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Old 07-19-06, 06:32 AM   #1
gabwey
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1998 Specialized Hardrock for loaded touring

Hi,

I presently own a Specialized Hardrock 1998 MTB, and I plan to do a 5000 km (Vancouver to Montreal) bike trip next summer. I would like to know if this frame would be resistant enough for my tour.
I plan to change the majority of components on the bike and basically keep the frame, fork, headset and bottom bracket.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 07-19-06, 10:32 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if this helps. But I own a 2001 Hardrock with front shocks. I originally bought it for the 600km Columbia Western and Kettle Valley railbeds in BC. I cycled the railbeds with the original knobby tires.

Later I made some modifications by putting on Kenda Kwest 1.5 inch slicks, handlebar extensions, a seatpost shock, a longer handlebar stem to give me a more upright riding position, clamp-on front pannier racks for the shocks, and a few other minor things.

With that configuration I did two small tours in Cuba. Those were about 300km's each with a bit of gravel/dirt here and there. No camping gear. I also did Astoria, Oregon to San Francisco (1400km's). That one was fully loaded with camping gear and the kitchen sink. I found the handling to be surprsingingly stable. I'd probably get rid of the shocks if I use it for touring again. I feel that I was losing some efficiency with them, especially going uphill.

I'm not sure if that relates to the 1998 model at all. But so far the bike has about 4800km's on it and I haven't seen any problems with the frame. I'm not exactly lightweight either.
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Old 07-19-06, 10:58 AM   #3
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HardRocks have a reputation of having a tough (and heavy-ish) frame. If yours is a steel framed one, I'm sure it's a sure bet for loaded touring. I've owned one since 1990 and before I got a tourer a couple of years ago, this bike took everything I threw at it. Here's a pic of a short tour:
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Old 07-19-06, 01:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clayface
HardRocks have a reputation of having a tough (and heavy-ish) frame. If yours is a steel framed one, I'm sure it's a sure bet for loaded touring. I've owned one since 1990 and before I got a tourer a couple of years ago, this bike took everything I threw at it. Here's a pic of a short tour:
Thanks for the asnwer. Is it possible to know the spec (which part you kept and you changed) of your hardrock touring bike?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-19-06, 03:55 PM   #5
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The only thing that remains from the original bike is the frame. The low end Shimano components were very crappy back in those days (plastic and steel that would rust in no time) so I upgraded little by little to XT or LX, buying from LBS (at low prices since I could wait till the parts I needed were being replaced with newer models) or second hand. In the mid 90's Shimano improved the quality of their entry level lines, so if yours has got something in the range of Alivio, Altus or Acera, then it'll be fine. What are the specs of your hardRock?
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Old 07-19-06, 04:43 PM   #6
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If you're gonna upgrade everything, think if a new bike might be more cost effective.
Also, I wouldn't ignore the headset/BB, those ignored parts can become noticed when something bad happens.
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Old 07-19-06, 05:15 PM   #7
gabwey
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Here are the specs I cold gather

Specialized Aheadset
SRAM Gripshift MRX
Specialized aluminum stem
Specialized handlebar
Nimbus EX 26x1.50 tires
Weinmann 26x1.5/559 rims
Shimano Acera front and rear derailleur
Specialized crank 42-32-22
Shimano 7 sp cassette 11-28
Shimano pedals w/ toe clips

It the basic hardrock, I didn't change a thing beside slick tires...
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Old 07-19-06, 09:31 PM   #8
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Damn, I didn't realize that the 98 hardrock was a 7 speed.
Thats gonna cause a few problems. You will probably want some new wheels, and a new rear hub in a 7 speed's gonna be hard to find and not worth it. That means that the frame's gonna need to be spread to fit an 8/9 speed cassette. Given that there are a few hill's you'll want the better gearing 8-9 speed allows. That aslo means a new rear derailluer and shifter. And honestly its not worth it.
If you're gonna do the hardrock, go cheap. Do the wheels only. This is the part that fails the most. Go to your lbs and see what they can do, something with 36 to 48 spokes on a beefy rim. Sun's rhyno lite is bombproof and realitivly affordable. Heavy though. This only applies if the shop can get you a 7 speed hub for that spoke count. Then get the cassette with the lowest gearing possibile, replace the chain and the cables, lube it up and go. Note that replacement parts may be harder to find, but not a huge issue.
Otherwise, you're dropping so much on the bike that a dedicated tourer would make sense.
There's a number of options, the 520 being the one I picked. Whatever you get, you may want to swap the wheels if you're heavy or you'll be carrying a lot of gear.
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Old 07-19-06, 09:46 PM   #9
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If everything is in a good state, I don't see why they shouldn't endure such a tour. The only thing I'd change is the cassette in order to spread the gear ratios (something like 13-32). Also get a new chain, inspect the chainrings and regrease eveything.
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Old 07-19-06, 09:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nm+
Damn, I didn't realize that the 98 hardrock was a 7 speed.
Thats gonna cause a few problems. You will probably want some new wheels, and a new rear hub in a 7 speed's gonna be hard to find and not worth it. That means that the frame's gonna need to be spread to fit an 8/9 speed cassette. Given that there are a few hill's you'll want the better gearing 8-9 speed allows. That aslo means a new rear derailluer and shifter. And honestly its not worth it.
If you're gonna do the hardrock, go cheap. Do the wheels only. This is the part that fails the most. Go to your lbs and see what they can do, something with 36 to 48 spokes on a beefy rim. Sun's rhyno lite is bombproof and realitivly affordable. Heavy though. This only applies if the shop can get you a 7 speed hub for that spoke count. Then get the cassette with the lowest gearing possibile, replace the chain and the cables, lube it up and go. Note that replacement parts may be harder to find, but not a huge issue.
Otherwise, you're dropping so much on the bike that a dedicated tourer would make sense.
There's a number of options, the 520 being the one I picked. Whatever you get, you may want to swap the wheels if you're heavy or you'll be carrying a lot of gear.
Rear OLN dimmesion is the same whether the bike is 7, 8 or 9 speed, so no need to touch the frame. You still can do ok with 7sp, though the ratio gaps will be wider. When I got my Thorn tourer, I went back to 7sp with the HardRock. I still ride it a lot over the hills here and I don't miss it being no more 8sp.
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Old 07-19-06, 09:57 PM   #11
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My bike is a '95 (96?) with 7 speed and the hub spacing is 135mm. Good 36H hubs for 7s are hard to find, which is a shame because there is less dish, but 7s cassette are still easily found. All you have to do is add a spacer to a 8-9s hub and keep your shifters. I use a 12-32 7s Sram cassette (bought at MEC) on my bike and it works like a charm. Derailleurs are STX-RC (original). I wouldn't change a thing on your bike except for the worn out parts.
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Old 07-19-06, 10:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clayface
Rear OLN dimmesion is the same whether the bike is 7, 8 or 9 speed, so no need to touch the frame. You still can do ok with 7sp, though the ratio gaps will be wider. When I got my Thorn tourer, I went back to 7sp with the HardRock. I still ride it a lot over the hills here and I don't miss it being no more 8sp.
Many 7 speed rear hubs are 130mm. Depends on what specialized specs. My 930 was 130mm, needed to be spread for 8 (135mm). I guess he could measure, i guess some later 7 speeds were 135.
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Old 07-20-06, 10:57 AM   #13
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Thanks again for your advice!

Unfortunately, since my bike wasn't ride alot and therefore maintenance was not regularly done on it, I think that buying a new bike will be cheaper than replacing all parts. I just finished a cost approximation for buying parts at Nashbar and jensonusa (cheapest places I found) and I still get a price higher than the complete bike I looked for (Fuji Touring). Also, living in Montreal, Canada, I have to take into account the duty fees and high taxes.

I'm sure building a bike would be a lot more fun, but my budget don't allow me that. Furthermore, since my girlfriend would also need another bike, and she would get a Fuji touring, I would have to bring two sets of tubes and two sets of tires. Therefore, I think I would be better served with two new Fuji touring. I just have to wait for a sale.

Thanks for the trouble.
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