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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
So i realize I'm probably beating a dead horse dead-er by asking about this, but no matter how much i scour the forums reading up on this and that, I'm still bogged with what to do.
I bought a Hardrock 29er (i believe the sport disc model) back in 2012 and have been trying to improve my riding when there isn't tons of snow out. I'm a new rider in terms of technical and XC trails and just recently moved to a fairly active area with some really great trails. Big Sky resort is in my backyard. What I'm wanting to do is upgrade my rig for a little performance boost.
I've read this post: http://forums.mtbr.com/specialized/recommended-upgrades-hardrock-sport-disc-29-a-751622.html at least a half dozen times and other posts on similar questions. AndrwSwitch had some really great advice, as well as others that posted that upgrading a bike like mine is some what of a waste of time, ie, ride the crap out of it and upgrade/replace the parts that break. I haven't broken anything yet, but i do want to swap out my tires for stickier trail riding. Being that this IS my first real mtb i'm using it to get in better shape and improve my riding skills. My goal this summer is to demo some FS bikes from a couple LBS's and gain a better idea of what i want to buy for next year. I ultimately want to get a FS but am still learning what i want in terms of XC/downhill/all mountain. The immediate area around me has a lot of XC trails with short bursts of downhill, but the real stuff i want to ride is up at Big Sky.
So i know that's a lot to spew at you guys and i appreciate any advice you all have. So back to my original question, what if any, are my options for swapping out the stock tires/wheels that came with this ride Specialized Bicycle Components
(I have to check the exact model number, but i believe this to be what i'm riding currently, all stock)

Thanks!
 

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If you change the fork, front wheel, tire and front brake you will broaden significantly the range of trails you can ride.
A Manitou Tower Pro or used Reba fork with 15mm thru would be good. Your new wheel could go to your next bike.
Any front hub, like a ZTR with changeable endcaps or other similar DT, Hope or light hub will go for the new wheel. An ArchEx rim and Sapim Laser spokes or DT Supercomp spokes and brass nipples and you can lace it yourself. Use a Park TM-1 tension guage and tighten in stages.
Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance tires are light with good grip.
For the front brake upgrade go SLX or Deore M615 with slightly less power, don't bother with the rear unless you want to buy a set and hold the rear for your next bike.
Shimano SLX M675 Brake Levers and Post Mount Calipers (set), Brakes, BRAKES MTB
Put in the destination and currency for pricing. Jenson will price match if you call them for non moto(left rear) configuration.
 

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The fact that you have the discipline to ride what you have and wait until the right shopping season to jump into a FS (when new models ship, buying 2014 versions is pure genius) speaks volumes for what you'll be able to pull off.

Fresh rubber (with a tread pattern that matches what you're riding) is money extremely well spent, if it makes sense while you're at it to get a front wheel build around a 15mm maxle all set up like that, it absolutely is something that can carry over, BUT you'll end up looking at a better value getting a slightly better parts spec on that complete FS bike next year, so I'd actually say avoid spending money there IF you can.
I would really echo the advice to try pushing what you have to where parts are almost breaking. Tires are an exception to this, but fortunately those are relatively cheap items, and wear items to boot. Specialized tires, especially the slightly fatter ones (like the 2.3 Ground Controls) can do impressive things. Getting set up with good, fast rolling rubber will make the bike feel plenty fast, without having to spend money on the wheels themselves. I'd really argue that unless you have no round/true wheels to use, it's not really worth spending the money on a wheelset just to improve the riding experience.

Go out and start looking at Tires, and if you have a good LBS that carries specialized rubber, take a really good look at those. Spending around $100 on new rubber is probably the biggest performance gain investment you can get for that kind of money, and it that opens up some new terrain to you to improve your skills, that will be worth even more when you're in the process of shopping for an even nicer FS bike.
 

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Spend as much time on the Hardrock as you possibly can. The rudimentary skills learned from riding a hardtail MTB is priceless; instant "ideal" line selection, control and handling of bike is vastly improved, climbing endurance, using legs as the rear shock, etc....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
tehllama, that was exactly the advice i was looking for. While i would love to replace the fork, brakes and a couple other things, the best thing to do(on my ride) is just to replace things as they happen. I was just simply wanting something(modestly priced) to help improve where i'm trying to go without breaking the bank. Tires and perhaps the stem were my first choice. I'm still reading up on stem upgrades. But i've read and know from experience that the stock tires are crap, in at least with what i've put them through(nasty spill last summer).
eb1888, all very sound tips but the price for some of those parts are just wasted additions on a bike that, in a year will return to what(I think) it was originally designed for, a decent commuter and hard pack easy go-er.

You guys all rock for the advice though! I'll be stopping by my LBS to see what my options are!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Spend as much time on the Hardrock as you possibly can. The rudimentary skills learned from riding a hardtail MTB is priceless; instant "ideal" line selection, control and handling of bike is vastly improved, climbing endurance, using legs as the rear shock, etc....
Good deal! Thanks Zachariah!
 

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You need to learn on a 26" bike with no suspension. Talk about learning to pick smooth lines. Yowzer.
I would look at the new trek stach for a good all mountain hardtail. The slacker head tube makes the bike descend like a dream. They are also making the fuel in a 29er now and it it awesome.

Scott
 

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Yup, tyres, they're not too too expensive and they're supposed to be changed to suit your trails and riding, look about your local trails, ask those who ride there what they use, ask at the local shop(s) and then at least get a new front tyre and see how that improves the ride/feel, if you still don't like the rear, then try something different. Stem/bar are another place that personal preference, so go ahead and order up a new, probably shorter stem and see how that helps with what you're looking for.

Definitely agree to not spend any money on this bike if you're looking to maybe upgrade later on this year, just ride the HR, build your skills and keep dreaming of what new bike you'll possibly be getting. The only place where I consider a moveable part is wheels and they can make a load of difference in how a bike handles and feels, but you'll be looking to drop at least $400 on a worthy set. You could get something like the Sun Ringle Charger EXPERT wheels, but while a nice set for your current bike, they don't have the options if you wanted to swap them out to another bike with something besides 135mm QR rear, but they would be a big improvement over the current stock set.Try some of the European sites for parts, you'll be amazed at how much better they are than US based ones and a lot of the times shipping is free.
 

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$200 gets you a good quality Raidon air fork from Nick at Suntour with the upgrade program.
That will take almost 2 pounds off your front end and give you the control your bike lacks on rocky downhills.
You will get your money back at resale.
http://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-corner/if-you-want-upgrade-your-suntour-fork-830657-29.html
Why waist a season to save 10 bucks.
great eb1888....think there must be 2 different models of Raidon forks on the Bantu as the air valve is definitely on the bottom of the right leg. I`ve had my shock pump on it

I`ve had the plastic cap off and there is no air valve underneath (as per your picture). It looks like an allen key way down the fork leg (approx 1/2 way down or so)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You guys are all great!
I actually have been debating as to whether or not I'll get a 26", 27.5 or 29er when I'm shopping for the real ride(main reason for demo'ing as many bikes this summer as i can). I think what happened when i got my HR was the guy at my LBS didn't really take the time to listen to what i was wanting to do and size me appropriately. I've been kinda feeling like the bike i have might be a bit too big(framewise) besides being a bit on the heavy side.

Not to side-wind the thread too much, but i thought i read something on here that anything Suntour X was pretty much sub-par. Is that not the case with the Raidon or am i just mixing up the models?
I was planning on heading down to the shop this weekend and talking with the guys what they typically ride for the trails around here. I was under the impression that if you were wanting to swap out your tires you had to swap the wheels too, i guess this isn't the case?
As far as the European sites for parts, does anyone have any links they could share?

Thanks again guys!
 

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The most effective upgrade for a ht is the fork. Get a decent one and you'll think you got a new bike. A fork with actual sag and adjustable rebound will dramatically increase the level of control on the trail.

The most cost effective upgrade is tires as said above. A fast rolling 2.2 or 2.3 at the back ran at lowish pressures will take the edge off hits without adding too much drag. Something with more pronounced sideknobs for the front wheel will let you turn aggressively. I run a 2.2 the captain front and a 2.2 fast trak rear on my 26" ht.

At least equally important is the cockpit. Reach, height, width, all play a huge role on your bike's handling. For anything remotely technical I wouldn't go narrower than 720mm on the bar. The ideal stem length should let you weight the front enough for traction but still allow some body language fore and aft. A low hand position will keep your centre of gravity low and help you rail those turns. Experiment with spacers and flip the stem if needed to achieve a position that feels good.

Most important, ride a lot and challenge yourself often. Follow better riders, get out of your comfort zone once in a while. Work on your technique, practice skills like trackstands etc. Don't underestimate your bike, most often than not it's the pilot that sets the limits.
 

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Sounds like you've got yourself a good plan, stick to it and you'll have yourself a nice bike you're happy with.

As to Euro sites, I use CRC (Chain Reaction Cycles) almost exclusively, but there's also Wiggle, Merlin, Bike.de and loads of others. Even for me Int post is just under $16 US and you can get a lot of stuff in it, just need to play around with what you put in your cart.
You guys are all great!
I actually have been debating as to whether or not I'll get a 26", 27.5 or 29er when I'm shopping for the real ride(main reason for demo'ing as many bikes this summer as i can). I think what happened when i got my HR was the guy at my LBS didn't really take the time to listen to what i was wanting to do and size me appropriately. I've been kinda feeling like the bike i have might be a bit too big(framewise) besides being a bit on the heavy side.

Not to side-wind the thread too much, but i thought i read something on here that anything Suntour X was pretty much sub-par. Is that not the case with the Raidon or am i just mixing up the models?
I was planning on heading down to the shop this weekend and talking with the guys what they typically ride for the trails around here. I was under the impression that if you were wanting to swap out your tires you had to swap the wheels too, i guess this isn't the case?
As far as the European sites for parts, does anyone have any links they could share?

Thanks again guys!
 

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$200 gets you a good quality Raidon air fork from Nick at Suntour with the upgrade program.
That will take almost 2 pounds off your front end and give you the control your bike lacks on rocky downhills.
You will get your money back at resale.
http://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-corner/if-you-want-upgrade-your-suntour-fork-830657-29.html
Why waist a season to save 10 bucks.
+1 I'd do this and then get some good rubber. Makes pretty big diff compared to other upgrades you're considering. I had a HT too and then waited for my FS to really start any serious upgrades. And as many have said - being able to have the ability to train yourself to have proper line choice is awesome.....and can also save your tail ;)
 
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