1988 Specialized Hardrock 24
The 1981 Specialized Stumpjumper is generally credited as being the first mass-produced mountain bike. As a significantly less expensive bike than a custom Ritchey, the Stumpjumper made off-road riding easy and fun for everyone.
Kids could hit the trails on their BMX bikes but without multiple gears riding over hilly terrain was a struggle.
It took a few years before mountain bikes were available to fit anyone shorter than about 5’ tall. We don’t think any credible source has decided which bike deserves to be called the first mass-produced kids’ mountain bike, but we’ve worked on Ross and Diamondback bikes from the early ‘80’s that might get such a label.
So this Hardrock from ‘88 wasn’t the first but it was close. With 18 speeds and upright bars it rocked all the goods: Big motorcycle brake levers. Suntour XCD 4050 derailleur & thumbshifters. A short Sugino triple crankset. A cantilever and U-brake combo. 24” knobby tires.
This particular Hardrock was recently traded in by our friend Rodney. While we had assumed that it was ridden by one of Rodney’s kids, it is entirely possible that 40-something Rodney rode this one himself as a preteen or teen thirty years ago.