The Specialized Rockhopper range wants to be taken everywhere, regardless of the terrain.
The price and performance tends to push these mountain bikes into the enthusiasts category, although they are often a good fit for anyone who is just starting to get serious about off-road cycling. The three models revised for 2012 have plenty to offer and are finished to a high standard, assuring you of their quality.
The first Specialized Rockhopper gets things off to a good start thanks to its light M4 alloy frame which is fully manipulated and butted to improve strength whilst reducing the amount of weight which the rider has to take with them. At the front there is an SR Suntour XCR fork with up to 100mm of travel, depending on the size of the frame you pick. Hydraulic damping combines with Specialized’s exclusive Spike Valve technology for a flexible ride which proves its adaptability with each passing push of the pedals. Shimano Acera components and rapidfire shifters make gear changes feel smooth and always fast, while the Tektro Draco hydraulic disc brakes at the front and rear each have 160mm rotors for power under pressure and a great deal of responsiveness that you just will not get from mechanical disc brakes.
The Specialized Rockhopper Comp turns up the heat while sharing several components with the base model, including the SR Suntour fork and M4 alloy frame. For one you get the Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes and levers which benefit from requiring virtually no maintenance. In addition these upgraded brakes will help you feel like you are still in control even in the most adverse of conditions. You get the same Specialized The Captain Sport tyres and double-wall Alex RH Disc rims for fast rolling speed and long lasting durability. You also get the excellent Body Geometry Rockhopper saddle with steel rails and a 143mm width to keep your posterior in prime condition even if you are tackling some rough stuff on a single track course.
The peak of the 2012 Rockhopper line-up comes in the form of the Expert edition. The sturdy yet light frame gets a mixture of Shimano SLX and Alivio components along with a RockShox XC30 TK SL fork with TurnKey damping for convenience. The Shimano BR-M446 hydraulic disc brakes have dual piston operation, removing the guesswork from the proposition of slamming on the anchors in the wet. The 180mm rotor at the front is accompanied by a 160mm rotor at the back, giving you a greater surface area for all of your braking needs. Meanwhile The Captain Control tyres are great for people who love trail riding, because they encourage high speeds without compromising on stability or grip.
Each of the 2012 Rockhoppers share a consistent design style, with a black frame featuring various coloured details ranging from red to lime green, so there should be a bike to suit you. Enthusiastic riders who want to learn the tricks of the trade could do much worse than invest in a Specialized Rockhopper.