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Specialized are a well known cycling brand. In my personal opinion they produce incredibly stylish products, from top of the range mountain bikes to bags and cycling equipment for a range of sporting activity.
I have had my Specialized Hardrock since I was 14 and needed an upgrade from my previous little girl's Specialized bike. Since then I have fitted it well and rode many many miles on this fab bike. I have the girls version of the bike pictured, though of course it comes in the male version as well. The girls version features a lower crossbar as is typical on a girls bike and it is in a metallic purple shade which is very feminine so it is impossible to get confused between the two!
--Pricing and availability--
My Dad bought this for me as a 14th birthday present from a place called Evans Cycles. I know that certain Specialized bikes are also available at places like halfords and any good bike warehouse. There is also a catalogue online over at www.specialized.com for the newest versions of this bike. This bike cost him approximately £400, I know, I'm spoilt! But these are available second hand on places like eBay or Gumtree, and even if the exact make isn't available then you can get yourself a similar version from this top brand!
--What do I think of the brand?--
I have rode Specialized bikes since I was nine years old, and so I love them and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a decent quality bike. I have only ever had the kids bike and then this ladies mountain bike so cannot comment on the road bikes and town bikes side of things but I know that they are well used amongst amateur cyclists and professional cyclists alike, with the likes of riders from the Tour de France being sponsored by Specialized.
My first Specialized bike was a beautiful metallic pale blue with little daisies and butterflies decorating the frame, so it was a really attractive bike and I was very sorry to see it go when I outgrew it so I would highly recommend this brand for gorgeous kids bikes!
My second Specialized was this bike and it has proved to be very durable and robust, able to weather everything I throw at it with ease.
Here's my analysis in detail of the individual parts of the bike.
This bike has 21 gears which is great for tricky up hill and down hill.
They get squeaky when it rains so you have to keep them well oiled as part of regular bike maintenance.
The tyres are super thick as this is a performance mountain bike designed for off road terrain. The tyres have amazing grip and make it a joy to ride off road. I would say the only drawback is getting to the off road part, as they are not optimised for on road travel, however they work perfectly adequately, but without the speed you would get with a road bike, making it more of a difficult ride on the road.
The handlebars are fairly comfortable to use, only getting rubs after hours and hours of riding. I would recommend wearing gloves on a bike especially in cold weather!
There is ample space for a water bottle on the cross bar and the cross bar is quite low as compared to the male version, which is great for a comfy bike!
The seat can get uncomfortable after a long ride, but it is quite bouncy!
The bike features front and back suspension, making it an excellent choice for cushioning shocks with a suspension system known as "shock absorber" evident on the front of the bike.
This bike very much supports a sitting up riding style, which is fairly comfortable and doesn't strain the back too much for the new or infrequent rider.
--How does it compare with other brands?--
On off road terrain, this bike is a winner and can handle everything well. On road, this bike is far too slow so if you're looking for a road bike, choose one with thinner tyres!
In the Specialized collection you can also get a version of this bike with more features for a little more cash.
Very nice bike, costs a fair bit so take into consideration whether the features are what you're looking for.
The hardrock sport is a great quality bicycle and, for just over £330, you'd be hard pushed to find a better mountain bike for the price. It's comes with a great selection of components from reputable brands and this means it will last and is able to take a hammering. I find the geometry is well suited to most styles of riding, you can take it for a gentle ride to to the shops, or let it loose on some steep stuff, either way it rides well, feels solid and is great fun. I use mine on a daily basis and have never had any major problems besides the usual punctures and maintained issues you get on any bike. It's never going to be the fastest or toughest bike out there but if your looking for something capable of doing most things and has a lot of upgrade potential, this is ideal. The bike as it is is fantastic and if your looking for something to get into the sport of mountain biking, with the option of upgrading components as you need, look no further.
In every industry there is that one special brand that every other brand aspires to be, in the digital world that is Sony, in the biking world that is Specialized. They are not the most specialist piece of equipment on the market, but they are the best for those looking for a top notch bicycle at a reasonable price. Quality being there main marketing stratergy. They certainly have not failed to impress with the latest hardrock, using top notch components such as Shimano and Sram.
When this bike first entered the shop I pleaded and pleaded with my manager to test it so I could give some of the customers genuine feedback about the bike, nothing to do with me wanting to play on it....
Eventually he let in and I got to take the bike home for the weekend (later on purchasing it), and this is what I thought:
First impressions where very good, I am a big fan of the bend in the lower tubing which I think is a very quirky design feature, what the practical benefits are of the bend I could not tell you.
I love the graphics on the bike, it looks really modern and fit in with whether you are taking to the slopes, or just simply cruising around town.
One thing I was not a massive fan of though was the colour matched rims, such a shame as it made the bike look a little tacky.
The bike is very comfortable to ride, the riding position feels just right, as you don't feel you have to overstretch or are crammed onto the bike.
I'm not usually a massive fan of cable disc brakes as I think it is just more things to go wrong, usually just opting for a V-brake, however these are particularly good, and although I am not a complete convert I was more than happy to keep this on the bike.
The tyres offer very good grip and from what I could tell the rims are of good quality and could quite easily handle a bit of punishment.
The front suspension is adjustable allowing you to choose how much is springs back (I choose the stiffest setting I can) and it works very well.
The bike has 21 gears and the changes are nice and fluid making it easy to change gears when having to make lots of changes in different terrain.
The bottom bracket feels solid transferring all your power into turning the cranks.
Starting at £299 you cannot go wrong, it is a lot of bike for the money, and although maybe a little more expensive than some other names it will at last these other bikes by a long way.
Owning the bike for around 3 months now I have had no troubles with it, also have not had any problems with tyre punctures either, which could just be luck....
I would just like to say whenever you are purchasing a bike make sure you take it for a little ride first, although the position may be just right for me, it may not necessarily be the same for you.
The bike gets a big thumbs up. It is easy and comfortable to ride, whether you want it for the daily commute or are looking to be a little more adventurous, you will lose your nerve far before the bike does.
Specialized have long been the brand you can trust, great quality bikes with top notch components for the price. I brought this to replace my 7 year old version that had definitely seen better days! At £400 it was a bargain compared to the £500 I paid for my original and this one has discs!! I would recommend the disc brakes, they are so much more responsive than the traditional version and excellent in the wet.
The frame is nice and light being made of aluminum and if compared to my old model is very comfortable and will be strong. OK the SR Suntour forks are not the best around but they are excellent value for money and provide a nice smooth ride. I took mine across some challenging terrain and the forks ironed out a great deal of lumps and bumps.
There is a mixture of Shimano ranges for the derailleurs, shifters and gears and these seem to work very well together with nice smooth gear shifts across the 24 gears and rapid response for those unexpected moments off road.
The seat is nicely sculptured and comfortable, purists may want to swap for a lighter version but I like the comfort this saddle provides.
Now for an important note - I must stress that these bikes have seemingly become very competitive on price and I'm not too sure if some of the build quality has suffered. All I can do is give my experience and you can decide for yourself. 1st after 2 weeks the right hand pedal arm sheared off the bottom bracket and then after around 6 weeks the left pedal developed an annoying rattle, both issues were sorted by the bike shop on return but after such a short time I wouldn't have expected these issues.
Overall though I am very happy, the bike handles very well off road and on road is enjoyable to ride. The performance is excellent for the money and you could do a lot worse than to invest in this bike.
Originally brought this bike to get back into shape and to cut out all my local journeys which i used my car for, after having this bike for only 2 weeks i have to admit its a fantastic buy. The bike itself is priced generously and the ride is fantastic, wether your riding on the roads or the off road routes this bike will not let you down. The seat will take time getting used to but apart from that the peformance is first class. I have cut down on all my short journeys and look forward for any excuse to get on this bike rather than to drive. The brakes are very responsive, the gears are easy to use, the ride is smooth & the frame is soo light it can be carried with one hand i really cant recommend this bike its perfect for all weather conditions.
I bought this to replace my rubbish Halfords bike. It's actually a Specialized Hardrock Sport 2009.
So anyway I had a budget of £500 and eventually ended up spending £400 and upon request of the shop a free 2mth service and a free helmet (it pays to ask).
So after having a look at some other models and brands such as GT and Giant but although they were a higher spec for lower money they didn't feel right to ride and did not have as good a build quality. So I came to a decision based upon actual components and the Specialized name.
So what do you get for your money? Well a Specialized frame first off, Sram gears and trigger shifters plus SR Suntour front lock-out forks. Oh and you get some 'Fast Track' tires which are ok for light off-road (cycle trails) and some road use but not ideally suited.
So you probably want to know how it rides. It's quite comfy in fact and even though I do use it mostly on the road it is definitely off-road on some of my local cycle paths made up of old tram-ways and mine workings. Suspension wise, if you're doing some serious off-roading with a lot of jumps etc... Then you'll need to replace the forks because I doubt they'd hold up to much. Tires are ideally suited to gravel trails than road or proper off-roading and I classify this bike as a hybrid although this is not strictly true it does do both environments very well.
As a starter bike it is ideal for those who go for a leisurely ride along their local trail. You can use it as a standard rig and then upgrade some parts to get the most out of it such as the forks and tires but if you do any proper off-roading and jumps you will need to buy individual parts and get it custom built for the best experience (it will cost a lot of money).
The standard 'v-brake' (not technically but I can't remember what they call them now) are fine and for what I use them for they stop me in good time, even in the wet. I wouldn't recommend hydraulic brakes for the simple fact that they are so damn expensive.
I think that's everything covered.
I would definitely recommend this bike and if you're starting out its ideal, for more serious work you'll need more money and get something more solid.
This image and title is a little misleading since the specialized hardrock is in fact a group of bikes not a single model. There are five different models in this category:
Sport Disk (hydraulic/cable)
My experience is with the hardrock sport disk (hydraulic) as an entry level Downhill mountain biking and single tracking mountain bike.
First off to do any real off road mountain bike you need to have a REAL mountain bike like this one or better. The Sport disk is considered an entry level mountain bike costing a very reasonable £400, this may seem a lot to non bikers but trust me for a real mountain bike of this quality it is VERY good value for money. It was hard work but I could keep up with other members of my club on £4000 bikes, or at least I could while going downhill, uphill was a bit more of a struggle. In comparison though your typical <£400 bike wouldn't last two hours doing the kind of off rod stuff this bike can do and I know that from experience!
Gears and uphill riding:
This is a 24 speed bike and uphill riding on the road was pretty good, a huge improvement on the more common less serious mountain bikes, but off road you will struggle on the very steep bits to keep up with the much lighter more expensive bikes (the ones that seem to be built from a single feather).
When buying a bike be wary that there are different types of aluminum each with their own strength and weaknesses, this one is built like a tank strength wise so its perfect for more daring stunts (if you change the forks) and beginners who like to go head on.
Right, any serious mountain biker will go ape at me here (my club were shocked when I said this too) unless you are going to ride offroad where you will get mud or water on your wheels then actually top of the range xtr v brakes are better imo. But then again if your cycling off road you will most likely get very very muddy in which case you need disk brakes as they wont decrease in effectives when wet/muddy like v brakes do. You could always upgrade the brakes if you wanted to.
Stock suspension forks:
These are adjustable by simply turning a dial (for hard or soft suspension) and have 150mm of travel so unless yo uare riding north shore or doing big jumps regularly these are perfectly fine. I never used to do more than 5 ft drops but don't recall the suspension bottoming out except once where I had an unexpected drop and hence a bad landing where I landed front wheel first.
Buy a different saddle if you plan to be sitting on it a lot (off road you wont be) but in terms of the frame dimensions Specialized are very good in general and this is no exception.
Its light for a general bike but not compared to competition bikes.
Full specification taken from www.pearsoncycles.com:
SPECIALIZED HARDROCK SPORT DISC 2009
* This fully butted A1 Premium Aluminium frame offers improved fatigue life and comfort in a high performance and lightweight chassis, with a ORE down tube, externally relieved headtube and reinforced disc-brake mount.
* An SR Suntour suspension fork lends 80mm of travel, with external preload adjustment for quick fine-tuning and a mechanical lockout for minimizing power-robbing movement.
* The Specialized 3D-forged alloy stem offers a 10-degree rise for perfect bar positioning.
* A Sram X4 rear derailleur and X4 8-speed trigger shifters allow sure, precise and quick shifts with the flick of a finger.
* The crankset utilises Shimanos Octalink splined bottom-bracket interface for maximum power transfer.
* Specialized Fast Trak LK Sport tyres have a low knob height for efficiency and shoulder knobs for precise cornering.
* The Specialized XC saddle features abrasion-resistant side patches for enhanced durability.
FRAME Specialized A1 Premium Aluminium, fully butted, formed TT, double ORE DT, externally relieved HT, reinforced disc mount, forged dropouts w/ replaceable 98954020 hanger
FORK SR Suntour SF8-XCT-V2, 80mm, 1pc. alloy lower, 28mm Hi-Ten stanchions, 13-15": standard spring, all others: "stiff" spring, coil/mcu spring w/ preload adj., spring assisted seals, disc only
HEADSET Specialized 1-1/8" threadless, loose ball
STEM Specialized 3D forged, 10 degree rise, 25.4mm clamp
HANDLEBARS Specialized alloy, 25mm rise, 640mm wide, 8 degree back sweep, 8 degree up sweep, 3.2mm thick
GRIPS Specialized Enduro, dual compound Kraton, no flange, 131mm
FRONT BRAKE Alloy linear pull, 1pc. pad
REAR BRAKE Alloy linear pull, 1pc. pad
BRAKE LEVERS Specialized linear pull
FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano Altus, 34.9mm clamp
REAR DERAILLEUR SRAM X-4, midcage
SHIFT LEVERS SRAM X-4, 8-speed trigger
CASSETTE SRAM PG-820, 8-speed, 11-32t
CHAIN KMC X8 w/ reusable Missing Link
CRANKSET SR SunTour, Octalink spline
CHAINRINGS 42S x 32S x 22S, replaceable
BOTTOM BRACKET Shimano BB-ES25, Octalink spline, cartridge bearing, 68mm x 113mm
PEDALS Steel cage, composite body, 9/16"
RIMS Specialized RH, 26", pinned, alloy double wall, CNC sidewalls, 32h
FRONT HUB Specialized Hi Lo, forged alloy, double sealed, ground race, 32h
REAR HUB Shimano FH-RM30 forged alloy, cassette, QR, 32h
SPOKES 1.8mm (15g) stainless
FRONT TYRE Specialized Fast Trak LK Sport, 26x2.0", 60TPI, wire bead
REAR TYRE Specialized Fast Trak LK Sport, 26x2.0", 60TPI, wire bead
INNER TUBES Specialized Schrader valve
SADDLE Specialized XC, Body Geometry, 143mm width, front and rear bumpers
SEATPOST Specialized alloy two bolt, no offset, micro adjust, 30.9mm
SEAT BINDER Specialized alloy w/ QR
Available in Flo Red or Satin Black
Christmas is a coming and I wanted something extra special for my son, so I bought this early to make sure I had it in good time. The reason I opted for this model, the Hardrock Sport Disc 2009 was for many reasons. It cost a little under £370.
The first reason I went for this was the brand. A well proven name and I was sure to get better quality than one of those off-the-shelf under a £100 options. It is finished in red, with some nice graphics on it and feel very very solid indeed. A really nicely made bike.
The second reason was that it comes in a 13-inch frame. My son is only 9 years old and is quite big, so a youth or should I say childs bike would be outgrown too quickly. This one, with the saddled down at it lowest is ideal and means there is some growing room. Think about this if you are buying for a 9,10,11 year old. Perhaps the smallest size adult bike will be more suitable.
The SR Suntour SF8-XCT-V2 suspension fork gives 80mm of travel, so is nice to soak up the bumps when you go for a woodland or track ride. I avoided full suspension, as at this price it would mean a very heavy and low specification bike. Also, kids like to go fast and a hardtail like this is more appropriate for hacking around the woods.
The Avid BB5, mechanical disc brakes are really effective. It is a shame they are not hydraulic, as the latter is better. For the price though, you cannot expect everything. Although others may say that V-Brakes are every bit as good as the mechanical discs, I have to disagree, these offer much more stopping power and are less prone to failing.
You get a nice specification bike here, that is worth upgrading as parts wear out. Perhaps when the brakes have had it I will put hydraulics on. This is a solid and well performing bike. Spend a little more if you can and avoid those cheap bikes this Christmas.