When does a bike become retro?

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  • When does a bike become retro?
  • slimjim78
    Member

    There are some good comments above but I tend to agree with this:

    I’ve always thought we mis-used the term ‘retro’ a bit, we normally use it to describe ‘old’ or ‘old-skool’ (for the kids ) but it’s actual meaning is something that imitates a design/concept from the past, or relating to the past, not necessarily being from the past, if that makes sense?

    …but I digress, to answer your original query, there is a bit of a grey area amongst the retrobikers, some say pre-90’s, some say pre-2000, but there seems to be an uncomfortable middle ground of about ’97 that gets agreed upon depending who you ask.

    For a lot of people its more about a shift in focus of the designs rather than a specific year cut off.

    introduction of V’s (and lack of canti’s), steel being phased out, longer suspension capable frames, 9sp components taking on ‘futuristic’ appearances and losing charm of previous shimano etc groupo’s, and generally better handling bikes are all calling cards of the end of the ‘retro’ days.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    I was going to post what amedias said too.

    A bike that was made a long time ago is old. A modern bike, made with styling that harks back to old bikes is retro.

    clubber
    Member

    Using the dictionary definition of course that’s correct.

    However, everyone most people know that “retro” in biking parlance means old, not a modern version of something older.

    Premier Icon amedias
    Subscriber

    I also find the distinction between ‘old and crap’ and ‘retro awesometasticness’ depends a lot on when the person making the distinction started riding…

    You often find that people look back fondly on the bikes that were around when they started riding, the bikes you lusted after as a kid, or the bikes that the pros were using to push the sport forwards.

    I’m sure in another few years people will be calling all sorts of things retro… hell, I heard someone call a mk1 Patriot a retro bike the other day! 😯

    slimjim78
    Member

    indeed. my Cotic Soul will no doubt be retro when my son gets old enough to ride it!

    mattk
    Member

    when another rider on the trails goes “blimey mate your brave riding that”

    Happened a couple of weeks ago when I was on my 1991 trek. Although I think the splatter paint job alone firmly puts it in the ‘retro’ bracket

    Crell
    Member

    It’s defined by when you rode or dreamed of riding, or rather you’ll probably end up defining it that way. RB is full of these threads and there’s no definitive date. For me, its all the pre 95 stuff that floats my boat. Oh and an 89 Bontrager will run a 2.2 (not that I’d commit such heresy). It’s all about the cnc!

    andrewh
    Member

    How about my mid 90s Raleigh special products titanium? takes discs, rides ok with a 100 mm fork

    Modern rubbish. I have a bonded metal matrix Dyna-Tech (no discs, designed for a very short fork).

    Must be a few on here.
    I have a 1993 lugged/bonded Ti M-Trax, 21 speed LX, cantis, 1 1/8 threaded steerer, even a biopace granny ring!

    Also have a 1999 Marin Attack Trail, JnTs, Hope C2s etc which I consider retro, and a similar age Coppi K14 with 9-speed DA which I don’t consider retro, road bikes haven’t really changed that much.
    My 2004 SS Saracen has rigid forks and flat, narrow bar, I think of this as retro (as it rides like bikes used to ride) and yet it is still relatively modern, like what Mike said above.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    I think of Old-school / Retro ect as anything from the days of rigid forks, the first era of MTB design and riding. Up to 1990, maybe into early 90s. Anything mid-90s onwards is old, possibly classic, but suspension forks and category specialisation had come into it then, so original old-shool to me will always be from the first 5-7 years of MTBs being available in the mainstream – 1985-1990 ish?

    mrmo
    Member

    I guess that makes my two Bontys both retro, i even have a 1″ black crown bonty special judy, complete with a englund air cartridge that took the travel to 70mm and saved a shed load of weight.

    Just need to get round to sticking one back together, got the bits just have the frames in a cupboard.

    Premier Icon Leku
    Subscriber

    Simple. 1″ steerer.

    Premier Icon amedias
    Subscriber

    few other Bonty riders cropping up in this thread, thats nice to know 🙂

    I may only have a Privateer, but I still love it!

    Premier Icon sturmey
    Subscriber


    8 years you say thats not retro the 2 in the pic are retro the pine mountain is in use at the moment and the owned since new 1988 Saracen tufftrax (recommended to me by Brant Richards) just needs a new crank and was in use uptill last year.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    I’m sure in another few years people will be calling all sorts of things retro… hell, I heard someone call a mk1 Patriot a retro bike the other day!

    That’s a classic, surely? 🙂

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    Simple. 1″ steerer.

    Nope. Not even close to correct. Most if not all Konas had oversize steerers from 91 onwards.
    Go look at a 91 Kona, then compare it to any modern steel frame. They are all descended from that design, and are different only in minor details.

    weeble
    Member

    Some interesting points made, just want to be clear I wasn’t suggesting my tinbred was retro although it is in my opinion a classic

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    I wasn’t suggesting my tinbred was retro although it is in my opinion a classic

    I agree, but I think the Inbred in itself, not just the Tinbred, is a classic MTB, quite possibly THE classic British MTB of all time.

    mindmap3
    Member

    I consider anything pre 96 retro (basically before I started riding). I have an early 90’s Cannondale Beast of the East in the garage that I inherited from an uncle. When I first started riding this was the coolest bike ever (alongside a poloshed Zaskar with Judy DH’s, Kooka Cranks and a Hope C2 on the front….)

    My BOTE has Pace RC35’s that barely move, an ATAC stem longer than my arm, USE bars and post, a Hope mechanical disc brake etc. With loads and loads of anodised purple! Oh, and a pair of Onza SPD’s with elastomers instead of springs. It has a stupid sized steerer – 1 1/4 inch.

    I never ride it, just keep it because I once thought is was very very cool.

    I still get tempted when I’m on e-bay by old stuff that I loved when I first started riding; GT STS’s, any Kona from ’97, Super V’s etc. I would snap up a Spooky Metalhead frame in no time at al, even if just to keep. That frame, along with the Z1 really changed things for those not fussed by XC riding.

    Premier Icon oldagedpredator
    Subscriber

    Best answer to what is retro would be to find where the next major jump in mass market bikes happened. If you work on bikes following the punctuated equilibrium school of evolution. I’d go for:

    upto and including 1988 – early era mountain bikes
    1989/90 – 97 – move to the ‘modern’ geometry, loss of thum shifters
    1997 – V-brakes, front suspension as standard on most bikes, rise of discs, workable full sus for the masses.

    14years on there has to have been some defining changes, poss not major ones in hardtails so it’ll be a case of some becoming classics. Full sus its prob the point at which riding along and up stopped becoming a chore on a long travel bike? If 29ers take over the world then retro will prob become anything pre2012 or 2013.

    psychobiker
    Member

    In that case my current road bike

    Note Horizontal top tube

    and my still used (less so now got a Specialized) mountain bike bought when I was 22. Am now 40)

    Marcel

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