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Follow the Dog - Is my bike up to it?

rockhop2010rockhop2010 Posts: 11
edited January 2010 in MTB beginners
I have only recently got into Mountain Biking and before purchasing my bike considered the type of riding I would be doing, which was on and off road but mainly trails. I decided to buy a Specialized Rockhopper SL 2010 (hardtail) for £700 as a starter bike.

However, my more experienced mate who rides a £3000+ Full Susser Cannondale suggested we go to Cannock Chase and "Follow the Dog", which I did last week.

Firstly, it was clear that the Specialized Fast trak Lk Sport tyres (26x2.0) are not up to the job in this weather. Any suggestions for a tried and tested tyre for this trail and to suit my bike??

Secondly, this course gives your bike a right hammering, as a novice I have no idea whether my relatively low budget low entry bike is up to this sort of treatment. I have already buckled a wheel (appreciate this probably par for the course) and after the "Chainslapper" have now developed all sorts of clicks and rattles.

Could anyone advise me whether I have wasted my money on my bike to use at Cannock or whether this is a perfectly suitable starter bike for the terrain and will serve a purpose!

Many thanks


  • jairajjairaj Posts: 3,009
    The Specialized Rockhopper is a proper mid range mountain bike. It is far from being a budget bike and more than up the job of follow the dog. So be assured the bike is good.

    About the wheel are you a particularly heavy person? maybe stronger wheels are needed.

    And about the clicks and rattles, bikes do develop these but they also require regular maintenance to reduce these. Check all the bolts are done up correctly and have a look on the Park tools website I think they have section on tracking down noises from the bike.
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    Your bike is fine for FtD. A FS bike makes it easier but as your technique improves you will find it's not necessary.

    On the subject of tyres, at this time of year the loose wet pebbles on the surface of FtD can be a headache but Maxxis Advantage work pretty good.
  • Thanks Jairaj,

    I'm 6ft and just under 14 stone so not particularly heavy for the bike, thanks for the website suggestion for the rattles etc, feel that the concern was more whether the bike is suited to "follow the dog".

    Thanks blitz,

    The Maxxis advantage seems to be a good option.

    Many thanks
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    Nice bike, and more than good enough for FtD! As others have said things do get loose and need tightening, and obviously while actually riding stuff like the chainslapper section (which seemed much worse yesterday than even a few weeks ago) there'll be all sorts of noise.

    One tip is to get a chainstay protector if you don't already have one!
  • got some brand new advantages for sale in the classifieds :wink:
  • Cheers MrChuck,

    Seems that the general concensus is that my bike's up to it.

    Will take your advice and invest in chainstay protector. I had heard "Chainslapper" was a bit challenging yesterday! Enjoy.

    Many thanjs
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    edited January 2010
    I decided to buy a Specialized Rockhopper SL 2010 (hardtail) for £700 as a starter bike.

    As a novice I have no idea whether my relatively low budget low entry bike is up to this sort of treatment.
    Your bike is neither entry level, nor 'starter'. Get out there and ride it. 8)

    There is an awful lot of censored spouted these days about needing certain kinds of bikes for certain terrain. It's largely bollox. I have heard people say that you need FS for a trail like Whites Level or that you can't ride say Cwmcarn on a HT. Like I said - largely bollox.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • Thanks
  • AlexAlex Posts: 2,086
    I have not read your post or any replies, but yes, your bike is up to FTD. Any bike is up to FTD.
  • I do FtD on a regular basis with a few friends, none of us use full suss, we all have HT's. Your bike is perfect for the trail, including the tougher stuff, I manage ok on a carbon xc bike with no problems, so you'll be just fine.
    Ridley Orion
  • Alex wrote:
    I have not read your post or any replies, but yes, your bike is up to FTD. Any bike is up to FTD.

    same as this

    My 10 year old has done all of Ftd in the wet on a cheap Ht with no probs
    On One Inbred 456
    On One Inbred SS
  • biff55biff55 Posts: 1,404
    this sort of post highlights the bike magazine elitism / marketing guff / trail centre snobbery
    awash in the bike world.
    poor guy spends 700 quid on a decent bike and already got an inferiority complex about
    its ability after a few weeks
    put it this way , my felt cost £350 yet i know that i can wipe the floor with 99% of the
    fat f*ckers on 2 grand bikes on the hill climbs .
    being fast , fit and agile means everything.
    having carbon seat post and 8 inch suspension means f*ck all.
  • RansakaRansaka Posts: 474
    This is something I wondered about.

    I have a Kona Firemountain, cheap in terms of hardtail bikes and I was worried that perhaps it can't do things that others can without breaking but so far I've had no problems. I've thrown it around off road, uphill, downhill and it's still in one piece and that's with it having to carry tubby me around on it.

    The only thing I have discovered is that upgrading from mechanical to hydraulic disc brakes is the next thing I must do as they just don't stop fat people who are going downhill too fast quickly enough!
    In my limited experience it's skill that tackles the trails not the bike. I just need the skills and less weight now :D
  • KiblamsKiblams Posts: 2,423
    I bought a Pinnacle source 1.0 (£200) shoved some Deore drivetrain and Avid BB5s on it. Oh and replaced replaced the suspension with a Surly (very unforgiving) rigid fork.

    I regularly ride FtD on my rigid bike and at 16st (me not the bike :wink: )I have not had an issue, except for bending my handlbars on my first time there bombing off the end of the first boardwalk :oops: but that was my own stupid fault. Point is; if my heap can manage it on a weekly basis, yours definatly can!

    Just ensure that you clean all the grit (esp. the sand from cannock) off it and keep it well maintained (lube her up) and you will be more than fine on any £700 MTB :D
  • Not too long ago the only bikes I'd ridden off road were fully rigid, with ickle wheels and called BMXs...

    I agree with the other posters, your bike is fine. I've got round the Afan trails several times this year on a Boardman Comp. I would like a Pitch Pro (please Father Christmas) - doesn't mean I need one though.

    There are limits though - I wouldn't fancy Cwncarn downhill course on it. That's not to say the bike wouldn't get down. I rather doubt I would be attached to it...
    He flies through the air
    With the greatest of ease
    The wee flying Shep
    Heading straight for the trees
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    theweeshep wrote:
    That's not to say the bike wouldn't get down. I rather doubt I would be attached to it...
    A man of your skill? Surely not. 8)
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • :lol:

    Man and skill, words I've heard, but not applied to me..!

    I blame my tyres
    He flies through the air
    With the greatest of ease
    The wee flying Shep
    Heading straight for the trees
  • BigJimmyBBigJimmyB Posts: 1,302
    I saw a dude ride The Wall on a SS Hardtail - Nutter!
    So, it shows, it ain't always the bike....

    Your bike is fine, you just need to get used to handling it in a different way from a FS bike.

    Keep riding and enjoying buddy.

  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    I have great fun chasing people on £2k full sussers on my Boardman HT on Follow The Dog. My mate does fine on his old Cannondale with the Headshock (less than 80mm travel, I'm pretty sure). Your bike is ideal, you really don't need an FS on FTD in it's current state, don't know what phase 2 will be like though.

    A lot of it will come down to technique, especially on the Chainslapper, because of the braking bumps as much as anything, just look ahead and pick out the smoothest line down the trail.

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • KiblamsKiblams Posts: 2,423
    I love doing the chainslapper with no brakes, really losens up the muscles; it's like a mini massage to limber up before the sand climb :D

    My wrists have even stopped hurting now so it's just pure gnarly (Yes I said gnarly) fun. I'm eager to see if phase two will make me want my Toras back :?

    If I ever spend £700 on a bike I will want it to be capable of just about everthing but DH! and I am pretty sure that your bike is...
  • CycloRosCycloRos Posts: 579
    700 sheets, a cheap hardtail! I don't know *shakes head disapprovingly*

    It's the rider not the bike that makes the difference, so don't let any media hype convince you otherwise!

    Yes adding suspension adds comfort and usually speed, doesn't make it anymore fun though and a decent HT with a skilled rider can be just as quick.
    Current Rides -
    Charge Cooker, Ragley mmmBop, Haro Mary SS 29er
  • That bike is easily good enough...i have a rockhopper and gone on far more demanding trails. As for tyres ishifted mine for winter riding and thanks to recommendations on the forums I used a maxxis High roller on the front and a maxxis adventage on the back for penmachno/Marin and they worked brilliantly and filled me with confidence.....
  • Follow the dog is so smooth and flat with 0 real descents i would say the trail favours hard tails over FS set upis massively...

    And Jimmy you want crazy, should hae seent he single speed fully rigid nutter at cwm carn this year.. It was early seasonw hen it was proper rocky after the winter.. dude was a legend! though he moaned he could no longer feel his hands or his....
  • Last weekend I was at Cannock as it's our local trail, FtD is a very easy trail where I think your fitness will make more difference than what bike you ride.

    That said I agree with some of the earlier posts about it being hard tail freindly :D. Then again my Hard tail has no issues at Coed y Brenin either.

    You'll have no issues with FtD with your Spec! :D
  • mac_manmac_man Posts: 918
    The tyres ARE pretty shoit in the shoit though..... :-)

    But the Rock is a nice bike. My son has the entry level 09 model with a dart 3 fork (and he loves it)... so yours should be a lot better.

    Haven't done FtD but there's more than enough rough stuff round Calderdale (where we live) to test the Rock... and it copes just fine.

    Enjoy it!!!

    I guess an upgrade to the fork might be worthwhile at some point... but not the whole bike, unless your desperate for a FS.
    Cool, retro and sometimes downright rude MTB and cycling themed T shirts. Just MTFU.

    By day:
  • joshtpjoshtp Posts: 3,966
    your bike is more than up to the job of FtD, but fitting some new tyrs wil help with more than just grip, try and get the the biggest tyre's you can fit in the bike, esp on the back, i run a 2.5 highroller, it will add so much more cussioning to the ride, the big air chambre will mean you can run lower pressures (i run 25psi) which ads comfort and grip.
    also technique will improve with time, its amazing how much difference technique makes to how much the trail battersd you, i used to get pounded on rocky trails, but my technique has improved and i can now blast through the roughest rock gardns as fast as any of my FS riding mates, and i barely notice it....
    I like bikes and stuff
  • richg1979richg1979 Posts: 1,087
    ive seen someone do ftd on a unicycle so pretty much any bike would cope, there is nothing technical about ftd there just a fast flowing trails
  • scootyscooty Posts: 15
    Hi, thought I would just post a reply seeing as I am the mate that Rockhop 2010 refers to in his first post (!)

    1) Anton......sorry Rockhop 2010, I have told you a million times your bike is perfectly suited to FTD and as a HT is prob better suited to it than mine.
    2) Stop stressing about it and your ridiculously minor buckle and just get riding and enjoying it
    3) I only have a full suss as being originally from the Lakes my preferred type of riding is more All Mountain and sooner or later I hope to move back to god's country where I can really test my bike
    4) I also prefer full suss as my downhilling is pretty toss without it
    5) FTD is an excellent introduction to M'biking as well as being a great area for the more experienced
    6) Your tyres are awful - for your own good please change them and quick
    7) 6ft & 14 stone? .................. :shock:

    Finally (sorry couldn't resist this one) my bike is actually custom built around an Intense Spider 2 and worth closer £4500, this is in the main due to me being pretty sad as well as taking advantage of the cycle to work scheme and various Ebay deals.

    Are we still on for Altura or have you allocated all your spare time over Xmas to stressing about the latest squeek that no one on this planet can hear othjer than you (!).
  • Cheers mate, nice post!

    ps: Def on for Altura.
  • i think your bike is more than upto the task i have ridden the ftd at cannock on my saracen hardtail which cost around £300 - £400 to build from 2nd hand kit and it loved every minute of it!! :D
    CUBE ltd 2012,reba sl, XT, saint, DMR, spank, current xc/am ride

    GIANT boulder, marzzochi EXR, LX/alivio, DMR, spank, retro build
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