Retro bikes how did I ever

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  • Retro bikes how did I ever
  • I still regularly ride my lovely, lovely 95 Marin. Rigid, cantis, green Wildgripper XCs and ting. Lovely.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    I still very much love my rigid ’92 Kona, and for the stuff it gets used for (non-rocky) in its SS mode, it’s ideal. I daresay, it would be fine if I rode it on rocky stuff. I know full well anything slowing me down is my technical skill well beyond that of the bike.

    In fact, I love it more than my Soul – because it’s rigid, it has a lower centre of gravity, and feels like it handles so much better (and yet, people rave abouit the handling of the Soul, which feels barge like in comparison).

    The Kona will get turned into a utility bike some time, but that may not last forever – I think it’s the one bike I have which will outlast me….

    Premier Icon BillOddie

    I have a 1992 Kona Lavadome in my garage, my first proper mountain bike.

    Was considering in building it up, Cantis (or maybe V’s), 21 speed. But then I realised it wouldn’t get used.

    It’s not the lack of suspension it’s the lack of decent brakes, V’s are bad enough, Cantis = 😯


    I raced the welsh points series in ’95 or ’96, and the terrain was pretty damn rough even then. You just had to choose your line more carefully and I’m pretty sure we went slower than you would these days. By then most people had early suspension forks though (I had Manitou 4s, they were ace!).


    I still ride this with a big smile on my face 🙂

    I find the Vs fine as I do the rigid fork and the flat bars!


    Dodger, I think you have just gone soft. There’s nothing wrong with flat bars or rigid forks (though I am a massive convert to disc brakes, only one of my bikes has cantis) I am no luddite; I have a fully-sprung modern bike and love it, but get pleasure from other bikes that have varying degrees of springs, brakes, gears etc. Why shouldn’t it be a bit difficult? Modern bikes allow you to have lots of fun on some quite challenging routes, but on less technical sections I find the new-fangled bikes a bit dull. A bit like crossing Surrey in a Lexus; comfortable but forgettable.


    Still have my Pace RC200 purchased new in 97, always wanted one from when I started riding in the late 80’s, hardly gets ridden these days but always makes me smile 8)

    Premier Icon NZCol

    I sometimes ride my 1990 Explosif to work and every time i get there and think alternately “damn that was fun” and “Fook me i think i’ve jiggled something loose in my bowels” !!
    Interesting being totally rigid, its got V’s instead of cantis and is s/s now as the gears eventually gave up (but i have got all the original bits inc the bottle cage with the toolkit underneath it). Still love the geometry tho.


    I got a mate who rides a massive raligh thing with cantis and 100gs gears. he’s first to the top and pushes the full susslers on the way down.

    I thin ka lot of it is talent! the bastard


    In my current unfit status I find my rigid SS more fun than my full sus, the FS is heavier and needs pushing to far higher speeds to be fun, which is hard due to the lack of fitness. The rigid only really seems harder to ride on the rocky downs when the front skips sideways which is fairly hard to predict. It has flat, cut-down bars, a long stem but does have HS33s.

    Premier Icon NZCol

    But you know, with these old bikes esp. if you have had them forever – its like a pair of very comfy but slightly broken shoes. You hop on and after 5mins you have to double check what bike you’re on…well its like that with me.

    @ Clunker.. That Pace is absolutely gorgeous! I’ve wanted one of those since about ’93. Still haven’t got one, mind. Still hoping.. 😯

    Re: This ‘rubbish’ retro riding position / setup thing – I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with it really?

    I ride with narrow bars, and an arse up, head down position, simply because I find it more comfortable – and it’s the same setup I learnt to ride with off road 19 years ago, when XC was all the rage. If you look at all the World Champ XC riders, you’ll see they have pretty much the same setup, and they don’t appear to be going too slowly..


    Reading some of the posts on here I just can’t help feeling that some riders these days feel that to be better on a bike you need a load of front/rear travel. Fair enough if you want that, but learning to ride a ‘retro’ bike WILL make you faster in the long run. No argument that full sussers can make the unrideable, rideable.
    I have a ’08 RM Vertex but also ride a ’96 Vertex and in the winter ride an old rigid rockhopper (now a singlepeed with drop bars).
    Some great pics posted by the way.


    Here’s my Karakoram. Consessions to the modern are good tyres, riser bar and a pair of V8s. It’s still fun offroad, if a bit bumpy. The toptube is too short and the stem too long, but you quickly adjust to these things. For me it’s rigid forks and pathetic brakes that make the real difference. I come back more tired after riding this, but the pleasure is that it makes you ride it with more thought and imput.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    the FS is heavier and needs pushing to far higher speeds to be fun, which is hard due to the lack of fitness.

    That’s a good point. You have to have the engine for a 6″ bike on the singletrack. Maybe that’s why people are so anti-them – they are too fat and slow! I wonder if they are the same people that have a go at you when you talk about saving weight on your bike? Hmm.

    In any case my 5″ bike is lighter than my first fully rigid steel MTB…

    As for cantis/Vs/discs… Sure, cantis feel ok when you are tooling about in the carpark or on a flat piece of road. When you are struggling for control on a 1:2 drop, then it’s a different story. I used to ride cantis, and I knew full well how to set them up (spent half my life fiddling with the buggers) and there’s absolutely no way I’d go back. Vs maybe, if I had to – but not cantis.

    Sure you had to pick lines carefully in the old days – but if you don’t have to pick lines now, you’re not going fast enough 🙂

    To be honest though I’d ride a fully rigid bike with Vs quite happily if I lived somewhere without rocks – but I’d have riser bars, a shorter stem, maybe slacker angles… I think the biggest advances have been with geometry.


    Every now and then I take out my 91 Marin Team, but after an hour or so start to regret it. I guess I have got used to bouncy forks, brakes that work with out to much buggering around and the ability to go around corners fast

    Premier Icon BigDummy

    I’m whippet thin and have plenty in the legs and lungs, but I don’t have a lot of shoulder and arm to shift a heavy bike around with.

    I think brakes depends on rider weight to an extent too. At 65kgs, riding a rigid bike in a fairly middle aged way, well set-up cantis are fine. If you’re going full out, are much heavier and/or have a decent suspension fork on the front I can absolutely see they are a liability. 🙂

    Premier Icon GDRS

    Ah. Nostalgia.

    I have loaned out my original bike 1992 Cannondale M500. Rigid. Purple – with a 1994 ‘retro’ fit of XT thumbies for a touring project. The current user has a son who is just old enough to want to take it to the woods – and dad wants to keep up. Enter the Dale.

    It’s still the nicest bike I have ever had – mostly because it was the first bike I spent any serious cash on – and as I was at university I could ride the daily rides of someone with not a lot to do in their day if they had a bit of a rubbish degree to amble through. We bonded.

    I cut the bars down and added as many light weight bolts as I could afford. Sweet. It did and does still make a slight ticking noise. Should bother to find out what that is some time.

    Premier Icon miketually

    I struggle to think when I last went out with an OS map and played “touch each side”, which used to be a fairly standard piece of ride planning in about 1999… A lot of miles, a lot of views, and the occasional frantic scrabble down something terrifyingly rocky folllowed by a period of massaging the wrists.

    Not thought of doing that before; nice idea. I think I had to carry four OS maps on my last big ride, which is just silly.

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