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Next bike, Hardrock comparisons

Old 06-27-16, 03:40 AM
  #1  
dabigboy
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Next bike, Hardrock comparisons

Hi all,

First I want to say thanks again to everyone who responded a few months ago when I was acquiring bikes for me and my wife. Went with the advice here and did NOT sink a bunch of money into my Craigslist-special GT Saddleback. I haven't posted here since, but we ended up with two kiddie trailers (more CL specials!) and have actually been riding quite a bit, with our kids in the trailers. We are loving it! What a great family activity, plus it's one of the few forms of exercise I actually enjoy.

As it happens, our enthusiasm is apparently spreading. Some good friends from church decided to pick up some used bikes so they can ride with us. One is a new'ish (less than 10 years, I'm guessing) Specialized Hardrock. He let me take it for a spin the other day, and WOW, what a difference from my Saddleback! I didn't think I had the riding experience to really tell minor differences in handling, balance, efficiency, etc, but it's more obvious than I figured. The Hardrock felt like it was going to shoot out from under me when I put some power into it (well, not literally, but it seemed like I didn't need to pedal very hard to really make it scoot). Handling felt more crisp and sensitive, if that makes sense.

So, I'm now in the bike market again. What I'm wondering is, how does the Hardrock rate in comparison to other bikes in its class? For instance, a Hardrock vs a late model Trek 820 or a Haro VGF V-2 (two types currently for sale in my local CL)?

I'm 6'1", 225lbs, and my Saddleback (as well as my friend's Hardrock) has a 17" frame. I think this might be a little on the small side for me. Here's the Haro I found locally, has a slightly bigger frame. I'm thinking of giving him a call, but I'd like some feedback first:

Haro Mountain bike VGF. V-2

The only thing I wasn't crazy about with the Hardrock was how quickly I topped out in high gear......I suspect it's probably close to the gearing on my Saddleback, but the Hardrock was probably just easier to get up to that speed! Might not be a factor with most of our riding, since I'm usually towing the kids.

Matt
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Old 06-27-16, 10:55 PM
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Canker
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For $125 you can't go wrong with that Haro. I haven't bothered to look up the specs but just having a Rockshox Dart 2 fork on it is enough to tell me it is a decently speced entry level bike. Still need to make sure the drivetrain is in decent shape but judging by the pics it looks clean
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Old 06-27-16, 11:30 PM
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Do you really want a bike with suspension? Shocks and springs add weight, and unless you flip the lever to lock the suspension in place, some of your pedaling effort is used to compress and decompress the shock with each revolution.

Did your friends Hardrocks have suspensions? The current ones do, but I don't think Hardrocks had suspension in the 90s.
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Old 06-28-16, 06:16 AM
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Tough to kind of see where you're going -- there's a big difference in price in a new Hardrock and the bike you listed from Craigslist.

Personally, I think getting a Hardrock depends on the type of riding you do. I think that if you plan to do mainly leisurely cruising on gravel roads, some singletrack at a 'normal' pace, and maybe connecting a few trails by way of road, the Hardrock is a great bike.

I think you'll only find two main complaints with the hardrock -- one being the front fork not being a 'super downhill' setup (which you can easily remedy with the suntour upgrade program), and two being the weight of the bike. Mine weighs 34 pounds, so it's kind of heavy. I looked at a lot of bikes, and they all seem to come with a similar front fork. My original plans were to upgrade through the suntour upgrade program, but after riding on the stock fork for a few weeks, I'm very happy with how light it is and the 80mm in travel. I decided against it entirely because I like the feel of the stock setup...but again, it fits *my* needs for what I use the bike for (off day casual cruising, and medium-high sustained efforts).

I find the Hardrock to be much more bike than what I need it for. Typically the people I ride with have cyclocross / gravel bikes on the gravel/towpaths we go on (on non-road days) and I have no problems keeping up at all. I quite enjoy the extra suspension and the 29x2.0 tires because I can ride over things carefree that they have to avoid. I have gone to the singletrack and have no issues with the bike's performance. I find the shifting to be buttery smooth in fact. The frame itself is pretty much bulletproof. I have no issues keeping up with people either...it's like once you get the 29 knobbies rolling, they just keep rolling.

When you topped out in high gear, what surface were you on? I find the gearing more than ample when I do a short stretch of road (1 mile and level).
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Old 06-29-16, 12:33 AM
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Well, after some further research, I realized the Hardrock from one year to the next could be quite a different bike at times. It would probably be helpful if I'd posted a pic of his bike....I found a stock image online that I believe is the same bike:

https://knowyourbike.com/img/bike/30...b6fa66cbbb.jpg

So, it did have front suspension, but also had 26" wheels. Deapee, I wonder if the 29" wheel size on your newer Hardrock contributes to a better top-end? I was on a very smooth, level road, but I'm also woefully out of shape (granted, I was pedaling pretty hard...under normal riding, the gearing would probably be fine).

On the front suspension question, I haven't ridden a solid fork yet enough to really know how I'd like it, but there are some rough roads around my house. Despite the very low-quality fork on my GT, I've found I do appreciate the added cushion it provides if I come across something I can't really go around.

It's worth mentioning that the Dart fork on the Haro seems to be an upgrade....looks like the VFG V2 came with a Suntour of some sort. Canker, would that change your opinion of the Haro?'

Matt
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Old 06-29-16, 09:48 AM
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I've got a Hardrock, like the 02 in the photo. In general they are solid, unpretentious, adaptable bikes, and like the Trek 820 they are the epitome of good enough. The biggest complaint you could make about it is the suspension fork, which has no damping and weighs a lot. For a while I also used it for towing and commuting and it was great at that. I just topped out the preload in the fork. LAter when I took it back to MTB, my upgrade was to a better suspension fork, not a lighter rigid fork, and some really nice tires. Since mine was made, the model has been made a little crappier with Tourney components and a less-durable freewheel rather than stronger freehub-cassette at the back, to keep its price tag low. Aside from the lower quality, the freewheel also gives it a lower top gear. If you are mountain biking, you should probably be more interested in the bottom gear, which is completely sufficient. The 2016 equivalent model to my 2002 Hardrock, with Acera-level derailleurs and trigger shifting, and a 24-speed freehub drivetrain, is the Pitch.
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Old 06-29-16, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dabigboy View Post

It's worth mentioning that the Dart fork on the Haro seems to be an upgrade....looks like the VFG V2 came with a Suntour of some sort. Canker, would that change your opinion of the Haro?'

Matt
Not really at $125
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