At long last, I took my rebuilt ’93 Specialized Rockhopper out for its first commute this morning. I took it for a brief off-road excursion a couple of months ago, so this technically wasn’t its maiden voyage, but it was my first time commuting on it, and I was able to get a good “feel” for it on roads. A bunch of observations.. first off, the Kenda Pathfinder tires are leaps and bounds better on pavement than the old Onzas they replaced. It’s not even a comparison. I’m sure they won’t do as well in mud, but that’s not what I got them for. We’ll see how they wear, but they ride very well on pavement and I’m sure they’ll do fine on gravel and hard-packed trails. At under $20 per tire, the price is right too.
The bike feels solid and well-balanced. The ride is noticeably slower than either of my road bikes, which is understandable given that it’s a mountain bike with 26″ wheels vs 700c. I rode the tires at 60psi, and as expected, the ride was smoother than on the road bikes as well. The Planet Bike Hardcore fenders worked as expected and didn’t give me any problems. Seat height was good, thanks to the longer seat post I put on it. The stock “air gel” saddle is just as awful as it always was. I’ll be replacing it shortly with a Forté Classic saddle. Just waiting for the next 15% off sale at Performance Bike.
I rode with the same Topeak seat post rack and panniers that I use on my road bikes. It worked fine, but I had to raise the rack up higher than I would like, to allow the pannier frames to clear the fender struts. I’m not sure I’d want to ride single track with this setup. It may make sense to switch back to a standard rack with trunk, and use a messenger bag to carry anything extra I need.
The only big issue with the bike was the reach to the handlebars. With the longer seat post, it’s a bit more of a stretch than I’d like. I have a head tube extender that I had originally gotten for my fixed-gear bike, but I think I may try it on this bike instead. I think if I can get a new saddle and raise the bars up a couple inches, the bike will be nice and comfortable. In any case, it’s great to have this bike up and running again.