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What can you tell me about this Specialized Hardrock Ultra?

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What can you tell me about this Specialized Hardrock Ultra?

Old 09-19-21, 06:23 PM
  #1  
Jgfox
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What can you tell me about this Specialized Hardrock Ultra?

I picked up this very friendly looking Specialized frame this weekend. It's in excellent condition and I'm already smitten. What does the community know about these? The previous owner told me it was an early 90s frame.

Two questions: A) What do you know about this model? and B) how should I build it up?

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Old 09-19-21, 06:43 PM
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Looks like it first shows up in the Specialized catalogs in 1993:

https://www.retrobike.co.uk/gallery2...ec_Bikes93.pdf

Lots more catalogs to look through here: https://www.retrobike.co.uk/gallery2...ve/Catalogues/
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Old 09-19-21, 06:46 PM
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Great frame...good luck with the BB. Mine was a horrific battle.

yours is in infinitely better shape than mine.
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Old 09-20-21, 08:42 AM
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The serial number may reveal the identity of the manufacturer and the exact date of manufacture.
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Old 09-20-21, 09:09 AM
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Also, they have quirky drop outs with a limiting curve of metal. It centers the wheel nicely but doesn’t allow a bit more movement back in the drop.

PO filed mine down before sending it on.
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Old 09-21-21, 11:53 AM
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I was just looking at that last night wand wondering what in the world that was! So it's designed so that it can be filed down and used as horizontal dropouts? So strange.

Also, I'm curious about your struggle with the bottom bracket. What was the issue?
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Old 09-21-21, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Jgfox View Post
I was just looking at that last night wand wondering what in the world that was! So it's designed so that it can be filed down and used as horizontal dropouts? So strange.

Also, I'm curious about your struggle with the bottom bracket. What was the issue?
It was horribly fused...those BB cups were composite plastic and susceptible to rusty grit. It about broke my arm removing it.

The dropouts are just strange...I don't think they are meant to be filed. Mine were filed though on one side. I didn't do the other so I could still adjust the centering a bit easier.
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Old 09-21-21, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jgfox View Post
I was just looking at that last night wand wondering what in the world that was! So it's designed so that it can be filed down and used as horizontal dropouts? So strange...
Actually, I believe it is the other way around. The dropout manufacturer took existing tooling for a horizontal dropout and modified it with the addition of a web, to create a dropout with a fixed axle position. For indexed shifting systems to perform optimally, the critical dimension is the chain gap, which is the distance along the chain from the cog point of contact to the point of jockey pulley contact. Changing the axle position in a horizontal dropout can have a detrimental effect on indexed shifting. This was a common problem in the early days of indexing. Consumers would return bicycles, complaining of poor shifting, not realizing that they had created the problem by altering the factory axle position. Consequently, manufacturers eliminated the issue by using vertical or similar dropouts with a fixed axle position, ensuring optimum chain gap and indexed shifting performance.
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Old 09-21-21, 07:02 PM
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i had an early 90's giant perigee pass through my hands with rear dropouts like that. it had exage 300ex equipment. however, i gave it away since it was a crit frame and waaaaay too big for me. i did wonder about those drop outs, though

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Old 09-21-21, 07:09 PM
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Old school MTBs are the bomb. They’re no longer great as mountain bikes as the state of the art has moved on but they make great all around bikes. You can use them for touring, as gravel bikes, commuters, etc. They’re fine on non technical single track.

Bikemig's MTB fleet
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Old 09-22-21, 09:16 AM
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oh that's fascinating, thanks for the background info! so, were rear vertical dropouts a design solution specifically for indexed shifting, or were they already in use and just happened to be a good option?
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Old 09-22-21, 10:37 AM
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The Hardrock was the step-down from the Rockhopper. On the Hardrock, only the three main tubes are chromoly but the rear triangle is hi-ten, and also the level of components was lower on a Hardrock. If you're building it up from scratch it could be a very nice bike. The frame is indestructible and if it fits you it will be a very comfortable ride.
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Old 09-22-21, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese View Post
The Hardrock was the step-down from the Rockhopper. On the Hardrock, only the three main tubes are chromoly but the rear triangle is hi-ten, and also the level of components was lower on a Hardrock. If you're building it up from scratch it could be a very nice bike. The frame is indestructible and if it fits you it will be a very comfortable ride.
Of all of the Jumpers, Hoppers, Stompers and Rocks, I actually like the feel of the Hardrock best. Stumpjumpers are obviously the gold standard, but I always liked how the Rocks feel very quick on pavement, but able to hit the trails, even those with some "rockiness".

Last edited by jdawginsc; 09-22-21 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 09-22-21, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Jgfox View Post
oh that's fascinating, thanks for the background info! so, were rear vertical dropouts a design solution specifically for indexed shifting, or were they already in use and just happened to be a good option?
Vertical dropouts pre-date indexing. They were popular on grand touring bicycles to prevent wheel shifting under high load and high torque situations. Conversely, they were also popular on some ultra short chainstay bicycles. The manufacturers simply realized that vertical dropouts were a ready made solution for indexing chain gap woes.
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Old 09-22-21, 04:28 PM
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I have the same bike in the same colorway. Love that fade.
Waiting for outside temps to cool before I start the caustic soda approach on the stuck seatpost and possibly the headset. It was $20 so if I screw up it’s no big loss.
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Old 09-22-21, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Old school MTBs are the bomb. They’re no longer great as mountain bikes as the state of the art has moved on but they make great all around bikes. You can use them for touring, as gravel bikes, commuters, etc. They’re fine on non technical single track.

Bikemig's MTB fleet

And they're still wonderful on the trails if you're a non-serious mountain biker, or primarily a roadie who goes out once in a while. Had a Gary Fisher that looked a lot like that for years, selling it was one of my stupider moves I've made in the bicycle hobby. Especially after I discovered I hated the more modern Fuji that I built to replace it.
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