|Plus: The price is the most powerful argument to buy this bike, wide enough handlebar, cassette and freehub (not threaded freewheel)|
|Minus: Heavy wheels and frame, V-Brake cable may sometimes disturb pedaling, uncomfortable saddle, no disc brake mounts|
Though at the end of its career (it will be replaced by its new successor in the near future), Rockrider 5.2 remains an attractive alternative in terms of cost. Moreover, it may get further price discounts at the launch of the new model.
Why did I choose this model for the test? In broad lines, the equipment of the bicycle is that of a 6-7 year ’old mountain bike: V-brakes, 80 mm fork, 8 gears and sequential paddle levers quite strangely positioned for our times. But this is somewhat unimportant because in the recreational mountain bikes segment, 5.2 is a good offer in terms of budget and these bikes can be particularly interesting for those who want to try pedaling through mountain passes without paying a large sum.
But there is always the reverse, because a bike that does not meet the needs of a person can discourage him or her from buying a better bike in the future. In this article we explain that Rockrider 5.2 2011 is a good starting point.
Frame/On the track
Surprisingly, Rockrider maintain consistency when it comes to cheaper bikes, proof thereof being the frame, with fine welding and high quality lacquer. Riding position is relatively straight, clearly oriented to comfort and not to sportsmanship. It is a plus, as a person first buys a mountain bike, looking for the comfort. In this respect, the 650 mm handlebars also contribute to a better position of your arms and offer more control.
The frame does not come with brake caliper mounts, which is a minus for those who want to change the V-Brake (offered as standard) with a set of mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. Speaking of V-Brakes, placing the rear V-Brake cable is really annoying because you might touch it with your shanks while pedaling.
Once disassembled, I found that the frame of Rockrider 5.2 is not very light, the 2.32 kg adding quite a lot to the weight of the bicycle. The 102 Nm / degree, a figure that expresses the frame rigidity recommend it for heavier riders but STW value of 43.9 makes it clear that he framework designers have never taken into account that the bike might be used in competitions, in which case one needs a completely different bike.
Therefore, mountain or forest paths, with as few bumps as possible are running surfaces preferred by our candidate. Position on the bike is ok for ascents, unless they are too steep.
As I said above, equipping is rooted in the past, yet it is functional. Fork can’t be possibly bright and functional in this price range and the 80 mm is a consolation only when going over roots or rocks encountered along the way. The fork doesn’t come with rebound adjustment and a lockout function and there‘s no use searching for disk brake mount because there isn’t anything like that.
Transmission system is composed of a Suntour crankset with 3 chainrings weighing not less than 981 grams (add another 261 grams for BottomBracket) and an 8 gear cassette. Ratios will be changed with a Shimano Tourney front derailleur and a Shimano Altus for sprockets, both controlled by a set of integrated shift brake levers, Shimano Non Series range. If you used Rapidfire levers, these ones – rather old fashioned at present – will seem slightly awkward, given the fact that we find a paddle lever up and one down. Derailleurs are neither silent or very fast and easy to operate, but they do the job satisfactorily.
Wheels weigh about 5 kg, which is much enough. At least, the rims are double and stitched and tires give average running speed and their carcass is at least interspersed with knobs. Obviously, they will not stick to the ground in fast corners, but these are not details to be approached at this point.
Miranda brakes (anyone heard of this brand?) are a set of V-Brake’s, which stop the bike with no comment on benefits. Quality does not excel in any way, the lever feel can be improved by lubing the houses and shoes could be better quality, but these are not details to be discussed here.
Saddle may fall into the category of spare parts in this price category, and my recommendation is to replace it if you consider longer routes, because it is not among the most comfortable you’ve ever met.
What did the French actually succeed by creating this model? A decent mountain bike, for the people, for the masses, certainly. It is the ideal choice for the unpretentious ones, a model that won’t fail. The aspect can fool an unsuspecting eye, allowing you to boast that in fact, you actually paid more for this bike. It worked in our case.
Obviously, equipment won’t ever help you in getting performance with this bike and it also comes with the necessary minuses. 14.1 kg is quite much in point of weight, but you’ll have to accept it.
Competitors in this price level do not exist, so people from Rockrider can stay very relaxed in the segment. Rockrider 5.2 is living proof that there are still manufactured bicycles with yesterday’s technologies, yet at a price that almost anyone can afford. I believe this is the main point of the bike, which it successfully achieves. And it’s the price that actually saves the final rating of the bike.