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Upgrading a rockhopper, best bang for the buck?

HansRoamingHansRoaming Posts: 41
edited October 2007 in MTB beginners

Recently I bought a Specialized Rockhopper Disc 08 after getting back into biking with my gf and it's providing big grins when we go out.

I've changed the pedals to SPDs which was a transformation as well as swap the tyres to Panaracer Trailrakers for the winter. Am currently upgrading the engine and guidance system right now and loosing lots of £££s worth of mass too from the exercise. :) As I get better and also as my gf is getting a Specialized Era FSR soon I started to wonder what gives the best bang for the buck in terms of upgrading a bike, specifically mine.

The type of riding we do is cross country although we both want to get more into zooming downhill on trails as fast as we can so rather than go extremem lightness I'd like to get lighter but still have some strength there. Looking around the sorts of things I see are that it's generally good to lighten the spinning things first such as wheels and cranks as well as the front forks to an air fork. As a general idea for the price range the Hope pro III with 4.2 rims caught my eye.

Am I on the right track here with my thinking or should I be looking at other things on the bike?

Any thoughts or comments would be much appreciated.

2008 Rockhopper Disc (Silver)
2009 RockShox SID Race forks.
XT Drivetrain
Continental Speed Kings (PR) Traction
Garmin 705 Navigation
Fat bloke on a bike engine


  • jacktheocjacktheoc Posts: 1,556
    you should upgrade as things brake or need upfrading! the biggest difference would be forks-have a look at the rockshox pike range, i have the 454's and thay are excellent forks, i would recommend maxxis high roller tyres i also use them no problems and have superb grip....
  • My Giant XTC was a similar kind of bike to your Rockhopper.

    I have now changed everything,bar the headset and wheels,and my bike is 4lbs lighter than when it left the factory.

    From my own experience,the biggest single improvement to performance,was fitting new forks.

    I went for RS Rebas,and they would work similarly well on your Rockhopper.
    I wouldn't reccomend anything longer than a 100mm travel fork for the Rockhopper,and the Rebas would be ideal.It has to be said though,your Toras are a good performing fork for the money.

    The Rebas gave a huge improvement in,how fast I could tackle rough terrain,steering and general confidence in the bike.Aswell as being tough and reliable they saved 1lb or so off the weight too.A bit more tunable too.

    Tyres make a big difference,but don't make the mistake that some people do and leave a winter tyre on all year round,otherwise you are a carrying a whole load more rotational mass,and extra friction which you don't need,when you are riding on dry or only slightly damp trails.

    After forks,I reckon tyres make the single biggest differnce,so don't skimp on decent rubber,and change tyres to suit condtions.Get some Conti Speedkings for next summer. :wink:

    Wheels are a good uprade,and your suggestion is a good one.As well as being stronger and more reliable than the factory wheels,they will probably be anything from 1/2lb to 1lb lighter.

    I've stuck with my standard Deore hubs with Mavic 317 wheels for now,as they are reliable,but know I could save a bit of weight from these.

    The wheels on the Rockhopper,aren't great considering how good the rest of the spec,is for the money.Even a set of Mavic Crossrides or a set of XT hubs with 717 rims from Merlin would be a big improvement.These would cost around £120.

    A very cheap,but effective weight losing measure is to swap your cassette.I was amazed to discover that a new XT cassette,was 150g lighter than my original,and only cost £30.

    Probably best to wait until the old one wears out though,as you need to replace the chain at the same time.

    Bling bars,stems and seatposts,are nice to have,but from my own experience don't make much of a performance difference.The standard Spesh stuff is perfectly good too.

    Same goes for shifters and mechs,if you have Deore or above.

    The standard kit on the Rockhopper,though is pretty goood for this level of bike,and things like the Shimano Octalink bottom bracket,is good and reliable.

    Don't go too mad on the upgrading,though as a complte bike is always a better long term option.

    (Says me!)
    2006 Giant XTC
    2010 Giant Defy Advanced
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
    2016 Pinnacle Lithium 4
    2017 Canondale Supersix Evo
  • Thanks for the replies, lots of good stuff in them.
    2008 Rockhopper Disc (Silver)
    2009 RockShox SID Race forks.
    XT Drivetrain
    Continental Speed Kings (PR) Traction
    Garmin 705 Navigation
    Fat bloke on a bike engine
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