Which 29er? Rockhopper vs. Hardrock- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Which 29er? Rockhopper vs. Hardrock

    Hello all, I am looking to get back into the sport again and am really liking the 29er's, more specifically the specialized hardrock and rockhopper. My issue right now is choosing between the Rockhopper 29er Comp and the Hardrock 29er Sport Disc.

    My question is this, is the price difference ($280) between the two worth it? I went to the local shop and unfortunatly they only have the Hardrock in a 29er and the Rockhopper with 26's on it. Any guidance or comments would be great......

    Edit: I live in the Albuquerque area and will mainly be using the bike in the foothills and bosque, nothing crazy as far as jumps or drops, but I am a big guy 6' 4" 230 and am pretty hard on bikes.

  2. #2
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    I don't have even the basics of an answer for you;, but thanks for posting the question. I am looking for similar guidance myself.

  3. #3
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    Comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by bigD1031
    Hello all, I am looking to get back into the sport again and am really liking the 29er's, more specifically the specialized hardrock and rockhopper. My issue right now is choosing between the Rockhopper 29er Comp and the Hardrock 29er Sport Disc.

    My question is this, is the price difference ($280) between the two worth it? I went to the local shop and unfortunatly they only have the Hardrock in a 29er and the Rockhopper with 26's on it. Any guidance or comments would be great......

    Edit: I live in the Albuquerque area and will mainly be using the bike in the foothills and bosque, nothing crazy as far as jumps or drops, but I am a big guy 6' 4" 230 and am pretty hard on bikes.
    Are these the bikes in question?
    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...cname=Mountain
    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...cname=Mountain

    Rock Hopper:
    FRAME Specialized M4 fully manipulated alloy frame, fully butted, Trail 29" geometry, externally relieved HT, SS compatible forged adjustable slider dropouts, replaceable der. hanger, disc only
    FORK SR Suntour SF11-XCR-DS-29-LO-SP, 1-1/8" alloy steer, mag. lower, 30mm stanchions, hyd. damping w/ lock out and custom tuned spike valve
    FRONT BRAKE Tektro Draco Hydraulic disc brake, dual piston, 160mm rotor
    REAR BRAKE Tektro Draco Hydraulic disc brake, dual piston, 160mm rotor
    BRAKE LEVERS Tektro Draco hydraulic
    FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano Alivo, 34.9mm clamp, top swing, dual pull
    REAR DERAILLEUR Shimano Alivio, 9sp direct mount Long cage
    SHIFT LEVERS Shimano Alivo SL, rapid fire trigger
    CASSETTE Shimano HG30, 9-speed, 11-34t
    CRANKSET Shimano FC-M430-8, Octalink spline
    RIMS Alex RHD 29", alloy double wall, pinned w/eyelets

    Hardrock
    FRAME Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum, Trail 29" geometry, fully butted, formed TT, Double ORE DT, externally relieved HT, reinforced disc mount, forged dropouts w/ replaceable hanger, disc only
    FORK SR Suntour SF11-XCM-V3-29-DS-MLO, 80mm, 1pc. alloy lower, 30mm Hi-Ten stanchions, mechanical LO, coil/mcu spring w/ preload adj., spring assisted seals
    FRONT BRAKE Avid BB5, mechanical disc, 160mm G2 Clean Sweep rotor
    REAR BRAKE Avid BB5, mechanical disc, 160mm G2 Clean Sweep rotor
    FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano Altus, 34.9mm clamp
    REAR DERAILLEUR SRAM X.4 8sp Midcage
    SHIFT LEVERS SRAM X.4 8sp trigger
    CASSETTE SRAM PG-820, 8-speed, 11-32t
    CRANKSET SR SunTour, Octalink spline
    CHAINRINGS 42S x 32S x 22S replaceable
    RIMS Alex RHD 29", alloy double wall, pinned w/eyelets, 32h

    In my opinion, the hardrock seems like the better deal.

    Wheels: Surprisingly, the wheelsets on the 2 bikes are the same...
    Brakes: I think the BB5's on the hardrock will be more reliable than the low end hydros. Once I learned to adjust BB5's they stop very nicely.
    Forks: The fork on the rock hopper is better, but IMO, both the suntour XCM and XCR are not the best choice for someone as big as you. To be fair, I have only tested the XCM and XCR in 26". So maybe the XCR 29 is improved? Both the 26" forks were way too flexible and I could almost bottom them out on a curb (I am 180lbs).
    Drivetrain: The hardrock drivetrain is not as good as the rockhopper, but I do not think the rockhopper is THAT much better...
    Frame: I guess the material of the RH is supposed to be better... but who knows?
    Geo: I think the geos are the same. I cannot find the RH geo for that year, but the previous years match up with the HR

    Bottom line: $280 is $280... With $280 you can buy a new fork or wheels to upgrade the hardrock. For like $200 you can upgrade the drivetrain to X7. Or you can use the $280 to replace broken parts as the break...
    I definitely think that at your weight, neither bike's forks will not be strong enough for you.
    For example, I just picked up an OEM RockShox Tora for $125 off ebay You could use the remaining money to buy a new crankset, handlebars, etc etc....

    In the end, the rockhopper IS better. However, I do not think it is $280 better. Use the $280 to buy a Tora! I think the Tora is the cheapest fork that can handle your weight (it has 32mm stanchions)

    I forgot to add, if you do not like working on your bike and you just want to buy a bike and ride it, get the rockhopper, it will last longer.

  4. #4
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    RH vs HR

    Good info in these responses. I sell bikes part time, and my experience is that for mountain bikes, buy as much durability up front as you can afford. In your case, given you're a big'un, the Hardrock frame might be better but with either bike you'll need to upgrade almost everything, sooner or not very much later. Besides the fork (think thru-axle), I think you really need to save up for a burly high-end wheelset (esp. the rear hub!), 36-spoke for sure. I like Specialized geo and I'm partial to Specialized saddles; if you like the fit you will be fine with either bike, but think of the new bike as a project just begun.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the response guys, from what I am gathering it is not really going to matter what I buy if it is under $1000, I am going to be upgrading the front suspension as well as probably wheels, then run on down the list of other componets as they break or I get tired of them......guess the most important part is going to be how much I like the way it feels when i initially ride it.......

  6. #6
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    I've got a Rockhopper 29er Expert. Have been on it for almost a year and love it. Mine has the Tektro Hydros (not sure about exact model) and they are phenominal for what I do. My son has BB5's on his bike (not 29er) and my brakes are 10 times better for stopping. I rode a friends bike set with Juicy 5's this weekend, and honestly, my tektros were just as good.

    I got my bike for just under $1,000 new, and the includes 3 tune ups in the 1st year.
    Since I don't like writing, I don't have a blog to pimp. This space for rent.

  7. #7
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    The Hardrock's cockpit is about one inch shorter than the Rockhopper's cockpit. Both bikes have 36 spokes laced in the rear wheel so when the generic spokes start to fail within a few months have your LBS re-lace the wheel with high quality DT Swiss or Wheel Smith spokes. Before you walk out of the store with your new bike, have the mechanic stress relieve all the spokes and re-true the OEM wheels it will help the OEM spokes last longer. The 80mm Suntour fork on both bikes is the real weak link, a new Rockshox air fork, which can be converted to 80mm, will run you $300.00 plus. The difference between an 8 speed and 9 speed drive train is minimal. 8 Speed vs. 9 speed: 1) 8 speed has a smaller front 42 tooth large chain-ring. The 9 Speed uses a 44 tooth large chain-ring. 2) 11-32 SRAM cassette has a 32 to 26T gear step down. The Shimano HG-30 11-34 has more uniformly spaced gears. 3) 8 speed chains are a little wider and stronger than 9 speed chains. And 4) the 8 speed components are cheaper to replace than 9 speed components.
    You can also look at a Rockhopper 29er Expert with Shimano BR-505 brakes and a Rockshock Tora fork for $1,100.00 or other bike manufacturers such as Performance Bicycles Access 29ers for better components.

  8. #8
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    Hey, this is my first post, I meant to introduce myself in another post but this one is right up my alley and almost exactly what ive been debating on.

    I'm 6'7" 340lbs and have felt entirety too big for any bike since I was 14. 2 weeks ago however my wife made a sneaky u turn into the parking lot of our LBS where I found both models in question here in 29er form with 23" frames....I have never felt so at home on a bike, they both rode fantasticly and I will be going back for one of them this Friday...just not sure which one yet. The price difference is $200 which I don't mind paying as long as its worth it.

    Glad to have found this forum and this post, thanks guys

    Jay from central California

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