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Specialized Hardrock, Whats so wrong with it?

MithraMithra Posts: 64
edited January 2009 in MTB buying advice
Hey.

I'm looking to buy a new mountain bike for <£300. I've been looking around and found several different bikes, but have always been told not to go for the Specialized Hardrock, although I am attracted to it (probably mostly only because people say its a bad choice, I'm awkward like that :madman: ). What is it thats so wrong that makes people advise against it?

Also, my LBS only sells Giant bikes (its not exactly big), and so the easiest alternative would be to get either a Rincon or Boulder. Are these any good? I know that people recommend the boulder a lot but is the Rincon worth the extra money?

Any advice would be great :)

Posts

  • SikoraSikora Posts: 519
    The older models (pre 2009) are a little on the heavy side. Not sure how the newer frames compare. I wouldn't say there is anything wrong with them though
  • VividVivid Posts: 267
    Nowt wrong with a hardrock.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,682
    They're OK when they're discounted but at RRP they're just not competetive at all unfortunately. That's always been the case but right now it's doubly true
    Uncompromising extremist
  • MithraMithra Posts: 64
    Thanks for the replies guys :). I don't think I really did get across what I meant :P , I know theres nothing particularly 'wrong' with them but I've been told there are much better bikes for the money :D .
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    As above, pre 2009 were overly heavy, and under specced with catastrophic forks fitted. This years are better witj lighter parts, but very XC.

    Still better value out there, and better bikes for rougher trails ie the Vulcan, Kraken, Tyax.
  • toastytoasty Posts: 2,598
    I think the new ones look fantastic, while the spec can be bettered the frame is lovely. Fully butted, hydroformed with all the crazy tubing technology they put into their top models. Specialized do some really good own brand bits too, light tyres, comfy saddles (open to debate I know :P), good grips, wide light bars.

    Besides, if we're purely comparing 2009 (which has got a lot more expensive for most brands), the Mongoose barely outshines it anyway:

    http://www.flcuk.com/Bikes/Sport-Hardtail/P1415S97/Mongoose-Tyax-Comp-Disc-(2009).htm

    The finishing kit will be quite a lot heavier on the mongoose, same forks, same X4 gearing. The only really obvious difference is cheap mechanical discs compared to V brakes, I think I'd go for Vs anyway personally :P

    While the Carreras beat it for component value, they've got much cheaper frames and your warranty is with Halfords instead of the local bike shop :P

    Edit: curious, wonder why that url tag broke, maybe it doesn't like brackets.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I was on about the Tyax Elite, but they have just raised the RRP. Still can be got for just over 300, and has a damped fork unlike the Spesh and Comp.

    Vulcan better than both!
  • toastytoasty Posts: 2,598
    supersonic wrote:
    I was on about the Tyax Elite, but they have just raised the RRP. Still can be got for just over 300, and has a damped fork unlike the Spesh and Comp.

    Vulcan better than both!

    # Lightweight 18" 7005 aluminium frame
    # Suntour XCM 100mm travel fork with adjustable rebound damping and preload, 28mm stanchions
    # 24 speed SRAM SX4 rear mech and triggers
    # Tektro IO mechanical disc brakes, 160mm rotors
    # Truvativ X-Flow chainset and cartridge bottom bracket
    # DDM-1 double wall aluminium disk specific rims on Formula QR hubs
    # Innova 2.3" tyres

    Only just, I'd rather have the decent frame and warranty on the Specialized :P Current RRP on the Vulcan is £350, same gearing, similar standard bits, £10 worth more of fork on the Vulcan, much worse looking frame.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Frame is based on the Fury, very light, and suprisingly supple ride! Fork is excellent, adjustable damping at that price?! Waaaaay better ;-)
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Ha, I see Halfords have done the artifical RRP rise again lol! Hasbeen £299 most of last year!
  • toastytoasty Posts: 2,598
    If I were being pedantic I'd claim tubing design on the Hard Rock is based on the Stumpjumpers, much passed down through the years, same frame as used in the £500 Hard Rocks too obviously. Ore curvy downtube, fully butted and formed, just made out of cheap aluminium (no cheaper than plain 7005 though :P).

    Fantastic what you can pick up for a few hundred these years, back in the day you used to get plain tubes at the bottom, butted front triangles on the mid range and fully butted on the top end. Silly.

    Way better because it's got mech discs and an XCM over an XCF? pfft :P hehe

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/bikes/mountain/product/vulcan-8984

    Oh hang on, some companies do still use plain gauged tubes :twisted:
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Some great buys about, even better last year!

    CRC are knocking out Tora equipped bikes for 300 now.

    Ah, that is the older Vulcan ;-)
  • toastytoasty Posts: 2,598
    supersonic wrote:
    Ah, that is the older Vulcan ;-)

    True, I can't see any reference to the new one being double butted either though, the Kraken is I believe. It mentions it on every listing I've seen.

    Anyway, I'm just backing it up since it was taking so much abuse, it's clearly not leagues behind the pack as it can be compared head to head with a Halfords own brand bike for value. I still genuinely think that frame would be better than the Tyax or Vulcan, the £300 Avalanches had nice frame though :)

    Christ, I'm turning into a GT fanboy as well now :cry:
  • I started out on a 2005 one. Great frame but the complete bike weighs as much as the average bus. Still didn't stop me doing the black run at Glentress on it. Forks are indeed, as mentioned above "catastrophic" ( some might say sh*te). I'm in the process of turning mine into a bash-about fun bike - 60mm raceface stem and hussefelt riser bars have transformed the ride. Soon to add slx double and bash, tora 318s and m575 brakes. You could do far worse as a place to upgrae from...
    Giant Trance X 2010
    Specialized Tricross Sport
    My Dad's old racer
    Trek Marlin 29er 2012
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Toasty wrote:
    supersonic wrote:
    Ah, that is the older Vulcan ;-)

    True, I can't see any reference to the new one being double butted either though, the Kraken is I believe. It mentions it on every listing I've seen.

    Anyway, I'm just backing it up since it was taking so much abuse, it's clearly not leagues behind the pack as it can be compared head to head with a Halfords own brand bike for value. I still genuinely think that frame would be better than the Tyax or Vulcan, the £300 Avalanches had nice frame though :)

    Christ, I'm turning into a GT fanboy as well now :cry:

    Well, we both have the ultimate GT!!!
  • toastytoasty Posts: 2,598
    Indeed, on the plus side, if I carry on posting anti-GT propoganda it's even more damning now! :twisted:

    My one genuine worry with the Hard Rock listed above, the hubs don't look to be disc compatible at a glance. If you wanted to upgrade to hydraulics in the future (which is a massive leap), it might require £70+ or so of new wheels on top of the cost of the brakes. You can often peak up cheap second hand disc wheels on here (or ebay/singletrackworlds forum) though.

    Saying that, I think it genuinely looks like a good deal, even taking that into account.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Yep, non disc, but as you say, if only gonna use Vs are a nice touch as save a big chunk of weight over cheap disc hubs.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,682
    Vulcan has the same frame as the Kraken, which is pretty decent. Don't get too excited about swooshy tubes etc, doesn't actually mean the frame's any good ;)
    Uncompromising extremist
  • toastytoasty Posts: 2,598
    It doesn't mean it's bad either. Fully butted on the other hand means it's not cheap tubing :? Specialized* have been around for ages and make some pretty impressive frames, check out how often the Pitch or Rockhopper are recommended. Not too sure what they were thinking with the old Hard Rocks though, at least the technology has finally passed down.

    Copying direct from the Halfords website:

    Vulcan
    Lightweight 20" 7005 aluminium frame

    Kraken
    Lightweight 20" 7005 aluminium frame with double butted main frame tube

    Main frame also used to mean 3 front triangles, not the stays.

    *quite literally, the Stumpjumper was one of the first commercially available mountain bikes.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,682
    Hmm. That's interesting actually, I've had the frames side by side and externally they're identical, and they weigh roughly the same (ie, close enough to be weighing error) but of course that doesn't have to mean the tubes are exactly the same. So it could be i'm off there, everything does point at them being the same apart from that mind.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • toastytoasty Posts: 2,598
    Yeah, it'll be the same factory, same welding, same geometry, with different bits chucked in I bet. The Fury looks a bit different, reinforcements etc. It's described as:

    Ultra light 7005 20" aluminium frame with double butted main tubes

    Not sure what makes it ultra light, sounds like it's the same tubing as the Kraken :)
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    fully butted is a funny term, seen it used just to mean one tube, the 3 main ones or all 7! My alu zaskar says custom butted main tubes and stays.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,682
    Fury is a very different frame though, feels it to ride... Nice twangy flex in the stays, unlike the kraken which is pretty much like riding a girder :lol: Which isn't so bad, if you like that. Vulcan with a 120mm in it rides exactly like a Kraken.

    TBH at this level, you need to do a lot wrong with the frame before it becomes a point of attention, it's easy enough to make a competent frame to hang all the other inexpensive parts off that won't embarass the rest of it. The forks are almost always the limiting factor. I had a Tora 130mm in my Kraken and it'd put much more expensive bikes to shame- £350 for the bike, £100 for the fork and £50 for tyres that don't SUCK and it'll hold its own beside anything in that price range. But still, it lacked the confidence of my Scandal, nothing like as good in the descents.

    So, assuming the frame doesn't just totally fail, the supporting parts are where these bikes stand or fall. You'll not know the difference between an amazing frame and a merely adequate frame when it's bolted to a cheap suntour fork and heavy wheels.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • MithraMithra Posts: 64
    Ok well, after checking my bank account today and realising that I have twice the amount I thought I did in there, I'll probably be able to upgrade any bike which I do get (but won't be getting a more expensive bike to start with, long story :P ). Thus, what bike would have the most potential for upgrading? e.g. ability to fit disc brakes etc. I don't know how much a frame can limit how a bike is upgraded but hey, any advice is good :).

    Thanks for all of the replies so far. I don't understand half of the content but there you go :shock: .
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    You can upgrade any frame you like! The hardrock sport has disc mounts, but not disc wheels so would be an extra factor.

    Could be worth getting the best frame you can for the money, but what is best is open to interpretation. On a budget, as a package, the parts often make more difference than the frame.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,682
    Any of those cheap 08 Rockhopper v-brake models still kicking about? That's a top upgrader option, great frame, decent fork... What's the starting budget now?

    I was going to say avoid the Kraken, since it comes with a very decent all-round setup it's difficult to focus the money on specific upgrades. Fork, sure, and pedals and tyres, but after that the spec is all decent with no big hits- X5 drivetrain, hydro brakes etc.

    But then, I realised that this argument ends up going in the direction of getting a Vulcan for £100 less, and having to spend £300 to upgrade it to the same level :lol: At this price point, I know you said you want to buy then upgrade but that's an expensive way to go.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Yes, is a bit of a paradox! You get bikes with a good even spec and they are a censored to upgrade if you want to, but make great packages. While some bikes have a mixture of poor and great parts. May perfrom worse out of the box, but cheaper than the other to upgrade to a better level!

    Check the March WMB for my wise words on the upgrade path ;-)

    /plug/
  • merliemerlie Posts: 276
    I was about to go for the hardrock, but when I thought about it I said to myself "how often do I do out buying myself a bike ?"

    So then after being on the lookout for a while reading loads n loads of forums I went out looking for a Rockhopper 08 disc. I found it after searching high n low.
    Anyway to cut a long stort short I ended up with the 09 comp rockhopper and am very satisfied indeed.

    If you gonna start on the MTB tip - start properly I say. Get as much as you can afford.
    Trouble is once you start - you just keep spending - just got a pair of SPD's - that need pedals - that need cleats. Oh, and you cant go out in jeans and a t-shirt - oh no .....
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,682
    Or, if you go the "buy cheap then upgrade" option, do it with gusto :lol: I started out with a Kraken in about August, bought it used for £200 to see if I could still ride, and if I still enjoyed it. Yes and yes. So I replaced the tyres, and the pedals, and the bars and stem were high and heavy so I replaced those, then I replaced the bar again, then I broke a shifter so fitted an X9, then crashed and destroyed the saddle so got a new one, oh, and a seatpost while I was at it. Then the forks. Then the frame! Then the forks again. Just today replaced the front and rear mechs... And there's an X9 rear shifter in the post.

    So, just ordered wheels, brakes and drivetrain, now I'll have a whole spare bike :lol: But also, because I've bought used and in sales, I'll have a bloody nice bike for a lot less than it'd cost to but something similiar new.
    Uncompromising extremist
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