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So I have been sitting on my 2005 Specialized Rockhopper because it is such a good fit (23" bike I'm 6'6") however I probably haven't ridden it in 5 years as it needs a new front fork. I'm just wondering, is it worth keeping and replacing the fork or will I get left in the dust every ride or laughed out of town?

  • Is it a disc rockhopper? The economics of fixing the fork may make it more favorable to sell to someone as a commuter and buying something else, but disc brakes are nice, and I'd consider upgrading for serious riding. – Batman Apr 2 '17 at 14:46
  • It does not currently have disk brakes but it does have the option of mounting them.... But then I would need new wheels as well – Arie vW Apr 2 '17 at 14:49
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    With the fork repair / replacement cost and new wheels/disc brakes, I'd say it would make sense to go get a new bike, and sell the existing one for a commuter or something. But I still think the question in the title is interesting, so I'm hoping someone writes a proper answer – Batman Apr 2 '17 at 15:04
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    Any bike beats walking. – Criggie Apr 3 '17 at 7:14
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I'm not sure about the geometry, I doubt that it's changed much. But I suspect that the question you really care about is in your last sentence.

You've got a perfectly good bike, other than the busted fork, and it fits you. A newer bike will perform better, but it won't be a huge difference. If you haven't ridden off-road in 5 years, your atrophied skills will be holding you back way more than your equipment.

If you want to buy a new bike, and you have the cash, then by all means do it. But don't let them con you into believing that everything becomes obsolete when the new model comes out.

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The biggest change in geometry has been the widespread adoption of 29" and 27.5" wheels. With your height, you would get a much better ride out of a bike with 29" wheels: the bigger wheels will match your 23" frame much better.

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    Perhaps a good question for the LBS but, do you think 29" wheels will fit the frame? – Arie vW Apr 2 '17 at 17:57
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    Most certainly not! The tyres will rub. And if the bike has rimbrakes the pads won't touch the rims. – Carel Apr 2 '17 at 19:36
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    @ArievW No, they won't. I think what Brendan meant is that an extra-large bike with 29" wheels is better than a similar-sized bike with 26" wheels. And I agree. I don't recommend 29ers for short people, but for big guys like you and me they're great. – Mike Baranczak Apr 2 '17 at 23:51
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These are the frame changes that I have seen in the last 5 years:

  • New wheel sizes including 29, 27.5 and 27.5+
  • Slacker headtube angles
  • Shorter chainstays
  • Better materials. Carbon frames have advanced significantly in the last 10 years. My assumption is that probably Aluminum has had improvements too.

So I have been sitting on my 2005 Specialized Rockhopper because it is such a good fit (23" bike I'm 6'6") however I probably haven't ridden it in 5 years as it needs a new front fork. I'm just wondering, is it worth keeping and replacing the fork or will I get left in the dust every ride or laughed out of town?

I think that you could make an argument that buying a new bike is a better idea when we expand the scope of your question to include the entire bike.

  • What kind of condition is the rest of the bike in?
  • Are there other things that you may need to or want to repair? or modify?

Purchasing a new fork is shockingly expensive. I'd say something like 25-75% of the bikes retail price. So if you need to change anything else and the fork you should get a new bike (and maybe a rigid fork to turn this into a sweet commuter).

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    Plus one for saying "a new fork is shockingly expensive" :P – Nate W Apr 7 '17 at 18:30
  • I have a full carbon MTB from 1996 - so you might want to update that statement: "Carbon frames have advanced significantly in the last 10 years." :-) – brendan Apr 12 '17 at 16:05
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    @brendan - Carbon frames have advances significantly in the last 10 years. I don't see how you having a carbon frame from 1996 disproves that. – sixtyfootersdude Apr 17 '17 at 18:28
  • You're right @six – brendan Apr 18 '17 at 20:03
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I would keep it. Ask your LBS if they have a replacement fork or you might be able to find one on eBay. I just bought a full suspension bike after riding un-suspended and a front suspension mountain bike since 1987. Here are my observations:

  • My full suspension bike is heavy.
  • It's harder to climb hills with full sus because of the extra weight.
  • My full sus bike isn't as maneuverable.
  • I don't think disc brakes work any better than V-brakes, plus V-brakes are easy to adjust to your preferences, and they're a lot lighter
  • A hard tail accelerates a lot faster.

Advantages of full sus:

  • You don't get as beat up on the rough stuff.
  • Don't feel like I'm about to be launched over the handlebars on steep downhills.
  • Brakes probably work better in sloppy conditions but I haven't tested that out yet.

I was thinking about selling my old hardtail but I've decided to keep it because it's still a sweet ride on gravel trails, single track, and long climbs. I threw a dropper post on it so I feel more secure and less likely to launch going downhill. If you love your Rockhopper keep it - you won't get much for it if you sell it.

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