Rockhopper returns with a redesigned frame

Specialized Rockhopper
Rockhopper frame has new tube profiles, for better lateral stiffness and ride comfort (Image credit: Specialized)

The Specialized Rockhopper hardtail mountain bike has always been a great value bike and, for the 2021 model year, it becomes a larger range than ever before.

With eight frame sizes, the new portfolio is essentially a rationalisation of the Specialized Rockhopper and Pitch model ranges.  

For both aspiring mountain bikers or those who practice their trail riding within a strict budget, the generous 2021 Rockhopper range has a bike for every possible purpose.

Featuring a redesigned aluminium frameset, with improve tube profiles, the new Rockhopper is available in six sizes, from XS to XXL. Specialized has paired the more compact frames with 27.5-inch wheels, while most of the new Rockhoppers are 29ers.

All Rockhoppers feature tubeless tyres and front fork travel is tailored to size, with smaller frames corresponding with 80mm of suspension and the larger bikes using 100mm. 

Forks are from SR Suntour and RockShox, all featuring air-sprung dampers instead of coil springs. Geometry is a fair compromise between responsiveness and stability, with a 68-degree head angle.

Notable frame details on the new Rockhopper include internal cable routing, dropper post compatibility and a thread bottom bracket, for superior durability in extremely muddy or dusty riding environments.

Aware that some of its Rockhopper customers might use their mountain bikes as a dual-purpose commuter, the new frame has rack and kickstand mounting points. There are a variety of drivetrains too, with 2x options for those who value the smallest jumps, across a broad range of gearing.

Specialized’s Rockhopper Elite is perhaps the best buy among these new value hardtails. It features a RockShox Judy air-sprung front fork, Shimano 1x10 Deore shifting and rear derailleurs, spinning a Sunrace cassette, powered by Stout cranks.  

The Rockhopper Elite rolls Specialized Ground Control tyres, sized 29 x 2.3in, mounted on 25mm internal diameter alloy rims.

For Riders who seek the flexibility of a contemporary 1x12 drivetrain, there is the Rockhopper Expert, equipped with Sram’s SX componentry.

Pricing for the new Rockhopper starts at £379 and extends to £899, for the 12-speed bikes. 

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for, and Cycling News.