Friday, December 30, 2016

Specialized Rock Hopper Comp (2015)

Review for 2015 Specialized Rock Hopper Comp

The Good:
Great Starter Bike to grow with your skills
29" Tires
Great handling 
Local Bike Store
Great Price

The Bad:
Mediocre components 
Terrible seat
High seat post

After 27 years, it was time for a new bike. My 1994, Univega chromoly frame bike with 21 inch wheels just could not handle the trails. It was rough riding on that bike. It has served me well but it had outlived it's usefulness.

I wanted a bike under $1000 and narrowed it down to either a Cannondale or Specialized. Both great names in mountain biking which I knew would be around should I have issues in the future. I almost bought a bike on Craig's List however, after visiting 3 bike stores, I bought one from a local bike shop (LBS) near where I live. 

The clincher was that I was able to get a 2015 model for $150 off, plus lifetime warranty on the frame (which would not apply to bikes bought on Craig's List) and the local shop offered FREE lifetime tune ups!! (usually $60 each time)

I knew I was going to be really hard on the bike so the lifetime warranty was really important. I've read on the forums that Specialized is pretty good about honoring their warranty. You will have to pay for assembly. I didn't really like any of the 2016 colors and was really happy to find that I could get a 2015 plus and extra $150 off. The best times to buy a mountain bike is Sept-Oct (when new models have arrived and the shops are trying to get rid of the older models) and in Jan-Feb (when there is almost no mountain bike activity). Nov-Dec is when people buy bikes for Christmas. 

I'm not a bike mechanic nor do I claim to be one on the internet. I may eventually get into fixing it on my own but right now, I don't have much time or interest in learning how to fix my bike. I wanted something that was virtually maintenance free. 

I decided on the Comp version of the Rockhopper due to the geometry of the rear fork pictured below. 

I have not metal stress test to prove my theory other than how it rides. Think about coming on a hard landing. The stress point of the torque and weight stress is in the elbow above instead of it all coming into one joint like most hard tail bikes. This reduces stress on the frame and translates into a more stable bike. 

The seat they provide was really uncomfortable for rides longer than 30 minutes. I purchased a new seat that I will post a review on later. The seat post is a bit long. I guess I have long legs for someone who is 5'8" because I need to cut the post to make it just a few inches longer. 

I had to take the bike into the shop for an adjustment due to the shifter setting not being set properly. It should be free fix since I bought the bike a few months ago and if it's not, it's covered under the yearly free tune up (love it). 

It handles the rough terrain very well and soaks up almost all bumps. Where it could be better is in rough downhills. Granted it is a hard tail so I can fully understand why people like full suspension bikes. I think it does a decent job on those jarring down hills for a hard tail. It's wide handle bar makes steering a breeze and really comfortable for long rides. 

The 29 inch wheels make a huge difference. I don't even really need as many gears due to the large tires. The tires it did come with are fantastic. They are rough on the streets but that is what you would expect from mud/snow tires. 

Brakes a first rate. Very biting with little fad. the crank gears are something less to be desired. This would be my first upgrade if I did one. I probably wouldn't upgrade unless I broke the frame and had to reassemble the entire bike. 

I know I'm going be very hard on this bike. I've been on about 10 rides so far and it's handled everything I've thrown at it like a champ. Let's hope this bike will last another 27 years. 

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