Thursday, February 16, 2017

Specialized Rockhopper Sport

Review of the Specialized Rockhopper Sport

The Good:
Low Weight

This is a good, solid starter bike. The 27.5" wheels is a good beginner's size to help become accustomed to riding trails. More experienced riders will want to go with the 29s. Specialized has a long history of putting their experience and knowledge into their bikes. Overall it handles very well and can take on most beginners and intermediate trails. It gets taxed when taking it through more advanced trails. The RockShox XC28 is good enough for this entry level bike. Brakes are grippy but lacks the power probably due to the Tektro brakes not having been sufficiently bedded in. The 2x10 SRAM X5 package shifts well and reliably. This is a great starter bike for someone who is just getting to XC mountain biking. More advanced riders will want to get the 29s and better components.

This bike excels for the enthusiast rider getting started and want to make sure they like riding before committing more money for a more advanced bike. It succeeds in it's mission for durability, low weight and quality. You gotta love the lifetime warranty on the frame and you know Specialized isn't going anywhere. 

With a Shimano Alivio and Acera mix for the drivetrain, it is very functional and durable. Even after a few dozen rides, it didn't need any adjustments. Cranks are a SR Suntour set up with a 3x9 drivetrain. They have an octalink bottom bracket. This is a threaded unit that sits inside the frame.

The RockHopper uses the tried and true 32 hole cross 3 lacing method, so long term maintenance is something any shop worth spending any of your money at can maintain them. The tires are really nice. The Fast Trak rear and Captain Control front handles any terrain that was thrown at it.

Brakes are Tektro Draco. They are dependable and reliable. You could upgrade to a better set but it fits with this bike.

Fork: SR Suntour fork is solid. The action is good and predictable. It works best if you're between 155-180lbs with about 3 inches of travel. If you're over 210, ask your shop to firm it up. For riders under 140, you'll need to lighten the spring.

It is a good climber because it is maneuverable. The lock feature on the fork made it a breeze to make your way up inclines. Although this is a feature that many won't use, as you advance in your biking skills, it will be something you are very happy to have.

This is where this bike shines. It's lightweight agility and frame geometry makes the bike very nimble. It wants you to push the bike to show what it can do. As you become more experienced with riding overall, you'll begin to appreciate the Specialized heritage.

This is a really fun bike to go downhill on. You can push harder and the bike will respond. You'll begin to notice it's limitations on drops more than 5 feet but otherwise, it's a lot of fun.

This bike is an excellent beginners bike for anyone getting back in or starting mountain biking. When you master this bike you'll be ready for the more advanced bike. For casual riders that want to push it now and then, this is perfect fit.