This is a great bike to begin riding 29 on. It taught me a lot, and made me faster. It was my first real race bike. The plushness of the RockShox fork felt great. The Hydraulic Discs were amazing. However let me break it down quite simply:
1: All components excluding brakes were high enough quality to stand up to racing and give clean performance throughout
2: The Juicy 3's made some awful noise and made the whole bike rattle. LBS couldn't fix and was covered to get Shimano M505 brakes under warranty-definitely a plus!
3: The bike was very sluggish up hills and felt as if the brakes were on the whole time!
4: Great handling and geometry
Overall a good bike for the value, excellent base to learn 29 on and durable enough to race hard. My first real race bike will always have a special place in my heart-nice n' sentimental!
Weaknesses: 3x9 drivetrain is pointless, 2x9 or 2x10 would be better
I bought my 2011 Rockhopper 29er Pro in September 2010 as a 40th birthday present to myself. I paid $1150 just before a price increase, so I got a tremendous bargain. This is especially true considering that the 2013 Carve Expert is almost the same bike for $1650.
I am a longtime road rider and this was my first semi-serious mountain bike. I'm a clydesdale (6'4", 230lbs) and my off-road skills are pretty poor, but this bike has been very forgiving and durable. I ride on double and single track ranging from smoothly graveled to rocky/rooty/muddy. The wheels seem to be bombproof and all of the other components are holding up very nicely.
Sometimes I wonder if I should have sprung (haha, get it?) for a full-suspension bike given the types of trails I like to ride. But I like to ride up the hills as well as down them, and this hardtail is a sprightly climber.
I have not had the brake problems reported by many other people. I also like the fork, but again I am not an expert so maybe I don't know what I'm missing. My only modifications have been pedals, and chainstay protector, and detachable fenders for the winter months.
I almost never use the big ring on the front, so one of these days I'll convert it to a 2x9 setup, or possibly even a 1x9. The front derailleur tends to jam up with mud and gravel on dirty rides anyway. I suppose the big ring would be useful for road riding, but there are much cheaper hybrids out there. Riding this bike on the road would be a sorry waste.
I wanted a good-quality mountain bike at a reasonable price, and that's exactly what I got. I smile uncontrollably every time I ride this Rockhopper, and that's what it's all about.
a Weekend Warrior
from Atlanta, GA
Overall a great bike, I really couldn't ask for much more with the money spent. Love the way it handles. The only downsides to this bike were the brakes and grips. The grips just didn't last. They would slide off. I fixed that problem myself with some lock ons. As far as performance, the brakes always worked, just made an awful squeal. I had them adjusted a few times by Outback Bikes, but the problem continued. I finally had them contact Specialized. Turns out the brake pads were warrantied and some rear rotors. Mine was fixed, and now things are great. I would have given this bike 3/5 with the brake issue, but now that Specialized took care of the problem i'll rate it 4/5. This is a great intro/intermediate 29er that will provide years of service. A good buy.
a Cross Country Rider
from Del Mar, CA USA
Date Reviewed: August 28, 2011
Strengths: Climbs like a mule. Nice front shock. Almost everything about the design is positive except terrible avid juicy brakes ...
Weaknesses: After about 5 rides, the rear brake started making horrible noises. After a couple more rides, the whole bike started shaking when the rear brake was applied. Took it back to B&L. Specialized said that they knew of the problem but had no parts and B&L should take care of it. Two and a half weeks in the shop before parts came, another couple of days to repair plus $50 for labor on a brand-new defective product. This is my third and last Specialized. Google and you'll see that this brake issue is widespread. No way to treat a customer!
I won't buy Specialized again. They should have caught the problem in testing, they should have had repair parts, and they should have covered the labor. Caveat emptor!
a Weekend Warrior
from Toronto, ON, Canada
Date Reviewed: June 6, 2011
Strengths: Decent Spec, very strong frame, well thought out bike. Transitions from trail bike to family outing bike easily
Weaknesses: Cockpit can feel a bit stretched; seatpost difficult to adjust for my OCD
Very solid bike for the price point - Specialized name. I paid $1430 all in, including an upgrade of the shifters to X7 Aluminum. The SRAM mid grade shifting is spectacular compared to my Shimano LX and XT derailluer on my FS boke (a Rocky Mtn ETSX. It needs to be noted that the swingarm causes some notorious shirting issues).
Bike is great for my first 29'er, but not light. These big machines roll great on the captain tires, but not at all nimble. This bike was pruchased to be the mule for my daughter's trailer and future bike seat and transitions between the two roles very well.
I'm having some difficulty getting adjusted to the cockpit - feels very large and stretched out, so trying some different adjustments between seat position and may even swap the stem for lighter. For trail riding, this bike could really shed a few pounds - I'm a drag ass rider (if body would allow, I'd take the chairlift and ride DH!lol), but once you get it rolling it's shocking the speed it will move - have not had the chance to really climb it yet. I really have to slow down to negotiate any hairpins or switchbacks that I glide through on my 26".
The bike looks and works great, but the gear junkie in me is looking already at a Redline D680 - a small price jump , but big improvement on spec and weight.
Solid bike - I need to get it out on the trails more to give a better review, BUT, value wise I think it is super solid!
FYI, I am having the same rear disc problem with noise and vibration - I've asked the LBS I purchased it from to look into it with SPecialized, but we'll see. I got a super deal on the bike from these guys, but the warm and fun bike vibe just is definitely not there lol.
I really enjoy riding this Specialized Rockhopper Pro 29er.I have put over a couple hundred (off road) miles on it in a short time. It handles like a dream on the Ohio landscape which can be unforgiving at times.
I did have a problem with the rotors making an awful screeching sound after the first few rides. After a couple trips to the bike shop (and my own shop) I finally resolved to replace the rotors with Wind Cutters. No more noise.( Cheap fix ) I have done some research on this noise issue and it appears to be hit or miss for each person who has bought this model???
Other than the brake noise, I couldn't be happier with this bike for the money I spent. Great rims and the Captain Control tires are awesome. Also,The Rockshox Recon Silver fork does not disappoint on this 6'2" 200lb athletic frame.
Bottom Line- compared to others in it's price range I'd recommend it highly. I would give it 5 flamin' chilis for the overall if it wasn't for my brake issue.