires again, etc. etc. And you'd take a hit on sale of your bike. So if you could afford to spend, say, $1800 (before hookup) on your bike, stop reading here. If not, read on.

    I don't know if the Suntour fork on your Hardrock is any better than the RST one on mine was. I'm inclined to doubt it. Regardless, people in the US don't seem to be able to source spring kits for the fork, and having a correctly tuned suspension fork is big. So that would be the next thing. When I did mine, it changed the whole character of the bike. This is going to cost you a couple hundred, probably. If you can't stand the suspension fork you have and you can't afford a few hundred for the new one, don't bother with the low-end ones in between. Just get a rigid fork.

    BB5s are not bad brakes, and if you ride in dry conditions, they're probably all you need. Riding in the Pacific Northwest, I found base-model Elixirs to be a big improvement. I have the 5 - I bought when that was the base model.

    I got new wheels earlier this season. I found it to be an improvement, but not a huge one. I think it doesn't help that I'd swapped out the front wheel for a much lighter, still generic, front wheel a couple years earlier. IMO, weight at the front end makes a bigger difference than weight in the back.

    I've chipped away at my drivetrain since 2007. Honestly, it's not a big improvement if the stock parts are working. 8- to 9-speed is also not a worthwhile upgrade IME, although nicer shifters, regardless of the speed count, are kind of nice. I guess yours has SRAM. Shimano's cheap stuff works fine if it's tuned well. It's not reputed to have the wear life of their more expensive stuff, and it's certainly heavier. So I'd say stay away from drivetrain upgrades unless you actually damage something - mostly it's a vanity thing. Miscellaneous upgrades like the headset and seatpost collar are also pretty dumb, IMO. (I've done one but not the other. Sometimes you don't get a choice.) I'm also inclined to see expensive seat posts as a vanity thing.

    At this point, I have some stock headset spacers, the stock seatpost and seat collar, and that's it. I bought the bike on a little bit of a whim in 2007, and made the fit changes I mention higher up, as well as picking up a used fork on EBay. Then I didn't do anything to the bike for a long time. I moved to another city with better trail access and started riding more, then the economy crashed and I rode a whole lot more if you know what I mean. I also started competing and joined a team. So while my initial purchase price would have gone a lot further if I did it after joining the team and not before, I found myself in a position in which I was rapidly wearing out the parts on a mountain bike I already had, and in which I had access to good prices on parts but not enough money to get a whole new bike that would be worthwhile. I also had a fair number of things fall into my lap. I'm not sure why I'm justifying myself, except maybe to explain why you should do as I say and not as I did, and why what I did is different from if you did it. Unless it isn't. The frame is fine, if probably a bit heavy.

    Pimped out Hard rocks

    Mine's a few posts down.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    Upgrade parts as they break. No point upgrading for the sake of it.

  8. #8
    FKA Malibu412
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    See AndrwSwitch's signature.
    Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive

  9. #9
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    Same Bike

    All of the replies have been very helpful. I also just bought the same bike. I am very happy with it so far. My friends that ride have strongly suggested I add clipless pedals to it. But other than that, to keep riding and modify as needed.

  10. #10
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    you really don't need clipless pedals, save your money and get a pair of 5.10 shoes or some other shoe that is made for riding. I wouldn't upgrade anything till you figure out what kind of riding you will be doing. My first mountain bike a while ago was a Gary Fisher Tasajara and loved it and wanted to upgrade it and all but some how riding that bike eventually turned into me riding trials (the jumping around kind). If I would have upgraded the Fisher like I wanted to I wouldn't have had the money to buy my first trials bike. That transition took over a year. Bring broke then and now 7 years later I have 10 bikes with an average of $2,000 a bike. I'd think long term more than upgrading parts because it's popular or looks cool. Go for functionality for what kind of riding you like and will end up doing. My only upgrade to my Fisher was a bashguard and that paved the way for my passion of biking. Figure out what you like and do it. For now, ride your bike as is till you find your passion.

  11. #11
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412 View Post
    See AndrwSwitch's signature.
    LOL. It's a good reminder for me too. The gear should be in service of the riding, the riding shouldn't be the excuse for more gear. Still, it's very nice to have a bike that (mostly) just works.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    Wow. I joined this forum ot ask the exact question you just asked! I am in the same boat. I think I am going to ride mine until it either breaks or I have the money to buy a bike that I feel is worth keeping and upgrading.

  13. #13
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    I just added clipless pedals to mine as well. It has taken some getting used to, and I have eaten it a couple times because of them, but I am beginning to like them.

  14. #14
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    That's great advice. I believe I'll take it!

  15. #15
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    The Hardrock frame is all the bike that most people will ever need for regular trail riding. That being said, don't throw money at it until you need to(parts break, you start to recognize their deficiencies, etc) and are sure you'll be sticking with it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by crimecrusher View Post
    The Hardrock has two big weaknesses that will break from what I've seen. The plastic shifters and the single walled rims.
    Hardrocks have been coming with doublewalled rims since atleast 2010, same rims as on the Rockhopper, maybe the Carve too? They still suck though.

    My X7 shifters are half plastic I love em.

  17. #17
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I think it's more that the build quality of the wheels sucks. A little extra quality time with a spoke wrench and a truing stand after purchase can make them last as long as every other wheel.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    Hey, thank you all for your responses; I really appreciate and definitely needed the advice.

    Honestly though, every single part on this bike is such a unbelievably huge upgrade from what I was riding before. I did end up smashing my large chain ring the other night though and has since been bent back into shape so I could get back out to the trails. I think I may end up getting a bash guard so the fun doesn't have to stop the next time I fail to complete a very minor bunny hop over a miniature rock wall / crossing.

    I guess the plan at this point is to ride the hell out of this bike and replace parts as they break. I have no idea when my next bike purchase will be but hopefully by then I'll know more about the exact type of bike or quality of components I'll be wanting / needing.

    Thank you again for all the responses.

  19. #19
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    Just wanted to post my two cents. Just bought the Hardrock 29er. Same situation, I hadn;t been riding for the last few years wanted to get back into it. I immediately switched out the pedals and am looking for a saddle that will be more comfortable, anyone have any saddle reccomendations?

  20. #20
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    If you just started riding again, pretty much any decent saddle is gonna hurt your ass until you ride regularly for a couple weeks. Then your sit bones will get used to it and life will be good.

  21. #21
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    I bought a stock specialized hardrock about 2 years ago and have done many upgrades. I put a fox rlc 120 fork, shimano deore shifters, deore lx crank. slx rear and xt front deraileurs, deore hydraulic disc brakes and panaracer tires on it. It was a fun project and I love the bike. It's a solid hardtail frame.

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