A 29″ aluminum frame hardtail crosscountry bike with upper mid-range components.
|Drivetrain||1 × 10|
For This Bike
Based on build material and quality level of the frame, fork, wheelset, groupset, suspension system, and more. Learn more →
Jim BlandOct 2022
Specialized’s Rockhopper Elite 29 brings a remarkably smooth ride, but certain specification choices limit its full potential
Alan MuldoonAug 2022
The Specialized Rockhopper is a stalwart of the hardtail world, and the 29in version is well designed with an impressive spec list that almost places it amongst the best hardtail mountain bikes but for a few elements that take the edge off its otherwise great performance. Specialized Rockhopper Elite 29 need to know: Shimano Deore clutch derailleur and full length rubber chainstay protector minimise chain slap Don’t like sage green? Specialized offers the Rockhopper in three colourways Shimano hydraulic brakes offer a one-finger lever action With a massive 11-51t cassette, the Rockhopper is perfectly geared for climbing Frame At 13.2kg, the 2022 Specialized Rockhopper Elite 29 isn’t just the lightest bike in the shop bought category of our Hardtail of the Year test; it’s also the lightest bike in the overall test. The sleek A1 Premium aluminium frame definitely helps shift the scale in the right direction, but the lightweight wheels, specifically the rear, are what really gives the Rockhopper an advantage when it comes to climbing or accelerating out of corners. With a relatively short front end and longer chainstays, the riding position on the Rockhopper Elite 29 is the most XC focused bike in the test, and again this bolsters climbing efficiency. You could hang this bike up in the shed for six months and the brakes will still work like new next time you ride it. That’s not to say it’s dated though, far from it. With a sloping top tube and a relatively compact 450mm seat tube, the Rockhopper has a modern silhouette with stacks of standover clearance. Specialized has also gone to great lengths to conceal the rack mounts inside the stays so as not to ruin the overall look. A slender chainstay bridge doubles a kickstand mount too. Cable routing on the front triangle is all neatly hidden inside the downtube. There’s zero cable noise but flip the bike over and the open ended downtube where the cables exit is going to act like a mud magnet. Also, the seat tube on our test bike had not been reamed properly so the alloy post got scratched up really badly after just a couple of rides. So a dropper post would be the first upgrade we’d make, and the frame has routing for it. Suspension Longer travel suspension forks need beefy upper tubes to retain stiffness and steering precision, so it’s fitting that the Rockhopper only comes with a 100mm travel RockShox Judy to maximise both. In fact, Specialized takes customisation to the next level on the Rockhopper platform by fitting 80, 90 or 100mm travel forks depending on the frame size, of which there are five. The 100mm travel RockShox Judy on the size L gives a smooth, composed ride. It’s air sprung so you can accurately match the spring rate and associated sag to your rider weight, while the TK lockout will come in handy if you want to make use of the rack mounts to transform the Rockhopper Elite into a hardcore …Continue reading »
Light and fast. Superb brakes
Alex EvansMay 2021
Perfectly adequate for blue-graded trails, but its geometry limits its potential to help you progress
Fast-rolling tyres with plenty of grip for trail centres
Solid performance for beginner riders
Fork let down by sticky action
Geometry limits bike’s upgrade potential
2x drivetrain is dated compared to the competition
The Rockhopper Expert sits atop Specialized's entry-level cross country range. It’s light and the frame is pretty well-shaped, but the spec leaves a lot to be desired and the price sits at a confused spot in Spesh’s line up. Canyon Grand Canyon AL SL 7.0 review Specialized Epic Expert Carbon Evo 2020 review The best mountain bikes you can buy for under £1,500 - full sus and hardtails The Specialized Rockhopper Expert is built around a reasonably light alloy frame, runs a 120mm fork, and rolls on 29” wheels.
Specialized's new Rockhopper is the best they've ever made - affordable singletrack MTB performance for everyone, in 9 size range across all wheel sizes!
Updated geometry, an air spring fork, and a 1 x 12-speed drivetrain are the highlights of this budget-friendly hardtail.
Incredible value for this level of capability
SRAM SX Eagle doesn’t shift as crisply as higher-priced drivetrains
A1 premium butted alloy, zero-stack head tube, internal cable routing, 135x9mm forged dropouts, chainstay-mounted disc brake, replaceable alloy derailleur hanger, stealth rack mounts, dropper post compatible
Colors: Satin Cast Black / Gloss Black; Gloss Redwood / Spruce; Gloss Blush / Tarmac Black
RockShox Judy, Solo Air, Turnkey damper, 46mm offset, QR, 80/90/100mm travel (size-specific), steel steerer
Square-tapered, 73mm, internal bearings, 122.5mm spindle
Stout 3D-forged alloy, 31.8mm, 6-degree rise
Stout Mini Rise, alloy, 9-degree backsweep, 15mm rise, 31.8mm
Bridge Sport, steel rails
Alloy, 12mm offset, 2-bolt clamp, 30.9mm
Specialized Trail Grips, lock-on
Shimano Deore, Shadow Plus, GS cage, 10-speed
Stout 1x, forged alloy
Shimano Deore, RapidFire Plus, 10-speed w/ Optical Gear Display
SunRace, 11-42t, 10-speed
KMC, X10, EPT anti-corrosion coating, 10-speed w/ Missing Link™
Shimano BR-MT200, hydraulic disc, 180mm
Alloy, Offset Design, Tubeless Ready, 25mm internal width, 28h
Shimano HB-RM35, Center Lock™ disc, 9x100mm spacing, quick-release, 28h
Shimano FH-RM35, Center Lock™ disc, 9x135mm spacing, quick-release, 32h
Front: Ground Control, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3", Rear: Ground Control, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"