Specialized Rockhopper Mountain Bike Review
The Specialized Rockhopper is a basic mountain bike which goes well beyond the aspirations of its lowly price bracket to provide performance that will be welcomed by amateurs and enthusiasts alike. Its hardtail setup and great frame make it feel swift and sure footed and it is designed to tear up trails of all types, so you will not feel like you are investing in a bike which is only good in a couple of situations.
The Specialized Rockhopper has an alloy frame which is intentionally chosen for its low overall weight and it has geometry which will make quick acceleration possible, even if it is more tuned towards a long distance riding style rather than instant speed gratification in a racing situation. The bike is relatively comfortable and although it will certainly provide a good deal of feedback from the ground below, it is built to limit the jarring bumps and vibrations which might otherwise lessen your comfort over long periods.
At the front, you get an SR Suntour fork with 80mm of travel and hydraulic damping. Although you cannot tune it to the same degree as an air shock, it is still well suited to the tasks facing the typical off-road cyclist. It is certainly in keeping with the low cost outlook of this bike, but given the many cheap and nasty alternatives on the market, it will feel very competent for the money.
Shimano disc brakes with M505 levers represent yet another intelligent choice for a bike of this price. You can be incredibly precise in their manipulation, which is something that is lacking from other entry level mountain bikes and the all-weather performance helps to add to the all-rounder outlook of this model. Specialized uses many of its own in-house components to round off the Rockhopper’s capabilities and while this might be seen as a corner-cutting exercise were it from another manufacturer, here it is a promise of durability and quality. The sporty tyres are fast rolling but also blessed with grippy tread to keep you on the right track and the Alex rims are a favourite of this manufacturer, chosen for their double wall alloy construction which is able to come out fighting even after the kind of knocks which would leave lesser rims buckled and in need of replacement.
This is the kind of entry level bike which is not so lumbered with inferior components as to make upgrading it at a later stage a nightmare. The Specialized Rockhopper takes the opposite approach, using the frame which is fitted to its more expensive siblings and letting the rider choose their own additions as and when they see fit. With two designs available, the white and red edition of which is by far the most handsome, there is a lot going for it in the looks department as well. Riders who want a mountain bike that is going places in more way than one should look to the Specialized Rockhopper.