Thursday, August 17, 2023

Specialized Hard Rock Ultra - a Surprise Find

Specialized Hard Rock Ultra, my new gravel tourer?

I didn't intend to add a Specialized Hard Rock to a perfect number of bicycles - four - all with distinct characteristics, but I have missed the Trek 830 Antelope's amazing utility, a bike I parted with in 2020 because of poor fit. 

I'd never seen this colorway until @Bobbinnsprocket on Instagram built one up for herself. Since then, it's been on my radar. The color and style also satisfied my goals to one day own a purple bike - half purple is close enough - and paired with pink is stunning.

Our younger son is a bike mechanic and spotted the bike soon after it arrived at his workplace. The rest is history. He stripped it, knowing (his way of insisting) I might like to build the Hard Rock from a blank slate.

The frame condition is remarkable for it's age - I believe it's a 1993 vintage. While the gorgeous frame would lend itself to a resto-mod build, I plan to reuse parts from my stash, triple crank set, and including a Blackburn rear rack with around-the-world patina. I also like the looks of Denham handlebars or VO Crazy Bars, but will attempt a DIY approach, perhaps using bar ends strategically and safely placed on a curved riser bar. It's the utility that matters the most to me.

Wide Gumwall tires should lend comfort on hand-built rims - our son's surprise gift. 

Since I'm not in a hurry, and with my son's guidance, I plan to put it together myself - first time for everything!

I envision this bicycle as a dirt road, rail trail, touring rig. Perhaps without fenders.

Cable guides need cleaning.

How to begin? Our son says he starts with wheels. In the meantime, I have specific grips and pedals in mind. I'd love to reuse the Shimano thumbshifters - so classy - but I know my hands won't tolerate the required strength to move them easily anymore. Easy to adjust V-brakes win out over cantilevers. The rest will sort itself out under the mechanic's tutelage.