So I just got a Rockhopper 2020! Nice stock upgrades are it comes with 2.3” tires instead of 2.1 like in 2019, and also comes with a 2x and hydraulic brakes. Been reading its not too worth upgrading too many parts, rather saving for the next bike. I was thinking of upgrading the front fork, but it seems like new wheels is the consensus answer. Any thoughts/recommendations on what to get or upgrade would be appreciated!
So you just got this bike? Don’t upgrade anything yet. Ride the heck out of it. Get a feel for what it can and can’t do and what you like and don’t like. You may find your pedals need to be grippier or you would like thicker grips. Rockhopper is a good capable bike. My opinion is you think about starting with tires, handle bars, grips or possibly pedals. If you are not tubeless that probably needs to be priority. I held out on this for a long time and once I did it I am sold to always be tubeless. If you need new tires to do this I would suggest seeing how much tire you can fit on the bike. Will it hold a 2.4 or even 2.6. Getting wider tires surprised me how much it changed things. Think about possible carbon handle bars to absorb some shock. Forks and wheels are costly. I would ride both until you must replace or have really formed a strong opinion that these are the parts you want to upgrade. I think start small and cheaper. Don’t upgrade expensive parts based on someone else’s opinion. They will be happy to spend your money. Enjoy the new bike. Push it to it and your limits. Congrats on new bike!
I like the suggestion of customizing the parts you make contact with first. It’s a great, inexpensive way to make your bike feel “yours”. After that, tires. The stock tires typically suck compared to aftermarket (even the same brand and model, the OEM tires are typically made of harder compounds). Finally, I totally agree on doing a tubeless conversion. It’s the cheapest way to take about a pound of rotating mass off your bike and your grip will improve dramatically.
Like everyone says, don’t overd0 the upgrades – just get riding. I agree with others that I would hold off on expensive upgrades like a fork or 1X gearing. But I’ll chip in a few thoughts to think about when you’re riding: 1) for true off-road trails, I’m a big proponent of a dropper post – there are a few mechanical models (KS, for example at $100 or less). It will help you build confidence on downhills and drops. 2) With all respect to some of my brethren, unless you are riding trails with sharp rocks and/or thorns, I would not be in a hurry to go tubeless. I ride both, and I don’t think the cost and upkeep is worth it UNLESS you’re riding rocks and thorns. 3) Another idea is a good set of flat pedals with pins. I prefer alloy but Race Face Chester composite goes for less than $50 on Amazon.