Posted by Miles Arbour
Although we don’t often share entry-level cross country mountain bikes here on BIKEPACKING.com, Specialized is changing the game with their 2021 Rockhopper lineup. Here’s what they have to say about the new Rockhopper, “Think it’s tough to reinvent a bike with such a long history of proving true trail talent doesn’t have to break the bank? Sure is. It’s why we swung for the fences, resulting in a lightweight, but heavy-hitting bike with huge capability and unrivaled ride quality, whatever the size, no matter the model. One Rockhopper, with versatility and performance for all.”
The 2021 Rockhopper lineup consists of six different models, ranging from just $500 up to $1,125 USD, with size-specific suspension and wheel sizing, in enough colour options to make you dizzy. The $1,125 USD Rockhopper Expert is at the top end with Specialized’s Premium A1 aluminum frame, internally routed cables, and a RockShox Judy fork. It’s designed around SRAM’s affordable SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, 29 x 2.3″ tires, and Shimano Acera-level hydraulic brakes. So, what does $500 get you in 2021? The base-level Rockhopper comes in both a 29″ and 27.5″ wheel option, complete with a coil-spring SR Suntour XCE fork, an 8-speed drivetrain, and mechanical brakes. Of course, this might not be our first recommendation for tackling the Oregon Timber Trail, but for families looking to pick up multiple bikes this summer, the Rockhopper lineup is certainly worth checking out.
Our pick? At $750 USD, the Rockhopper Comp 29er shows a lot of promise. It’s interesting to see a 1×9 MicroShift drivetrain, as well as hydraulic brakes with 180mm rotors, and dropper post compatibility. Not a bad place to start when discovering the joys of trail riding and bikepacking, especially for newer or younger riders. A jump up to the Rockhopper Expert gets you a proper air-fork, a worthwhile upgrade if the budget allows it.
Head over to Specialized.com to see the entire Rockhopper lineup.