If you could take your bike back to the early 90’s,what would riders think of it
Was reminiscing about my first forays into mountain bikes in the early 90’s yesterday and how much they had changed. Also how much my expectations of a mountain bikes had changed over time too.
If I took my Jeffsy back to that period I think people would have either been amazed at/laughed loudly at many aspects of the modern MTB:
My tiny, single ring chainset would have been considered utterly dumb. Completely ridiculous.
The disk brakes would have gone down well though. I remember my mate getting the first Hope disks… I was utterly green with envy.
The Pike would have looked a little conservative in a way against all the CNC/ anodising of the Manitous of the day. The travel would also have seemed insane!
A full susser? My mate owned the Manitou Fs. My God it was sexy. I still lust after one. The Jeffsy would seem to have amazingly complex suspension in comparison. No doubt it would have hugely impressed the average HT/ rigid rider of the day who thought fs was just a passing fad.
29er wheels. Apart from cx riders I don’t think I could have converted many people on that one!
Dropper post, it would have been just “why? Just hang off the back of the saddle surely?”
Weight. It seemed that, that was the obsession of the day. The suspension, brakes, dropper etc etc means my Jeffsy is no light weight and would have appalled many riders back then.
Carbon fiber? I think I would have had to remove a part to show the weave to prove I wasnt BSing. Or use a metal detector on the frame!
What would your riding buddies, or even yourself, thought of your current bike/s bitd?
I’m guessing fatty owners would have been institutionalised! Lol 😆Posted 5 months agozokesMember
Mine’s a 3×9 26″ Cotic Soul. Apart from the slightly slacker angles and wider tyres, about the only things that would need explaining would be why I had disks on an XC bike, and why my tyres have no tubes in them.
Actually, it’s a pity I’m no longer in the same hemisphere as my old ’94 GT Outpost. I’d be intrigued to see just how different the frame geometries actually are.Posted 5 months agoroverpigSubscriber
It’s an interesting thought experiment. I’m sure some of the things we see as pluses now would be criticised in the past. You don’t even have to go that far back. Take a modern long slack 29er back to the time when 29ers were being slagged off for being barges and I dare say almost all the reviews would be negative. Now they are praised for their stability etc. It’s a funny old world.Posted 5 months agohols2Member
I’m sure some of the things we see as pluses now would be criticised in the past
I started riding in 2001 when disk brakes were still fairly new, 4″ suspension was considered pretty amazing for an “all mountain” bike, and dropper posts were still years away. I started on a rigid bike, quickly moved up to a hardtail, then a used 1999 Spesh FSR, and then a Giant NRS with Hayes HFX disk brakes. I bought a Gravity Dropper pretty much instantly I saw the first magazine review and converted to ghetto tubeless as soon as I read about Stan’s NoTubes. Internet forums of the day were rife with old schoolers deriding those innovations as “solution looking for a problem”, “too heavy”, “too much maintenance, impossible to repair if you break down in the backblocks of Angola”, etc. I think my favorite has to be the luddites who thought cable disk brakes were better than hydros. Now all those innovations are standard things that anyone who buys a decent bike expects.Posted 5 months ago
Mine would just be seen as a downhill bike. Probably quite an extreme one compared to what DHers were riding back then.
Carbon – we rode with a bloke back in the 90s, who had a carbon hardtail (more likely rigid), Specialized, I think. We drooled – thing weighed about 17lbs which was our ultimate dream!
A 10lb heavier, full sus carbon bike? Not sure we would’ve known what to do with it! Only full sus rider we rode with had a Pro-Flex with a bright yellow elastomer out back. Rather different.
Other big difference was (at this time of year anyway) our tyres were about 1.6″ wide, we were sure the “cut through the mud” thing was the way to go – so big ol’ 29er 2.4s would’ve looked very strange.
Maintenance – keeping it simple was massive to us too, so all the complications would’ve been sneered at, I’m sure.Posted 5 months agoJef WachowchowMember
My dad is 80 this year. He used to do bicycle trials as a kid in the 1940’s. Not tricks and stunts but more like early motorcycle trials around short courses.
He loves it when I bring a new bike round when I see him. Him trying to get his head around a Transition Covert was funny. Watching him ride it up the road was funnier.
He is pretty convinced that his buddies from back in the day would properly freak out if they saw a modern MTB.Posted 5 months agomolgripsSubscriber
One thing to consider is that a lot of the trails people ride now didn’t exist back then. When I started in 94 there were no biker-built trails at all. You were on what we call ‘natural’ trails. They of course still exist, but the twisty turny tech that our slack wide barred bikes are designed for hardly existed at all. Even windy natural trails aren’t the same. No-one did stuff like we saw in that Swindon video yesterday. We liked fast long open trails, generally.
My tiny, single ring chainset would have been considered utterly dumb. Completely ridiculous.
Don’t think so. We started with 5 speed before my time then quickly went from there to 7 speed on my first bike then 8 speed. It was always anticipated that we’d end up with more, and that more on the back would require fewer chainrings. I had a 2×9 Middleburn setup in 2000 (also had the spider integrated with the middle ring like a modern 1x crankset). So I think that would have been well received.
Wide bars would have taken some getting used to, because we’ve been widening gradually and getting used to it. Going from 580 to 780 all in one go would be weird. As for big wheels – would seem a very odd idea until first ridden, then I think the 90s me would have been sold.Posted 5 months agonewrobdobMember
Carbon was around in the early 90’s so there might be a trust issue but I don’t think it would have surprised anyone.
Dropper posts – there were solutions to this as far back as the eighties – HiteRite anyone? – so this would have been seen as a brilliant innovation.
Forks were of all different kinds in the early 90’s – yes some were very bling CNC jobs but just as many were basic rubbish looking one – I’m thinking of the Scott forks I almost bought. There might be more surprise that they weren’t carbon suspension forks – remember Pace were making them back then but hardly any carbon in forks now but popular in frames!
Gears – might be a bit of a shock having the 50t rear cogs as 28 was the normal maximum for most people
Youve got the think that the issues MTBers had 25 years ago are the same as today – ironing out bumps, grip, finding the right gears, chains coming off, durability, comfort etc so a quick explanation of the benefits of the way we do things now would have anyone from 25 years ago dying for a test ride!
As the bikes nowadays have angles/bar width/tyre size etc very similar to the late 70’s or early 80’s clunker type bikes you might find people around then might find modern bikes less of a surprise than the 1990’s crewPosted 5 months agoRusty SpannerSubscriber
I’ve got a shortish, pre CEN lightweight steel hardtail.
Compared to my old 1992 Marin, discs, good forks, tyres and wider bars would be really noticeable.
That Marin handled well, but the Orange that replaced it in 1995 -ish was horrible – too long, too low, narrow bars.
The Spesh steel Rockhopper that replaced that in 2001 is still the sweetest handling bike I’ve ever ridden on the local, swoopy singletrack. Shame it’s V brake only.
Love to try something long and slack, just to see how much we’ve moved on.
Fashion, eh?Posted 5 months agoaPMember
A mate of mine shared a flat with Chris who designed the SP Systems carbon soft-tail mtb in the early-ish 90s. It’d probably make a good bikepacking bike now…Posted 5 months ago
I still have my 98 F900 with Magura Louise Gen1 discs – I believe it was the first disc only mtb sold in the UK.chestrockwellMember
Agree with newrob above, kestrel, Formula 1, Giant and Trek to name only a few were making carbon bikes from the late 80’s to early 90’s. Droppers would be well received and most other ‘innovations’ would be accepted as a progression.
I imagine most people would be shocked at how heavy the modern bike was though and dismiss it purely on this.Posted 5 months agoaPMember
Specialized made a version of the Mag21 with carbon lowers.Posted 5 months ago
I can remember riding a friend’s Yo Eddy which had carbon bars sometime around ’93, he’d cut them down and put bar ends on, one of which just came off in my hands as I was going uphill.
As far as CF bikes – Specialized made those composite carbon/ Ti lug frames, and Yeti had the C26, etc.
I think the biggest thing will be the trend generally for frames to be a stiff as possible to the potential disbenefit of how they actually ride.TrimixMember
Marketing sets the standards by which our lust is measured. Back then I remember lusting after fat downtubes and cool neon colour schemes. We didn’t know about geometry, wide bars, short stems, 1xsetups etc.
So we would probably judge the bike on what we know and just look at the other stuff like confused primitives staring at the latest gadget, oblivious to why you need it or how it could assist.
Plus as Molgrips says, we rode simpler trails back then, so dropper posts would seem unnecessary. I remember even a few years ago when they first came out lots of people on this forum still reckoned they didn’t need one. But try riding the average Red trail centre now without one and you will either mince round or end up on your head.
We lusted after neon anodised accessories, your average Enduro bike now has non of that bling, so they may reckon we have rubbish bikes.Posted 5 months agophiljuniorMember
I think there are a few things people would think, if I took say my 29er FS
1) Can’t get tyres for it (I guess I’d have to bring 10-15 years’ supply).
2) It’s massively over engineered and heavy.
3) That travel from a single crown fork?!?!?! (Judy XLs had 100mm which justified a double crown, Judy DH’s from a bit earlier were 63mm travel!)
I think to be honest that what constitutes mountain biking has changed along with the bikes, I don’t think jumping straight to a modern bike would blow people away (at least for general trail riding).Posted 5 months agophiljuniorMember
We didn’t know about geometry
We did know about geometry, but from my recollection of spending saturdays working in a shop in the late 90s, the cheaper bikes had slacker angles, the more expensive had “racier” geometry that was definitely better. And woe be tide if you didn’t have a suspension corrected frame and slackened the head angle by half a degree with a set of sus forks!Posted 5 months ago
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