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Late 80s - early nineties mountain bikes: the pinnacle of practical bike design?

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Late 80s - early nineties mountain bikes: the pinnacle of practical bike design?

Old 12-03-20, 01:10 AM
  #101  
Oldbill
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The 80/90s mountain bikes were the simplest designs that used decent quality components. Most of the components are still able to be replaced by parts used on current low end bikes. Why do low cost bikes still use them? Because it is much easier (and cheaper) to mix simple generic parts.
When rural touring, it is more likely to find a store that stocks generic low end parts than it is to find higher end parts that are system/model specific.
I tour on a modified 80's mountain bike.
Does it have best performance and is it the nicest to ride? Probably not (but I like it).
Can I find a derailleurs, wheels, tires, stem, etc, for it anywhere? Absolutely.
I can live with that trade off.
I would rather finish my tour with a crappy part than not finish.
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Old 12-03-20, 02:16 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Oldbill View Post
The 80/90s mountain bikes were the simplest designs that used decent quality components. Most of the components are still able to be replaced by parts used on current low end bikes. Why do low cost bikes still use them? Because it is much easier (and cheaper) to mix simple generic parts.
When rural touring, it is more likely to find a store that stocks generic low end parts than it is to find higher end parts that are system/model specific.
I tour on a modified 80's mountain bike.
Does it have best performance and is it the nicest to ride? Probably not (but I like it).
Can I find a derailleurs, wheels, tires, stem, etc, for it anywhere? Absolutely.
I can live with that trade off.
I would rather finish my tour with a crappy part than not finish.
All 80’s MTBs were not created equal.

For example, U brakes were a bad idea and you can’t find a replacement set “absolutely anywhere.”
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Old 12-03-20, 02:22 AM
  #103  
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While I agree that you can find new lower quality replacements pretty easily, the good stuff is pretty much gone. Or the price is so high it is hardly worth it.

5/6 years ago I could go onto eBay and find very nice derailleurs, cranks, brakes, etc. at pretty good prices.

This past year, it took my a few months to find a decent set of SD7 V-brakes, and I still paid more for them used than I had paid for new ones in 2013. Obviously the recall had some impact, but you’d think no one is using V-brakes anymore, they should be giving them away.

John
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Old 12-03-20, 07:20 AM
  #104  
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I like 90s MTBs but really, really, really dig my modern rigs.

Posting my mid 90s MTBs in chronological order:

91 Haro Extreme


92 Stumpjumper Comp



93 Breezer Lightning


94 Kona Hot


95 Cannondale M500

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Old 12-03-20, 07:21 AM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
Whenever I ride around here, I notice a trend: seemingly everyone in my area went out in 1992 and purchased a $500-$600 rigid mountain bike ....these bikes just keep going.
Maybe their longevity stems from the simple fact that there were so many of them sold? Even if half of them or 2/3 of them have long since been recycled into razor blades and tin foil, the remaining ones still represent a huge number of bikes.
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Old 12-03-20, 10:49 AM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
While I agree that you can find new lower quality replacements pretty easily, the good stuff is pretty much gone. Or the price is so high it is hardly worth it.

5/6 years ago I could go onto eBay and find very nice derailleurs, cranks, brakes, etc. at pretty good prices.

This past year, it took my a few months to find a decent set of SD7 V-brakes, and I still paid more for them used than I had paid for new ones in 2013. Obviously the recall had some impact, but you’d think no one is using V-brakes anymore, they should be giving them away.

John
Maybe it depends on where you are, but I can buy <$100 rigid mtbs with good components all day long on CL and in thrift shops. These are the basis of almost all of my project rebuilds. But that takes a little work for looking.

FWIW, I never shop of ebay as it seems to be the easy international click and buy option that drives prices up. Too many people looking at the same thing. In thrift shops or on CL/FB marketplace, the only competition are locals looking for a cheap bike or project seekers such as myself.
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Old 12-03-20, 11:09 AM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Maybe it depends on where you are, but I can buy <$100 rigid mtbs with good components all day long on CL and in thrift shops. These are the basis of almost all of my project rebuilds. But that takes a little work for looking.

FWIW, I never shop of ebay as it seems to be the easy international click and buy option that drives prices up. Too many people looking at the same thing. In thrift shops or on CL/FB marketplace, the only competition are locals looking for a cheap bike or project seekers such as myself.
I can’t disagree with what you are doing. I can only relate to buying good XT/217 wheelsets for under $100 and now they are $200+ and some have way too many miles on them.

I’ve never been a craigslist/thrift store person and stripping components off bikes. It is a good technique, but just housing the current bikes and parts, along with too many surfboards, mine and our kids, just doesn’t leave a lot of extra space.

John
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Old 12-03-20, 11:43 AM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe View Post
All 80’s MTBs were not created equal.

For example, U brakes were a bad idea and you can’t find a replacement set “absolutely anywhere.”
Under the chainstay U brakes were not a great idea and shortlived since they clearly were not a great idea. And yeah, you couldnt find a replacement one 'anywhere'. With that said, The odds of an entire U brake failing is incredibly small. If a straddle wire breaks, that can be replaced in most places. If brake pads wear out, those can be replaced in most places. If a brake cable snaps, that can be replaced in most places.
Its really basically all the same issues as a canti/pivot/v brake. The only difference is if the entire brake somehow exploded, you couldnt easily replace the entire U brake. At that point, if I were touring then I would be happy I survived such an insane incident that could have cause this nearly unprecedented event, and declare myself immortal. I would then just ride with a front brake until I came upon a shop that could replace the U brake or until I came upon the town I had shipped a U brake to.

There ya go- insane hypothetical situation resolved.
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Old 12-03-20, 11:49 AM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Under the chainstay U brakes were not a great idea and shortlived since they clearly were not a great idea. And yeah, you couldnt find a replacement one 'anywhere'. With that said, The odds of an entire U brake failing is incredibly small. If a straddle wire breaks, that can be replaced in most places. If brake pads wear out, those can be replaced in most places. If a brake cable snaps, that can be replaced in most places.
Its really basically all the same issues as a canti/pivot/v brake. The only difference is if the entire brake somehow exploded, you couldnt easily replace the entire U brake. At that point, if I were touring then I would be happy I survived such an insane incident that could have cause this nearly unprecedented event, and declare myself immortal. I would then just ride with a front brake until I came upon a shop that could replace the U brake or until I came upon the town I had shipped a U brake to.

There ya go- insane hypothetical situation resolved.
Insane indeed.

Your "brakes exploding" creation fits the bill.
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Old 12-03-20, 11:52 AM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe View Post
Insane indeed.

Your "brakes exploding" creation fits the bill.
Thats about the only situation I can think of where one would need to source a full U brake while touring.
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Old 12-03-20, 02:04 PM
  #111  
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On an E stay bike of that era (80/90) I recently swapped out a U brake with a modern bmx brake (centerpull, criss cross brake?). They are interchangeable. I bought it at a local shop. Also swapped the front canti for a V brake and added compressionless housings. Definite boost in braking ability.
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Old 12-03-20, 09:20 PM
  #112  
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My Rockhopper has become a great all arounder. Have a lot of fun running it around.
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Old 12-04-20, 02:14 PM
  #113  
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The first bike I ever bought myself, with my own saved-up money, was a 1988 Diamondback Ascent. Man I loved riding that thing on my local trails, and it began a long appreciation for MTBs from that era. I recently found a 1993 Mongoose IBOC Comp on CL and have spent all of COVID turning it into this (see my other posts for a full breakdown).
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Old 12-04-20, 02:18 PM
  #114  
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As far as frame/fork material the OP is correct, IMO. Almost everything today is just a variation of those year's design.
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Old 12-04-20, 06:03 PM
  #115  
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26'r/

more modern than an 80's but nothing like a 29'r & a

comfortable cruise.Haro railer.
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Old 12-04-20, 06:22 PM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by '02 nrs View Post
more modern than an 80's but nothing like a 29'r & a
comfortable cruiser.
Full circle!
That bike is basically a modern copy of the old Schwinn cruiser style bikes that the first mtb's were cobbled from - Klunkers. Next, Joe Breeze made a handful of diamond type frames with cross braces and then Tom Ritchey made the iconic diamond frame rigid mtb platform that remained constant throughout the 80's and part of the 90's until suspension forks changed the geometry.

===================================

Back to the U brake for a moment.
Here's the bmx brake that replaced the U brake on my E Stay.

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