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Please help me choose: Specialized Rockhopper Pro or Cannondale F400

1801 Views 16 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Dirt Bringer
Hey all

I'm trying to decide whether to buy a Specialized Rockhopper Pro or the Cannondale F400. I found out that both don't come with dics which sucks so I'd have to lay down some mo $$$ for those. The Cannondale would end up about $100 more expensive. Anyone got any ideas which would be best for me?

I will ride trails mostly (rough and smooth) in the mountains but would also 'try' drop-offs/ jumps etc. I'm totally new to it all so I really don't know too much and would appreciate any info:). As far as I can tell the Cannondale would prod be better on trails but wouldn't be so great for jumps/ drop-off coz u can't change how stiff/smooth the suspension is on-the-fly (gotta take the wheel off and pump air in). The Pro on the other hand a Recon fork which you can change on-the-fly. Is that all correct or I'm I talking crap?

Thanks for your help:thumbsup:
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To a certain degree you are right. What you have to understand is that specialized has turned into the toyota or possibly subaru of biking. Cannondale, on the other hand, sucks. It used to be good and have new tech, but that fork that you see on it is just the evolution of the same thing they have been using for over ten years, in other words, cannondale sucks. But wait, youre thinking that due to its price its got a better frame? Not true either. Cannondale is overpriced and under spec'd. True, they are nice bikes, and their lefty fork is among the best on the market, but not necesarilly the best, and since you are not getting that thing, it is of no concern to you anyway. I actually have the lower model rockhopper, and have been riding for the past 5 years. About a week ago I saw a guy at the park jump it 5 feet in the air, with no problems. Right now you may think that you will be hucking everywhere, but trust me, it will be a while before that works out{I know, cuz I dont huck very much either}. The fork on that thing is really nice, and the frame is a work of art. Get the rockhopper and dont look back, you will be getting a better bike for less. If you want to really huck, save up some more and get the stumjumper disc all mountain, it will cost you more, but is stronger and can be hucked more. I love my rockhopper and cant think of a better hartail frame availiable for my purposes. If you have any questions for me, pm me. Good luck, and follow my reccomendations, they are the right ones.
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Thanks for your advice 'Dirt Bringer'.

I am possibly leaning towards the Rockhopper now. It would really help if someone could let me know the answer to the 2 q's below thanks:

1) What are the advantages/ disadvantages of the 'Cannondale Ultra Fatty DL' and then 'Rockshox Recon' suspension?? i.e. which is better for huking and which is better for rough trail riding?

2) If the Recons suspension is better then does it's advantages outweigh the 1KG advantage that the Cannondale has over the Rockhopper?

Any other info on the bikes would be really helpful!! Thanks!:thumbsup:
Some thoughts

Both bikes are good, but neither is built for drops, so you need to decide what you're really going to do with the bike and do more research as to what bike would best suit your needs. If we go back to comparing the two bikes you mentioned, I would go with the Rockhopper for the simple reason that the Cannondale uses a proprietary fork suspension. This limits your options should you need repairs or decide to upgrade. I'm sure many people love the Fatty, but I'd be more conservative and get a bike with a standard fork.

Thanks for the advice Clyde. It makes sense.

I think most of my time I will be going on trails that involve plenty of up as well as down. I guess I wouldn't really be doing any crazy drops. However I would like to give a bit of everything a go, to see what I like most.

I will probably go with the Rockhopper and get some Avid Juicy 5 brakes put on it. That will push the limit of my budget (which has been increasing ever since I planned to get a bike!).

Thanks again both of ya:thumbsup:
The fatty has almost no adjustability, and while some say its very stiff, that still dosent justify its poor performance. It is light and has lockout, but overall like I said, its ten years old, and just outdated, with no rebound, 80mm of travel{trust me you want 100} and no rebound adjust, its lame. The rock shox is heavier, but has lockout, rebound, may very well be stiffer, and is most definetely stronger. Get the hopper, the frame on it is also stronger, and if someday you want to upgrade to 130 mm of travel, you can {thats what I am doing}. The frame on the rockhopper is also a work of art. I really reccomend you save a bit and get the rockhopper pro disc all mountain, because that is the bike that exactly fits youre original requests{has a stronger frame and long travel fork}. As to the whight issue, 1 kg is not nearly as noticeable as better performance, specially when you are jumping 3 feet high and hoping that youre frame will survive{as with the cannondale, which is simply not built for jumping}. What you have to realize is that you want a trailbike, be it a huckable trailbike{rockhopper pro disc all mountain} or a xc trailbike{like the normal rockhopper} and the cannnondale is not a trailbike. Its a xc bike, and there is a big difference. The xc bike wants to race on a smooth course{see olimpic mountain bike racing and you will get the general idea}, the xc trail wants to jump about, explore, and be ready for anything, the trail huckable bike wants to drop the 3 or 4 foot bridges and rocks on the trail all day. You have youre answer, now just satisfy your question, then get out and ride. Good luck.
Hey there clyde!
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Hey Dirt Bringer, thanks very much.

After reading both yours and Clay's posts, I've decided not to get the Cannondale.

I'm going to get a Rockhopper. I will probably be getting the Rockhopper Pro and get Juicy 5s on front and rear.

Thanks again:thumbsup:
Just rang another shop and he said he'll sell me a new Stumpjumper Disc '06 for the same price (actually $30 less) than another shop was going to charge me for a Rockhopper Pro with Avid 5s on it.:thumbsup:

As far as I can tell, the Stumpjumper Disc is quite a bit better than the Rockhopper Pro so I'm very happy about that.:cool:
Just want to chime in about people saying the Cannondale doesn't have flexibilility with upgrading the fork. Obviously they didn't notice the F300 which uses a standard fork (with an FSA headset), so yes you can get a headset that will allow use of a fork that uses the 1-1/8" steerer tube. And no, Cannondale doesn't suck, in fact many people consider Specialized to be just as bad. ;)

Of course the Stumpjumper deal you found seems like the frontrunner, but do yourself a favor and go out and ride all 3 so you can compare the shortcomings of each ride and narrow down what you're really looking for. The Stumpjumper follows the line of a XC racer, you're not gonna be hucking this thing. You'll have more of a crouched over "racing" position, and the F90 fork is not really designed for large drops, as it's Fox's lighest fork designed in mind for the XC racer. While the Rockhopper, like others have said, is more huckable. It comes with riser bars for a more upright position, the wheels are more stout, an all mountain fork etc. The two bikes are actually quite different.

I know it's hard to predict what kind of riding you're going to do, so I'd suggest leaning towards the all mountain type of ride (Rockhopper), it will be a bit more versatile as you can still do some jumps, yet will be fine for ordinary xc riding. It's really a "do it all" bike, and will allow you to lean in several different directions in riding styles versus the stumpjumper.
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Thanks for the advice Astroguy:)

Now you all got me thinking that I should go for a bike that can withstand more than the vanilla XCs e.g. Rockhopper.

So I went to that shop with the discounts and he is offering a Stumpjumper FSR, which has Fox Float RL 120mm, with rear a Fox Triad shock. Now I know that the Specialized site doesn't quote it as an All Mountain but it would surely do well with moderate hucking and perform very well on generall trails. What do you guys reckon coz the guy is prepared to knock a ton of the retail price. In this country it would cost $2630 but he'll give it to me for $1990!! Yes that is a lot more than I orginally wanted to pay but with the Stumpjumper I would be in a whole new level of bike, right?? I would really appreciate your advice on this. And 'no' my budget won't stretch any higher than this (relief from everyone lol).

To make it easy, this is my choice:

Rockhopper Pro (inc Avid 5 breaks): $1430 (wheels need changing and discs added)
Stumpjumper Disc: $1550 (seems better value for money than the Rockhopper)
Stumpjumper FSR: $1990 (get full suspension and better front forks + resell value better)

I could get the Rockhopper All Mountain but it seems that they have scrimped on all the pieces just to get the large forks on the bike.

Need to choose tomorrow:eek:
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Astro guy is right to a certain degree. Maybe cannondale is not crap in the eyes of others, but to me the fact that it is running on 10 year old tech makes me wonder. Here is youre answer, the stumjumper is better than the rockhopper, if youre like me, but it cant be hucked more than 2 feet, end of story, so there you go. If I were you I would get the stumpjumper fsr and never look back, thats how good I think it is. This is the fsr, not the fsr xc I assume? In short, get the stumjumper fsr, its the best bike of the group and probably will fit youre needs perfectly, and has by far the best components and dual suspention, which is now almost main stream and I highly reccomend, especially since it has lock out{efectively its a hartail}. Even its brakes are the best of the group! Hell, Im becoming envious of you, get the the fsr!
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Thanks Dirt Bringer....I think I'll do just that and get the Stumpjumper FSR and not look back:thumbsup: If I order it he said it should arrive Tuesday next week...can't wait!!!:cornut:

(yes, it is the Stumpjumper FSR and not the FSR XC) Incidently how do you reckon the Stumpjumper FSR would fair if I'd did a little hucking here and there but generally stuck to trails (possibly quite a few rough trails)??

- to me, out of the three bikes, the Rockhopper seems to be the worst value for money. If you're a 'Specialized fanboy' then wouldn't all three be viable, afterall they are all Specialized mtbs.
As described in the specialized magazine, its an xc trailbike, so that said, I say you should be fine doing up to 3 foot drops{4 feet if you know how to land}. The rockhopper is not a bad deal, youre stereotyping. For you its better than the stumjumper hardtail, however, you fail to realize that you are getting some awesome deals here{actually the rockhopper all mountain is 1100 msrp}. Its not a bad deal when you compare each at their original prices. I still say, stumpjumper fsr, rockhopper all mountain, rockhopper disc{the stumpjumper disc is not siuted for youre style}. You already know all you need to know{dont hesitate to ask on something youre not sure though}. Get the stumpjumper fsr, and go out and ride{dont forget youre helmet!}. You will need to get pedals and shoes if you dont already have them{whether platform or clipless, I recommend clipless even though I ride platforms}.
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Good deal...I'm sure you'll love the FSR. Dare I even throw this out there, but you know with a $2000 budget for a full suspension you've opened your doors to a wealth of options...Giant, Jamis, Rocky Mountain, Kona, lower spec'd Santa Cruz's etc. I'm not bashing Specialized in any way here...but it never hurts to suggest!!

However, you won't be sorry if you went with that Specialized...they're popular for a reason. :thumbsup:
Well thanks for all your advice guys!

About an hour ago I ordered the.....Stumpjumper FSR:D :thumbsup:

It will arrive on Tuesday and I will be able to hit some trails the following weekend!!!:D

Astroguy thanks for mentioning that $2000 opens up a load other options:eekster: I spent 5mins checking other makers and then decided that mine is the best buy and either way I'll be very happy with it. Phew....I stayed strong :lol:

Dirt Bringer thanks for the info. Helmet - check. I will stick with the clipless ones that it comes with and hope they will do. I'll get the shoes when I pick up the bike.

The guy at the shop said he'd help me out on deciding tyre pressure and working out sag and all that other stuff that I have no clue about :confused:

The weather here is great and I just can't wait to get out into the mountains:cool:

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Good call, there are many other brands out there, many with better componentry, but there are very few that can compare to specialized's suspention design{the ones that can use a totaly different and almost incomparable system called a floating pivot point, they are not better, just different{I like floating, its all in the taste}}. Let us know how it goes!
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