Readers’ Rides: Chris’ RockHopper aka the CrockChopper


Readers’ Rides: Chris’ RockHopper aka the CrockChopper

We must say that one bike model pops up more than any other: the Specialized RockHopper. These readily available bikes are frequently customized, and Chris from Minneapolis shared a great one with us this week! Let’s check it out.

Story: When I was a kid, I was into hot rods. As a young adult I would dream of classic Japanese and German sports cars. During college, I had a job restoring and repairing cars and trucks with the hopes to use those skills to restore my own classic someday.

I had always liked riding bikes but didn’t really appreciate them for what they could be. Cars were my thing. Cars could be built and customized, driven, and shown. Bikes were cheap transportation or after-work toys.

At some point, though, I realized that classic cars would not be economically viable to buy, build, store, and drive. I soon lost interest in owning cars other than as a reliable form of loaded travel and started thinking more about bikes.

After riding nothing but a fixed-gear commuter with an overloaded pannier or a weekender family cargo bike for long enough, I wanted something fun for ripping the local single track. And I wanted to build it myself. Yet I had a super low budget, no parts bin other than old light mounts, and knew almost nothing about bike components or frame geometry.

But with that, I built a basic all-terrain bike on a mid-nineties Rockhopper chassis. I purchased a frameset off Craigslist for $40 without knowing what I was doing.

The Rockhopper, which I immediately named CrockChopper, became a budget build of new and used parts with a modern drivetrain, 2008ish disc fork, and a low-shelf 26” wheel set I never could manage to run true. And it was fun. Really fun. Fun to spec, fun to build, and even more fun to ride. Then while going to my local bike + coffee shop, I noticed how beautiful and durable bikes could be. I slowly transformed my budget ATB into a killer adventure bike – built for style, performance, and durability. Now I am into bikes.

The CrockChopper is purpose-built for local singletrack, bootleg trails, broken pavement, and all the streets, bridges, and trails in between. It is my Urban Dirt Bike. And it is my Hot Rod.

Here is the full build spec. as it evolved from Sept 2018 to Aug 2023.

Build Spec:

  • Frame: Mid-nineties Specialized Rockhopper, 18”; originally silver, re-coated in Prismatic Illusion Dorado
  • Fork: Aftermarket Cro-Mo disc with same geo as the original
  • Downtube bottle bosses and broken cable stop removal: Peacock Groove
  • Powdercoating: Doug of Powdercoat Man, LLC
  • Facing and chasing: Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop + Coffee Bar
  • Bars: Soma Dream Bar
  • Wheelset built and spec’d by yours truly (my first wheelset build):
  • Velocity Cliffhanger rims
  • White Industries MI6 front hub
  • White Industries MI5 rear hub
  • Sapim Race Spokes
  • Raw brass nipples from Monē
  • Tires: Continental 26 x 2.2 tubeless
  • Tubeless valve stems: Aluminum shrader
  • Skewers: Salsa Moto rear, Paul front
  • Crankset: RaceFace Aeffect R 170mm with Wolf Tooth 36t
  • Rear cassette, derailleur, shifter: Shimano SLX 11 speed 11-40t
  • Bottom bracket: White Industries
  • Chain: Connex
  • Pedals: Wolf Tooth Waveform w/ a few pins removed (awesome for barefoot sandals or 5-10 Freeriders)
  • Headset: Wolf Tooth Premium (bottom cup is a misprint)
  • Blue spacers and bolts: Wolf Tooth
  • Top cap: BikeJerks
  • Grips: Wolf Tooth
  • Front brake: Yokozuna Motoko Mtn, 180mm w/ Paul adaptor
  • Rear brake: Paul Motolite (polished and rebuilt used)
  • Brake levers: Paul Love Levers 2.5
  • Saddle: Chromag Trailmaster Ltd
  • Seatpost: Soma layback w/ shim
  • Stem: Marin take-off, 90mm, small bit of rise
  • Bottle cages: King Cage stainless
  • Frame bag: Cedaero custom half frame pack
  • Chainstay protector: Newbaum’s cloth bar tape
  • Bell: SpurCycle (is there any other bell?)

Thanks to: Hub Bike Co-Op, Angry Catfish, and the local bike scene / used marketplace



We’d like to thank all of you who submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared here at The Radavist. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!