When I was a teenager, I developed a keen interest in cycling. At fifteen I saw the movie “American Flyers”, I decided, if I was going to get in to racing, I had to have the bike that was in that movie. Now racing bikes aren’t cheap, even back then, so I got a summer job at a local grocery store and worked as many hours as they would let me so I could save up for that bike. At the end of the summer I have enough to put a good down payment on the bike for layaway at a bike shop, and spent the next several months, with help from my folks, paying it off. That bike was a 1985 Specialized Allez with Campagnolo components, it was a great bike, and I did well racing on it.
All of this brings me to my current topic, 10 years later, it almost seems like another life…. after College with a wife and full time job, I thought it would be a good idea to get a couple of mountain bikes for me and the missus. Since I had such an good experience with my first real bike, there was no other option in my mind then for me to get another Specialized bike. However, living with limited means, just staring my first real full time job the year before, I could not afford an M2 “Team” bike, or even a Stumpjumper, but I could get the next best thing, a 1995 Specialized Rockhopper FS A1 Comp.
I have had many miles in the saddle of this bike. I was still riding it 16 years later, without any complaints, it has been that good, I loved it!
Unfortunately, a few weeks ago after a 12 mile ride, I noticed 2 cracks in the head tube while I was wiping it down!
I was pretty bummed to say the least. I searched frantically online to see if there was a way to repair it, all I could find was that it could not be repaired, that it was to difficult to re-weld an aluminium frame and have it be safe to ride. However, I came across a few bike forums that had posts mentioning that Specialized had a lifetime warranty on their frames. So, I did some digging and found my original owner’s manual, and sure enough, it said that the frame had a lifetime warranty. I was more than a little sceptical that Specialized would warranty such an old frame.
I called the nearest Specialized dealer to me, and told them about what happened. They said to bring the bike in and they would take a look at it. When I brought it in, they took a quick look at the cracks and said that it was definitely a warranty issue. They said it would take a couple of weeks for Specialized to make a decision after they received all of the information from the shop. I called a couple of weeks later to check on Specialized’s answer, to my surprise, the shop had already received a replacement frame. However, to my initial disappointment, I was informed that the replacement frame was a Hardrock Pro. I must have sounded disappointed by the news, because the folks at the bike shop assured me that the replacement frame was as good as my old frame, but I remained skeptical and disappointed, as my recollection of the Hardrock is that it was/is at the bottom of Specialized’s line up. My disappointment quickly subsided though, when I saw the bike the following week.
It looks a bit retro! It’s made from Specialized’s A1 aluminium, the same as my old Rockhopper frame, and it’s a quarter pound lighter. I needed a new front derailleur due to cable routing changes on the new frame, and I had the shop tune it up, including a new chain and cables. Overall it was just $180 for the shop to perform the swap with the extra work thrown in. I guess after 16 years, bike technology has certainly improved, after several rides on my “new” bike, I can say that the new frame is as good or even better than the old one. I could have stayed hung up on the fact that it is not a Rockhopper, but I can honestly say that I am very happy with this bike.
Specialized has done right by me.