A) for someone who usually rides on paved paths through parks etc would it make sense to buy a Specialized Rockhopper Pro disc vs. a Comp disc? Also, what would you say the weight limit is on the Pro Disc/comp disc. I am a little bit over 300lbs right now, I owned a 06 comp disc until it was stolen and i rode it when i was around 285lbs.
I think either bike would be fine for you. And as far as which one you should go with, honestly, they both are great bikes but I don't think you'd notice a huge change in the jump to the pro disc. To be sure, I'd ride both of them and see which you like better ride-wise.
And Specialized makes tough bikes, I have a Hardrock Sport that withstood 700 miles of > 400 pounds of abuse .
Few hard tail mountain bike frames would have any problem holding up a big guy riding on paved trails or off sidewalks. 120 pound kids learning to clear the jumps at the local BMX track put the frame through more of a beating than a 300 pound guy riding through a park.(I watched a 12 year old snap the headtube right off his bike a couple weeks ago) It is usually the wheels that represent the weak point with those of us that don't take to the air that often. Both the Rockhoppers have 32 spoke rims and 15 gauge spokes, if the wheels are well built this should not be an issue for the type of riding you have suggested. I prefer 14 gauge 36 spoke wheels personally but I clumsily do jumps and drops while trying to keep my son in sight so I am hard on wheels.
That said, if you are only riding paved trails it is hard to imagine how either of those bikes is the appropriate choice unless you are considering hitting intermediate level trails at some point in the future. These bikes are both cross country geometry mountain bikes and spec'ed similarily. They are nice bikes but you are paying for the bling factor of a mid range front shock that will be doing little more on a paved trail than making the front of your bike heavy. You will also end up with knobby tires meant for dirt to help slow you up that much more.
If you are a Specialized fan I would suggest that the Cross Trail models are more suited to the paved trail and easy mountain bike trails than either of the Rockhopper models.
2010 Surly LHT (main rider and do-everything bike), 2011 Bike Friday NWT (back-up bike and multi-modal)
They're mountain bikes. Mountain bikes are designed be really tough. Now if you asked this question about full carbon fiber road bikes, then I'd be concerned. But with mountain bikes, have at 'em, dude.
There's a guy that lives in my area with a Hoss, and he's probably pushing 350. I've seem him jumping it at our local off-road park once or twice. About the most hilarious and cringe-inducing thing I've seen in my life.