Specialized Hardrock Comp Disc review

Leaner, keener entry-level bike

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £450.00 RRP
Specialized hardrock comp disc

Our review

A light and lively cross-country hardtail boasting a quality frame and a decent fork
Skip to view product specifications

Snobs knock ubiquitous bikes like the Specialized Hardrock range, but they’re a benchmark in their class for a reason. The Comp Disc is fast, light and engaging, and neither looks nor rides like a budget bike.

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Specialized haven’t compromised the frame or fork, and that means that when you’re riding you can forget about the bike – something you can’t do when you’re nursing a bad one along – and focus on the trail. With better brakes and tyres, this would be up there with our ‘best buy’ in this price range, the £500 Decathlon Rockrider 8.1.

Ride & handling: One of the best riding hardtails at this pricepoint

One problem we’ve encountered with previous Hardrocks is being too sat up, cramped by a short reach. We upsized to a 19in frame from a 17in to open up the cockpit and the fit was spot-on.

We’ve also had issues with dubious forks on past Hardrocks, but the Suntour XCR provided here is active, plush and well behaved. It only has 80mm of travel but that’s no bad thing at this price – longer stanchions commonly flex more.

The bike is light to begin with – 27.7lb without pedals – but it’s the more subtle bump absorption quality of the fork that ensures it rides light compared to many of its price rivals. This means it’s easy to pick up the pace on.

Bottom bracket height is on the low side, in part because of the short fork. But the pedal strikes we suffered were caused more by us cranking it through level corners than by any ground clearance issues.

Slacker frame angles should make face plants less likely when you try to push your speed downhill, and there’s just enough control from the mid-width bar.

Frame & equipment: Light but strong frame and decent fork, but we’d ditch the tyres

Specialized dropped the big-tubed dirt jump build for their Hardrock range in 2009. Now the bikes are leaner and lighter to suit cross-country riding.

A curving top tube visually complements the now fashionable curved down tube that Specialized popularised, and which is there for structural reasons: to add strength without the extra weight of external gussets of thicker walled tubes.

Weight and metal are saved from the head tube because Specialized sensibly use an external headset. The stays are skinny too, although there’s no danger of them being bent by the disc brake because there’s support from a reinforcing strut.

A hydraulic Speedlock lever on the Suntour fork lets you adjust the compression or lock it out, providing a level of control that’s comparatively rare on sub-£500 bikes.

The 2in Specialized Fast Trak tyres are strictly for firmer tracks, though. There’s a place for lightly treaded tyres with a hard rubber compound. It’s called America. In the UK, these tyres are fine for caning it along fire roads, but will slide sideways through the first muddy corner.

The Avid BB5 cable disc brakes provided some interesting moments too – until we took the time to readjust them carefully, after which they began to bite hard.

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They’ll work pretty well so long as you lavish some attention on them. Just adjust the fixed pad as needed – it doesn’t require tools – and keep the cables lubed and properly tensioned.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Hardrock Comp Disc (10)
Brand Specialized

Available Sizes 13" 13" 15" 17" 19" 17" 15" 15" 15" 15" 15" 15" 15" 15" 15" 15" 15" 17" 15" 17" 19" 15" 17" 19" 15" 17" 19" 15" 17" 19" 15" 17" 19" 15" 17" 19" 23" 15" 17" 19" 23" 15" 17" 15" 15" 15" 23" 15" 15" 15" 15" 15" 19" 19" 17" 17" 17" 17" 17" 17" 17" 19" 17" 19" 17" 19" 17" 19" 17" 19" 17" 19" 23" 17" 23" 19" 19" 19" 19" 19" 19" 19" 19" 19" 19" 19" 19" 19"
Seatpost Alu, two bolt
Front Wheel Alex RHD rim on Stout disc hub
Tyres Specialized Fast Trak LK Sport 2.0in
Wheelbase (in) 42.8
Top Tube (in) 23.6
Standover Height (in) 31.5
Seat Tube (in) 19
Chainstays (in) 19
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 11.8
Weight (lb) 27.7
Weight (kg) 12.6
Stem Alu, 10° rise, 85mm
Shifters SRAM X4
Seat Angle 72.3
Bottom Bracket Shimano BB-ES25, Octalink spline, cartridge bearing, 68mm x 118mm
Saddle Specialized XC
Rear Derailleur SRAM X-5, mid cage
Headset Type 1 1/8in external threadless
Head Angle 69.2
Handlebar Alloy riserbar, 25mm rise, 640mm wide
Front Derailleur Shimano Altus
Frame Material Specialized A1 Premium Aluminium, fully butted, formed Top Tube, externally relieved Head Tube, replaceable hanger, disc only
Fork SR Suntour SF9-XCR-LO, 80/100mm, 1 piece magnesium lower, alloy steerer
Cranks SR SunTour, Octalink spline
Chain KMC X8 with reusable Missing Link
Cassette SRAM PG-830, 8-speed, 11-32t
Brakes Avid BB5, mechanical disc, 160mm G2 Clean Sweep rotor
Rear Wheel Alex RHD rim on Specialized disc freehub