Our Reader’s Rig of the week comes from Tommy in Copenhagen, Denmark, who shares his modified 1994 Specialized Rockhopper with disc brakes, a Surly fork, and a thoughtful build kit that blends old and new parts. Learn more about Tommy and his unique Rockhopper here…

Words and photos by Tommy I.

Hi. I’m Tommy. I’m from Copenhagen, Denmark, and this is my 1994 Rockhopper rebuild. Growing up in Copenhagen means biking from a very young age—usually not long after learning to walk. So, I’ve biked to school or work my whole life. As a kid, taking the bus to school was never up for discussion, no matter the weather. I might not have liked my parents very much those mornings, but to this day, I’m thankful I was force-fed cycling culture.

1994 Specialized Rockhopper

I lived in Glasgow for a few years, and during that time, I got into bikepacking and longer rides as I explored the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Riding through the landscape of lochs and hills is some of the most amazing biking I’ve ever done. The Highlands are wild, and the weather gets tough, but I highly recommend it.

Back in Copenhagen, I mostly rode on retro road bikes or some city bike flat bar-conversion, but the trails in the highlands are wet and muddy, and the roads in Glasgow are full of cracks and potholes, so I needed something that could handle a bit of both. Being on a budget (studying at the art school and all), I figured an old mountain bike would be a good starting point, and I was lucky to get my hands on a large-sized frame from Helensburgh, a bit north of Glasgow. It’s quite a bit easier to find cheap mountain bikes in Scotland compared to the flat-ass country of Denmark.

  • 1994 Specialized Rockhopper
  • 1994 Specialized Rockhopper

In the process of moving to Scotland, I found myself in a situation where my cool new 1″ headtube bicycle didn’t fit my just-as-cool 1 ⅛” Surly Troll fork. The Vandal Metalworks helped me out with a bit of an unorthodox solution of welding two cups on the headtube to fit a headset in (raising the bike’s geometry, of course, but who cares about that) and welding on disc brake tabs on at the same go. Amazing guy. Thanks again! Since then, it’s been all fun and games. Day trips and bikepacking in Scotland, Sweden, Poland, etc.

1994 Specialized Rockhopper
  • 1994 Specialized Rockhopper
  • 1994 Specialized Rockhopper, Paul Geno
  • 1994 Specialized Rockhopper
  • Frame: Specialized Rockhopper (1994)
  • Fork: Surly Straggler
  • Rims: Mavic XC 717 Disc 26″
  • Hubs: Shutter Precision SD-8 Dynamo (front) / Hope XC (rear)
  • Tires: Schwalbe Table Top 26 x 2.25″
  • Handlebars: Nitto Albatross
  • Headset: Aerozine 1 1/8″
  • Crankset: White Industries/Sugino
  • Chainring: Stridsland
  • Pedals: Omnium Platform
  • Cassette: Not sure
  • Derailleur(s): Shimano XTR RD-M950
  • Brakes: Shimano hydraulic disc (the squeaky ones)
  • Shifter(s): SunRace SLM96 9-Speed
  • Saddle: Brooks C17
  • Seatpost: Thommyson
  • Stem: Thommyson
  • Frame bags: Blackburn Outpost
  • Rear bags: Swift Industries Zeitgeist
  • Lights: B&M IQ-XS (front) / Supernova E3 Tail Light (rear)
  • Rack and basket: Omnium Front Rack + Wald Basket

In the time I’ve had it, I’ve shopped for bike parts at flea markets, changing bits and bobs. The disc brake conversion just made the old steel frame even more versatile, and swapping forks or wheel sizes is so fun if you are into these types of bikes. It has had quite a few looks throughout the years. These days, it’s sort of a winter/day-trip configuration, which I really enjoy, so it might stay like this for a while. The dynamo light is just amazing heading into the dark winter. The fat tires and mudguards. The rack/basket combination is easy to change depending on the ride. Right now, it’s a large basket to throw in an extra blanket or some cooking gear for the day trip.

1994 Specialized Rockhopper
  • 1994 Specialized Rockhopper, Shimano XTR rear derailleur
  • 1994 Specialized Rockhopper
  • 1994 Specialized Rockhopper

I might change it back to the Surly Troll Fork for longer bikepacking trips. But for now, I really like the look of the Straggler Fork. FYI, it does not clear 2.25″ tires. Don’t buy them unless you are handy with a Dremel. Anyway, it’s an ever-changing, trustworthy, all-round bicycle, and I love it very much. Lastly, I would like to say thanks to Bikes For Good Glasgow and the guys at Omnium shop in Copenhagen; both have helped me out a lot in my weird projects.

  • 1994 Specialized Rockhopper
  • 1994 Specialized Rockhopper, Stridsland chainrng

You can keep up with Tommy on Instagram @tommm_i.

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