Bought my Hardrock about 6 weeks ago. I mostly ride roads, some gravel and dirt, but nothing technical or overly crazy. I switched out the tires for some Schwalbe Marathons. I am 6'6" and had a complete lumbar spine fusion, so I needed a bike with decent standover, stable, and something to accomodate a larger framed person. The seat was next to go. Uncomfortable, and cheap feeling are understatements to describe the stock seat that comes with this bike. The stem isn't too bad, but I needed to sit more upright to accomodate the back issue. The only solutions to solve this "FITTING" problem would have been an extension or swapping out handlebars with a medium rise. So, the handlebars were the next thing to get swapped. Profile Design Medium Rise bars fixed this problem.
Now, I have not been riding a whole bunch, approximately 6-7 miles a day. Today, the cheap front derailleur tweaked causing a wipe out. It caused me to seriously look at the components on this bike. As one rater states, these are pretty bottom of the barrel components, but I would say even that is a GENEROUS assessment. I will be upgrading the entire drive train to include the need for a new rear hub to accomodate SLX components. The mix bag SRAM, Shimano, KMC, Suntour is really pathetic even for an entry level bike. Nothing is truly "compatable" on this drive train, which requires an ENTIRE Drivetrain swap out. The 7speed cassette is junk. Of course in order to put any larger of a cassette on it, requires swapping out not only the rear deraileur, but the rear hub as well. So a $580.00 bike will run you at least another 3-400 in components that are truly compatable with each other.
I was a Specialized fan, and after this experience I am not so sure anymore. This bike is NOT worth the price, and can only be described as something you will have to upgrade to get any real enjoyment out of. Beware of the sales people trying to tell you this bike is good. The only saving grace is the frame and the paint scheme...
Strengths: Frame, Rear derailer, Wheels + Forks are all right but im going to replace.
Weaknesses: PEDALS ARE TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, and front derrailer is pretty crapy for any trail with mud.
A great introduction bike i ride 7k every morning to school (on road) and ride some trails every friday and weekend wich have 4ft jumps and pretty sick dropoffs. Im only 12 and have a medium size and it fits me fine with the seat down fully.
Strengths: Good entry level 29er, great fit for tall people, comfortable saddle (once you are used to it), solid frame, if a little heavy (I prefer a heavier frame atm)
Weaknesses: Pedals are plastic, forks aren't very stiff, saddle rails are weak, tons of chain slap, and my rear wheel lasted less than 4 months, only riding an average of twice a week. Rear der. snapped of at the knuckle in the third month.
Overall, this is a decent bike at an okay price. I got my 2011 model for $430 on clearance which was a decent price, but I would never pay more than $500 for it new. It should be said that I'm a large man, almost 380 lbs, and I like to ride it hard, so it's stood up pretty well considering. The rear rim, however, bent hard while I was riding on a canal path, after sliding off a rock 4-5 inches in diameter.
I would recommend this bike only if you can get it under $500, and it you only plan to do light offroad riding, or you're a fairly light rider. Anything with a lot of rocks or drops will wreak havoc on it fairly quickly. What I've learned from all of this is that bicycles, good solid bicycles, are not cheap. If you want something that will take a beating and last, do your research and invest in a quality bike.
a Weekend Warrior
from Albany, GA, USA
Date Reviewed: December 16, 2011
Strengths: Sturdy feeling, smooth ride, wide bars, great brakes, 21 speeds, high view from the seat!
Weaknesses: HEAVY as a freezer, slippery pedals, seatpost clamp doesn't hold well, squeaky fork, standover height may be an issue for short people
This bike has sold me on the 29" wheel size: Smooth ride, fun on street and trails, you sit up very high(at the cost of a higher standover), nice looking frame(though the graphics are too much), great for child carrying thanks to the big smooth wheels, good gear range, and great handlebars and shifters. I would recommend replacing the seat clamp as it slips bad no matter how I adjust it and the fork is super squeaky. Very fun solid feeling bike on the trails and the street. Love it!
If this will be your first bike and your not sure if your going to stick with mountain biking sure its good enough to get your feet wet. However! That was my position first bike not sure if it was something i was going to get into or not. After about one season of trail riding, it is something I am definitely will stick with. SO in that case I already notice the poor performance of this bikes drive train and have decided to upgrade. Again a great beginner bike, but if your looking for a good 29er spend the extra money and go with something that has better components. As this bike has all bottom of the barrel stuff on it from the factory.
Bike Setup: stock other than some better pedals, and Easton EA70XC wheels
a Weekend Warrior
from lithia, FL, USA
Date Reviewed: August 6, 2011
Strengths: The 29in wheels were great for rolling over stuff, but when it came to bigger hits, well lets just say I've had a few close calls.....shifting was overall pretty good,and its was pretty lightweight.
Weaknesses: OK, here we go, Ive had this bike for 6 months, and I've had to visit the bike shop and least twice a month, I've had 2 flat tires, thee derailleur had to be replaced, the brakes barely worked, I had to replace the pedals, grips, and i put a liner in the tire. Also, one of my crankarms completely fell off.....I'm trading in the bike this week
Bike was good when first purchased, but eventually, everything started falling apart....If you a beginner rider, this bike wouldn't be so bad, i guess i ride too hard for this bike
Bike Setup: OURY lock on grips, new metal platform pedals(not sure what brand) everything else is stock
a Weekend Warrior
from Frisco, TX
Date Reviewed: August 1, 2011
Strengths: Great entry level bike. solid components, but probably not the right bike for the serious rider
Weaknesses: overall very happy. Pedals are not the greatest. Fairly heavy.
I am just now getting back in to riding after a several year layoff. I purchased this bike a few weeks ago, and am extremely happy with the purchase. The 29" rims are great. I ride with several other friends that have standard rims, and this bike carries other a ton more speed on both climbs and decents.
a Cross Country Rider
from Cortez, CO USA
Date Reviewed: June 18, 2011
Strengths: Comfortable ride. Good components for the price point. Strong frame with good geometry.
Weaknesses: At 35 pounds it is pretty heavy for a hardtail. The stock pedals are cheap plastic that will break after your first couple pedal strikes.
Great entry level 29er. I have put probably 1000s of miles on this bike both commuting and riding the local trails. It has been a fun bike that has held up incredibly well with no real issues. The only things that have broken have been things that get trashed in wrecks like shifters and break levers.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this bike for someone with a budget or someone just starting to get into the sport.
If you are a serious rider you are probably going to want a higher level (and more expensive) bike, but for the beginner or those on a budget the Hardrock is a good value for the money.