Specialized Rockhopper 2003 Hardtail

4.39/5 (44 Reviews)


Product Description



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Reviews 1 - 15 (44 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by MTB_MAN_14 a Cross Country Rider from Cincinnati OH USA

Date Reviewed: July 24, 2009

Strengths:    great climber and i loved the grips until they got ripped off in a crash.

Weaknesses:    V-brakes are weak

Bottom Line:   
Awesome bike for the money. I wasnt into mtb when I got it so I went with the Linear pull brakes. dissappointed. good brakes when dry but they howl like mad when wet and just dont stop well. Im going to upgrade to discs. Avid BB7's or Forte mechanical. other than that, the bike is a tank. it takes 4-6 foot drops, technical trails, being submerged into 3 feet of water and nasty crashes. nothing broke yet. glad i got the rockhopper. stellar bike.

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Favorite Trail:   idewild

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $520.00

Purchased At:   Montgomery cyclery

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale F6, Specialized Hardrock Sport

Bike Setup:   Panaracer Smoke/Dart Tires, forte grips

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dustin a Cross Country Rider from Kansas City, USA

Date Reviewed: March 4, 2007

Strengths:    Love the '07 frame. Light and responsive for the price. The ride is smooth and hill climbing is a breeze.

Weaknesses:    Shimano mechanical discs are a bit weak. May need to upgrade. The shimano group is OK bt would like to upgrade to xt components. Again, for the money the bike is an overall dream. Love the red paint job.

Bottom Line:   
The bottom line is the bike handles well and performs like a dream for the money. Specialized has made an affordable MTB with good features for the money.

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Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $659.00

Purchased At:   Bike Source

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale F800 and Cannondale F400

Bike Setup:   stock Rockhopper '07 disc setup

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rob Sandor a Weekend Warrior from NJ

Date Reviewed: January 26, 2007

Strengths:    Everything except the fork and tires. OEM Manitou 6 is a mistake!

Weaknesses:    The Fork

Bottom Line:   
Bought this new in 03. Go downhill with it at Whiteface once a year (3-4 runs a year), rest of the year is typical Jersey XC stuff...singletrack, mud, roots. Have about 500 miles on the bike all off road. NOTHING has broken, has never left me stuck in a trail, very little maintenance. Awesome hardtail for a weekend warrior looking for solid equipment without dropping a lot of dollars. Two weaknesses are: 1. the tires it came with that grab nothing. I changed to 2.1 Veliciraptors and now the bike handles great and climbs like a tank. HUGE improvement.
2. The front fork- came with a Manitou 6. Mine didnt break ( am a lighter rider at 155Lbs.), but does basically nothing. Check the reviews...possibly worst fork ever made, not typical of Manitou though. I just ordered a Marzocchi MX Comp ETA for just over $200 which will bring my 4 year old bike current as far as the fork. I ride with friends on full suspension bikes, lose nothing to them anywhere in the trail, climb better, have less maintenance and at least as much fun. I never worry about anything on this thing failing on me. This is not a 1 month in review...we are talking 4 years. Bike has been on the roof rack in pouring rain on the highway for 6 hours straight, then gone down WHiteface without even lubing anything. No issues, has been hung by the front wheel from a tree branch stub with me still on the bike on Whiteface, no issues, blasted down wide open slopes/ service roads at 40Mph, dug through deep nasty sticky NJ mud and not cleaned for a month, etc. and still works like butter. Nothing more to say. Kiss your momma goodbye at the bus stop cuz this thing will take other lower dollar hardtails to school! I would suggest if looking for one used look for the disc...lots more choices for the fork upgrade that you will want to do that way.
I am not semi-pro rider who claims to feel differences of grams in tires, etc. I get out on the weekend for a couple hours of fun, then take a nap. I grew up racing BMX in the late 70's & early 80's and riding good equipment though, and I can tell the difference between good stuff and junk. No junk here other than the stock fork. If you are like me, and just want to get out there and reliably have fun for minimal investment, with minimal maintenance, this is an awesome choice.

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Favorite Trail:   6 mile run

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Planet Bike

Bike Setup:   Clipless pedals, Velociraptor tires

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by neil from U.K.

Date Reviewed: October 9, 2005

Strengths:    lightness

Weaknesses:    none yet


Bottom Line:   
im a road bike rider, and im trying this mountain bike lark, and im struggling .....WHY!!?? you guys are fit.

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Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $260.00

Purchased At:   ebay


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by brennon haag a Weekend Warrior from Kodiak, AK, USA

Date Reviewed: April 24, 2004

Strengths:    good price

Weaknesses:    to soft front shocks

Bottom Line:   
I really love this bike. I got it on a good sale at 430 dollars since it is a last years bike. One thing everyone else mentioned is that the front suspension is way too soft, bottems out all the time, will probly upgrade to harder spring next fall. other then that, a great bike, shifting is a dream and it can climb hills i diddnt think a bike could

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Favorite Trail:   n/a

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $431.00

Purchased At:   Beaver Sports

Similar Products Used:   specialized hardrock comp, i think

Bike Setup:   normal

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Timmy Wheeler a Weekend Warrior from Southampton UK

Date Reviewed: April 12, 2004

Strengths:    Frame & Ride. Drive train is fine. Someone criticised the derailer. The stock LX on mine works perfectly if with a bit more noise than the very slick XT on my previous Trek 7000

Weaknesses:    I got the basic model cos I knew I'd auction the stock forks and fit a Marzocchi MX Comp ETA. Similarly, I replaced the pedals with Shimano 424's (cheap and good). I wasn't too impressed with the brakes and replaced them too. Also fitted my Bodyfit Gel Saddle which I'm used to, but the stock saddle isn't that bad.

Bottom Line:   
My Hopper has done about 850 miles so far. I am not a jumper or serious down-hiller. It's a good strong bike with a nice looking red paint job. I chose the hopper cos I felt that, over rough ground, my s/hand Trek 7000 was very harsh in the rear end, and 'What Mtb' said the 03 Hopper frame was tweaked to give a smoother ride. I upgraded and I think it is a great improvement! No complaints about the drive train. Mavic 139 rims and Shimano disk hubs are solid value. Was planning to fit disks, but they were so expensive, I checked out alternatives and went for the Avid Single Digit 7's which got rave reviews on here. I am happy and saved the extra 120-140 quid I would have spent to get nice hydraulic disks. I put the EC70 flat bars on cos I was used to flatties on my Trek and wanted shock absobing carbon, but actually the stock risers were fine and I'm less convinced about flat bars now. Bottom line? At less than 500 quid, the basic hopper gives a solid base on which to upgrade with your own choice of components. Thumbs up.

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Favorite Trail:   Talybont Resevoir (Wales)

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $730.00

Purchased At:   Hargroves Southampton

Similar Products Used:   Trek 7000, and brother's 2002 Marin Nail Trail (also nice but with some nasty stock bits)

Bike Setup:   Original Spec'd Chainset/Deore front/LX rear/stock Deore shifters. Avid 7 SD V-brakes. 424 SPD pedals. Easton EC70 flat carbon bars. Continental Town&Country semi-slick cos I do 50% road - they are great most of the time but a bit slippery in mud LOL.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Charles a Cross Country Rider from Anchorage, AK, USA

Date Reviewed: April 1, 2004

Strengths:    Bombproof frame, wheelset takes some serious abuse and stays in true, front derailer shifts well. Cable management is well thought out on the bike.

Weaknesses:    Rear stock derailer is a piece of crap. Fork is also semi-crap but in this price range I don't expect much for a fork.

Bottom Line:   
Before I go into anything for the money this is a GREAT bike. Frame on the 2003 model is far and above what they had in previous years and I'm really happy with the upgrade.

I recently replaced a '99 with a '03 of the same bike. I agree that the stock fork is too damn soft (at least for me at 235lbs). I generally use my bike for singletrack and commuting to work so it's not a major issue yet but I'll probably throw a better one on when I find one on sale.

I really liked my 99 and that's why I went for a 03 of the same model. A few things have changed for the better (like the frame and wheelset) and a few for the worse (rear derailer).

The frame is just. . SOLID. That about says it. Feels like you could drop it off the empire state building and still ride it after you picked it out of the crater.

I was pretty hesitant about the wheelset but I've beat the hell out of it (about 3500 miles so far) and they're still just as true as the day I bought the bike. Pretty damn impressive. The stock wheels on the '99 were lucky to get 500 miles before I had to true them.

I've had some chainsuck issues that seem to come down to that GOD AWFUL rear derailer with pulleys that look like they came from some industrial equipment. I briefly swapped out the one on my wife's bike and all my chainsuck woes went away. That thing is going to decorate the trash next paycheck. This was NOT an issue with the same stock equipment on the '99. Maybe I just got a "bum" one. Couldn't replicate it often enough to get the shop to replace it.

Other than that it's really pleased me. Brakes are decent, paint looks good (that didn't last long but I beat the hell out of my bikes), fork is ok for light duty work. I really like the design of the quick releases on the '03 but that's just me.

My wife inherited the '99 and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either bike to anyone I know (would tell them to budget for a new rear derailer tho).


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Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $358.00

Purchased At:   The Bicycle Shop

Similar Products Used:   1999 same model.

Bike Setup:   Replaced chainrings with steel ones and put on a body geometry saddle I had sitting in the toolbox.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ALEX FRANZESE a Weekend Warrior from WASHINGTON

Date Reviewed: March 11, 2004

Strengths:    this bike is awsome the geometry is amasing and it makes it easy to climb,the tires are very nice. looks awsome
and it performs awsome.


Weaknesses:    the fork on this bikr is the only weakness but iff ou put a 100 mm coil in there it does fine

Bottom Line:   
this bike is awsome! i got it when i was just coming into mountain biking now ive gotten way better and this bike has carried me throgh i placed second in a junior xc race and all the other kids has 800-3000 doller bikes. this bike is also great for the money! if your kids wanna go into mountain biking get a ROCKHOPPER!

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Favorite Trail:   shoots and ladders

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $425.00

Purchased At:   fairhaven bike and ski

Similar Products Used:   kona nunu gary fisher tajahara trek 4500 but none of them compare.!!!!!!!!!!

Bike Setup:   i put some time atac z clipless pedals on it and that felps it a lot

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Greg a Weekend Warrior from Albuquerque

Date Reviewed: February 3, 2004

Strengths:    Sweet, sweet frame geometry and a great entry level bike for those who dont know if they want to spend bigger bucks on a nicer bike.

Weaknesses:    The stock fork is a piece of garbage, get rid of it and you will really enjoy this bike. Dont waste your time with the stiff spring kit, its worthless

Bottom Line:   
This is an update of my previous review.

I have had this bike for about 8 or 9 months now and have roughly 500 miles all trail riding on it. The Rockhopper is a SWEET hardtail, and more than worth the price I paid for it. I have upgraded lots of parts, but the most important upgrade is the fork. The stock fork was so soft that it was nearly impossible to climb any thing of significance with it. The Marathon S fork is a godsend compared to it.

New wheels and a front disc brake combined with Continental Vertical Pro tires have made climbing so much more enjoyable. The Conti have much less weight and rolling resistance that you can feel yourself climbing faster and stronger. I will probably put all the parts on a full suspension rig next year, but I sure do love this bike. Its taken all I can throw at it and it keeps humming along.

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Favorite Trail:   North foothills trails

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Albuquerque Bike Center

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   Marzocchi Marathon S fork, 2004 Mavic Crossland wheels, Avid mech disc brake up front, XT rear derailleur, XT cassette, XT shift/brake lever combos and Shimano M520 pedals

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Thi a Cross Country Rider from Auburn

Date Reviewed: January 24, 2004

Strengths:    Awsome frame,Great geomitry,manitou rebound dampening,best for price range.

Weaknesses:    Front derrailer doesnt downshift well but it is the same as everything else in the price range.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is tight,nothin better for the money.It handles awsome and tires grip amasingly well.The axel fork is a little soft but the rebound dampening works realy well.Cranks seem to be strong.The Frame is simply sweet,The geomitry is superb, up hill it is very stiff (thanks to the s-works look alike rear triange)and downhill it works great.Dont get any other bike in the price range,ive tried them and nothing compares to a Specialized Rockhopper!!!!!!

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Favorite Trail:   Foresthill devide or Salmon falls

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Bobs cycles

Similar Products Used:   Gaint Iguana,Trek 4900,Garry Fisher marlin,Cannondale f300,Shwinn Mesa disk,and Hardrock pro

Bike Setup:   Basically stock

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jimmy a Weekend Warrior from Ontario Canada

Date Reviewed: January 8, 2004

Strengths:    Good, solid frame. I've beaten it up on several occassions downhill, and it keeps on working. It has great value, I bought mine used for 480 Canadian, used from the local police. (one of the police auctions)

Weaknesses:    The brakes sucked, i wasn't even sure what they were because they had no labeling on them. Deore on the rest of it though. I dont like the fact that the front deraileur is a down pull, but that's personal preference.

Bottom Line:   
Excellent bike. Works very well with better components. It doesn't need discs, just get some new V-brakes, and its all fine, you'll save yourself some cash as well. The stock fork was too soft, so I upgraded it to bomber with more travel. I highly reccomend this bike to anyone on a bugdet.

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Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $350.00

Purchased At:   used from Ontario Provincal Police

Similar Products Used:   Stumjumper, Kona Shred , kona stuff, and many more. I work in a bike shop.......

Bike Setup:   Shimano XT deraileurs and V-Brakes, XTR levers, deore hubs, downhill rims, and a 110mm bomber shock. Basically an trail bike and dirt jumper.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jackie Shane a Cross Country Rider from Albuquerque

Date Reviewed: November 24, 2003

Strengths:    This is the work horse of bikes. Absolutely worth every penny I put into my Rockhopper. I've never had a weird mechanical break down and while the expensive fancy bikes are breaking down on the rough trails, my Rockhopper keeps climbing. This bike could probably outlive me.

Weaknesses:    It's heavy.

Bottom Line:   
Worth the money and more.

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Favorite Trail:   Otero Canyon

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Two Wheel Drive

Similar Products Used:   I also ride a Terry and a Nishiki.

Bike Setup:   Generally LX. I put SPD pedals on it.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Vi Lu a Cross Country Rider from Oakland, CA, USA

Date Reviewed: November 21, 2003

Strengths:    GREAT PRICE! my first bike w/ suspension and i love it. descends like nobody's bussiness for a hardtail and is light. The components are great!

Weaknesses:    chain(after a while your going to get shifting problems because of this), lost the paint on the chain stay from the chain, tires wear out too fast, and saddle is bent(probably from dropping off of a picnic table though)

Bottom Line:   
I ride everyday and average 17 miles of riding a day, and it has been treating me good. Nothing majorly bad has happened yet, so far i've bent the derailleur hanger twice, completely wore out my rear tire, wore out the chain so it kept skipping, but all in all its a good bike. The only reason why these things happen to the bike is because i abuse it too much. Its great for cross country and has almost made me love hills as much as descents. Overall this bike has a great price for what it delivers.

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Favorite Trail:   chaparral

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $440.00

Purchased At:   WHEELS OF JUSTICE

Similar Products Used:   only ridden rigids before this, so can't say

Bike Setup:   XT chain, lizards skin, michelin wild gripper HOT S, Mavic rims, new saddle soon

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chuck Dedich a Weekend Warrior from Cleveland, OH, USA

Date Reviewed: November 6, 2003

Strengths:    Very light frame. Rear disk mounts. Deore rear derailleur. Color (Chrome).

Weaknesses:    Everything except the frame. Front and Rear derailleur cable routing.

Bottom Line:   
Thank heavens I had all my left over parts from my I-Drive. Basically I paid the money for the frame. You would need to dump another $500 bucks easy to make this bike ROCK!!. Maybe you would be better off buying the frame alone in somekind of internet auction instead of paying for the junk components as well. I am giving a 5 for the value (because of the frame) rating but only 3 overall due to crappy components. They can do a little better than that.

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Favorite Trail:   Any

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $399.00

Purchased At:   Eddys Bike Shop

Similar Products Used:   GT I-Drive, GT Outpost Trail

Bike Setup:   Truvativ Firex cranks, Avid disc brakes and levers. Deore rapid fire shifters and derailleurs, XT disc hubs on Syncro rims (left over from the GT I-Drive). Slick Willy suspension post. Manitou SX r fork.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Johnny a Weekend Warrior from Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Date Reviewed: September 21, 2003

Strengths:    Sturdy frame for big riders. A lot of bike for the $.Easily upgradable.

Weaknesses:    The Manitu Axel is not a solid enough Fork to be a good match for the frame.

Bottom Line:   
I went with the heavier spring in the fork from the beginning as advised by the boys at Absolute Bikes, Glad I did but will have to upgrade the fork to really see what this bike can do. Brakes are adequate but not spectacular, will probably go with discs eventually. Thinking about a suspension seatpost for longer rides. All in all you can't go wrong with a Rockhopper!!!

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Favorite Trail:   Rocky Ridge

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $525.00

Purchased At:   Absolute Bikes

Similar Products Used:   Marin Hawk Hill

Bike Setup:   Stiffer spring in the fork, Shimano clipless pedals

Reviews 1 - 15 (44 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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