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Hey gang....

Just given a Specialized Hardrock Sport for Fathers Day, and while I understand its an entry-level type bike, I would like to upgrade it as much as possible to adapt to my style of riding. Nothing too hardcore, but some heavy terrain, trail and freeriding.

Fork- The stock fork is kinda weak. I'm 245 and bottoming it out on hard trail. Whats a high performance fork that would be a good match? Am I correct in assuming I cannot put a DH fork on this kind of bike or can I? Will a DH fork snap the frame? Any suggestions on an upgrade?

Tires- I've had two ruptures since I got the bike over fairly moderate trails. What are good mountain trail tires that won't let me down? Continental? Kenda? should i go tubeless?

Basically I am looking on how to turn this hardrock into a better performance bike that will take some heavy trails. Obviously it was a gift, so I can't just trade it in.

Any help to this new guy would be appreciated.

Paul in OC
 

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I would start by looking on the Specialized web site at how the Hardrock Pro Disc model is equipped, for ideas that Specialized already came up with. Then look likewise at the Rockhopper models for additional ideas. Notice that both models are equipped with 100mm forks, use that as a guideline for searching for the right size for a replacement fork. For example, a Fox 32 F100 RLC might be a candidate, depending on your riding style. You can put all kinds of burly components on, but remember that the Hardrock is designed for at best aggressive trail riding, and if you push it past that, don't count on it lasting as long as it otherwise would (in other words, if you freeride or DH on it, inspect the frame carefully very frequently for early warning signs of breaks such as a small crack forming at a weld). A better idea may be to just use it as a trail bike, and either ride it till it breaks, or negotiate for a more capable bike for freeride/DH or whatever you decide you'd like to get into. Another thought is to upgrade components until all you need is a new frame, and then get a new frame and switch all of the upgraded components over (except you'd need a longer travel fork on a new frame).
 

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First you say you're not doing anything too hard core then you you want to free ride. Which is it? Free ride is about as hard core as you get in MTB. As mentioned above you'll want to stay with or close to a 100mm fork. Your LBS may be able to swap out springs on yours to better accomidate the weight or suggest an upgrade. You'll also probably want to upgrade your wheelset id you're going to do anything remotely resembling free ride unless you want aluminum tacos for lunch. It's tough to say why you are blowing out tires. It's probably not the fault of the tires. At 245lbs you are going to be more apt to get pinch flats especially if you are riding hard. Keep your tire pressures up and run thicker tubes might help. A tire upgrade wouldnt hurt but I doubt it's causing your problem. All in all this bike isn't designed for what you seem to be doing or want to do with it. Id suggest riding it for what it is and getting another bike more suited to your needs.
 

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You would not benefit from a DH Fork on a Hardtail Bike. Look for a Fox or Rock Shox Fork in your price range that would give you 100-120mm of travel. A Hardrock is designed for XC and moderate downhill riding, nothing extreme. Start with this and if your riding style and experience begins to exceed the ability of your bike then look at upgrading to a new bike.
 
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