Specialized Rockhopper or Specialized Crosstrail?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Specialized Rockhopper or Specialized Crosstrail?

    So I'm hoping you guys can shed some light on my situation. I'm currently in the market for a new bike. I originally wanted a mountain bike, but a few of the bike shops, in addition to some of the research I was doing myself, opened my eyes to other alternatives, like 29ers, or a hybrid style bike.

    Most of my riding will be done on pavement (I'd say 80/20 on/offroad). I'm going on 27, am almost 6'2" and weigh about 245 lbs., but my goal is to get below 215 within the next few months. I come from a BMX/freestyle riding childhood and my only experience with mountain bikes is a 2006 Trek 6700 I owned for a short period of time, but got rid of because I ended up not using it (due to laziness and lack of motivation). I'd like to get back into riding, but like I said, most of my time will be spent on pavement, so nothing hardcore. HOWEVER, I find that I can not ride like a civilized person (haha), probably due to my BMX background. Wheelies, bunny hops, grasshoppers (are they still called that?), etc... I have a natural tendency to want to do these things. If there's a curb, I want to jump it. If there's something I can spring off of, I'll try it. I can't ride in a straight line because I always find myself maneuvering and if there's a choice of pavement or rocky gravel off to the side, I'll choose the gravel for the excitement factor. I like to stand on my pedals a lot and also like sprinting. Basically, I want something that CAN take a beating if need be, but my skills are pretty low-level so it's not like I'll be doing any 5 foot drops or fancy tricks. I've never had friends who mountain biked and never lived by any trails, so I don't have any experience off-road, but it's DEFINITELY something I'd like to give a shot.

    Stumpjumpers have always been my favorite mountain bikes (based on looks and reviews, not experience), but I've come to realize it's more of a race oriented XC bike, and after test riding one, I didn't feel all that comfortable on it. It's also out of my price range right now.

    After riding a Rockhopper though, I immediately felt comfortable on the bike and confident that the bike could take a bit of a beating.

    Then, after visiting one of my LBS and explaining where and how I'd be riding, they recommended the Specialized Crosstrail. I have to say, I wasn't too crazy about this bike at first (or the idea of 29" wheels), but after riding it, I really REALLY enjoyed it. The larger wheels really get that bike rolling and the semi-slicks make for a comfortable, fast ride on the pavement, while the beefiness and treading on the sides give you a little bit of traction for the rough stuff. I think it's got a larger outer chain ring, (higher gearing? correct me if I'm wrong) so it can sustain higher speeds than the Rockhopper, which I like because I enjoy going fast and have the leg power to really push it.

    I know that the Crosstrail is not a true mountain bike (more of a cross between a mtb and road bike) and some people argue that a hybrid is the worst of both worlds, but for my skill level, and anticipated riding style, I've got to say, I felt like the bike suited me perfectly.

    Only problem being, FIT. On the Rockhopper, I ride a 21" frame comfortably. On the Crosstrail, I'm at a 19.5" (I don't think I'd have any stand-over clearance on a 21"). So after riding the Crosstrail for about 15 minutes, I noticed my arms and shoulders were supporting a lot of my weight. It started to feel like I had been doing a pushup the whole time. I didn't notice this right away, but after a while, my palms felt a lot of pressure from the handlebars (even though the grips are really soft and comfortable) and I feel like it might make my shoulders and back hurt on a long ride. The guy at the LBS (who was extremely helpful) adjusted seat height, seat fore-aft position, seat angle, and even switched out the stem for something longer with a higher rise angle. All of these adjustments helped a tad, but didn't cure the problem completely I don't think.

    Q: Are there any other adjustments (or changing of parts) that can be made to alleviate this problem, or could it be that my body geometry just does not agree with the bike's geometry? On the other hand, is this a problem people learn to live with?

    The Crosstrail is $700 (upper end of my budget) at my LBS and has a pretty respectable componentry spec. LX rear derailer, Avid BB5 mech disc brakes, RST Vogue Comp fork (which I never heard of but actually feels pretty nice and has a great lockout). The Rockhopper on the end (base model, which I believe is a better value than the entry Disc), has nothing, and is selling for $470, which is substantially cheaper. Given my experience level and conditioning though, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to start low end and upgrade as I come into more of a defined riding style and am able to better pinpoint my needs.

    I visited the Clydesdale section and noticed lots of people recommending Rockhoppers for heavier riders.
    Q: Do you guys think the Crosstrail will be suitable for heavy riders as well? Again, I probably won't be venturing into any hardcore trails anytime soon, but then again, I'm not a completely civilized pavement rider.

    Crosstrail Expert Pros: smooth and fast on pavement, handles well at slower cruising speeds, can be used for light off road.
    Crosstrail Expert Cons: higher price point, issue with leaning over handlebars too much, questionable fork durability.

    Rockhopper (base) Pros: feel comfortable on bike, can handle true off road, lower price.
    Rockhopper (base) Cons: not as forgiving or fast on pavement, low componentry spec.

    Like I said, I'd like to venture into mountain biking eventually, but for the near future, my needs are getting/keeping in shape, having fun, going on long rides, and being able to handle some unpaved here and there.

    Q: Can any of you experts can shed some light on the fitting issue and possibly give your opinions on a decision? I would seriously appreciate your help.

    I'm open to alternatives as well - although Trek hardtails in my price range aren't available here (Portland, OR). I've tried Konas which I liked, but can not find the model I want around here. Tried a couple of Gary Fishers which were ok, and tried a Cannondale or two which I did not like.

    Please excuse my "noobness" on this matter. I am just trying to protect my investment by making sure I get something that is fun, will benefit me physically, and will actually get used (as opposed to my 6700). I apologize for the long post, but I wanted to get it all out there and be as detailed as possible. Thanks in advance!

    I posted this on another forum to get the advice of regular mountain bikers. I'd also like the perspective of Clydesdale mountain bikers who might take other things, like durability, into consideration a little more.
    Last edited by ohmyggg; 03-27-2007 at 05:28 AM.

  2. #2
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    It really depends on what you see in the future. Either the rockhopper or the crosstrail should meet your current needs, but as you get in to cycling, do you see yourself riding more street or trail? If you're going to spend more time on the street, get the crosstrail, and it seems like you might move in to a jump bike (like the p-series spec bikes). If trailriding is your thing, pick the RockHopper to get you out there, then later you can look at the FSR stumpy or enduro. As for fit - any bikeshop worth their spokes will swap out stems at no charge to help your fit.
    :wq

  3. #3
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    Hmm, well I'm not too sure exactly what type of riding I see myself getting into, but I'm fairly certain it won't be straight road biking, as I find it to be kind of boring. Everytime I've been on a road bike or anything with a rigid fork that's catered to the road, I didn't enjoy it. Not only does the stiffness bother me, but I don't like to get on a bike and just pedal and pedal. I enjoy doing fun things with the bike and engaging the environment a bit more. Like I said, I would like to get into some longer distance rides, but mostly for the adventure aspect of it and to take in the scenery.

    As for getting into serious trail riding, I'd like to try it, but I don't know if that means my future riding style will move closer to a 50/50 on/offroad split, or remain at 80/20. I wish I had more money to look into Dual Suspension bikes and such, but right now I think my budget restricts me to a HT.

    I know one option is to get semi-slicks for the Rockhopper, but what about getting all out knobbies for the Crosstrail?

  4. #4
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    no matter which one you buy, your 245 lbs are going to be fatal for the fork in anything more than really mild offroad. So I suggest you go for the one that makes you happier on the road and serves your current driving style the best.
    In any case I say go for the 21,5 size

  5. #5
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    The 21" Rockhopper fits fine, but for the Crosstrail I think I'm a 19.5" due to the geometry. It's got a similar standover clearance to the larger Rockhopper (whereas a 21" Crosstrail adds almost 2 inches to standover which I'm afraid I won't clear). Do you think the larger Crosstrail (given a comfortable standover clearance) would alleviate the problem with most of my weight being on the handlebars on the 19.5" Crosstrail?
    Last edited by ohmyggg; 03-27-2007 at 05:29 AM.

  6. #6
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    the handlebar will be about(a bit more) 1cm higher on the 21,5 than on the 19,5. not a big difference IMO. I would be more interested in standover clearance and toptube length. I just don't see how you can go from a 64cm TT of a 21 rockhopper to a 58,5cm TT on a 19,5 crosstrail.
    According to specialized.com the clerance difference between 21,5 Crosstrail and 21 Rockhopper is closer to an inch than 2.
    Last edited by p_cycle; 03-27-2007 at 12:58 AM.

  7. #7
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    Hmm, now I'm getting a bit confused as to what size Crosstrail I've really been testing. Had edited my posts to fix my sizes and then switched them back. Specialized.com lists the sizes in inches, but the catalog lists them as cm and some of the top tube lengths don't match up from both sources.

    What I know for sure is that I fit a 21" Rockhopper pretty well and that the Crosstrail I'm currently testing (whether it be 55, 57, 19.5" or 21") has a shorter tob tube resulting in more of an upright (comfort oriented) seating position, but possibly not the best center of gravity above the crank. The longer top tube on the Rockhopper leans me forward and stretches me out a bit more on the bike resulting in more of an agressive seating position, and possibly better center of gravity above the crank.

    So you're saying that the difference in standover height between the current Rockhopper and a larger Crosstrail is pretty small? Do you think the larger size Crosstrail would do anything to correct my center of gravity or would the higher handlebar put me more upright and make it worse?

  8. #8
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    I suggest you use one of the online bike measurement systems to get an idea of the bike metrics you should be looking for.
    In my book 55=21,5 and 52=19,5
    For your height I would suggest 55, unless you have really long inseam or torso.

    Bottomline If you can test ride both rockhopper 21,5 and crosstrail 21,5 buy the one you feel better riding on.

  9. #9
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    Well I've got some updates for everyone.

    I had the opportunity to take the 21" Rockhopper on a longer, 20 minute, test ride today (previously I had only done a few laps around an indoor track) and to my surprise, I felt the same weight distribution problem on the Rockhopper as I did with the Crosstrail (mentioned in my OP). I even test rode a 21" $1200 Gary Fisher true 29'er mtb (X-Caliber) and I felt most of my weight up front on that bike too.

    The LBS and I came to the conclusion that it's probably something I have to get used to if I'm feeling it on every bike. Maybe this is due to the fact that I haven't ridden in years, but it could also be that, mentally, I am paying so much attention to it. My guess now, is that once I strengthen my arms a bit and maybe even wear some gloves, this will alleviate the problem.

    Test Ride Details:
    • My test ride began with the 21" Rockhopper (base) which was a pretty good fit for me, except I did feel that weight distribution problem. I rode for 20 minutes in the rain and played around on some gravel a bit too. Overall, it felt ok, but nothing that got me too excited.
    • I then took the Gary Fisher X-Caliber out for 20 minutes because I felt like I lost a lot of momentum and speed with the Rockhopper by dropping to a smaller wheel size. Well, the Gary Fisher had me leaning forward more than the Rockhopper and it also had wider tires with thicker tread. It felt really harsh on the pavement and overall, I was not too crazy with this bike (especially given its price). It was extremely poised on the gravel and grass though. Totally awesome fork (RS REBA). I also felt the weight distribution problem on this bike more than any other bike (so much that my triceps were doing a lot of work to keep me up - maybe my arms are just really that out of shape).
    • I then took the 19.5" Crosstrail I had ridden the other day for a scoot around the parking lot so that the LBS (different sales rep) could tell me what they thought of my positioning. He told me he'd really like me to try a larger 21" Crosstrail because he thinks it would spread me out more, and give me a better center of gravity. They didn't have a 21" model available for me, but they will have one built by tomorrow. I was about to leave the shop, but decided to take the 19.5" Crosstrail (that I had enjoyed riding the other day) out for another good test ride, since I had just been on other bikes and would be able to better compare. Right away I felt like this bike rolled easily, went fast, and was extremely comfortable to ride. The weight distribution problem was still present, but after riding the other two bikes, I'd say it was equal or less of a "problem" on this than it was on the other ones (maybe there is really no problem at all then). I only rode it for 10 minutes, but overall, it felt much better than the other two bikes (and man, those high gears are really awesome for speed). The front shock (RST Vogue Comp) felt ok and probably just as good, if not better than the Rockhopper's Dart 3, but not nearly as good as the X-Caliber's REBA.

    Unfortunately, that particular bike shop doesn't carry the entry model (Expert) Crosstrail in a 21". They are building me a 21" Pro model which is the mid-level Crosstrail ($1000 I believe). The major differences I was able to notice are Avid Juicy 3 hydros (up from BB5 mechs), XT rear der, LX front der, LX shifters (up from LX rear der, and Deore front der/shifters), Rockshox TORA (up from RST Vogue Comp), and it also adds a carbon seatpost and handlebars (to absorb some road noise I think?). I think the hubs and cranksets are different too.

    So even if I go in there tomorrow and the 21" Pro fits me better than the 19.5" Expert, I would have to spring an extra $300 for the Pro model or try to find another LBS that sells the Expert in a 21".

    On my walk home... had to walk since I left empty handed ...I began assigning a "fun factor" to all three bikes I rode.
    • The Rockhopper (as it was) probably had a fun factor of 7.5.
    • The X-Caliber had a fun factor of 7.
    • The Crosstrail (in possibly the wrong size) had a fun factor of over 9.

    After coming back from the Crosstrail test ride, I said to myself, "Wow, this is my favorite one." The bike put a smile on my face. As much as I wanted to avoid a hybrid at first and originally wanted to stick to a strict mountain bike, I have to admit that I like the Crosstrail better.

    As someone on another forum recommended, there are changes I could make to the Rockhopper to possibly boost this "fun factor" for me, but will it get me all the way there?

    Those of you who are familiar with bike part prices:
    1. How much would good, light, semi-slicks cost for the RH?
    2. How much would a larger (and preferably lighter/stronger) outter chain ring cost (so I can get that high gearing)?
    3. I think I might be able to come close to matching the speed of the Crosstrail with good semi-slicks on the Rockhopper, but a stronger & lighter wheelset might also help out in this department. How much would a stronger & lighter wheelset cost? Since the Rockhopper is the base model, I think I'd eventually want to go with disc brakes down the road, so if I upgraded my wheelset, I think I'd want it to be disc ready.

    Well there's a lot of details in this one and also a lot of questions. I appreciate all of you who have a passion for bikes and for helping others get into the sport by assisting them in making the right decision. I apologize if I sound like I'm going overboard on everything here, or being too anal. I just want something that I will enjoy riding everyday. I want it to put a smile on my face everytime I'm out there.

  10. #10
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    Well thanks for everyone's input.

    I ended up getting the Specialized Crosstrail Pro!

    I was looking to get the base model (Expert) because it was more in my price range, but the LBS I had been dealing with all along (River City Bicycles, Portland, who are totally awesome) did not have any 21" Experts in stock. The only place that had it in stock really turned me off with their attitude, so I decided not to purchase through them. Instead, I sprung for the Crosstrail Pro at River City and I feel much better paying the extra $$$ there than I would have paying less for the Expert at the a-hole bike shop.

    Aside from the greater level of service, knowledge, and attitude at River City, they even offered me 10% off the Crosstrail Pro (seeing as how the Expert, which I really wanted, was completely OOS) making the bike at River City a MUCH better deal IMO.

    Crosstrail Expert @ a-hole bike shop: $725
    Crosstrail Pro @ River City: $990 (10% off $1100 - oh, and I was wrong about it being $1000 in earlier posts)

    Difference in price = $265
    • Much better components (see posts above)
    • Much better bike shop ====>>> much better piece of mind knowing they'll take care of me in the future
    Plus, by ordering from River City, we got a better deal on my girlfriend's bike (Specialized Globe Sport) by almost $20!

    Here are some pics of my Specialized Crosstrail Pro:




  11. #11
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    Some more pics:








  12. #12

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    Congrats! Super nice bike. I was planning on getting a HT Stumpjumper after I sell my Enduro FSR, but because of this thread (thanks) I'm now going to look seriously at the Crosstail.
    Keep us updated!

  13. #13
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    great! I would have done the same
    now put it to work

  14. #14
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    Thanks a lot for your comments, compliments, suggestions and replies, guys. I look forward to posting here.

    Now just to "bling" it out with some accessories (light, computer, bottle holder, etc). Is there a seperate forum section for accessories? I didn't notice one but I guess I can check the review section of mtbr.

    Take care guys and thanks again

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohmyggg
    Now just to "bling" it out with some accessories (light, computer, bottle holder, etc). Is there a seperate forum section for accessories? I didn't notice one but I guess I can check the review section of mtbr.
    There is a separate forum for Lights, Computers, and GPSs

    http://forums.mtbr.com/forumdisplay.php?f=124

  16. #16
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    Ahh cool, thanks, bvibert!

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    ohmyggg --

    Thanks for starting this thread and being so thorough. I too am about 6'2" and have a similar background and riding style. I am currently looking at the Crosstrail Pro and the Rockhopper Comp Disc and had already made up my mind on the Rockhopper Comp Disc even after the LBS had recommended the Crosstrail Pro. Thanks to your thread, I will take more time and consideration deciding between the two. Thanks again

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    No problem, fradav4...

    Good luck bike shopping. The Crosstrail just felt "right" to me, that's why I bought it, but the Rockhopper was definitely a fun bike too. My only suggestion is to really take your time test riding both bikes. Get a good feel for each one and ask yourself, "can I see myself riding and enjoying this thing everyday?"

    The biggest difference is probably going to be the more relaxed/upright seating position on the Crosstrail as opposed to the forward leaning position on the Rockhopper. If you're really going to be attacking stuff, you might opt for the more aggressive seating position. The Crosstrail will feel faster and smoother too because of the semi-slicks, but remember that you can always swap those Rockhopper tires out for slicks if need be.

    These decisions are tough sometimes (even tougher when you're on a budget because you can't always get exactly what you want), but just have patience and the right bike will come to ya.

  19. #19

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    Where can I get a tube ?

    After reading this thread, I bought my Crosstrail several months ago. It is really fast too!

    I'm heavy and someone told me I could run 10 PSI over the maximum rated air pressure. Big mistake! I bumped up to 90 PSI and before I could even mount the bike the tube exploded. It was ripped half-way around. The tube was very thin and looked like a knock-off cheap imitation, no-name brand tube from Taiwan.

    My local bike store said they can't find anywhere to order a replacement. They sold me a Bontrager 29x1.75-2.35 tube but with a Presta valve. The rims are Schrader and the hole is too big.

    Of course they repeatedly blamed the blow out on tire bead seating even though I was admitting to over-inflation. I think they were dodging the cheap factory tube. That tube was paper thin, it couldnít have been more than .5mm thick.

    Iíve spent all night searching and canít find a replacement tube. Not even Specialized offers a replacement.

    For all their hype about 29ír being the future of mountain biking; Bontrager doesnít offer a proper replacement either.

    I wish I had bought a regular 26in. bike. Death to hybrids, I feel stupid for getting sucked in.


  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmack1of10
    After reading this thread, I bought my Crosstrail several months ago. It is really fast too!

    I'm heavy and someone told me I could run 10 PSI over the maximum rated air pressure. Big mistake! I bumped up to 90 PSI and before I could even mount the bike the tube exploded. It was ripped half-way around. The tube was very thin and looked like a knock-off cheap imitation, no-name brand tube from Taiwan.

    My local bike store said they can't find anywhere to order a replacement. They sold me a Bontrager 29x1.75-2.35 tube but with a Presta valve. The rims are Schrader and the hole is too big.

    Of course they repeatedly blamed the blow out on tire bead seating even though I was admitting to over-inflation. I think they were dodging the cheap factory tube. That tube was paper thin, it couldnít have been more than .5mm thick.

    Iíve spent all night searching and canít find a replacement tube. Not even Specialized offers a replacement.

    For all their hype about 29ír being the future of mountain biking; Bontrager doesnít offer a proper replacement either.

    I wish I had bought a regular 26in. bike. Death to hybrids, I feel stupid for getting sucked in.

    Your LBS should have ordered you a new tube if they didn't have one. They usually can get one within a day or two. Also I found 29'er (700c) tubes on Specialized's web site with no problem in both stem types and also found them available on Performancebike.com.

    Also you should never inflate your tires past the manufacture's specs. The tubes were probably not originally as thin as you've described ... you had the "balloon effect" because of the over inflation.

  21. #21
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    you can use a 26" (or 27") tube, no problem. just make sure it's not caught inbetween the tire bead & rim when you inflate it.
    Also, the only time I even got close to the rated max pressure was on a 700x23 road tire and it was too darn harsh to ride.

    the presta valved tube will also be just fine, you can get a grommet to stick in the hole, but I've never had a problem using presta in a schraeder rim, I just make sure there's not any burrs at the hole.

    I'd think the shop should be able to get the 'proper' 29er tube you want, there's enough companies out there selling them now.


  22. #22
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    Congratulations!

    i think you'll be happy with the crosstrail.

    i've been riding the CT Limited since july and i've been extremely pleased with it. about the only significant changes i made were the pedals--shimano xc--and tires--wtb nano raptors.

    i'm 6' 4" 215# and my riding style is similar to what you've described yours to be--about 80/20 asphalt to dirt ratio.

    oh, i also swapped out the avid clean sweep rotors for their polygons and put a 7" up front.

    here's a pic from a recent ride...

    ENJOY!
    Shoot low, they might be crawlin.'

  23. #23

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    Sorry for the thread necromancy, but this was a very helpful post.

    I've been riding to work every day on a 10 yr old specialized mountain bike, and keep looking at new bikes. My ride to work is about 8 miles, and the first 1/4 of it is dirt road and some bumpy single-track before I get to the main road, and then it's paved.

    The Crosstrail really seems perfect for me, and I keep looking at it, but as a previously avid downhiller biker, there's this mental block about spending $1k on a mostly-road bike.

    It was helpful to read about someone else going through the same process and settling on the Crosstrail in the end. Thanks

  24. #24
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    No problem, buddy. I'm glad this thread was helpful to you. The Crosstrail was a great bike and I thoroughly enjoyed riding it. Unfortunately, it was stolen out of my old building's parking garage a few months back in Portland, Oregon. Still having a hard time letting go of my frustration.

    Anyway, I'm living in NY now and looking to buy myself a new bike, so I'll be using these forums as a research tool in the coming weeks since everyone is so helpful.

    Take care and keep a close eye on that bike!

  25. #25
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    There's a third option now, the Rockhopper 29. The big wheels of the Crosstrail and the better build of the Rockhopper.

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    I just got back form the LBS today and they have an 2007 CrossTrail Expert ( 24") Price of $500.00 + 6% PA tax on. not to bad of a price.

    I am 6' 2" 191LBS. IT seemed a tad tight when I mounted it as it again is a 24" but it looks like a sweet bike. I am in the Same boat I live in the City and go riding a lot of city stuff and some small trails with my son, but yet there is still the old SX racer in me that wants to build a track and go for it. ( I raced SX for 9 years when I was younger YZ125 and YZ250)
    I am thinking the 24" frame is just a TAD to "tight" for comfort down there but a 07 model for $500.00 is not a bad deal to me. I like the 29er Idea as well

  27. #27

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    Picked up the 24" framed Specialized Crosstrail Expert Today
    We took it trail riding on what is called the Black Diamond here in NEPA, it handled prety good on the hard pack and very slick packed river mud.

    ( Hard pack river mud is a TREAT TO CLEAN OFF!!!)
    I could not really go to fast with it or push myself to much as i still have a broken shoulder and riding with 1 arm is still a challenge




    Yes it is a 24" frame

  28. #28
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    Hello!

    I am also interested in those two bikes:

    http://www.stevensbikes.de/2010/inde...=81&lang=de_DE
    and
    http://www.specialized.com/de/en/bc/...enuItemId=9401

    I am 6'1" tall and I can not decide which size I should take for Crosstrail PRO. I tried L and XL where L feels really responsive and where XL feels like "big bike" (not to big) but I feel different. Like I can use it for longer distances but I am not sure if this is a right feeling.

    Some shops told me that I need XL (email query) but in shops they advice me L size.

    Regards

  29. #29
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