So this story goes that sometime way back in the early 90’s, this guy who had done a lot of road riding in his life decided, that he, with a couple of his friends, should try this new craze called mountain biking. That guy was me and I was dirt poor, but I knew enough about bikes to know that I had to go to a real bike shop. I can’t remember all the details but I am pretty sure this Specialized Hardrock was purchased at Gregg’s Bicycle store in Bellevue, WA. I couldn’t afford a Stumpjumper, nor apparently a better color scheme.
I rode the crap out of this bike, replacing things as they wore out; tires, derailleur, shifters, brakes, seat, eventually went to Scott suspension forks. One day I ran across a guy with more money than brains who was stripping an almost brand new M2 Stumpjumper so he could put all of those parts on a Cannonade frame. Guess who bought that guy’s Stumpjumper frame, stripped his Hardrock moving all the parts he could over to said Stumpjumper or FrankenJumper as I now refer to that bike? I guess I had enough sense, or more likely too poor, to throw away the original parts as well as upgrades as I upgraded the Stumpjumper. This was the time span when index shifting was kind of newish as were V-brakes, and shocks. Who knows when you’ll need spares?
Last weekend I was cleaning up my parts bin and decided to pull down the Hardrock frame and see if I had enough pieces to put the thing back on the trail. Not everything I came up with was original showroom, many were upgrades or upgrades to upgrades, but I did manage to put together a rideable bike. The Hardrock I assembled was a snapshot of the bike after I upgraded to Suntour XC pro shifters and derailleur, but before V-brakes and my Scott Unishock.
I cautiously took it on a 10 mile flat path gravel ride without problems, so the next day I hit a few real trails where I found out all of the mistakes I made like realizing that I put the smaller chainring on when the crankset was on the Stumpjumper and now that it is back on the Hardrock the front derailleur cage hits the rear stay so no granny climbing gears. I also realized that the narrow stock handlebars transmit a lot of shock back through the ridged front end right into my neck, where I still have a headache. I compensated by airing down the tires and had a fun nostalgia ride around the lowlands of Galbraith. I’ll make a few fixes and try this again. Glad I didn’t throw all this “old crap” away.
Have ridden a few more times around the Pigs, Pony Express and some of the Bunny trails on Galbraith. My take aways: the Hardrock bike is lighter than I remember and with aired down tires the Hardrock is a comfortable and capable ride on cross country trails. Had I never run into the Stumpjumper frame I could have been very happy riding this bike for several more years. I also was thinking about the comparison between this and that similar vintage Schwinn Sierra that I had for a bit. I did a mental comparison as I rode about last weekend and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I liked the Schwinn better for more than just feeling like the Schwinn’s frame was a little better fit for me. The Hardrock’s bars were kind of narrow and pretty straight while the wider bars on the Sierra also had some rise as well as some pullback angle that just made them fit nicer. I do think the Shimano geared Sierra out performed the Hardrock’s Suntour gears, something that I would have never given into back in the day.