The Specialized Hardrock 650B is a rugged bike for a steal of a price.
Engineered to be durable, efficient, and playful, this bike stays true to the Specialized promise to deliver high-performance machines. It is designed as an entry-level option for mountain bikers who want a back-to-basics bike for under 500 dollars.
FRAME SIZE: Extra Small to Extra Large
BRAKE TYPE: Standard V-Brakes
SHIFTER: Shimano EF500 EZ Fire Plus Shifter 21 Gear
RIMS: Alloy Double Wall Design And Are 25 mm Wide With 32 holes
TIRES: Fast Trak Sport tires 650b by 2-inch sizing and 60 TPI
The Hardrock 650B doesn’t offer up anything too fancy in the way of components.
The aluminum frame is bomber, and the Shimano shifter offers up twenty-one speeds at the touch of a finger, so you have what you need to tackle technical terrain. Let’s go over the bike's components in a bit more detail.
The frame is crafted with A1 Premium Aluminum, and comes in a range of sizes, from extra small to extra-large. The crank length is 170 to 175 mm, and the seatpost length is 300 to 400 mm. It has a 370 mm to 449 mm reach.
The geometry of the bike can handle beginner and advanced riding styles depending on how the rider adjusts the seatpost and handlebars. There is an alloy derailleur hanger which is replaceable in case it gets damaged.
The V-brakes on the Hardrock 650B comes with a few pros and cons. V-brakes are much lower cost than disc brakes, so the Specialized designers kept the cost of the bike low when they opted for V brakes.
Another positive aspect of this type of braking system is that it is a simple design that is easy to maintain. The system is composed of a lever, cable, and calipers. Maintaining the brakes consists of changing the pads on the calipers when they get worn down.
This is cheap to do compared to maintenance that must be performed on other forms of braking systems. V-Brakes are very basic which is great for a beginner rider.
The downside of V-Brakes is that they don’t work well if there is anything in between the brake pads and the rims. If smud, little pebbles, or any objects get in the way your brakes won’t work well. When this happens, you need to stop and clean out the clogged area, which can disrupt your riding flow.
The Shimano EF500 EZ Fire Plus shifter offers up twenty-one gears for different portions of your ride. The lower gears offer plenty of torque per pedal. Some riders may feel that the high gears are lacking in resistance, especially when on downhill sections of a ride.
The rims are made of an alloy double wall design and are 25 mm wide with 32 holes. They can withstand the impacts inherent in aggressive riding, and hold up well under weight and resistance. They have a CNC machined braking surface which is ready to hold up under the friction from V-brakes.
The bike is fitted with Fast Trak Sport tires, each with 650b by 2-inch sizing and 60 TPI with a wire bead. The tires are coated with Specialized brand’s “Flak Jacket” protective layer which is designed to keep the tires from being punctured on rugged surfaces.
The price point on this Specialized mountain bike might surprise you, especially if you are used to hearing about Specialized bikes that cost thousands of dollars.
The Hardrock 650B only costs 400 to 500 dollars, which explains a lot of the design choices like the alloy frame and v-brakes.
This bike is durable and reliable. It is made of a sturdy alloy frame and sturdy, impact resistant rims.
The Shimano shifter is hassle free and won’t get in the way of having a fun ride through the woods. We also like the affordable price point.
While V-brakes are much more affordable and accessible to maintain, we don’t like the way they perform in rain and mud.
It’s not fun to have to stop while riding and clear out debris from between the rim and the brake pad, and the loss of stopping power can feel dangerous when descending in adverse conditions. Also, the gear offerings are not ideal for descents.
This bike is ideal for someone who wants a bare-bones mountain bike that they can ride for fun. It is especially worth looking into if cost is one of your primary constraints as you shop around for bikes.
It isn’t right for the rider who wants a top-of-the-line machine worthy of competing. It also isn’t for the rider who needs a bike that will perform well in wet weather, such as a commuter riding to work even on rainy days.
If you want a bike that can handle rain and mud, look into versions with hydraulic disc brakes.
The Hardrock 650B’s basic components make it simple to maintain, which a new rider might appreciate. It can withstand technical terrain, drops, and jumps. It is a rugged bike designed to take a beating on trails.
If you are new to mountain biking, this would be a great starter bike. It has the potential to grow with you as you become a stronger rider. You won't invest that much money to buy the bike, so if you decide that you don't like the sport, your loss isn't huge. And as a beginner, you might get banged up a bit on your first few rides, and so will your bike. This model can handle it.
Many mountain bikers are loyal to the Specialized brand because they are known for engineering high-quality, fun to ride machines. The Hardrock 650B will give you the ability to hit the trails without spending a fortune. Check out the Specialized website for more details on this inspiring entry-level bike.
This post was last updated on January 16th, 2018 at 10:32 am
Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.
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