I’m a skater but want to try out mountain biking so I wanted to buy a used mountain bike but my budget is very small. I know that I need a bike with quick release wheel levers on the axle, threadless headset and, possibly one shifter, although most bikes I’ve seen come with three in the front.
I was looking at a 2005 Specialized Hardrock Sport. My only issue is that I don’t want to be stuck with a bike which I cannot upgrade or find parts for later later. Is a bike of this age this too old to upgrade or maintain due to the difficulty in finding parts?
Can anyone advise on where to begin and what to consider when buying used bikes?
Is a bike of this age this too old to upgrade or maintain due to the difficulty in finding parts?
Yes and no. 🙂 You shouldn’t have too much trouble maintaining this bike–most parts will be available in your local bike shop or at worst, (used) online.
But it probably won’t be worth the hassle to upgrade too much on this bike. I mean, you could find used parts that are slightly better than the ones on the bike right now, but tracking down the parts, installing them, and paying for them probably isn’t worth the effort. Why? Because modern, entry- to mid- level parts–like disc brakes, suspension, tires, etc.–are so much better today than even top-of-the-line parts from 10 years ago.
Just to be clear, it’s possible you won’t even feel the need to upgrade–you might just ride the hell out of the 2005 Hardrock and have a blast! Older bikes are certainly compatible with modern trails, but some people start to get an irrational sense of bike envy. If you enjoy the bike, that’s all that matters.
It is possible to upgrade that bike if it was at the higher end of the spectrum when it was made. Take my 2002 Rocky Mountain Hammer. Yes, soon it will be celebrating its 15th birthday, but it was originally made with nicer parts including brackets for disc brakes. The only problem I’ve had upgrading it was when I bought a dropper post. It was made with a 26.8mm seat post diameter. Luckily, the only company who offered a dropper post in that size was Gravity Dropper, a company I was already looking at. That said, I mostly agree with Jeff. It is very difficult to upgrade most older bikes. To sum it up, it is not impossible to upgrade it, but it is probably a better idea to get an entry-level bike.
I currently own a 2014 Specialized Hardrock, and while it is good for a beginner rider, it cannot handle anything truly rough. No drops, big rocks, medium jumps, or large bunnyhops. The rear wheel is relatively delicate, and the drive side chainstay is very susceptible to chiansuck. Overall, I give it 4 stars. If you plan on becoming a more advanced rider, or plan to bike often on a wide diversity of trials, a Specialized Rockhopper is a much better choice. You really can’t go wrong with a Specialized made bike, because they are all pretty good.
You won’t be stuck with it, you can always sell it later for about what you paid for it, if you decide to stick with MTB. More importantly, learn how to work on it. Tear the whole bike apart and put it back together again. Knowing how to work on your own bike is essential for MTBing, and it’s really not that complicated contrary to what all the shop ‘mechanics’ will tell you.
I bought a used 2005 hardrock two years ago and I have upgraded EVERYTHING (barring the cranks and BB) on the bike. 90% of the upgrades came from pinkbike or craigslist. Even getting the big parts like forks and wheels for $100 each, I will say that Jeff is right. I now have roughly 600 into the bike. I know that I would not have an air fork nor hydraulic discs for that price new but I would have overall more modern bike.
If you do go for it, just ride the hell out of it and enjoy. I have yet to cause any real damage to this bike (bent a pedal) doing small jumps and drops, wrecks.. I am 250lbs so that frame can take a fair amount of punishment. I have been on rides with nice new bikes in the group and I kept up just fine on my 8 speed dinosaur.