Specialized's Entry Level Rockhopper Hardtail Gets an Update for 2021

May 14, 2020 at 7:42
by James Smurthwaite  

Like a lot of people, my first 'proper' mountain bike was a Specialized Rockhopper hardtail. It has been an entry-level fixture in the brand's line up since 1985 and has brought thousands of riders into the sport as a simple, value offering for novice riders.


For 2021, Specialized is updating the hardtail with a new frame that brings it more in line with modern trends and geometries. Specialized mentions the "stiff competition" it is facing in this category so has worked hard on delivering a high value, entry level bike.


Updates to the frame include lighter weight, new geometry, internal cable routing, a threaded bottom bracket and dropper post compatibility. Recognising this bike may be used in the city as much as on the trails, Specialized have also added stealth rack and stand mounts too.

Routing for a dropper post is available although none of the models come with one as standard. It's a great place to start upgrading though.
Some of the models come with a 1x transmission with 1x12, 1x10, 1x9, 2x9 and 2x8 spec options throughout the range.

Specialized used to have the Rockhopper for 29er duties and the Pitch for 27.5 wheel fans, but the two lines have now merged and wheelsize will be dictated by frame size and model. The geometry is on the XC end of the spectrum for this bike, with a 68° head angle and a reach of 445mm for a size large.

Sizes XS to M can have 27.5" wheels while S to XXL are able to take on the big wheel duties. A few things to note here - not all the the models get the full range of sizes and the US will also get an XXS option with 26" wheels for younger riders. Also size-specific is the tune, travel and spring of the shock, this is a concept borrowed from Specialized's full suspension range and should ensure consistent geometry and feel through the range.

27.5"
29"

The full specs of the range are below:

Specialized Rockhopper - £379/ $500 / €500


Specialized Rockhopper Sport - £449 / $600 / €600

Sizes - XS, S, M


Specialized Rockhopper Comp 2X - £549/ $750 / €700

Sizes - XS, S, M


Specialized Rockhopper Elite - £699 / $950 / €1000

Sizes - S, M, L, XL, XXL


Specialized Rockhopper Expert - £899 / $1125 / €1200

Sizes - S, M, L, XL, XXL




194 Comments

  • 118 3
 What is this? A bike for people without feet?
  • 16 4
 Completely unrideable. This is insanity. Lets all boycott Specialized. (a jest of course, I get the joke)
  • 12 5
 The Rock Hopper has been the entry point to MTB for generations of bikers.
  • 14 0
 @High-Life:
In my age group it was either a Specialized Hardrock, or a Kona Stinky as our entry bike
  • 21 0
 Dude, you're supposed to stick your big toe in the hole to pedal. Do you even bike bro?
  • 7 2
 Was Sram in such a panic when they heard Shimano had Deore 1x12 on the way they gave Specialized some massive one day only deals on SX 1x12?!
  • 14 5
 @streetkvnt-kvlt: SX is so bad I prefer Alivio. In fact I prefer Alivio over NX. Utter crap for the money you pay. Whole NX drivetrain, including the crankset should cost no more than 200$. GX maybe can compete with Deore but definitey not with XT and it is more expensive than XT! An then we have a gigantic price gap from GX to X01and all you get is better pulleys and carbon cranks. Cassette is light but costs a bloody fortune, it shift slike crap under power and when something is a bit off perfect line it is ghost shifting like hell.

Deore is the Sram Killer. At the same time I don't get the point of SLX anymore.
  • 9 1
 @WAKIdesigns: 12 spd drivetrains need to just disappear, wide ratio 11 or even 10spd please. Less finiky to deal with.
  • 11 1
 @inceptioncyclery: I agree. 10-46 in 10sp with XTR cassette wieght and shifting performance - thank you! 11sp is already too much browsing. Imagine Shimano made a twist to their current group: 10sp XTR shifter compatible with 12sp XTR mech and 10sp cassette - then called it World Cup Race edition and slapped it on MVDPs bike. The landscape would change...
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Agree. 12-speed has to be one of the all time greatest marketing coups from Sram. Convince everyone that n+1 has to be better, despite increased touchiness and disproportionately higher cost. Then they used their market share to infect all bikes despite the fact that the quality and shifting performance significantly deteriorated at the lower-priced groupsets that it definitely was not an upgrade over anyone's 11-speed offerings, even their own prior groups. And all that was before they came out with SX...

They (or Shimano) could have left cassettes the same number of speeds and just made the cogs a bit bigger. From the many comments similar to yours above, it seems like Shimano would really have a market for the 10-45 in 11-speed for the new hyperglide+ groups. I wish they'd actually make those.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Well sir, finally something we both can completely agree on!
Bro has nx on his fluid ht, absolute junk! Heavy as hell, and pain to adjust.
I have the previous generation deore 1x10 on my built up "hybrid", absolutely wonderful piece of kit! Cheap, setup is a breeze, any adjustments are a snap (in fact, had to tweak it on the trail a bit, everything is setting in, all it took was a quick blip with the multi-tool, and was back up and rolling). And all the claims to "Shift Under Load" are completely true! I'm a heavy dude (240 lbs of chronically ill blubber), and it hasn't let me down once in all the year I've been running it. Heck, I can run through all the gears, while putting the power down, up a 15-25% incline, in loose sand/gravel/dirt Big Grin . And the clutch derailleur is simply phenomenal, especially being paired with my race face affect 32t crankset.
And again, can't disagree, 11 speed is all there needs to be, even that's to much. Give me a wide ratio 11-50 tooth 10 speed cassette, and i'll be more then happy. Heck, 46 is good enough, if you have strong legs Wink .

I disagree with reguards to slx. It's there for guys that want to shave some weight over the deore, but don't want to spend all the big $ on the xt. It's a nice option to have, especially if one doesn't want to mix-match groups/aftermarket.

Now, what say you Waki!
Expecting you to come on full troll mode, please live up to your name... Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Absolutely. Alivio is chunky smooth and totally reliable but **SHOCK HORROR** "iT's OnLy 9 SpEEd!!!" I still like a lot of Sram stuff but I'd rather 10 speed Zee or even more shock horror X0 9 speed than 12 speed NX, oh that's right I already am.

Though with SLX I (kinda) don't get the point of XT anymore but, you know, price point etc etc.
  • 1 0
 @streetkvnt-kvlt: I have two sets of 10sp X0-X9 combos. This with XT cassettes - best drivetrains ever in my books. But 11sp XTR gets really, really close. Then to give them some credit 12sp XTR is the best shifting system ever created. It shifts under power on steepest climbs better than sram on road descent
  • 1 1
 @streetkvnt-kvlt: Yup, same line of thinking here Smile .
Now here's a thought, what if Shimano came out with 10 speed at acera, and below?... Man, the market would go crazy!
I got the Acera drivetrain on my fully ridged ht, that I pulled off my franken build. Love it for what it does, but i'm missing that 10th big plate. Other then that, anything shimano is bullet proof.
When I upgrade wheels/drivetrain on franken, the deore is going on the ridged.
I do love my sram guide brakes, but sram's drivetrains are a fail, compared to equivalent kit from shimano.

Ya, I guess you could say slightly lighter weights/tech as you climb models (like sram), but that comes at a hefty price tag. Like with anything, the higher you go up on the charts, the more you pay. Everyone has a price they're comfortable going too, that's why we have so many choices.
We should all be very thankful to the people that are shelling out the big bucks, for the fancy stuff, there's a nice trickle-down to us tight-wads.
I guess it goes like this:
Atlus for kids/entry level bikes.
Alvino and Acera for the teenagers/better entry level bike.
Deore for broke college students/low-upper low tier real mtb's.
SLX for working tradesmen/mid-upper tier mtb.
XT for upcoming racers/upper-high tier mtb.
XTR for full on racers/high tier mtb.
XTR Electronic for mtb god's/top line mtb.
Hope that helps Big Grin .
  • 111 2
 Now that's a gravel bike.
  • 11 5
 They will get there, give them some time...
  • 24 0
 "Grountain" bike surely...
  • 23 0
 @johnnyboy11000: Downgravel? You heard it here first
  • 3 0
 @Arierep: downvel you really heard it first for real.
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns:
Sarcasm? PB posters often miss stuff like that.....
  • 2 0
 @Arierep: Surely downgravel is 26" cruiser, rear coaster brake only, and with dirty big ol' 70's moto bars. Foot out, flat out.
  • 2 4
 @RayDolor: yes sarcasm. Gravel riders will get there - that is they will be riding svelte XC Marathon bikes, just like XCers (and "some" companies making XC bikes) are slowly but surely getting into downcountry since they can see how gnarly XCO WC is and they want to be a bit like it. The whole biking world is biking themselves up since geometries and suspension keeps improving. I do however honestly hope (warning: not a sarcasm) we will get 32" wheels. If Emily Batty can find a 29er a meaningful choice, then 180+ tall lad can ride 32" bike. Modern long and slack geos make it perfectly possible to have room for bigger wheels. If you look at 29" geometron in Large it looks as proportional as 26" bike in medium from 2010
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Are you drunk... That is the most stupid thing I've heard! Well, since the last stupid thing you've said... Big Grin .
Joking aside, 32ers are probably waaaaaaaaay down the pipeline, if at all. To set-up production for an entirely new wheel system, would be extraordinarily cost prohibitive i.e. $$$ for each tire at the end of the day.
To give one company credit, I can't remember which, they did come out with a 32er a few years ago. Never caught on...
Why go any bigger when 29 and 27.5 (and not to mention a few 26ers kicking around), do everything, and do it well... The market is so saturated with awesome bikes, fitted around those wheel sizes, that it makes no sense to change out. If anything is in the works, it'll be at least 10 years down the road.

What say you king of the trollers? Big Grin
  • 2 1
 @wcr: except 27.5” happened, Kirk Pacenti made his own tires there are 32” wheels and tires for unicycles, 36” bicycles with so far crappy tires exist. It’s all about the tires. Forks are easy peasy, frames are easy peasy. Stop overreacting, you’ll get air in the system.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns:
Fair points... I did get a little "overblown" didn't I.
It's like my brakes, need to bleed some air out of the system... Big Grin
No sarcasm: Do we really need anything bigger then 29er's? Like I said, 27.5 and 29 do everything, and do it well. Now we got guys going mullet's, and lots of guys still like 26". Man, things are getting confusing out there! Like I read all over bike forums, 29 gets a lot of hate, but who knows whos right. Mullet sounds like a happy medium, you got the 29 out front rolling over the big stuff, and the 27.5 out back to keep things lively. Here's another point to consider, bike look really good around 29, and less. You start going bigger, things start to look out of wack. Remember the saying, too much of a good thing, is usually really, really, bad. Everything will have to grow bigger, how much of a bike do you really need? Even a big like myself... I'm more then happy running 29ers.
Bike shopping is super confusing as it is, add even more standards... Man my head hurts just thinking about typing that sentence.
Big Grin

Ok, what say you O' master basher?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Yo, WAKI,
My buddy made himself a groovy 32" wheel "mini-Penny Farthing". Couple other guys followed suit. Soon, there might be a velodrome event featuring them.
  • 1 0
 Groundtain
  • 1 0
 @wcr: Need has almost nothing to do with it...
  • 1 0
 @RayDolor: this is drawn with 666mm outer diameter rims. So not exactly 32”, more 31”. Still, doesn’t look any more franken than Emily Batty’s Super Caliber 29” in S.
www.instagram.com/p/BuzklLdlvDe/?igshid=109p8hs5q71ol

Now look at a road bike with rims having 700mm rims:
www.instagram.com/p/BvundCollKy/?igshid=1np3zdh3m94z7

The problem with folks welding themselves huge bikes is thar they often have zero clue about bike handling just like 99% of those hipster builders making bikepacking bikes. With absence of good tires who would chose to ride that?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: You proved my point, that rear-end looks absolutely hideous. You just cant take it a huge wheel, and stick it on frame sizes that are designed around smaller wheels. At the least, it throws the styling out of wack. And that goes for any bike out there, no matter the wheel sizes. You have to take those monster wheels, and build a monster huge frame around them, with bigger everything... Your in moto territory. And that goes for small/medium size frame on 29's, throws the looks of it off.
Just to let you know, i'm coming from a styling/looks standpoint, not engineering/handling side of things. I like my bikes, and cars to look good (like classic 70's muscle cars). When everything is designed proportionate to each other, then it works. Cars are the most blaring example. No matter how good a bike handles/is designed, if it doesn't look good to the eye, nobody will want to ride/buy it.
I can't explain in writing what I see is wrong with your design, if we had a couple hours to sit down and go over things, then we probably come to a happy medium Big Grin .
Now that road bike looks awesome! Everything works much better together, and like you know as an engineer, it's the sum of each part, working together with said total parts, that makes a overall well designed machine. Cars have shown this time and again.
O' what say you, master wacky mountain biker Big Grin .
  • 51 3
 Can someone explain to me why none of the major companies are making a decent trail hardtail with an appropriate HTA?

Is it just to create demand for their higher end products when riders start to out ride their entry level bikes quicker?

I would imagine a cheap hardtail with a 67/66 HTA would clean up for the people who are actually riding trails, not just hauling their kids in a chariot on hardpack gravel. Seems like an easy win...
  • 14 0
 Rocky Mountain Soul?
  • 18 0
 Marin San Quentin?
  • 5 0
 Rockrider AM100?
  • 3 0
 this needs upvotes
  • 3 0
 yes, seems like a no brainer
  • 18 0
 And Specialized has the Fuse,for only $100 more than the Rockhopper.
  • 32 1
 Because the target audience for this bike probably isn't people who are ripping steep trails - it's more people wanting a "mountain bike" so they can ride the bike path and shred their gravel driveways.

My 65HA XL hardtail doesn't fit on bike bus racks, just to name one of the inconveniences of slack long hardtails for casual city path/dirt use.
  • 8 0
 @livinfortheride: I just discovered the RM Soul while looking for a bike for my friends 16 year old son. $900CAD and good geo and spec.

The Growler is even more aggressive while still being affordable at ~$1200CAD.

Then there's the Norco Fluid which is a wicked bike for the price.
  • 39 11
 I am firmly of the belief that the slack thing is overplayed, particularly with hardtails. I currently have three HT's. All 120mm forks. For the places that HT's excel, 68, or maybe 67 is ideal. I have a Sonder transmitter with a 65 HTA, and its silly. If you are on a hardtail with a super slack HTA or more than a 120mm fork, unless your a dirt jumper your probably on the wrong bike. Slack is good when it gets steep and gnarly. Rear suspension is also good when it gets steep and gnarly, so HT with slack head angles only got half of the problem correct, so its the incorrect solution. If you have steep trails that are also smooth then I guess a slack HT would make sense, but I have never seen those trails.
  • 10 1
 Vitus Nucleus and Sentier not only have better prices but you get better forks, brakes, drive train, tires, wheels, thru axle, tapered steerer, geometry, etc. Basically everything. This specialized bike does look great though. For someone not really into mtb who just wants to go down to their local shop and grab a beginner bikes, I think this is excellent and it's a damn good looking bike. But for the mtb nerds who like to research stuff, there's just so many better options.
  • 1 0
 @GorgeousBeauGaston: Would that also be known as the Marin Rock breaker?
  • 9 1
 Have you heard of our Line 29? Under £1000, dropper post and 64.9 HA - www.bikeradar.com/reviews/bikes/mountain-bikes/calibre-line-29-review
  • 17 0
 Unpopular opinion: 68 degrees is the Goldilocks angle for entry level riders.
  • 1 1
 @jfog52: common sense
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: I'll bet more like 69
  • 5 0
 Specialized Fuse
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: That is a good opinion
  • 7 0
 @jfog52: You're right about the "ideal bike" part, but sometimes, it's fun to ride a non-ideal bike. I've got a nice carbon 160/170 slack full-boing bike, but I often take my 65HA hardtail on gnarly trails instead because variety is the spice of life? IDK, I like my 65HA hardtail. More than the steeper hardtails I've had in the past.
  • 17 4
 @jfog52: Allow me to disagree. Slack HTA's on hardtails are not so slack when the fork is compressed. If anything, HT's need to be slacker than FS bikes. It also helps keep a longer front center, which is a good thing to have, esp for beginners who are more prone to OTB's. Then there are also people who enjoy riding their hardtails down steep rough trails. Yes, a bike with rear suspension would be faster and safer, but that doesn't mean the other way is wrong.
  • 1 1
 Great plug, your bike looks rad @RideCalibre:
  • 1 0
 @jfog52: Out of curiosity, what in your opinions are the downsides of a HT, with slackish HTA, steepish STA, and longish FC? Specifically for entry level riders?
  • 1 1
 @jfog52: I 100% back your statement except for dirt jumpers wanting slack HA. If anything, dirt jumpers want a steeper HA.
  • 1 0
 @jfog52: I don’t disagree, but also think that an argument could be made that the “hardcore hardtail” is the perfect thing that still handles well in some tech but makes trails seem just a little more aggressive/challenging than they really are....which may be advantageous for strong riders living in certain areas. If I lived in the Midwest or somewhere flat with a few well built trails, but not a ton of vert, I’d probably buy a hardtail.

That said I will never fking do that haha.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: 69 degrees is preferred by advanced riders.
  • 1 0
 Commencal
  • 5 1
 Yet another Unpopular Opinion: aggro hard tails are not ideal for beginners
  • 1 0
 Trek Roscoe?
  • 2 0
 @jfog52: The other half of the problem is solved using your legs.
Fast and safe as a full squish? Hell no.
Fun? Hell yes.
  • 2 0
 Because if you design your frame for harder riding techy stuff more speed, then you can't drop a 28mm fork in the cheapest build.
For a beginner bike I think 68° is fair
  • 1 0
 @Tasso75: damn, that's the only 'mtb' from Decathlon I would actually rid
www.decathlon.co.uk/am-100-ht-mountain-bike-275-id_8543080.html
killer value
  • 1 0
 @ismasan: Also decently upgradable. On their Italian website, they say it is kind of an experiment, which may be futher developed depending on how it will sell.
  • 2 0
 @justwan-naride: No "wrong" way for any of this, but your comment leads into why I feel long travel (>120mm) HT's are dumb- its because of the Geo change as the suspension compresses. If your compressing 150mm of fork I would argue you need rear suspension. Everyone LOVES having their HA get steeper as they compress into a corner right? If you slacking out the HA so that the geo is acceptable under compression your making a serious compromise just to have the bike feel OK during brief periods of time.
  • 2 0
 How does this comment have that many upvotes? You don't need a slack HTA for pedaling easy/moderate terrain. In fact a slack HTA would actually be worse for the target demographic. 68* will feel more agile & faster on the terrain these folks will be riding.
  • 1 0
 @RideCalibre: Yes! It’s a shame you don’t do a 27.5” equivalent though.
  • 1 0
 Marin San Quentin is a sick bike! Get's a thousand upvotes from me all day long Big Grin .

In answer to the head angle, anywhere from 66 to 69 (even 70 if you take it slow and steady), is fine for perty much anything you would want to do on a ht. Personally my sweet spot is between 68-69, for what I ride, good enough.
Bro has the Norco fluid, one hell of a bike. Burly, and built like a tank. That plus rubber sure can bull over some gnarly stuff Big Grin . But that's his type of riding, i'm more of a cross country/trail dude. Like a light, nimble bike, something that when you put the power down, she get's up and goes.
It's like picking any bike, figure out what you want to ride, and pick a bike that's suited to said task. And it doesn't hurt if it looks good too Smile .
  • 2 0
 If you showed 99% of people in the market for a beginner hardtail a geometry chart it'd look like hieroglyphics to them
  • 2 0
 @wcr: Yes, the San Quentin is awesome! I recommended one for my friend and it is a great bike. I wanted to buy one, but they have sold out, so got an Orange Clockwork Evo instead.
  • 1 0
 @lewiscraik: Big Grin Yup, especially if you go the full Mat Jones kit...
How do you like your Orange? I'm not familiar with the brand at all, and most of what I hear is mixed opinions.
  • 2 0
 Also take a look at Marin Bobcat Trail. Awesome entry level bike, that's not very entry level frame quality at all. Probably the most popular bike at my local bike shop, after giant talon...
Matter of fact, The Giant Talon is a great entry to mtbing. Both these bike are very upgradable, as your skills/knowledge progresses.
  • 1 0
 @wcr: I haven’t built it up yet! I’ve had an Orange Four for a few years now and think it is great. The full suss bikes are made in the UK, whereas the hardtails are made in the Far East, so probably no different to any other hardtail.
  • 1 0
 @lewiscraik: Sounds awesome! I have to now go look at there bikes Wink . I would love to see what yer going to do with it, you have a new follower Big Grin .
  • 34 8
 This is within an affordable budget. The parts make sense for that price. The geometry is inline with modern spoiled-riders-we-are standards.

How am I supposed to go through the day complaining on here? I hate it.

Oh, wait, it's the big S. That's a valid reason. I hate it even more.
  • 17 3
 Got it! Quick release axles, how can someone even ride a bike off road without through axles? QRs are so flexy.

and I agree the big S get immediate hate.
  • 3 3
 @ghbiker: qr really needs to die off beginner mountain bikes. My hardtail has qr and the back axle constantly gets loose, even when you really tighten down the nuts. It ended up rubbing a bit of a gouge on the inside of my chain stay. My fs bike has bolt on thru axles, it's just so much nicer and feels way stiffer going over obstacles. In a couple years I'm betting even the cheapest budget hardtails will get rid of qr.
  • 3 0
 @DylanH93: I’m pretty sure you can buy thru axels for 9 mm axles
  • 13 0
 @DylanH93: qr has held in wheels securely for decades and continues to do so on millions of them. There may be a problem with your specific bike? My main problem with QR and disk brakes is the lack of reproducable positioning. There was always a chance of brake rub after putting the wheel back in. Stiffness is probably better but I always have a hard time really noticing that on a bike with suspension and fat soft tires.
  • 1 0
 @ghbiker: I was thinking about this too since I had one as my first bike many years ago. The quick releases are a real pain, but I bet adding a thru axle would add like $100 to the price since it requires the axle, different hubs, and a different fork. I read something along those lines somewhere. I think it would be worth it, but they probably have some consultant with a pile of market research that says that making it cheaper will sell more than this improvement would.

They also have the Fuse for more serious riders who actually care about these kind of things.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: I have an older XC hard tail, I assume it’s qr, and I’ve ridden black/jump trails on that thing no problem
  • 1 0
 @ski-n-bike-da-east: you can, provided there are end caps available for your hub, but just to clarify, front qr is 9mm, but rear qr is 10mm
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: 100% on the brakes issue. Is the we not quite in the same or is my rotor bent?

Now that I'm strictly through axle it's really damn obvious I bent a rotor. It happens much more often than I care to admit.
  • 1 0
 Ugh, qr not we.
  • 1 0
 Maybe because it is made of low grade metals and cutting all corners to save on production cost? And you can get much better bikes for cheaper?
  • 21 0
 Different type of riding but the Fuse is only $125 than the expert, has through axles, and 130mm of travel.
www.specialized.com/us/en/fuse-27-5/p/171070?color=263309-171070&searchText=96020-7101
  • 6 0
 Plus since the Fuze is 27.5+ its already a 29er as well since 27.5+ forks are just 29er forks.
  • 1 0
 I have a fuse, one of the best hardtails I have ridden. Mines properly tricked out and it is just amazing
  • 1 0
 @enduroNZ: Tricked out Fuse GVNG, f*cking love mine. Bike park, steep rocky trails, long distance racing...it does it all so well.
  • 22 2
 I'd still go with a Vitus or the likes. The 1000 Euro model should at least sport a dropper post. Also in terms of geometry it cannot compete with entry-level bikes from Vitus, Trek, Marin etc.
  • 8 0
 Yep I'd say Vitus is the leader in best value
  • 2 0
 No dropper on a $1000+ bike is just dumb. Plus qr is an instant turn off as well.
  • 18 0
 Bring back updated hardrock with the flame decals. Then we're talkin' a real nostalgia bike.
  • 13 0
 Lol I'd say the most expensive one is the worst spec of all with sram sx. Why couldn't they just follow the rest of the line and drop some 1x12 Deore on there?
  • 2 0
 Yeah, the second model from the top seems like the way to go. Same fork, wheels, brakes as the top model. Basically you're paying 200 € more to get SX Eagle instead of 1x10 Deore. I'd rather have the Deore because I know it will work and be easy to adjust. Elite + dropper is a much better idea than the Expert.
  • 9 0
 Did covid19 and it's health and economic impact not teach u people that all this stuff (head angles, QR, travel) all within splitting hairs range is SMALL POTATOES.
Man u can have a blast on any decent functioning bike. Just be glad u can ride, improve your technique and have fun
  • 1 0
 Preach it. It's easy to get so deep into 66 degree vs 66.025 degree head angles and how many pins your pedals have that you forget we're all just here to ride bikes and have fun.
  • 7 0
 Bunch of people I work with are looking for new bikes. Just getting into the sport. I would recommend the Elite and Expert all day. Good geo update for a beginners bike.
  • 4 0
 Just get them a Yeti or Santa Cruz.

This thing doesnt have 470+mm Reach, no 64° headangle... Totally unrideable.


/S
  • 2 0
 Recommend them the Fuse also- a tad more expensive but maybe you can squeeze out an discount?
  • 9 1
 Would have loved to see a Microshift 1x10 on it
  • 6 3
 Great entry level ride (I loved my first Rockhopper...in 1987!)....but forever "un-upgradable" as long as it comes with QR hubs. The least they could have done is put a TA for the rear, then you could upgrade the fork down the road. For an entry level rider who gets hooked, it's a disposable bike.
  • 7 0
 Less than a second: www.jensonusa.com/Dt-Swiss-350-Rear-Hub-135mm-QR-32-Hole-6-Bolt
www.jensonusa.com/Hope-Pro-4-135mm-QR-Rear-Hub-PURPLE-36H-10135

135mm X 9mm QR parts are easier to find than some of the SuperBoost stuff.
  • 5 0
 I like my Hope hubs. I have a hub that started as a 135, then switched it to 142 and just converted it to 148. It won't go to super boost, but it's a completely serviceable hub with axle and ceramic bearing options.
  • 6 0
 @oldschool43: I don't get the hate on the QR. I have dt swiss, hope, and hadley hubs that I have switched around from qr to 142. I have not needed boost yet. probably will if I get around to another fs frame.
  • 2 1
 I think the point is that any rider that gets hooked will want a bike with a thru axle so to get it they’d have to ditch this bike. I remember the days of QR axles it was horrendous @CycleKrieg:
  • 4 0
 QR on a The back of a hardtail is fine. Seriously. It’s already triangulated by the seat and chain stays. On a FS it matters, but not here.

If you want to get weird about it you can get get a DT hub that uses with a 10mm RWS skewer.
  • 2 0
 @enduroNZ: I remember QR too. My fat bike 135/170 QR and my road/gravel bike is QR also. For hardtails that don't too rowdy, I'm not sure QR is that big of deal.
  • 2 0
 @Doogster: I still have 2 bikes that are 135 qr. Hardtail 29ers. Zero issues, but I do use Hope skewers, they seem a bit more solid then Shimano.
  • 4 0
 The whole reason that bikes have threw axles on the rear of bikes is to stiffen up dual suspensions with pivots on the rear triangle. Being a hardtail the rear of this bike will be stiff enough. At the level this bike is intended to be ridden no threw axle on the rear is fine. I have a steel hardtail with a 67.5 headtube anxle similar reach numbers. QR bolt on 9mm axle, 15mm front axle, 130mm fork that gets rowdy AF. I've ridden it in Pisgah dozens of times. Probably half those rides where with the normal qr. Wheel never fell of and flex was never an issue. I can't say I can tell the difference between the bolt on and normal qr 9mm. People buy steel bikes for their compliance. A qr by no means ruins the bike.
  • 2 0
 @georgiamtbiker: pogobono. Straight steer qr fork though?
That's no bueno.
  • 3 0
 @georgiamtbiker: Even with rear suspension QR can work if it's a beefy rear triangle. My 2015 Scott Voltage DH bike has 135 QR and still works great. I like that I can build wheels for cheap, I have 2 bolt on are axle wheels for DH use and 2 QR wheels if I want lighter wheels for more pedaling. I also like that you have more room for your heels with a 135 rear hub and I have no rear flex issues cause the frame has the same beefy pivots like the Gambler has, which I've upgraded to enduro bearings.
  • 4 0
 @georgiamtbiker: exactly, the skewer matters on the fork, but on the rear of a hardtail it's just something to complain about.

If you have a preference on axle size and hub width, maybe you shouldn't be looking at this bike. Entry level bikes aren't for people who are concerned with POE on a hub, they aren't worried about a clutch on a derailleur. They want a bike, and a water bottle, maybe a helmet.
  • 3 0
 @enduroNZ: I spent all the 90s on qr without a single issue. I still have an Intense 5.5 with qr in my mom's house, and everytime I go to my home town I ride crap out of it.
Thru axle is better, but qr won't hold back no bike/no one.
  • 2 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: some 10x135 qr hubs (not Shimano, but for instance Novatec/Superstar) can use a thru axle too. I have a one with an Ibis (Novatec rebrand) hub using a Superstar aluminium thru axle with no problems whatsoever.
  • 1 0
 @Doogster: Definitely not hate, there's nothing "wrong" with QR. As a matter of fact....all my bikes have QR. They're just not new bikes. My only point was "everyone" always says the best upgrade for a new bike down the road is wheels (which is good advise in my book also) But, if you go QR, you'd most likely have to get handbuilt or used for better hubs and rims. I'm fortunate, I can (and do) build my wheels, but I'm guessing that's probably not the same boat as most people. Your point of being able to have convertible hubs it true...buuuut...you need a frame a pair of non-boost hubs will run in. Then there is the other angle...as such a HUGE company as Specialized, TA's could have easily been designed in for about an extra $10 at the register. Of course, marketing says don't do that....they want to you come back and buy a whole new bike as the step-up.
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: I was thinking the person who answered the phone for that order was like "I'm sorry....you want to order how many of what now?"
  • 3 0
 Marin/Calibre/Vitus for a budget bike at present.
12x but 9x135!! Have a listen to the latest Downtime podcast with the PNW boys. They talk about exactly that.
How difficult it is to optimise low budget and prioritise what they think buyers value at that end like shit stuff you can't see but a better rear mech. One of them used to work at Specialized.
Also forget the crappy Pitch, bring back the 2010 FS Pitch. That was badass. I'd actually considered a Specialized again then
  • 1 0
 I do wonder if they ditched the HT Pitch so they can bring back the beloved FS Pitch as per the Status?

God knows where it would fit in their current range though, perhaps rename the Stumpy Evo?
  • 1 0
 10x135
  • 2 0
 So many people who know very little about bikes know enough to ask "how many gears does it have?" They probably walk into the shop exciting about the 27 gears they've heard about and get confused when a bike only has 10 or 11. 12 is like 20% better, obviously.
  • 1 0
 @VtVolk: yeah it's like megapixels on a camera, people are more likely to judge quality based on MOAR pixels than say, quality of lens or the size of the sensor.
  • 3 0
 There's many things to complain about on this bike, specifically qr hubs and no dropper on upper level models. That said, the bike is beautiful and it's cool to see the rockhopper get this upgrade. For someone who doesn't want to research but just walk into a shop for something decent to get started in mtb, this looks like an awesome option! My first real bike was a 2017 Marin hardtail with similar specs. I wish it looked more like this bike though, nothing worse than a top tube ready to smash your nuts. With upgrades I've made that Marin bike super nice, but the one thing always holding it back is its qr hubs.
  • 2 0
 QR is fine on hardtails. Is the holding back part the lack of available, good wheelsets? If you are having trouble finding hubs, something like a DT Swiss 350 offers conversion caps that switch between QR and 142TA. Definitely isn't as cheap as buying an off the shelf wheelset, but those hubs will last you through several bikes. I built up an old cannondale hardtail with QR for my wife a couple years ago. It has 26x2.26, 650x42, and 700x28 wheelsets depending what she is riding. The 650x42 and 700x28 wheelsets both have DT 350 with adapter caps so I can run them on my Slate if I want (TA 142). At the end of the day, I probably should have just bought her separate bikes but it was a fun little project.
  • 3 1
 Glad to see entry level bikes get some web space. VFM is not that good, but I like the clean looks, makes the bike look more expensive than it is. Busy decals and graphics scream cheap. Geometry is reasonable as well and with so many size and wheelsize options they cover a huge range of riders. Kudos for including dropper routing, first upgrade I'd recommend.
  • 3 0
 thank Specialized's marketing budget..
  • 1 3
 @mm732: As in paying PB to post this article?
  • 2 0
 @mm732: Probably paid article but whatever. People buying their first bike never find anything that relates to them here. A sub-1000$ hardtail shoot out would be nice to see someday. I know I was searching for content like this when starting out.
  • 1 0
 @ischiller: the exact same article is on BikeRumor....
  • 3 0
 @justwan-naride: NSMB do a bit more budget stuff. Especially Andrew Major seems to like hardtails and 'min-maxing' value bikes/parts. His Growler review would be a good read for anyone starting out. As a side note, the RM Growler and the Norco Fluid HT are the first bikes that come to my mind in this budget that look more trail-ready and upgrade-worthy than the Spec (more modern geo, thru-axles).
  • 4 1
 Why a 30.9mm seatpost? Why don't frame makers standardize on 31.6? Whats the point of the difference? Just requires more skus and more cost for a theoretically less stiff dropper post
  • 4 0
 Why not standardize on 30.9mm? Lot's of big companies use it and they can be shimmed to 31.6. You can't shim a 31.6 down though.
  • 1 0
 I read once Spesh uses the 30.9 because that is the ID of the tubing they buy/spec. That way less machining, simpler production. From a business angle, makes sense.
  • 2 0
 Thank you Pinbike for showing two - among others - different worlds: the Actifive super-top-niche thing and... This.
There`re completely different in term of attempts, researches, features, prices... BUT: as long as they can provide pleasure... ;-)
  • 2 0
 Nice to see a cheap bike for a change.
  • 7 2
 One or two more degree slack please
  • 5 0
 Looks solid to me. I have fond memories of my first Rockhopper as well.
  • 4 3
 One of my buddies got a 2020 rockhopper, and we threw a whole ton of awesome parts on it. I drilled a hole into it and made internal routing for a dropper post, he got a 1x11 box drivetrain, and he has guide brakes with PNW bars. That thing is sweet now. Next upgrade will be the fork. He also has clipless on it, and it is fast!
  • 5 0
 Nice! All he needs now is a new frame and he’ll be set!
  • 7 0
 why not just buy a better bike in the first place?
  • 1 0
 Exactly, ????@enduroNZ:
  • 1 0
 Would have been so easy to build a 142x12 rear axle and 66 hta frame, would have sold like hot cakes, can't imagine 142x12 dropouts cost much more than a qr dropout when you buy thousands of them.il bet it's got square taper bb axle hidden away under them cranks as well....
  • 1 0
 Was really hoping that Spec would update to bring this into competition with the excellent Trek Marlin range which has been kicking the ass out of entry level trail ready bikes for the last couple of years. Sadly if you look at the spec and price bracket, they still dont compete. The 2020 E700 price bracket Marlin 7 has a 10 speed 1x drivetrain... Treks new range still kills it even with a hike in price!
  • 1 0
 This looks like a very good entry-level platform. Here's to hoping the chisel will get the same geometry (or similar) of the Epic and have published frame weights, and compatibility for Boost through-axle spacing (don't judge, all my wheels do these days)
  • 1 0
 I love that people can get into the sport for $500. I have a few friends who, upon starting families, got rid of their bikes- which I get. In trying to get them back out there, this is a great starting point. I will say though, that at the $1k price point, the bike should probably have a thru axle fork, at least, right?
  • 4 1
 Oh great, it has a "modern trend" 9x135 QR rear axle! Now I'm gonna have to go out and buy new hubs...
  • 2 0
 Why buy hubs, the bike has some
  • 3 0
 Oldschool doesn't have any 9mm or 142mm hubs? Are you even oldschool?
  • 1 0
 @georgiamtbiker: No doubt, I've got over 10 old school 135 hubs and you can find good XT 135 QR hub for a price through axles can only dream of, around $20. If you look around you can find a great quality sealed bearing135 hub for much cheaper than a low end through axle hub, which is completely unnecessary on a bike like this anyways.
  • 1 0
 @georgiamtbiker: Bro, sarcasm.. I have a whole drawer full of 135 hubs. And 9x100 fronts, some sweet non-disc hubs too. I currently have a few Hope hubs that started life as 135 qr, then was 142 for a bit and are now 148 boost.
  • 3 0
 So many kids around my neighbourhood had Rockhoppers and Hardrocks, but the Fire Mountain reigned supreme.
  • 5 1
 If you really want a bike for that much money, just get a Vitus!!
  • 2 0
 Would rather keep my 2020 Cube Reaction. Dropper post, Magura twin pot brakes, 27.5 wheels, all the kit you would want on an all round hardtail for less then a grand!
  • 2 1
 Why ALL sub 1000$ mountain bike get a front derailleur ? I mean come on, if the goal is to get an affordable bike, dont but an extra derailleur in the front and sell the bike at a lower price.
  • 1 0
 Vitus sentier. 949. You can get free shipping too. And it has boost. And a tapered headset. And tubeless ready.
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: Yeah the Sentier seems great value! Or the Growler or the Fluid HT. All around £750 here with boost thru axles, good geo and mid travel up front. All 3 are worth upgrading over time and would easily last a hooked newbie all the way until they get a FS bike without needing anything in between.

The Spec looks like it could be outgrown quickly unless the rider just sticks to the easier side of XC and they might need to splash out for an 'in-between' bike (like the Sentier) before having the budget (or the will to spend more) for their first FS.
  • 1 0
 The Pitch and Rockhopper base bikes are great for $500. Nothing really decent in that price range. While it won't come close as a qualifying bike for PBers, they are great bikes for beginners.
  • 3 0
 Rockhopper was my first bike. Glad they're updating it.
  • 3 0
 68 deg head angle is faster on downhills
  • 2 0
 Some. It largely depends on the nature of the downhills.
  • 1 0
 I’m exited for a new rockhopper, but with those prices for the cheapest one, and the specs on it, what’s going to happen to the pitch?
  • 2 0
 It says above they have rolled the Pitch into the Rockhopper, Pitch is discontinued. Prob a smart move as each level of upgrade offers anything you could have gotten w Pitch.
  • 1 0
 @DirtbagMatt: yeah, true, however the hardtail pitch was messily built, and hard to upgrade. There’s something about combining the two that slightly aggravates me.
  • 1 0
 @JacobyDH: Gotcha. Big S has so many models, I don’t even know what’s what! Rockhopper was my first MTB in 1989. I promptly bent the fork flat landing a mulch pile. Good times!!!
  • 1 0
 @DirtbagMatt: yeah, I like them, but I’ve had some bad experiences with the pitch. I snapped my brake cables 8 times in the front, and 7 times in the back on my 2017 pitch.
  • 2 3
 Wow, that looks like a bike that would really appeal to the PB audience... (well at least more than the gravel bike they showed last time) NOT!

To be clear, I"m in no way knocking budget hardtails. And I guess we all need a bike to suggest to newbie's we think might never move beyond tame rides? Just doesn't seem like whoever is throwing these BigS bikes out has a clue what the average PinkBike audience is likely wanting to buy... ?
  • 1 0
 Downvotes...??? Two people seriously think the average PBker would choose this geo/capability over the Fuse if cost was not a consideration.

They gotta do a changeover for a new production run anyway. More up to date geometry wouldn't have cost them any extra.
  • 2 0
 You wanted coil suspension, Specialized provided you with one. Now go ride!
  • 2 0
 1125 bucks for an "entry level" bike? Man, what a deal! Spec Ed is a swell company, eh?
  • 3 2
 This looks like a Trek Marlin, which has already been out for the past two years on a redesigned frame... Nice try big S
  • 1 1
 I think I'd rather get a motobecane or something used. It's as if they chose the components to be as upgrade resistant as humanly possible.
  • 1 0
 Still can't believe 1x hasn't made its way down the food chain to these entry level bikes.
  • 1 0
 It has with some other brands, but I agree there are still too damn many front derailleurs out there. RM sells a bike with a 1x9 Altus/Sunrace setup and there's no reason everyone else shouldn't do the same at Altus level. It has plenty enough range for this kind of bike with 11-40 and a 28 ring. No clutch, but they just add a small chain guide.
  • 1 0
 My next commuter bike (that can hit trails on way home!). Love that it has the rack tabs.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a trek marlin. I mean even down to the look of the cable holes in the frame.
  • 1 0
 Our X-caliber... take your pick
  • 1 1
 28mm stanchions? Seriously?! I’ve got a Schwinn hard tail from Walmart that came with a 32mm stanchioned 80mm travel fork...
  • 1 1
 Hey there is a gear that doesn't work.. New deore , one level above, till you die.
  • 1 1
 I alway though the bike have was hard*ock; other than that foolproof entry level bike for anyone;
  • 1 0
 How I love that exchange rate gbp699 usd950 eur1000
  • 2 0
 Needs moar Deore
  • 1 0
 What, no Rockhopper PRO?!? /s
  • 1 0
 And no tapered head tube? Can't tell from the pics...
  • 1 0
 It looks to me like a straight 44mm headtube. Means that you can use an external cup lower headset to run a tapered fork, and even a Works angleset if you want to slacken it out by a degree or two.
  • 1 0
 @melanthius: ok good. That's so important for beginner bikes because often your not "ready" for a full suspension, often from a financial standpoint, and being Able to spend 100-200 to get a properly working air fork which you can dial in to your weight would really extend the usefulness of these intro mtbs, I'm happy to see that they're even showing up on cheap Walmart bikes like the Schwinn Axiom
  • 1 0
 My rockhopper frame is in two pieces
  • 1 0
 You don't get to brag about a threaded BB if it's a square noodle.
  • 4 4
 Yep, new standard, 9 x 135!
  • 2 0
 The original standard!
  • 3 0
 It's 10x135... was that the joke?
  • 2 0
 @thegoodflow: the fork is 9mm
  • 2 0
 @fruitsd79: yes, clearly, but it's not 135, so I thought he was referring to the rear which is 10mm.
  • 1 0
 It is a $500 bike, so it is understood.
  • 1 2
 Argh! Cassete Sunrace
  • 1 4
 hard tails = hard fails.

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