Strengths: Sweet ride of Reynolds 853 steel, clean welds, beautiful colors, made in the USA.
Weaknesses: Paint, my wife insists on putting a bell on the handlebars, and I sound like a vintage telephone coming down a technical descent.
I built this bike up "for my wife..." that being said, she rides about as much as I read Cosmopolitan. So it's my 2nd bike. This bike is all that I expected it to be. I bought my frame used from a guy who never rode it... His loss. I put on a Fox f100 and full XT/XTR components, and this thing is SICK. I would have maybe gone with a 17.5" in a perfect world, but the 19 fits well too. Long top tube changes up the geometry a bit and looks kinda goofy IMHO but you forget all about it when you're in the saddle. Would definitely recommend for a sick steel frame bike. Between this and my TI hardtail, it's a toss up - yeah, it's 3 or 4 lbs heavier but it's all good... great bike overall.
Similar Products Used: Redline monocog steel, Motobecane Fly Team TI,
Bike Setup: Chris king headset,full XT drivetrain, XTR wheelset, Fox f100, bell on handlebars, Avid Juicy 5s,
from Bangor, Maine USA
Date Reviewed: January 19, 2005
Strengths: Steel frame, Made in the USA, light weight for a steel frame, Unique company, Old school geometry
Weaknesses: Paint chips so easily. 2005 frames now have clear coat.
A dedicated race bike. I only race this bike. The paint chipping is a minor problem but it is a mountian bike it isn't suppose to be pretty. Too many people complain about the paint--buy a road bike. Mine weighs in at 25 pounds pretty light for a steel bike. No disc brake mounts, an option untill 2005. Fast geometry, likes bumpy, rooty, and rocky sections of trail. Likes climbing but depends on the mood. I want a stiffer fork like a Fox or Marzocchi.
Simply a great handling frame. Well balanced, comfortable, great climber, great singletracker. I've run it both with rigid and suspension forks and it workd well either way. Looks good too. This frame has never let me down
I can't believe the price i paid for it (new on ebay) but I'm not complaining!
Similar Products Used: Six other hardtails in the shed.
Bike Setup: This is for the Ruffian singlespeed
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: December 8, 2003
Strengths: Steel, Customer Service, Price, Ride is amazing! It's a hardtail.
Weaknesses: Aforementioned paint problems, welds not so hot, seat clamp size just wasn't right.
This is my second Gunnar (I also have a crosshairs), my first new one. I got a stellar deal on the frame in my size and my color (blue). The bike is simply awesome. It's the most stable mountain bike I've ridden. The geometry is spot on for me. I can ride trails and obstacles I couldn't ride on other bikes.
I like long rides... long, long rides. I can do them on the Rockhound and feel fresh. I never feel the desire for a dual suspension bike nor do I miss my Trek aka "The Wrek."
I rode it for about a month, suffered the usual seatpost slippage, reinjured me knee, and then called Gunnar. They accepted the slippage as a warranty issue, checked out the frame, replaced the collar with a new properly sized Salsa Lip Lock and shipped it back to me in about a week. Dirk is a good guy to talk bikes with, btw.
Since the seat collar has been replaced I haven't had any problems. I've ridden it through two seasons over three years (sat out last summer with a broken foot) and the frame just rocks.
The new Gunnars are clear coated, (to address almost everyone's complaint) and spec'ed with a different seat clamp.
I think Gunnar is making some of the best bikes for the money. That said, the welds aren't as good as say IF. I'm not a frame builder, but I can spot welds that have been plugged.
For about a third of the cost of an IF, Wojick, or other small steel builders I'm not going to be that picky, if the welds crack I know Gunnar will stand behind the frame.
If you want to oggle smooth welds, spend the extra money and get something else; if you want a great riding frame, get a Gunnar.
Similar Products Used: Trek 8500, fine if you want a twitchy short track bike that wasn't manufactured correctly
Bike Setup: XT mostly, Thomson, King, Marzocchi Marathon
from Ann Arbor
Date Reviewed: August 31, 2003
Strengths: This review is for the Ruffian (Rouckhound) singlespeed frame. Without a doubt this is my favorite bike of all time (Since my original Apple Krate). It knows exactly where I want to go and takes me there. The 853 Steel frame is plenty stiff, but I'm never beaten up by it. The geometry is all about handling, it climbs like a freaky goat on Peet's coffee, comes downhill like a stone. I can move all over this frame and steer with the rear wheel with ease. My average pace went WAY up riding this frame (As told to me by my riding partners - sorry, no cyclometer on a Single Speed!) You hit the gas and this thing leaps forward without any wasted effort. A SS teaches you all about momentum management, and how to properly pedal, spin, climb, and stomp. Ride one of these, then get on a geared bike and you'll be amazed how much a better rider you are. I always liked the Gunnar/Waterford approach - I loved it after visiting the factory and getting a personal tour. They stand behind their product 110%. These are the kind of people we should be buying from and supporting - handmade in the USA, lifetime warranty at a hell of a price. How can you lose? Hint - YOU CAN'T!
Weaknesses: The Paint comes off the dropouts on the first install of the rear wheel - but who cares!
I have the following Stable - 1988 FAT CHANCE, Gunnar Street Dog (SS Cross), Merlin Agilis, Redline Cyclocross USA, Clark Kent Ti Hardtail (20.5 lbs! complete!), and a SS city bike (Home built). I ride the Ruffian as often as I can - it is my favorite without question. If you need an upgrade - this bike will make you a better rider. I am never left behind, even when riding with 27 gear, dual suspension folks. I feel MUCH faster on this bike than my geared bike. I just ride - it is SO light and flickable that I always get the line. Get a one size smaller than your normal hardtail - wide *ss bars and freakin hammer! I'm averaging over 15 MPH on the full Poto on this thing.
Similar Products Used: Redline MonoCog (I have had two - a street and a dirt set-up) got me started single speeding. I'll never go back now! I was going to get a Ti SS, but it doesn't sit well with my SS philosophy. Found this one on E-bay for a song. Built this bike COMPLETE for just over $1000 with almost all new parts from E-bay.
Bike Setup: Thomson stem (110), Monkeylite XC Carbon low rise bar, Avid SD 7 levers and Brakes, Spot SS hubs on Sun Rhynolite rims (36 hole! = STRENGTH!), Stylo SS Crank (34/16), Time ATAC pedals, Easton Carbon Post, CODA Ti Saddle, SRAM 8 speed chain, Blackspire chainring, Sid Race with lockout or a Kelly Rigid (Racing) - and that is it! 15.5 lbs complete!
a Cross Country Rider
from Marquette, MI
Date Reviewed: August 13, 2003
Strengths: Handling and steering are dead on. Magnificent handling. Climbs and descends so well that I'm always in control. The 853 tubing gives a great ride and never beats me up like my Klein.
Weaknesses: No clear coat
With the Gunnar, handling is what it's all about. During a 28 mi race last week I was always finding a good line and had no problems in transitions from hardpack to sand to hardpack to mud, etc. I could not ask more from the bike.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 7, 2003
Strengths: Handling, climbing, and quality of build.
Weaknesses: Seat post is a bear to raise or lower.
I have ridden FS bikes and aluminum hardtails since the mid 90's, but I never stopped missing the feel of steel. The Gunnar bike is for purists who enjoy a great riding bike but are not too caught up in the latest trends and high tech. frame materials. Ride one and you'll agree that few bikes climb better or tackle single track like the Rockhound. Steel isn't for everybody, but, I love it.
I gave it 5 chilis because you can not get a custom frame anywhere else for this price and quality. Try it, buy it, ride it!
Similar Products Used: Independent Fabrications, Kona Explosif, & Rock Lobster
Bike Setup: Rock Shox Pyslo SL, XTR, and Bontrager Race tubeless wheels.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 29, 2003
Strengths: Great ride at a great price. Quality tubes. Very stiff in the bb but forgiving in rough terrain. Fast!
Weaknesses: Been said before- the paint. Who cares at this price.
This review is for the Rockhound singlespeed frame. Ive been riding for 15 years and have had about every kind of bike you can imagine. I thought I had reached the pinacal of MTB joy when I got my Titus Racer X, but the Gunnar may be even better. Perhaps its just a reaction to all the great technology thats made its way into mtb's, but I just love the simplicity and fun of riding my singlespeed.
The Gunnar fits me like a glove, the tubeset is top notch and rides like a dream. Power transfer is instant, but the ride is also forgiving and smooth over most stuff. It shines in the tight twisties and climbs as well as I can let it. Overall a great bike. If you feel like all your old favorite trails are getting kinda stale, give singlespeeding a try- its a whole new world.
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher Cronus, Kona Lava Dome, various Ti and duallies
Bike Setup: Singlespeed- ti seatpost, v brakes, Marzocchi Z4 Flylight Air, Stronglight cranks.
a Cross Country Rider
from Chicago, IL
Date Reviewed: June 17, 2003
Strengths: A sweet steel ride. Very responsive. Geometry stretches you out so a shorter stem is in order.
Weaknesses: Tad heavy. Paint chips way too easily. Gotta take care of the frame to prevent rust.
The LBS recommended one size slightly larger than what I should ride for an aggressive mountain bike. Having said that, I use it mostly for street riding now. The long top tube is awesome ... sooo comfortable. Plus, the steel frame eats up the roads but still handles like a dream. Check the geo as their geometry does run longer. And if you extra $$$, get a custom powdercoat paint job. The normal one sucks. If a steel frame is what you're looking for, this one is an exceptional value.
Similar Products Used: Test rode Klein, Trek, Specialized.
Bike Setup: LX/XT drivetrain mix, Thomson post, Ritchey WCS stem, Kore bar, Nisene saddle, Marzocchi 2001 Z3.
a Cross Country Rider
from State College, PA
Date Reviewed: April 22, 2003
Strengths: Stood behind warranty
This is my second review of the Rockhound. This is regards to the replacement frame I got. About two years ago I bought a frame that just seemed to be off in all sorts of ways. The paint sucked, the welds looked bad, the brake mounts flexed, the cable mounts were at odd angels. After two years it got a crack at the top tube/head tube weld.
I got my replacement frame about two months ago and the new frame is so much better. Everything seems better, the welds looks better, the cable stops are dead on straight, the paint is holding up much better and the seatpost fits correctly.
The warranty replacement was pretty painless. I had to have my local shop send it in, they looked it over, emailed me with questions and then agreed to replace the frame. I was real happy to get a new one and they even offered to let me get a different color and size if I wanted.
Strengths: Handling. Excels in everything from climbing to singletrack. I love the ride so much that I have 2 of them, one is a SS. 853 tubing is the best steel you can get for bikes.
Weaknesses: The older ones had seatpost problems and not enough tire clearance.
Paint is nor powder as someone below claims, it's PPG catalyzed urethane. The ride is truly great. If you're short in the torso area make sure to check the top tube lengths as they may be longer than what you are used to. I'm 5-6 and ride a 16" frame with 90cm stem and a 15" with 110cm stem and they ride great for me.
Bike Setup: Changes all the time. Thomson seatpost/stem, Avid Mags and FSA headset are constant. The rest changes all the time
from San Diego
Date Reviewed: March 4, 2003
Strengths: After 2 years and 6,000 miles my Gunnar is still the best I have owned or ridden. I also have a fine 2002 Specialized Stumpy Pro FSR that is awesome. It is just that the Rock Hound is even awesomer. She climbs like a wired crackhead and carves up the ST with ease. The rocky conditions can really beat up on you here in Diego. The Gunnar soaks up the rubble without flexing too much. It just has the right amount of give to be comfy without the flex. She corners on a dime and can handle big speeds with total confidence. The short rear stays help achieve all of this. The long toptube helps ya' climb for hours on end. Is there a better steel hardtail out there? I don't know for sure but I am not willing to find out. I gotta love it!
Weaknesses: Shoulda got a cleatcoat but ahhh!
Wow!...........Yea I know, this is my third write up and not my last. The best steel XC race hardtail on the market, It is sooooo sweet that I can't think of another steel mtb bike to buy. Gunnar Cycles are meant for riding hard without mercy. Go and get one today!!!!!! 5 flamin' donkey pucks again!
Similar Products Used: Stumpy Pro FSR, Rockhopper CRO-Molly, 99 FSR Enduro FSR, Yeti ARC(Second Favorite)
Bike Setup: XT everything, XTR front der.,Thompson stem, Kore Elite post, Ritchey pro-pedals, Litespeed 6061 23' bar-3 degrees sweep, WTB Laserbeam Rims, XT hubs, XTR chain, Marzocchi Z-2 Atom Bombs, Serfas DD Pro Kevlar saddle, Teflon cables, Irc Mythosxc tires, Specialized tubes- still the best!
a Cross Country Rider
from Villa Park, IL, USA
Date Reviewed: November 4, 2002
Strengths: Inexpensive, good price for value, 853 and OX Platinum steel frame, this is a performance do-all mtn. bike, not a dedicated racer, so I appreciate the rear braze-ons.
Weaknesses: Chainline is correct and in the small cog and big ring my chain rubs the inside of the drive side dropout. Rear seat stays flex.
Overall I'm pretty satisfied with this bike, as it is set up. The XTR V-brakes w/Carbon Brake Boosters probably stop me just as well as most disc set-ups I have tried. So I don't care that it has no rear disc tabs. Plus the rear Booster has pretty much eliminated the flex in the rear seatstays. I had the seatpost slipping issue but it wasn't as drastic as other posters have experienced, I put on a Salsa Liplock and cranked it tight, switched from greasing the seatpost to putting a lite film of Phil Wood Tenacious Oil, I treated the seat tube with Frame Saver to prevent any oxidation aka rust, and all is well, plus the Liplock rocks. The seatpost no longer budges or rather slips. As far as the paint job, its powder coat so I figure that is the quality you should expect, helps keep price down. no clear coat over decals, are no big deal I ride with many people who voluntarily remove the decals knowing they will get trashed or because they don't want to advertise for campanies that don't sponser them. Those that have decals clearcoated over have expressed that they wished they had the option to remove their decals so that they could re-apply new ones when the old ones get trashed, so see its all in how you see it as far as the paint quality is concerned. Me I'm anal and actually waxed my frame with a carnuba wax before I built it up and feel that it has helped prolong the new looking quality. I experienced the chain rub right away but I disregarded it, I just built the bike up I wasn't about to disassemble it. The way I figure it when I get my FS bike built up I will send in this frame as a warranty issue because in my opinion the issue is not arguable, I will repost if I experience the customer service issues others have experienced. As compared to my SC Chameleon this thing is treat to ride because of the compliant nature of the steel, I won't get into it because you can read all about the differences on the interent if you do a search. Yeah and as for anyone looking at this as a potential racer, that's great its more than capable, but trash it because it has braze-on eyelets and you have lost the whole point of this bike. If you really want a dedicated steel racer then spend almost twice if not more and buy a Sycip, Kelly, IF or even a Salsa, but don't think that this bike should be compared to those. Oh and if the geometries and dimension they have fit you, for example I ride the 16" frame because of its generous TT length. I run a 410mm Thomson seatpost most of it exposed, 120mm 5deg. stem with four 5mm spacers and this setup fits me like a custom frame-set. I've never wieghed it but I figure 22 - 23lbs.
Similar Products Used: Other steel frames previously owned Yeti Ultimate, Yeti FRO, Bridgestone MB0 & Ted Wojcik Previous frame was a Cannondale and beside the Gunnar I own a Santa Cruz Chameleon & Bianchi Bass
Bike Setup: 8spd Old School XTR w/ upgraded XTR V-brakes & Levers w/ Shimano Carbon Brake Boosters, Race Face Turbine LP cranks in 110 BCD Easton Monkey Lite SL bars Thomson Stem and Seatpost, Flite saddle. King aHeadset and Hubs laced to Mavic 517 w/ DT revs-n-alloy nips. Zokes Atom Race 80, and Salsa skewers and seatpost clamp.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 12, 2002
Strengths: Great 853 tubing.
Weaknesses: SEATPOST SLIPS! Never got this resolved. Gunnar said go back to bikeshop I bought it at. They re-reamed it from 27.0 to 27.2. Still slips. It's not a lampholder. I weigh 180lbs. Very bad taste in my mouth about this. I feel stuck with it (I would feel dishonest selling this bike to someone. It's defective.)
They are famous for this problem. I wish I had known before I bought. It's a great bike other than that, but having your seatpost slip TOTALLY ruins your ride. I Chili for that reason.
Strengths: Frame geometry-excellent climber, responsive in singletrack. It's a beautiful ride.
Weaknesses: Paint should be clear coated
I have a Rockhound and also the single speed Ruffian from Gunnar. Having ridden mtb's since 1985 in all configurations from rigid to FS, I'm really happy with the Gunnar bikes. I called the factory in Wis. when I had a question about the frame before I built it up and they took care of my question and also invited me up for a tour - about 75 miles from Chicago. (I don't know why the complainer below from Lake Zurich didn't try calling them. He's less than an hour away. ) The bikes handle great and have an excellent ride.
I made an impulse buy of a Gunnar rockhound 29er frame. My bike is an entry level Trek hardtail, but I have borrowing rights of a Fisher x-caliber 29er. I do some of my own tuning up (use the Zinn book), but don't know about actually doing a build. As a girl, I wouldn't mind the shopping part!
T ... Read More »
It's time for a new frame.
I am replacing a 853 steel hardtail that is a little too short in the top tube. I had intended to stick to steel, as my current HT rides a lot smoother than what I recall from my old Alu HT. Of course that could just be because I am a much better rider now :)
Howev ... Read More »
I need a bike for a bit harder urban ride, but also fast on the road. In fact, it should be a [I]quickest place to place[/I] bike that could handle jumping off some smaller walls or stairs, rough riding through parks and yet fast runs on the roads.
Could someone please help me choosing the right b ... Read More »