Bike choice confusion.


Retro Newbie
Hi all,

My first ‘proper’ bike was a 17” specialised Hardrock GX in about 1995. It cost £300 from my LBS and I had the tyres replaced for some light grey, Panaracer gum wall tyres. Really, all I wanted were the tyres.

Feet strapped into lethal plastic cages, no helmet, rain or shine, I rode it everywhere, road or off-road, no rhyme nor reason, it was perfect, used as a bike should be - just because, and occasionally to actually get somewhere..

My ignorant bliss was to come to an end, when the diminishing gains of bike upgrades and a ‘lighter, better’ concept was truly marketed into my tiny brain. After a process of grotesque and pointless ‘upgrades’, the spirit and connection to the bike and had been lost.

After years of building, buying and selling bikes, the reality is that I’ve always been trying to get that ‘connection’ back to my first bike. Simple, cheap, reliable and fun.

With quite a bit of choice of mid 90s mountain bikes knocking about, with varying degrees of brands and wear, i’m finding it hard to choose what to get and what size. Being used to modern road & mountain bikes, the geometry of the older bikes is a head scratcher for me.. and it all seems tiny.

If I had a 17” back then, would I get 19” now? Or stick with a 17 and buy something like a Velo Orange Klunker bar?

I’m deliberating between a specialised rockhopper and Raleigh M-Trax titanium..


Kona Fan
I'd say if you are looking for that "connection" with the bike of your youth, stick with a Rockhopper from the similar era. They are great all purpose bikes which are readily available for fairly cheap. As for the size, go with what fits as opposed to what you used to have. Getting the right size is essential. I'm fairly familiar with Specialized's medium/large sizing (17" seatpost length was their medium, 19" the large). At 5'10" I am able to ride either, with the medium feeling a little bit small.
I feel that I should also extend a warning. These bikes are addictive, you may wind up with both the 'hopper and the Raleigh! I only "need" one bike, and yet there are twenty something in the garage