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  1. #1
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    Rockhopper as first bike?

    Hello all. First post so I hope that I do this right. I am currently looking at possibly getting a rockhopper or some sort of specialized mountain bike. I have been riding a paved path to get back into shape but want to start taking some of the trails around southern nm. I have been looking at a rockhopper but don't want to just get the low end. I am a little worried with going to a 2x10 set up and I know the RH comp has that. I am a total noob but am just looking for some insight. I'm interested in the carve/crave as well. And what about going to the stump jumper for a first bike? I am still going to be doing some paved road riding also to get back into shape. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The 2x10 is a good setup, but so is the 3x9 and the 3x8. The 2x10 will just give a little better shifting and a smoother transmition between gears. The gear configuration shouldn't prevent you from getting into bike riding. You'll enjoy all of them. I would avoid anything that has a huge jump between the lowest two gears though (ie granny gear "Power Ring")

    As far as the stumpjumper vs rockhopper, if you're just starting out and doing light to intermediate trails, the rockhopper is great. The only real issue is the more bike you buy up front, the better deal you get. If you get a cheap bike with plans to upgrade the fork and wheels, it will almost always cost more than buying the good bike to begin with. Only firm recommendation is make sure the fork is hydraulic fork instead of a mechanical lockout. (rockshox XC28 TK, XC30, XC32, Rockshox Recon, Suntour XCR, or just about anything that says Fox)

  3. #3
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    Rockhopper as first bike?

    So I'm guessing it may be better to step up into the range of the carve/crave? Or the stump jumper?

  4. #4
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    I started with the Rockhopper as my first "mountain" bike. Rode it for over a year and the RockShox Tora failed. I decided instead of upgrading the fork I would get a Stumpjumper so I could get the 3X10, the Reba dual air fork and better all around components. That Rockhopper would be a Crave today at least frame wise and fork wise. The Rockhoppers seem to have been reduced in the pattern of Specialized bikes. I really enjoyed mine and I rode it pretty hard for the time I had it.
    2013 Specialized Carbon Camber Pro 29er (Warranty frame and other stuff)
    2011 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp 29er

  5. #5
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    Even the lowest level Rockhopper 29 has hydraulic fork and hydraulic brakes (albiet lower quality, but not bad), so it should suit your needs for starting out. It will also have decent resale value if you want to upgrade to a better bike. The biggest question is, how much are you willing to spend and what sort of trails are you going to ride.

    Obviously the $2k stumpjumper is going to be better than the $800 rockhopper, but the question will be, for what I'm going to do with it, is it $1,200 better? Comparing the Rockshox Reba to a Suntour XCM for the riding I do, the reba wins. But if you're only going on smooth dirt trails with a few rocks, the XCM is good enough. If you forsee yourself going through rock gardens with a lot of technical riding, the carve or stumpjumper might be a worthwhile investment.

    One thing to keep in mind, the more expensive the bike, the more expensive the maintenance and parts. If you mess up a derailure, replacing one on the above listed bikes can cost you $50 or $300, depending on what you get and who puts it on.

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    Rockhopper as first bike?

    Thank you so much. I didn't even think about maintenance on any of these bikes. Maybe the rockhopper is the way to go with the eventual upgrade to the Reba fork? Also is the rockhopper a good way to begin tinkering with everything. Sorry for asking all the beginner questions.

  7. #7
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    Heck, a used $20 magna "mountain bike" off craigslist is a good way to tinker. Really hard to mess that bike up, and you'll have plenty experience adjusting stuff trying to get it to work.

    At this stage, I wouldn't worry too much about future upgrades. Just ride it till it doesn't meet your needs. You'll know when your bike can no longer keep up with you.

  8. #8
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    Rockhopper as first bike?

    Thank you guys for all the help. I have a Trek 4 series but can't stand the bike. I'm riding it until I can get a specialized. I took a look at some of them and seem to like them more. Lighter frame too. Just seems like a better all around bike than what I have. Just want to step up and get something better. I guess it would be more of a step up for me.

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    Heck, I thought you were going from a road bike to a mountain bike. If your Trek 4 is close to the current model on Trek's website, the base rockhopper is going to be about on par, just a bit higher. Really need to know what you can't stand about the Trek to make any further recomendations. Any idea how old your bike is or what it has on it, as far as the fork and drivetrain?

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    Rockhopper as first bike?

    I will check the parts on it. It is from about 2007 and I can tell you it does not have a lot of the parts in there. When I bought mine it was about 450 not the 800+ listed. I know my bike is really heavy and the specialized feel so much lighter and feel much sturdier. I figured I just bought the real low level trek so it was more like a better big box store bike.

  11. #11
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    Assuming it's close to one of these bikes bike,
    2007 Trek 4300 - BikePedia
    2007 Trek 4500 - BikePedia
    then the rockhopper would be a good upgrade. Personally, if your current bike is really holding you back, just go for the upgraded rockhopper with the XC28, or better yet, find one with an air-cartridged fork (Fox or rockshox recon).

    The Trek is a heavy bike, and a lighter wheelset will make your new ride so much better. This Trek isn't horrible though. It has some semi-decent components that when adjusted properly will serve you well for riding off-road assuming you're not tackling trails well beyond your capability. A decent quality used fork would do wonders for this bike. I'd keep an eye out on ebay or craigslist or talk to your local LBS or bike riding clubs for anybody selling a used fork that uses rim brakes. You should be able to find one for about $50-$100.

    Examples of forks out there:
    Rock Shox Air Judy XC Fork | eBay
    Marzocchi Z1 CR Bomber Fork Z 1 | eBay
    I've done local searches in the past where I could get a older manitou for $22 with local pickup. Something like that will completely stomp the RST on your bike.

    I personally think a lot of bike manufacturers underspec the fork they provide on bikes. A quality fork is one of the most important things to see how a bike handles on a technical and bumpy trail . If you're on smooth dirt, a lower quality fork is acceptable and it's a good set of wheels and tires to reduce rotating mass that make the most difference. I'd rather spend more for a good wheelset and fork and have a lower quality gearset than an amazing gearset with a junk fork and wheels.

  12. #12
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    Rockhopper as first bike?

    What about going with the airborne goblin? Probably not the right place to post it but I just want to get the most for my money.

  13. #13
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    The airborne goblin is a great bike, and will be a great upgrade. Tons of online bike stores where you can get bikes, and it's almost a guarantee you'll get more for your money. However, if you're not able to do the assembly and maintenace yourself, you'll have to pay for it and that'll negate most of the savings you get with online bikes. Not all, but most. Also might be some stigma and bad blood between you and your LBS and other riders. Some people think bikes must be purchased from an LBS, or they're junk.

    I have some bikes I bought online, and they are great, but I also have lots of experience turning wrenches and I spent money on getting the proper tools to fix them myself rather than spending money to pay someone else to do it. I enjoy working on bikes though. If you'd rather spend your time riding, just go to the LBS.

  14. #14
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    Rockhopper as first bike?

    I see. How would it compare to the rockhopper comp? And I feel I might be able to take on the task but definitely am a novice. I know that the local bike store will give a year of service to me for free with a purchase. Will it require a ton if set up? What type of tools are needed. I do have a lot to work with.

  15. #15
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    Do a search on "assembling bikesdirect", "assembling motobecane", "assembling online bike", or "assembling goblin" and you should get a pretty good idea of what you're getting yourself into. If you go to youtube and look up "performance bike how-to" videos, they'll give you lots of info on how to adjust front and rear derailures and other bike maintenance techniques.

    Easy to do if you're good with tools. One of the problems is, you don't get to ride the bike before hand, so you have to put a lot of faith in other people's review of their bikes and comparing the online geometry charts.

    From a parts perspective, almost any bike you buy online will be cheaper than what you'll find in the store with a comparable parts list. The goblin is a fine example. The rockhopper comp has a rockshox XC28 fork vs. the goblin's REBA. Jumps from a $130 fork up to a $450 fork. the goblin has SRAM X.7, while the rockhopper has X.5

    From a parts perspective, the goblin will be closer to the lower tier stumpjumpers or the higher tier crave bikes.

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