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Classic steel suspensionless mountain bikes?

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Classic steel suspensionless mountain bikes?

Old 11-29-15, 03:34 PM
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tyrion
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Classic steel suspensionless mountain bikes?

What are some of the better quality old steel mountain bikes, late 80s early 90s before suspensions and aluminum became popular?

What components would indicate a higher quality mountain bike of that era (I understand the Deore hierarchy but no other MB groupsets)?

Not looking for a cult classic, just solid upper tier fat tire bike of the era, if I happen to see one on CL that fits.
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Old 11-29-15, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
IMHO, biggest mistake people make is they are looking for a specific brand or model. Invariably, they miss out on some awesome bikes that weren't on their list.
Agree, but there are so many, and any given model make I could research and figure out if it was good. I just want to know to what were the names of the upper tier models of the time (e.g. "trek xxx" was top-tier, "trek yyy" was second tier, etc.) to focus my attention.

I know a double butted chromo frame would be a good indicator of quality, and now I know the groupsets to look out for, so thanks for that.
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Old 11-29-15, 04:06 PM
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Specialized and trek made nice steel hard tails. They are pretty common so finding a good example cheap shouldn't be too hard. I always thought Kuhara was a Stumpjumper clone. There are a lot of experts on the boards. Somebody will chime in sonner or later.
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Old 11-29-15, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Agree, but there are so many, and any given model make I could research and figure out if it was good. I just want to know to what were the names of the upper tier models of the time (e.g. "trek xxx" was top-tier, "trek yyy" was second tier, etc.) to focus my attention.

I know a double butted chromo frame would be a good indicator of quality, and now I know the groupsets to look out for, so thanks for that.
You can peruse the 1993 Bikepedia and pick out the better MTBs of all makes.

Trek 990/970/950/930 were all pretty good. I think the 990 was lugged up 'til 1994, if you like 'em lugged.

Bridgestone MBzip/MB1/MB2/MB3 were all good. 1s and 2s were lugged 'til 1994, 3s lugged 'til 1993.

Spec Stumpjumpers are nice. Many steel rockhoppers are nice.

Univega Alipina models.

KHS Comp/Team/Pro

Bianchi Grizzly/Super Grizzly.

Giant ATX (higher numbers) I'd like to get a 1992 ATX 770 for the paint



Panasonic MC-xxxx (higher numbers better)

Mongoose got to be pretty light around 1994. My 1996 Goose is one of my favorite bikes ever ridden.

The list could stretch on for ages...
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Old 11-29-15, 04:24 PM
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The Japanese made Konas are fantastic and the geometry was way ahead its time.
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Old 11-29-15, 04:32 PM
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Look for good tubing and good components.

Tange MTB tubing that's double butted was on a lot of great rigid frame mountain bikes.

And if you find a first year production Nishiki Alien, grab it! Excellent components, unique design, cool history.
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Old 11-29-15, 04:35 PM
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Did I hear "Fat Tire?" I give you my '85-86 Trek 830 with about the fatest tires you can mount on a vintage '80s MTB, 2.5 Maxxis Hookworms.

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Old 11-29-15, 04:41 PM
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1987 Yeti FRO
Various years ParkPre Comp Limited-some came with suspension, some didn't!
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Old 11-29-15, 04:51 PM
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Barracuda 'Cuda Comp ( Tree Amigos )
Early Gary Fisher before the sale to Trek
Schwinn Cimarron

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Old 11-29-15, 05:04 PM
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I think most big bike builders made some decent ATB and rigid mountain bikes in the 80s and early 90s. I personally own three, a Schwinn High Sierra, Mongoose ATB, and Cannondale SM800 (aluminum, I know) all from the 80s and all of which have been converted to drops. I think finding a good steel mtb is no different than it is when you're looking for a good road bike. Forged dropouts, decent tubing, alloy components as opposed to steel, etc.
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Old 11-29-15, 05:10 PM
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My 1987 Jamis Dakar wasn't looking very good at the thrift store, but closer inspection showed Tange Prestige tubing and the 6-speed Deore XT parts group, so I bought it.

You've got to play opportunist because you never know what sort of bike at what sort of price will fall into your lap.

I paid $80 and the paint was in poor shape, but that is a big plus in that it helps prevent theft. I use the bike with it's rack for short errand rides around town, and it seems ideal for that, plus it will handle off-roading.
I discovered the rims were still in like-new condition, so it hadn't been used off road. This meant that the brakes work oh-so-smoothly.


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Old 11-29-15, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Univega Alipina models.

I had one of those in about '83! (yeah, I'm that old).
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Old 11-29-15, 05:41 PM
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Specialized Stumpjumpers and Rockhoppers were and are great bikes.

For what type of riding do you plan to use it? These bikes, with some street tires, make excellent commuter bikes. If it's for off-road, you will likely be stuck using knobbies all the time (which kills the knobs) or need a second set of wheels or tires.

Last edited by Bad Lag; 11-29-15 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 11-29-15, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
For what type of riding do you plan to use it?
Just around town, general purpose, guest bike, easy trail kind of thing. I don't need anything special, but if I'm going to work on it and invest my emotions in it I want a decent level of quality to start with. Like LX/XT (or equiv) components, double butted frame. I don't really care if it's double butted but that's just kind of an indicator of the whole bike's quality, so I'd assume if it's a cruder frame the rest of the bike would be cruder.
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Old 11-29-15, 06:16 PM
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* '80's Schwinn Cimarron - fillet brazed head tube, lugged seat tube, DB cro-mo throughout.
* up to '93 Trek 930, 950, 970, 990; higher number equals better components, all are lugged DB cro-mo. '94 list price dropped >$100 with the switch to TIG welded frames.
* early '92 Schwinn Paramount PDG 70 or 90 series - lugged DB oversized cro-mo.
* '85 Cycle Pro Ram; Tange DB throughout - including fork, Suntour Montech, Suntour XC

Look for the double butted Tange sticker.
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Old 11-29-15, 06:23 PM
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Peugeot made some sweet ATBs in the 80s. THe 1984 models all had Nitto Bullmoose bars ($$), the 89 Europe Express was full 531 and came with a sprung Brooks (http://www.bikeboompeugeot.com/Broch...0Page%2014.jpg). They also made some crummy ones. I like reading through the mid-late 80s catalogs. If you are on facebook, check out the group The Vintage Mountainbike (https://www.facebook.com/groups/235433082462/) - some of the group members were very involved in early mountain bike production (one member designed bikes for Specialized.) Look for early stumpjumpers, Fat Chance, Yeti, Breezer, Barracuda, heck even Ross had some good MTBs. OF course, let us not forget pre-Trek Gary Fisher, Klein, and Bontrager.

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Old 11-29-15, 06:32 PM
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+1 on the Bridgestone MB0, MB1, MB2 & MB3. Those represented a pinnacle of sorts IMO. Before then there were lots of dorky features that in retrospect were unnecessary: biopace chainrings, elevated chainstays, U brakes, bullmoose bars, bigger front wheel, etc etc.... (someone will give me grief about one of these know doubt). Early 90s bridgestones were very elegant in comparison. Still had lugged frames, and nothing extraneous. I remember thinking early Kona were pretty cool too. I'm sure there were others that were nice, but bridgestones were my fave in the shop I worked at the time.
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Old 11-29-15, 06:41 PM
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The original GT all terra bikes were great. A step above most other mass produced brands. The company was later sold off and lost its character. Interesting back story to the collapse that can be found on the net.
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Old 11-29-15, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrome Molly View Post
The Japanese made Konas are fantastic and the geometry was way ahead its time.
Which ones (when) were Japanese made? 1994?
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Old 11-29-15, 08:10 PM
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IIRC the top part of their lineup was made in Japan until 1992
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Old 11-29-15, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
What are some of the better quality old steel mountain bikes, late 80s early 90s before suspensions and aluminum became popular?

What components would indicate a higher quality mountain bike of that era (I understand the Deore hierarchy but no other MB groupsets)?

Not looking for a cult classic, just solid upper tier fat tire bike of the era, if I happen to see one on CL that fits.
I feel your pain - I went through the same thing looking on CL. My pain is your gain!

From the 1991 Bianchi catalog, from top of the line to bottom of the line:

Grizzly
Peregrine
Sika
Osprey
Ibex
Nyala
Ocelot

Specialized hierarchy has always been:

Stumpjumper
Rockhopper
Hard Rock - though there are many variations w/in the models, e.g. a Rockhopper "Comp" is more high end than a regular rockhopper.

The following are my best guesses as far as hierarchy, again high to low:

Gary Fisher

Mt. Tam
Paragon
Hoo Koo E Koo
Katai
Tassajar
Marlin
Wahoo
Gitchee Gumi

Giant:

ATX 760-780, 860 870 875 880 890
Sedona (Shimano STX)
Iguana (Shimano Alivio)
Yukon (Shimano Acera)
Rincon
Boulder
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Old 11-29-15, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
* '80's Schwinn Cimarron - fillet brazed head tube, lugged seat tube, DB cro-mo throughout.
* up to '93 Trek 930, 950, 970, 990; higher number equals better components, all are lugged DB cro-mo. '94 list price dropped >$100 with the switch to TIG welded frames.
* early '92 Schwinn Paramount PDG 70 or 90 series - lugged DB oversized cro-mo.
* '85 Cycle Pro Ram; Tange DB throughout - including fork, Suntour Montech, Suntour XC

Look for the double butted Tange sticker.
Bingo. Thank you sir.
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Old 11-29-15, 09:28 PM
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Giant ATX 770, 780 series
GT Avalanche, Karakoram
Mt. Shasta (made by GT) Pechanga, Tempest
Diamondback Axis, Accent EX

I have purchased 4 bikes in the last year with DX/XT components here in SoCal and haven't paid more that $65 for either of them.
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Old 11-29-15, 10:53 PM
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Any Rocky Mountain (Fusion was lowest and still fine), any Brodie, and many more.
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Old 11-30-15, 01:34 AM
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I have a "mountain goat" "escape goat". Pretty solid frame, bull moose bars, deore components... Pretty sweet ride. My other mountain bike is a chrome Mongoose Atb... Lots of fun and the chrome gives it a bling factor.
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