Recreational XC Hardtail
A reliable, efficient and trail-tough hardtail that packs a ton of performance into a light and easy-to-love package. Maybe you're just rediscovering riding, or perhaps just discovering the unbeatable joy of exploring long, fast, sweet trails. With nearly 25 years of continual refinement and race-bred performance trickled down from our Stumpjumper line, the Rockhopper is a reliable, efficient and trail-tough hardtail that packs a whole lot of performance into one easy package. The Rockhopper's entirely redesigned frame is lighter than ever and classically tuned for trail riding, with just the right blend of quickness and composure.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: March 9, 2012
Strengths: handling, good looks, climbing ability, decent front shock.
Weaknesses: hubs, brake noise and stiction issues, plastic derauiler cage
I am on the heavy side at 250 lb. I put this bike through quite a bit of xc, but never abused it by jumping etc. It handles like a dream for recreational bike.
Hovewer, there are problems: rear hub pawls wore out after 1500km. Chain and casette were close to being done at the same time. The wheel went out of true a few times. Front hub (Specialized Hi Lo) needs constant upkeep.
Saddle needed to be replaced as the original felt like permanent colonoscopy. Pedals were replaced with SPD - slippage on the stock pedals was bad.Original tires wore out at 1500km - not a big loss, they were plain dangerous on wet roots.
Rear derauler has parts of the cage made of plastic - this cacked and in time caused the unit to malfunction due to alignment issues.
I upgraded the rear wheel to DMR revolver 6 pawl (same like the reviewer below) and found out this to be a complete crap - lasted about 800 km before pawls got chewed. Not covered under warranty....
But the worst part was a crack in the frame which I discovered during regular maintenance - on the non drive side at the crimping where the chainstay goes around the tire there was a crack. I am not sure if this was caused by stiffening the rear wheel, or by my leg torque trying to twist the frame.
As this was a second handed bike Specialized told me to get lost - I was not after a free frame, but it would be nice of them to consider selling me a frame under their crash protection program.
Good bike if you are not a clyde. Otherwise stay away. If you are a clyde and think about upgrading this bike for durability - it is not worth it. Start with something sturdier to begin with.
I am on the heavy side - 250 pounds. Riding this bike on gnarly trails has given it a good work out last season.
Because of my weight I had hand built rear wheel to make the bike stiffer - I guess front is coming soon to match.... Drive train - chain, cassette - wore out 60% in one season (about 1500 km), but I don't have an issue with that - it was under severe load. Freehub body died - this was somewhat premature (thus upgrade to revolver pro 5 bearing hub with 6 pawls). In the future I will continue upgrading the bike for better durability and stiffness at expense of weight.
Stock tires REALLY SUCK. I kissed the ground a few times because it just slipped on a wet root. I could also not climb out of seat because I was loosing traction all the time. On the positive side the tires had quite lower rolling resistance than my current ExiWolfs.
I had some issues with rear derailleur skipping (few close calls of front teeth nearly biting handlebar) and Juicy caliper pistons getting stuck and grinding.
Overall, I love this bike, however I might consider an upgrade to full suspension. It handles great, climbs well - very enjoyable bike overall.
Bike Setup: 2009 model, SPD Shimano pedals, Specialized body geometry saddle, mavic 721 rear rim with revolver pro 6 pawl hub, campy chain, ExiWolf 2.1 tires.
a Cross Country Rider
from Denver, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: February 17, 2011
Strengths: The M4 frame is very versatile and gives just enough rigidity that you trust it, without it feeling like you're brainstem's rattling apart. The bike is very responsive through corners and it is beautiful to trick around on quasi-trials, even with the 21" frame (I'm 6'3"). I use this primarily as an XC bike, but it's worked as a jumper and an all-mountain on some gonzo-abusive technical stuff that I'm embarrassed (or proud?) to say I took a hard-tail on.
The stock gearing (44/22) is a perfect range. I've only run out of gears twice in 5 years.
Overall this is a reliable, low-maintenance bike well worth getting.
Weaknesses: The stock rims might as well be made out of tinfoil for how durable they are. After every ride, I had to true the rims; after three weeks the metal was so fatigued that I had to dump them and upgrade.
Another weak stock component is the chain. I'm not sure everyone else would have this problem because I generally hammer on the pedals a lot, but I literally shot the chain off the bike... twice (same make/model, Shimano HG-73 and the break was NOT at the missing link). The second time involved faceplanting and bribes to keep it off youtube, so upgrade the chain and get something durable if you are not much of a spinner or exhibitionist.
Also, the stock shifters have a built-in window you can't remove, so if you want to set up your bars for one-fingered braking by switching the positions of your shifters and brake levers (the best all-mountain setup you can do for yourself if you have hydraulic brakes), expect disappointment... and sadness.
I guess the lesson is, "Specialized: good on frames and overall bike-ness, bad at wheel-related needs." Be prepared to swap a few parts.
Specialized: excellent on frames and overall bikes, but bad at wheel-related needs. If you're a medium to advance rider, be prepared to swap a few things. But overall this bike is phenomenal and I wouldn't want to ride anything else.
Strengths: This is for the 2010 SL model. It rocks man...no pun intended. Very light Bike(23 lb)it's a solid ride, I'm very pleased...the Reba SL fork is awesome, I actually like it better than the 36 Fox Vanilla I have on my Ibis Mojo. The balance is good...and when I am forward in charge mode...it corners well...when the front end pushes...it's gradual, nice.
Weaknesses: I haven't really road this too hard to the point where I'making diggers, but after two runs through some mild creek beds(nothing like Downieville), the front rim got tweaked. Gotta keep an eye on that.
I can keep with the fully suspended guys around here on this bike...granted they may not be the best riders...but it's a capable bike for sure. I didn't expect that:) Solid, Solid bike. After riding 150 miles from Nicaragua to Costa Rica on a clapped out Schwinn, I spent 6 hours deliberating before I chose the bike. I guide crazy adventures around the world and this bike does the job and then some. I am really surprised how well it rides, not sure how many adventures it will last cause I am a beater...but I'm confident it will get the job done for anyone who wants to shred the weekend trails.
Bike Setup: XTR-style Shimano Deore XT Shadow rear derailleur delivers top-of-the-line shifting performance
DT Swiss 445D disc-specific rims are double-walled with sealed cartridge hubs for strength and durability
RockShox Reba SL Dual Air fork features a highly tunable air spring, plus motion control damping and adjustable rebound/lockout for light weight, stiffness and consistency
Fully butted M4 manipulated alloy frame with ORE down tube and asymmetrical seatstays for trail-optimized light weight, durability and compliance
Avid Elixir 4 hydraulic disc brakes feature organic compound brake pads, reach adjustment and G3 Clean Sweep rotors for unmatched stopping power in any condition
Shimano 2-piece replaceable ring crankset for stiffness and efficiency, with outboard bearings that put power straight to the wheels
a Cross Country Rider
from The Mo, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2010
Strengths: This is an all around decent set-up for a hardtail. The frame is great for maneuvering high speed-technical runs, and rigid as all get out when climbing.
Weaknesses: I think Specialized could have stepped up their game in the component selection. I'm not really going to whine about the Deore, LX, and Juicy combination, but this is supposed to be the "Pro" level of configuration. How about some "Pro" level components?
This is a great platform from which to build a gnarly trail rig. Correct me if I'm wrong, I believe this was the same frame geometry as the '06 Stumpy. Plan on spending some cash to upgrade components as they break/wear-out and you probably won't be in the market for a new hardtail for a very long time.
Similar Products Used: Trek 8500
Gary Fisher Tassajara
Bike Setup: Crank Bros. candy's
Crank Bros. Cobalts
Switch off between fast trak tires and captains depending on terrain.
a Weekend Warrior
from Sunnyvale, CA.
Date Reviewed: November 29, 2009
Strengths: This is a review of the 2007 model.
Light frame (17" size), good geometry, nice color (mango), handles trails well.
I've had the bike over three years, and I've loved it. I've rebuilt the bike with modern products.
Weaknesses: Seat & Seatpost, small handlebars, super heavy wheelset, cheap pedals.
With this new setup the bike dropped 3lbs. It's down to just a tad over 22lbs.
I'm in love with the bike again, but I did spend twice as much on the rebuild as I did on the original (complete) bike. I could have gone out and purchased a new Stumpjumper comp with the money I spent, but I really love the Rockhopper frame....it's like an old pair of broken in jeans, and I was not willing to let go just yet.
You might think I'm crazy riding rigid forks, but the Pace RC-31's are great forks, and the trails I ride are rather smooth & flowy (few rocks & roots).
I have an Ibis Mojo for the rough stuff.
Bike Setup: Most of the original parts have worn out since I bought the bike (October 2006). I've rebuilt the bike from the ground up in January 2009.
The bike is set-up like this now:
Original frame (17") original paint with all the badges of combat (scratches)
Original Juicy 3 brakes (new - pads, hoses & fluids)
Original Shimano Deore shifters (new cables)
Original XT front & rear deraleurs
Easton Havoc DH Bars (28") & Stem (60mm)
Chris King Headset
TruVativ Stylo Cranks (175) outboard bearings
Crank Brothers Acid 1 pedals
Pace RC-31 Carbon/Titanium rigid forks
Race Face Next SL carbon seatpost
American Classic wheelset (tubeless setup)
IRC Mibro Tubeless 26x2.1
a Cross Country Rider
from Fredonia, NY
Date Reviewed: October 10, 2009
The 2010 Rockhopper Comp Disc is an excellent hardtail bike. I took it out on some extremely wet and muddy trails, and it performed beautifully. Although the stock components are not top of the line, I have no real complaints. Since my previous bike had V-brakes, the disc brakes are a major upgrade (they worked wonders in the sloppy trail conditions). My only real complaint is that the tires are not the best for climbing. However, after you put on a more aggressive set of tires, this bike is a total beast. There was minimal chain slap, and the suspension made the ride smooth and comfortable. If you're looking to buy a sturdy xc hardtail bike, then you could do a lot worse than the rockhopper comp disc. I am extremely happy that I bought this bike, and I am looking forward to taking it out on many more adventures in the future.
a Cross Country Rider
from San Mateo County, California USA
Date Reviewed: May 8, 2009
Strengths: Light weight 25.5 pounds, 2Bliss ready, superb handling, predictable, super fast, great climber
Weaknesses: Juicy 3s are just OK.
I have the 2008 Rockhopper Pro. The 2008 color is fantastic. The M4 frame is one of the finest I've ever ridden - not too aggressive, not too relaxed, but it finds just the right balance. A good selection of parts compliments the frame. Some folks complain about the tires, but these low knob tires are made for flying thru the hardpack and hitting the tops of bumps, not for grinding thru sand, mud or soft pack conditions. Always a tradeoff with tires - I prefer kick arse speed and don't mind giving up some traction in return.
The Rockhopper Pro makes me want to climb, climb, climb. This lightweight hard tail puts just about any full sus bike to shame when it comes to climbing. I tried several hard tails and the Pro was just so much better than anything else I demo'd. I run the tires at minimum psi and it just seems to fly downhill too, with no pinch punctures yet.
Definitely 5 chilis all around for the RH Pro. This bike just feels full of life - it is impossible to sit quietly and move slowly. This bike encourages speed. The only real down side is the confidence it gives you, sometimes outstrips the skill and experience of the rider!
a Weekend Warrior
from Stuttgart, Germany
Date Reviewed: November 11, 2008
Strengths: I bougth the int. version (Germany; 1250 €)
lightweight frame worth upgrading, good geometry
Weaknesses: none, yout get more "bling-parts" from other companys though...
The Rockhopper is everything but specialized. I don´t see it so much as the cheap Stumpjumper, but more as Specialized´s offer for people that want a true "do it all" hardtail. Geometry is a good compromise between relaxed but still stretched. Long frame with short stem! The bike is quiet light and with a few changes you might get well under 11 kg. Reba fork and Juicy breaks are faultless. With bigger tires (FastTraks are useless) and OEM bar it´s ready for agressive trailriding. With a straight bar, light tires and maybe a longer (100mm) stem it could make a reasonably good xc-racer. Perfect bike for starters and hardtail-fans.
Bike Setup: Upgraded to full XT 770, Stylo Cranks, DT SWISS 340 hubs, Syntace P6 seatpost
from San Antonio, Texas USA
Date Reviewed: July 17, 2008
Strengths: Absolutely love this frame! Had the 2004 Hardrock Sport in a 19" and bombed the local trails on it, until I cracked it...damn hardtails! Built this 2003 Rockhopper Pro up from parts off the old bike and some new.
Weaknesses: I moved to a 17" to hopefully get a little more control over the bike in the fast singletrack....seems like the lateral strength of the frame is slightly compromised when you are riding at a decent speed...I've slid out the rear of the bike more than enough times to know that it takes a delicate touch to guide this rocket!
This bike weighs in at a remarably light weight... 25.7 lbs. I am very impressed with the handling on the frame and love the acceleration potential: this bike will get up and go! The main point is that this is a pro bike at an unbelievably cheap price....awesome!
Similar Products Used: 2004 hardrock sport (with some upgrades), test-rode 2008 enduro sl, stumpy fsr, felt virtue team, and cannondale prophet.
Bike Setup: A1 frame (silver anodized), rock shox judy sl, shimano spd clipless pedals, avid bb-7 mechanical discs, mavic ex325 disc rims, and geax barromarathoner tires...also running all XT...
a Weekend Warrior
from Somerville, MA
Date Reviewed: June 30, 2008
Strengths: This is my first upper line bike since coming back to biking from childhood. This is a lightweight, fairly well fit factory bike. I haven't needed any upgrades or major services yet, but that might change soon.
Weaknesses: The front shifter takes a bit too much push for my taste in gaining the top gear. My disc brakes (first ever), after two years, still have a bit of squeal when braking hard and the saddle is definitely one of the most uncomfortable ones I've ever ridden. Recently my bike has developed a squeaking and clicking sound when rotating the left crank. I need to take it in to the bike shop and have it checked out. The crank and pedal are tight, so perhaps the BB is soon to be in BB heaven.
So far I've used it on both road and off-road. Rides well with both. Great bike to start off with, but has some room for improvement in most areas of components.
FRONT HUB Specialized Hi Lo disc, 32h, CNC flange and disc mount, polished races, alloy QR
REAR HUB Shimano FH-M475L, cassette, disc, 32h, QR
SPOKES 1.8mm (15g) stainless, black
FRONT TIRE Specialized Fast Trak, 26x2.0", 60TPI, aramid bead
REAR TIRE Specialized Fast Trak, 26x2.0", 60TPI, aramid bead
TUBES Specialized schraeder valve
SADDLE Specialized Body Geometry, MTB
SEAT POST Specialized MTB butted 6061, two bolt micro adjust, 30.9mm
a Cross Country Rider
from hertfordshire, england
Date Reviewed: May 25, 2008
Strengths: frame weight and geometry.reba sl forks and avid 5 disc brakes.price for wholeround spec good.nice colour very stealthy
Weaknesses: front mech /crank and tyres,but when broken will upgrade to full xt anyway
for a sub £950 bike the rockhopper takes a lot to beat.with the m4 light weight frame and bang on geometry it makes this bike a nimble and responsive ride (specialy at high speed)so much that it carves up the trail spot on.i have found this bike is so easy to throw around its almost like a jump bike aswell as a xc hardtail.i wouldn't say its as comfortable on long rides as my p7 pro but its defitnatly a much easyer bike to ride specialy uphill.if you can pick up a 2007 rockhopper pro then grab it as the 2008 is not as nice colour wise and comes with the cheaper avid 3's not the 5's like the 2007.
Bike Setup: standard 2007 spec,reba sl,avid 5's,xt rear,deore front mech/shifters/crank.specialized hubs and tyres with mavic rims
a Weekend Warrior
from Hampshire, UK
Date Reviewed: May 16, 2008
Strengths: lightweight, strong, sound drivetrain, good brakes
Weaknesses: Tyres prone to puncture (light but thin), detailed styling fussy, poor standard pedals. Paint finish nice but not sure of how hard wearing it is (anodised blue/grey). Would be nice to have a brighter choice of colour!
Tried a few bikes before settling on this one and very happy with the decision. The bike is light & fast enough that my transition from an old Diamondback meant I had trouble steering into corners (always going fast & wide). I love the feel of it and use it on XC & orienteering races as well as commutes. Detailed styling is a little fussy for me but as I replaced the seat & post anyway (persoanl preference only), it's a little more toned down now. Contrary to others I love the Avid brakes and after 2000 miles they're still going strong on the original pads. The best bike I've had and still look forward to riding it. Replaced the tyres after having multiple thorn punctures and now use Schwalbe Big Apples for the commute & Bonty Mud X's for the crap. Stock tyres used ocassionally but willl be replaced with something for the summer.
Similar Products Used: GT Aggressor, Trek 6700, Marin Nail Trail
Bike Setup: 2008 UK version, Thomson elite seatpost, Slim Jim mags, Charge Spoon saddle
a Cross Country Rider
from Oakville, WA
Date Reviewed: March 9, 2008
Strengths: Super strong and good looking red frame with nice graphics. Handles technical single track better than I can! 2 inch tires are super grippy, even in mud. Specialized is good at building bikes. Marzzochi fork is supreme! Avid BB5's are pretty good introduction to the disc brake market.
Weaknesses: DX rear derailleur skips on occasion when it is full of mud.
I spent a month steadily researching the $500 used bike market and kept coming back to the Rockhopper. I found the comp disc on line and bought it quickly 'cause it was such a good deal. I would recommend this bike to any singletrack/urban sport rider or weeked warrior. The geometry provides for a sweet ride. Minus one chili for the derailleur.
Bike Setup: Stock 2005 Pro Disc, all stock except upgraded crankset from previous owner.
a Weekend Warrior
from Brooklyn, NY USA
Date Reviewed: December 6, 2007
Strengths: Frame Geometry, Light Weight, Braking,
Weaknesses: Gears and derailuers
Love this bike. This was a big upgrade from my 1997 GT. Hits and lands jumps much better than my last bike. I had problems with chain suck from day one!!! It never got fixed with three trips to the bike store. Specialized would not replace the gears though it started on my first ride. I took good care the gears, making sure to clean and lube the chain. Anyway, the store finally swapped out the rear cog for a new one and now she climbs awesome. Very stable bike. I recommend it for single track as well as urban riding. I usually don't drop anything over 3-4 feet (i'm not a pro). No complaints about the tires, though i have gotten many flats. My ability to ride and handle challenging terrain has greatly improved with this bike, and I'm not in the shape i used to be in, so I owe it all to the bike.
Hey all, new rider here looking for some advice or input on my first mountain bike. I am a casual rider (ride once or twice a month), and usually ride anything from pavement to rough trails. I have a few options that I am looking at right now. A couple are slightly used, but basically new. I have do ... Read More »
Howdy folks. I'm trying to decide between an 09 Specialized Rockhopper comp disc 29er, which I can buy locally for $700, or a 2010 Motobecane Fantom Pro 29er, $795 online including shipping. I'm 6'3 looking at a 21" frame size, and I don't mind spending the extra $ if I go with the moto.
What I ... Read More »
Newbie here. I need some advice on a couple of used hardtails. My story is that I'm trying to get back into racing.. the only trail bike I've ever owned is a heavily upgraded ten year old Brodie Energy, which is obviously now an old beast. The goal is to get a decent middle of the road ... Read More »
I'm looking to upgrade from my Trek to a new Specialized and was looking at the Rockhopper Pro Disc. Talking to a dealer he said I should consider a Stumpjumper Comp HT which I did not know about. It's a $500 upgrade, should I consider this?Read More »