'97 RockHopper - What Should I Do? Convert It or Scrap It?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    '97 RockHopper - What Should I Do? Convert It or Scrap It?



    The Summer I graduated, I gifted the bike to a friend who was a Sophomore. We lost contact for a bit, but we recently reconnected and over a beer he says, "Hey, you know I still have your old bike at my parent's house - you want it? It's in rough shape though."

    I thought, why not? If only for nostalgia's sake ... the rest is history.

    I have no idea where to start. I haven't been headlong into bicycles in a bit. Family priorities and such - probably forgot far more than I remember, but, should I rebuild it or chuck it?

    I'd want to make it a city bike or commuter. Can't really cut much weight out of it. I'd want to probably powder coat the frame, strip it down, see if 27.5" or 650cc wheels could work.


    What would you do? Or should I just call it a lost cause and get a $200-300 big box special or something?

  2. #2
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    they make great commuter/ city bikes.... my rockhopper was in way worse shape than yours.....do the gears still work? you can convert it to single speed with a narrow/wide chainring, a single speed rear cog and a tensioner of some sort.... add fenders, a rack, street tires and lights to make it a perfect commuter bike
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails '97 RockHopper - What Should I Do? Convert It or Scrap It?-38461438_10155451617970303_2269376482012823552_n.jpg  

    '97 RockHopper - What Should I Do? Convert It or Scrap It?-38458379_10155451617955303_1052162628404641792_n.jpg  

    97 specialized rockhopper.- urban beater
    2013 GT aggressor 3.0- urban assault vehicle

  3. #3
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    Just lube the chain and ride it. What's the issue?

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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    Just lube the chain and ride it. What's the issue?
    No issue per se.
    I figure 20+ years later, there may be some minor improvements I can make to make it more street-able - well purely streetable. Itís archaic for MTB duty by todayís standards.

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    I think you can make something out of it. Those old 3x7 gearings are close to indestructable.

    regrease the bearings, lube the chain, maybe new tubes/tires, adjust gearing and brakes and you should be good to go.

    The only thing you could think of, is replacing the old cantilevers with V-brakes. Normally you have to replace the levers as well because of different leverage, but your levers seem to be 1 unit with the shifters. So you could leave it as it is or maybe put the V-brakes on with the current levers to see if you get it to work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclingdutchman View Post
    I think you can make something out of it. Those old 3x7 gearings are close to indestructable.

    regrease the bearings, lube the chain, maybe new tubes/tires, adjust gearing and brakes and you should be good to go.

    The only thing you could think of, is replacing the old cantilevers with V-brakes. Normally you have to replace the levers as well because of different leverage, but your levers seem to be 1 unit with the shifters. So you could leave it as it is or maybe put the V-brakes on with the current levers to see if you get it to work.
    Thanks.
    I guess the end product I envision would be something mirroring this set-up, minus the belt drive and IGH, which would probably be ugly expensive.


  7. #7
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    In theory it could be a great commuter, but it's hard to tell if it will need expensive repairs/parts. For example, rim brakes can wear right through the rims, and the drivetrain could be trashed. It might be worth getting a good mechanic to take a look before you start spending money on it. Just to know what you might be in for.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    In theory it could be a great commuter, but it's hard to tell if it will need expensive repairs/parts. For example, rim brakes can wear right through the rims, and the drivetrain could be trashed. It might be worth getting a good mechanic to take a look before you start spending money on it. Just to know what you might be in for.
    Exactly.
    Was attempting to get some ideas and estimated cost based on those ideas before I take it to a bike shop to get it checked out.

    My current mindstate is that if it's over $225-250 which is where my "for the sake of nostalgia" threshold begins to top out, I'm probably going to hit the buy button on a Hyper SpinFit which is currently selling in the $140-120 range. Maybe build it up or leave it as is.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Heist! View Post
    Exactly.
    Was attempting to get some ideas and estimated cost based on those ideas before I take it to a bike shop to get it checked out.

    My current mindstate is that if it's over $225-250 which is where my "for the sake of nostalgia" threshold begins to top out, I'm probably going to hit the buy button on a Hyper SpinFit which is currently selling in the $140-120 range. Maybe build it up or leave it as is.

    That doesnt look so bad. Just new tires, saddle, maybe grips and you might be good to go. Better than any dept store bike. That $150 bike? Those cranks are horrible and i bet you can bend those handlebars.
    I say get the Hopper going as a grocery getter pretty much as is. Save it the indignity of becoming a hipster single speed with narrow bars.
    Looking at your pictures some more, the bike looks to be in pretty good shape actually, just tire rot. No heavy corrosion. Different size wheels isnít going to work, you prob wont be able to adjust cantis to work. Cantis are fine for street if you dont have severe hills in the rain.

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    That looks more '94 than '97- by 97 most bikes like that had unremarkable v brakes and horrible suspension forks. They ran alivio/altus/acera drivetrain to keep the cost similar. The older bikes were better.

    That bike is an A-1 candidate for a commuter conversion. I'd get some tires like the SE cub (an inexpensive tire with fast inverted tread), velox rim tape, fresh brake pads, and new grips. I'd give it a basic tune- check out the chain, maybe replace the cables and housings, grease pivots/bearings as necessary. Then i'd set up the brake levers to work with 1 finger braking, fuss with the handlebars, and move the shifters inboard. I figure 100$ in parts, plus learning the basics of bicycle maintenance. A bit more money for some plastic bmx pedals (generic chesters) and omg any saddle but that goofy thing.

    Here's the deal. That bike is a quality specimen from the 1st generation mtb era. They were designed around rigid forks and all the off-road incompetence that implied, but they were built with 100 years of bicycle technology behind them and that one has 15 years of rigid mtb development behind it. As curb hucking road bikes they're highly refined and yours is a good one. Getting it back to shape is a worthy endeavor, but trying to turn it in to a fixie is not.

    The hyper is a low quality bike. If you go through and set all the bearings up, retension the wheels, tune the brakes.... might be decent transportation, but you're starting with a newer/inferior bike. Meh.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  11. #11
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    That might be older. I think mine is a 1996 and it has an angled top tube.

  12. #12
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    If your Rockhopper is the dark teal and pink as it looks in the picture, I have the same one, though with a little lower end components. From what Iíve seen online, it is probably either 1991 or 1993. I really like mine for city and path riding, and it makes easy trails fun too. Plus itís not a big theft risk if I chain it up.

    If you are mostly riding pavement, I would get smooth rolling tires for it. My wifeís Stumpjumper city bike has Kenda Komfort tires. For my Rockhopper Iíve eyed Maxxis DTH and Holy Roller, Schwalbe Fat Frank or Big Ben, etc. Mine has room in back for at least an Ardent 2.25. Rim brakes would probably limit changing wheel size.

    A better seat, even used, would be good.

    The Hyper seems to be basically a cheap version of the same technology. You likely could use a tuneup on the Rockhopper but from what I have seen with department store bikes the Hyper probably needs a tuneup anyway.

    For inspiration, maybe browse the bikeforums classic and vintage section.

  13. #13
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    Thanks to everyone for the assistance. I made a slight detour. Late last week I ran across a bit of roughed up, fixer-up early 2010's ish Cannondale Quick 4 in front of a pawn broker. Out the door for not much more than a Benjamin.



    The lighter frame and newer geometry, along with the carbon fiber blades should make it a smoother and faster bike more suited for my current riding intentions.

    One of the previous owners made a few nice upgrades: Cane Creek head, Bontrager wheels, upgraded hubs, Scott saddle, etc. Leads me to believe at one point it was well maintained and cared for.

    If it ends up being a basket case, I'm not in over my head on the acquisition cost.


    I feel like I'll want to sand the sucker down and Cerakote it Burnt Bronze w/black accents or Matte Titanium w/red accents, and may swap over the Deore parts and crankset from the Rockhopper, but other than that leave the Rockhooper as is to remain a classic, heritage example to fix up later.

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