Bike Review: the Specialized Rockhopper

Earlier in the year, Wendy Laugesen hired a Specialized Rockhopper from Natural High to compete in the Spring Challenge in Queenstown. Here’s a little bit about her riding life and her verdict of the bike…

The Specialized Rockhopper

When did you start riding and why?
I started mountain biking in Whistler where I lived about ten years ago. There were so many amazing trails that we had to see, so my friends and I bought second hand bikes. Beautiful.

Why did you choose to hire the Specialized Rockhopper?
I think this bike was the one Andy recommended, as I wanted a good quality, fast, 29-inch hardtail that I could ride in the Spring Challenge race in Queenstown. I have a 26-inch at home which is great, but my two team mates were riding 29-inch bikes and I’d had a bit of trouble keeping up on the flatter 4WD trails and roads.

As a first timer on the 29er wheels, what did you think? And were the larger tires an advantage?
The Rockhopper was awesome. Loved riding it. The 29-inch wheel size made such a difference and I had no trouble keeping up – and passing my team mates. I would definitely choose to ride a 29er again in this kind of race.

The Rockhopper features SRAM X5, 2 x 10 gearing. What did you think of the gear ratio and was the highest gear sufficient for climbing?
The Rockhopper was great for climbing. There were a couple of pretty steep climbs in the race to get up to the Rabbit Ranch trails in the Gibbston Valley, but I found the climbs pretty easy on this bike. The highest gear was more than sufficient. I didn’t have much of a chance to ride the Rockhopper before the race, and the gears were quite different to my Giant, but the bike was really easy to adjust to.

Specialized is known for its Body Geometry advancements in grips and seats – how would you rate them?
Very highly. It was comfortable and fast. I will buy a 29er in the near future and am keen for my new bike to be a Specialized Rockhopper.

What’s your favourite ride around New Zealand?
The Queen Charlotte Track is a fun, scenic ride. There’s also an awesome track built by the Mountain Bike Club in Dunedin. It’s a really fun loop riding north from the Bull Pen behind Flagstaff, down a single trail through the forest and then back up to the Bull Pen.

Thanks Wendy for taking the time to answer our questions.

Think the Specialized Rockhopper is the bike for you? Head here for more details and to view our rental prices.

Ladies…this year’s Spring Challenge takes place in Hokitika between 26-28 September. It’s an all-women’s team adventure race with a number of different entry categories. Head to the Spring Challenge website for more details.