Specialized Rockhopper Mountain Bike Review
The Specialized Rockhopper is an eminently affordable and entirely capable mountain bike which shirks its budget leanings with great performance, superior lightness and effortless style. This may be priced to attract beginners, but it is also more than a match for the skills of an experienced rider and everyone of any ability grouping will be happy to hop aboard and enjoy its responsive, tactile handling and lightweight, market-leading alloy frame.
This is a hard tail mountain bike which lends itself to long distance travel. It may not be as nippy as more toned, specialised racing bikes, but it offers a riding experience that will make you want to keep on pedalling for many hours more than you might otherwise have thought possible. The light alloy frame is kitted out with an SR Suntour fork, providing 80mm of travel. It is no doubt a relatively basic piece of equipment, but it handles surprisingly well and also helps to keep the costs down. You cannot adjust it to the same degree as you might the RockShox fork which adorns the more expensive Rockhopper models, but it is definitely a contender for the title of best budget shock in the business.
The gear cables which cluster around the top tube may not be arranged with huge elegance but you get complete cable shielding, allowing the Shimano components to shift smoothly as they were intended even when the off-road conditions are getting rather wet. Shimano also supplies the hydraulic disc brakes and with 160mm rotors at the front and rear, you can be sure that when it is time to put the anchors on you will come to a stop promptly.
The lightness of the frame is not just down to the alloy construction but also to intelligent geometry. The down tube is curved at each end, adding strength and stability without also requiring that the bike piles on the pounds. You get excellent ground clearance and rear stiffness, making sure that you can tackle serious ascents with ease while still having enough off-the-line grunt to get you ahead of your rivals on the flat. Of course the hard tail mountain bike setup lends itself to a diverse array of uses, so it will be just as able to take on the tarmac for recreation or commuting as it will the off-road trails.
The styling of the Specialized Rockhopper is sure to make it a modern classic, with both black and white or red and white colour schemes available in its latest incarnation. Each is attractive in its own way, helping the bike to stand out in a market where all too often you will find that garish and unwieldy finishes can detract from your overall response to a cycle. At this price point you will be willing to forgive the Specialized Rockhopper for its one or two weaknesses and there is little need to spend much more money for a bike that has an all-rounder outlook with a few great party tricks.