Probably the best-value traditional mountain bike you can buy, and we’re not talking about a low-budget brand here – this is a Specialized through and through, and possibly your best entry into mountain biking, period. No-nonsense, reliable components fitted to a tough, lightweight aluminium frame, rolling on traditional 26inch wheels, this is a great off-road bike at a hard-to-believe price.
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The Specialized Hardrock Disc. Yours to ride for less than £400![/caption]
It rides as it should; hard and fast, limited only by your fitness and bravery. The 26inch wheels make for surprising acceleration and you find yourself up to speed in no time, shifting through the gears while the Hardrock paws at the air, scrambling forward like a bloodhound on the trail of a scent. This bike is immediate fun and is flickable and agile, transporting you back to the old days of mountain bike riding, when all you needed were chunky tyres, a tough frame and bit of suspension up front. You’ll fly past bigger, fully-suspended bikes on the technical trails and out-ride those on on any other sub £400 bikes. This is what mountain biking is all about.
FRAME AND FORK
Specialized’s A1 Premium Aluminium frame is a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin piece of hardware, with no frills and complicated mechanics, such as swing-arms and pivots; this is a tried and tested, lightweight hardtail tubeset design in 6061 alloy, with a tough ORE downtube and featuring reinforced dropouts. It’s hard to believe this bike costs just £400 just looking at the frame alone, with its bright red and typically durable paint.
Up front, Suntour forks soak up the worst of the bumps and they’re adjustable for preload, too, so you can fine tune for the type of surface you ride on. You only get 80mm of travel but this isn’t an all-mountain bike so that’s plenty for your local woods and kerb-popping through the streets.
Despite the price, you still get a good quality Shimano drivetrain with an 8 speed cassette on the rear and a compact triple chainset up front, giving the full complement of 24 gears making this a very capable bike in most conditions. You also get superb attention to detail with all Specialized bikes and the Hardrock is no exception, featuring a far better finishing kit than you normally find on bikes at this price point. The contoured, double padded saddle offers the same level of comfort afforded by Specialized’s bigger, more expensive bikes. And the Body Geometry grips are ergonomically tapered for a better, more comfortable grip. Own-branded, chunky Fast Trak Sport tyres give reassuring traction off the beaten trail but are still a fast rolling tyre, well suited to the smaller wheels of these traditional size bikes, and make for a sprightly, nimble ride. And of course, hence the name, braking is taken care of with Tektro mechanical disc brakes with a 160mm rotor front and rear. All in all, you get more than your money’s worth with the Hardrock Disc
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The Specialized HArdrock Disc is also available in Black[/caption]
Anyone looking to buy their first mountain bike would be hard pushed to find better value and a more suitable bike than the Hardrock Disc, with its traditional 26inch wheel size placing emphasis on control and agility over outright speed. Shorter riders will also find themselves well matched to the Hardrock, with its angled top tube allowing a much lower seat height. Even riders who've had full-suspension bikes before but just want a simple off-road set of wheels that’s cheap and easy to maintain and is always ready for impromptu days in the dirt.
A no-nonsense, entry-level mountain bike for those who just want to ride and want a reliable, agile machine that’s easy to look after and won’t break the bank. You can’t go wrong at this price.
SPECIALIZED HARDROCK DISC 2013 FRAME GEOMETRY
SPECIALIZED HARDROCK DISC 2013 – FULL SPECIFICATION
- Colours: Black/Charcoal/White, Red/Black/White
- Sizes: 13”, 15.5”, 17.5”, 19”, 21”
- Frame: Specialized A1 Premium Aluminium 26", 6061 alloy, ORE downtube, externally relieved headtube, forged dropouts and reinforced disc mount, alloy replaceable derailleur hanger
- Fork: SR Suntour SF13-XCT 26", coil/MCU spring, 1-1/8" steel steerer, preload adj., 28mm steel stanchions, disc only lowers, 80mm travel
- Front Hub: Alloy disc hub, double sealed loose bearing, steel axle, QR, 32h
- Rear Hub: Alloy disc hub, double sealed loose bearing, steel axle, steel cassette body, QR, 32h
- Rims: HR Disc, 26", alloy double-wall, disc, pin joint, 25mm, 32h
- Spokes: Stainless, 2.0mm (14g)
- Front Tyre: Specialized Fast Trak Sport, 26"x2.0", wire bead, 40TPI
- Rear Tyre: Specialized Fast Trak Sport, 26"x2.0", wire bead, 40TPI
- Shifters: Shimano ST-EF51, 8-speed, trigger and integrated brake lever
- Front Derailleur: Shimano Tourney, 7/8-speed, 34.9mm clamp, top-swing, dual-pull
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Altus, 8-speed, SGS Cage
- Chainset: Alloy, 8-speed, square taper spindle 42/34/24
- Cassette: Sunrace, 8-speed cassette, 11-34
- Chain: KMC X-8, 8-speed w/ reusable Missing Link
- Bottom Bracket: Square taper, cartridge bearing, 68mm shell
- Front Brake: Tektro NOVELA, mechanical disc, dual pad angle adjustment, 160mm rotor
- Rear Brake: Tektro NOVELA, mechanical disc, dual pad angle adjustment, 160mm rotor
- Saddle: Specialized BodyGeometry Hardrock, steel rails, 143mm width
- Seat Post: Alloy two bolt, 12.5mm offset, micro adjust, 30.9mm, 350mm or 400mm
- Handlebars: Hi-Ten riser bar, 620mm & 640mm wide, 35mm rise, 8º backsweep, 4º upsweep, 25.4mm
- Grips: Specialized BodyGeometry XCT, Kraton w/ gel, 132mm
- Stem: Alloy, 4 bolt clamp, 10º rise, 25.4mm
- Headset: 1-1/8" threadless, loose ball
- Pedals: Composite platform, w/ reflectors, 9/16"
- Extras: chainstay protector, reflectors, clear coat, owners manual