• 04-28-2020
    Specialized Rockhopper Comp 1X vs Trek Marlin 6/7
    Hi - buying advice in a very limited marketplace would be appreciated!

    A couple of years ago I got back into biking and bought my first gravel bike, a Trek Checkpoint ALR 5. I use this bike for commuting/weekend rides and really enjoy it. Having so much fun with it that it's made me partial to Trek (and my local Trek shop).

    My kids (teens) have recently gotten more into biking too, mostly mountain/trail riding (cross-country style, nothing too hardcore) and beach/town rides.

    So, I've decided to upgrade my 15 or 16 year old, well-used Gary Fisher Tassajara to something under $1k (preferably closer to $600-$700) with 29 inch wheels, disc brakes, and slightly better suspension.

    Since everyone in the country seems to be biking these days, stock is very, very limited -- especially for an XL frame, which is what I need.

    Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace has been slim pickings too, and I've settled on buying something new.

    I'd like a versatile hardtail -- rides may get a little more adventurous, but will not be doing anything too technical. Lots of good bluff-top trails with some foothill climbs near us in Santa Barbara. Also want a bike that any member of the family (we're all pretty tall) can pick up and use.

    Based on what's available near me, I've narrowed the selection down to either of these bikes

    2020 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 1X

    2020 Trek Marlin 6 (or, if I drive a little further and pay a little more, a Marlin 7)

    I'd been planning to go with the Marlin 6, but I have to drive about 90 minutes to pick it up, and once I discovered the XL Rockhopper was available nearby, I started reading more about single ring bikes. I've never ridden one, but like the tough/simple concept.

    I know there's a lot of criticism about the Suntour forks on these bikes. I think the Suntour model on the Rockhopper is slightly better than the Marlin? But I assume most serious riders would disapprove of both. Seems like I would need to climb above $1k, though, to get a bike with a standard fork of much better quality.

    I've ridden a Marlin 5 before (we have a smaller one in the family); the Rockhopper 1X is being built by the shop and should be assembled later this week. Hope to try it out then, but only for a short ride around the parking lot.

    Any advice on either would be welcomed. Would the more limited gear set on the Rockhopper be frustrating on street rides? Either bike more capable/durable while being knocked around on some fun, but not too technical bluff or foothill trails, with occasional climbs and downhill sections? Any other component or geometry comparisons I should consider?

    Looking for a bike I can purchase relatively quickly (was a little too fast at putting the Gary Fisher on Craigslist -- sold within an afternoon!), so other suggestions are fine, but the market around here is very limited, and bike shops are telling me that new bike deliveries are looking like late summer or early fall.
  • 04-28-2020
    Depending on how you would ride the 1x on the road ,it could be ,if you want the most top speed the gearing doesn't go high enough. That means you could go faster but you can't pedal any faster. The thing with the forks on those bikes aren't really made to last/work on bumpy trails .Bikes in a price range are very much alike ,they are made to make that price. That means that one might have some part "better" but some other part might not be as good, there are trade off's everywhere with most bikes . You should try to understand them and decide what is important to you.
  • 04-28-2020
    The Rockhopper and Marlin are starter bikes and are pretty strong. They are mostly entry level XC bikes and personally, I would not spend closer to $1k on either of those models when you can get a little bit more for your money at that price point. They are great starter bikes though.

    My local Specialized dealer had a difficult time selling the previous Rockhopper 1X model because no one wanted it. I believe that the price for the bike was too much because it was a starter bike with a 1x drivetrain system. They discounted them and never really sold any models. They actually stopped carrying them because there was no demand in my area. I think Specialized got rid of the Rockhopper lineup because I cannot find it on their website.

    You can actually buy a Specialized Pitch 1x for $700 though. It's a 1x9 with a 11-42 cassette and has geometry that favors trail riding. It does come with a coil fork but you can trade that up for an air fork through the SR Suntour trade-in program.

    Around the $1k mark, you can find some deals on the Trek Roscoe 7 or the Specialized Fuse.
  • 04-28-2020
    Well, I made an impulse purchase. Went to a small bike shop in town that I hadn't checked yet, and they had a 2019 Specialized Rockhopper Expert -- the only XL frame in the store. Got it for $150 off MSRP. Was sold by the air suspension (Suntour XCR-Air) with remote lock, the more versatile (for my use) 2x9 gearing, and maybe a little bit by the dusty turquoise/yellow color scheme. Took the bike out for a quick ride and liked the feel, especially compared to my Gary Fisher.

    The fork definitely seems like an upgrade over the other bikes I was considering, not as sure about the other components. The mixed brand derailleur set up is interesting, but shifting seemed pretty smooth.

    Any thoughts?