Upgrade a Rockhopper

Trips, adventures, bikes, equipment, etc.
Paul A
Posts: 98
Joined: 5 Feb 2007, 11:43am
Location: Chester UK

Upgrade a Rockhopper

Postby Paul A » 4 Dec 2012, 12:19pm

I've got an old (but in perfect condition) 1998 Specialized Rockhopper. It's a hardtail with Vee brakes and replacement Rockshox Jett forks. I've only recently started mountain biking this autumn but have soon found the limitations of Vee brakes in a very slippery Cannock Chase and Llandegla forrest.

I wondered whether it would be possible, or finacially viable to put disc brakes on it? even if just on the front?
I daren't suggest to 'er indoors that I'd be better off buying a new mountain bike as my garage only acquired a Tricross Comp in 2010 and a Colnago Ace last month. Women... They just don't seem to understand :D

Paul.

http://www.francecoast2coast.co.uk

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15025
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: Upgrade a Rockhopper

Postby Si » 4 Dec 2012, 2:02pm

assuming that you've got disc mounts on the fork, you'll need a new hub and a disc brake set at the front. New hub means either putting it into your old rim (always best to get new spokes) or getting new spokes and a new rim (so that you can keep the old wheel for spare). Mechanical disc is probably cheapest...so overall for the front you are looking at maybe £150-£200 (inc prof wheel build).

For the back same again (but if you don't have a disc mount on the back you'll also need a bracket which will probably be another £30 ish last time I looked). But you may prefer to just run a disc at the front and leave the back as a V.

Pop along to Swinno's and ask them what they think - they know their stuff.

OR see if there are any second hand bits going on the forums (inc http://www.bikeadventuresuk.com/forum/index.php)

But bear in mind that many shops are selling off last year's models cheapo at this time of year

Personally, I used to ride most of the year at Cannock with Vs on a rigid SS - 'cos it was cheap and easy to clean + plus it improved my abilities. When it got really muddy (or in races/riding with the faster lads) I would use just a disc at the front, but that's not to say that Vs are useless in the wet, indeed I and many others used to ride there in all weathers on rubbish shimano low-pro cantis....

hamster
Posts: 3178
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Upgrade a Rockhopper

Postby hamster » 4 Dec 2012, 4:49pm

What do you want disc brakes for?

Wear the rim brakes out first. :D

hamster
Posts: 3178
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Upgrade a Rockhopper

Postby hamster » 4 Dec 2012, 4:50pm

hamster wrote:What do you want disc brakes for?

Are you sure that it was actually the brakes rather than poor adjustment? I've never had problems with mine even in thick mud.

Wear the rim brakes out first. :D

User avatar
Brett Nicolle
Posts: 4
Joined: 13 Aug 2012, 1:24pm
Location: Plymouth
Contact:

Re: Upgrade a Rockhopper

Postby Brett Nicolle » 4 Dec 2012, 9:14pm

You first need to establish if there are brake mounts on the forks, if not you're on a non-starter, I've had a look at some images online and it looks like these forks didn't get disc brake mounts until 2001? I wouldn't bother spending any money on it...newer rockhoppers comes up all the time on Gumtree and ebay for a few hundred pounds...(http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/speci ... /112330390)...by the time you have 'upgraded' your bike, you will have spent nearly that anyway....if you buy off gumtree, just make sure you are satisfied you're buying form the legal owner...
CTC Cycling Development Officer, Plymouth
cycling@plymouth.gov.uk

Gawton Gravity Hub - The best downhill mountainbike tracks in England
www.gawtongravityhub.co.uk

Paul A
Posts: 98
Joined: 5 Feb 2007, 11:43am
Location: Chester UK

Re: Upgrade a Rockhopper

Postby Paul A » 5 Dec 2012, 12:59pm

Yes I think you're right about the Rockshox Jett forks, I had a closer look last night and there aren't any disc mounts - nothing on the rear either. I think I may well have to buy another rather than upgrade.

With regard to vee brakes in last Sunday's wet and snowy Llandegla forest... I sounded like the approach of the four horsemen of the apocalypse every time I braked. Or tried to brake more like - scary!
The brakes are ajusted ok and I always wipe the rims down with aerosol car brake cleaner after I've I cleaned and lubed the bike, but once they're covered in slippery abrasive grit - forget it :(

I was looking at ebay this morning, there are some nearly new Boardman hardtails there for not much more than £400... :wink:

Paul.

http://www.francecoast2coast.co.uk

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15025
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: Upgrade a Rockhopper

Postby Si » 5 Dec 2012, 1:47pm

Re screeching brakes - don't think that you will be rid of them just because you change to discs!!! If adding the brakes yourself then you might find that you need the mounts refinishing (or some really thin washers) to get rid of screams with some brakes. Of course, if you buy a bike with the disc brakes ready fitted then you are less likely to suffer the noise.

djoptix
Posts: 244
Joined: 11 May 2011, 11:29am

Re: Upgrade a Rockhopper

Postby djoptix » 11 Dec 2012, 1:19pm

Jetts are awful, just awful. Get some proper forks. Adjust your Vs so the front end of the pad meets the rim slightly before the rear end. This should stop the screeching.

Some reasonable forks and a cheap disc on the front will transform your bike :) and swapping the front end to a disc is dead easy, no tidying of hoses required. There are plenty of good forks around for less than £100 (have a look on Retrobike classifieds) but for something more period correct, a decent set of Marzocchi Bombers will set you back plenty less than that and be a big upgrade from the Jetts. Mind you anything will be an upgrade from the Jetts.

Did I mention Jetts are awful? :)

Paul A
Posts: 98
Joined: 5 Feb 2007, 11:43am
Location: Chester UK

Re: Upgrade a Rockhopper

Postby Paul A » 17 Dec 2012, 11:48am

Rockshox Jetts...

Oh dear, I was doing a bit of checking on line and found out that there had been a worldwide safety recall for 01 year Rockshox Jett forks years ago. Mine have never been recalled or fixed.

http://www.bicyclewarehouse.com/article ... s-pg97.htm

They recommend not riding until they’re fixed but as te recall was years ago I don’t think they’ll consider fixing them now.
I don’t fancy the forks collapsing during a black run descent and I’m afraid I’ve lost confidence in them now!

I really don't think that it's worth spending a couple of hundred quid repairing and upgrading a 14 year old Rockhopper. You can get a nearly new nicely specc'd Boardman from ebay for less than £500.

Paul.

http://www.francecoast2coast.co.uk

Paul A
Posts: 98
Joined: 5 Feb 2007, 11:43am
Location: Chester UK

Re: Upgrade a Rockhopper

Postby Paul A » 17 Dec 2012, 2:20pm

Credit where it's due - and full marks to Chester's Bike Factory. :D

I've just had a mail from them telling me that they'd be happy to replace the 11 year old forks on the 14 year old bike under warranty. Not a result that I was expecting if I'm honest.

They say that the replacement forks will probably be Rockshox XC28, entry level again I know, but they must be better than the Jetts?

Paul.

www.francecoast2coast.co.uk