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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 12-01-20, 09:16 PM
  #76  
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Old 12-01-20, 10:19 PM
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The suspension fork is a good thing to talk about in a thread like this, because it's really of the era.

The bikes we are describing here came with a rigid fork. Some of the later ones had an option of a suspension fork, or a suspension-corrected rigid fork. In 1990 nearly no mountain bike came with a suspension fork; by y2k they nearly all did, and in the forms they still have today. At the same time hybrids became more and more popular as the non-suspension mountain bikes disappeared. Hybrids from this era like the Multi Track share a lot with their MTB siblings and are really versatile bikes too. The first generation Trek Multi Track has a frame same or very similar to the 520 touring bike, and the long running Surly Cross Check is nearly a copy.

The rigid forks are really rigid. Compared to a road bike fork their curve is more cosmetic than functional, and they are made of bigger and thicker tubing. You probably won't notice how stiff it is, as long as you stick with big tires. But on the other hand they do give fender mounts and sometimes even touring bike style mid blade rack mounts.

The suspension forks are a real mixed bag.
  • The really early ones have cantilever brake stops. The later ones don't and will work with V brakes. The later you get the more likely they are to have IS disc tabs. For about the last decade, they are most likely to have thru axles and disc posts.
  • The more inexpensive ones, like the most often seen SR Suntour, have only a coil spring. They are heavy and bouncy but they are reliable because they have nothing to go wrong, Sometimes they have provisions for fenders. This type is still common today.
  • Higher up from there, and very early in the era, there was a fad for MCU, multicellular urethane, aka "elastomers" to provide both spring and damping. They were light and simple, but they didn't work great, and they didn't last, either in use or in the market.
  • The arrangement that won out for the midgrade has an air spring and oil damping, and benefits from maintenance and rebuilds. Rebuild kits can still be found for the most popular ones. This type is also still common today.
  • The highest level uses spring shims instead of holes in the damper, so it can flow more oil at high speed and absorb big hits. It may have more air spring chambers, more adjustments, and cartridges that are removable for easier service. But you are not likely to find a fork like that on a "versatile" bike. This type is pretty much only found on expensive bikes.
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Old 12-02-20, 01:14 AM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I was going to point out the ways in which many of the bikes you see people touring the world on are different from a 1990 mtb, but then I realized it is all beside the point.

What does being able to tour the world (which less than 0.1% of cyclists will ever do) have to do with "practicality" the the other 99.9% of cyclists that are not going to do that?

Talk about niche and special purpose......
What do world touring bikes have to do with practicality? Well, when you are in the middle of nowhere you want a bike that is simple to fix, uses common parts, is robust, doesn't have stuff that if it fails it's a show stopper and doesn't look too fancy. Pretty well practicality right there. Now what do these very practical bikes look like? 1990s rigid MTBs. Maybe with drop bars if that's your thing. Threaded bottom brackets. Triple chain rings. Sedate geometry. Longer chain stays. Mostly the difference comes down to how many braze ons there are. If you are handy with a brazing torch you could grab a high end MTB in good condition, add some barnacles and set off. Likely it'll already have 36 spoke wheels with eyelets, 3 x 7 or 8 and a SGS rear derailleur so you can go bigger on the rear cassette.
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Old 12-02-20, 07:10 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I was going to point out the ways in which many of the bikes you see people touring the world on are different from a 1990 mtb, but then I realized it is all beside the point.

What does being able to tour the world (which less than 0.1% of cyclists will ever do) have to do with "practicality" the the other 99.9% of cyclists that are not going to do that?

Talk about niche and special purpose......
Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
What do world touring bikes have to do with practicality? Well, when you are in the middle of nowhere you want a bike that is simple to fix, uses common parts, is robust, doesn't have stuff that if it fails it's a show stopper and doesn't look too fancy. Pretty well practicality right there. Now what do these very practical bikes look like? 1990s rigid MTBs. Maybe with drop bars if that's your thing. Threaded bottom brackets. Triple chain rings. Sedate geometry. Longer chain stays. Mostly the difference comes down to how many braze ons there are. If you are handy with a brazing torch you could grab a high end MTB in good condition, add some barnacles and set off. Likely it'll already have 36 spoke wheels with eyelets, 3 x 7 or 8 and a SGS rear derailleur so you can go bigger on the rear cassette.
Hopefully this thread can get back on track..or it'll get locked and some good info will never come out.

RE the above quotes..

I too have in interest in understanding more about this. This past summer I did a drop bar conversion on a '93 Trek 970..it's now a touring bike for me and, after about 1000 miles(600 fully loaded for touring), seems to work quite well. I continue to research the MTB-tourer as I find it interesting.

It's pretty well known the Trek MultiTrack series share the same frame geometry with the 520 touring bike. As it turns out the early 1990s Trek 900 series(950/970/990 at least) rigid MTB also have the same frame angles/wheelbase..etc.. as the Multitrack(730/750/790) and the Trek 520. This may also be true of the 800 series Trek MTBs, but I haven't checked. I suspect the Spec Stumpjumper & Rockhopper are the same, though I haven't found frame geometries for older Spec MTBs. Fast forward to now..I recently used BikeInsights to compare the Surly LHT and Salsa Marrakesh and Trek 520..they are all essentially the same frame. In all these bikes (LHT, Marrakesh, vintage and newer 520, Multitrack, 900 MTB series....) they have a 71 degree headtube angle and a 73 degree seat tube angle. Wheelbases are either the same or within a few mm of each other.

Qualifiers in the above:
>I looked specifically at 56-57cm frames in road type bikes and 20-21 inch frames in hybrids and MTBs. These sizes would typically fit the same person(me in this case).
>Tubesets, forks, and components certainly change between the bikes, but the frame angles are either the same 71HT/73ST, or within a fraction of a degree of each other.

Given all that..
>>What are the major and minor changes between the vintage MTN bikes and modern (expedition) tourers? One thing that's obvious is the higher stack in modern bikes. DB conversions typically require some steerer tube extension means to raise handlebars to a near saddle level height.

>>Top tubes of some/many vintage MTN bikes got very long in the latter half of the 90's. (early 90s 900 series Treks had shorter top tubes)

>>The bikes I've mentioned mix 26 inch wheels and 700c. Do the same frame(angles) designed for the two wheel sizes really impact rideability(beyond impacts of wheel size itself) in a touring application?

In short.. I just find it interesting the 71HT/73ST has been a constant for decades across so many bike types and manufacturers. So many bikes being sold by different mfgs into so many categories that are very much the same bike.

..this may be too much to unpack..my apologies..

Last edited by fishboat; 12-02-20 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 12-02-20, 08:04 AM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
It's pretty well known the Trek MultiTrack series share the same frame geometry with the 520 touring bike. As it turns out the early 1990s Trek 900 series(950/970/990 at least) rigid MTB also have the same frame angles/wheelbase..etc.. as the Multitrack(730/750/790) and the Trek 520. This may also be true of the 800 series Trek MTBs, but I haven't checked. I suspect the Spec Stumpjumper & Rockhopper are the same, though I haven't found frame geometries for older Spec MTBs. Fast forward to now..I recently used BikeInsights to compare the Surly LHT and Salsa Marrakesh and Trek 520..they are all essentially the same frame. In all these bikes (LHT, Marrakesh, vintage and newer 520, Multitrack, 900 MTB series....) they have a 71 degree headtube angle and a 73 degree seat tube angle. Wheelbases are either the same or within a few mm of each other.
Yeah, Ive read that the MT and 520 in the early 90s had the same geometry. Ive also read that they were the same frame for at least 1 year...no idea if that is accurate or not. My brother in law has a lugged 750 from I think '93 that has double eyelets in back, mid-fork eyelets, and the same geometry as a 520. He converted his to a drop bar gravel bike.

Trek's offerings in the early 90s were seriously versatile!

As for a few touring bikes having the same frame angles, I would just chalk that up to it being well established geometry. 72hta and 73sta, or a degree different for both, is pretty neutral geometry. There is definitely more to frame geometry and how a bike feels than HTA and STA though. Bottom bracket drop and trail are a couple of significant measurements that heavily affect how a bike rides. Not sure if you have looked at those measurements for your 970 and compared them.


>>What are the major and minor changes between the vintage MTN bikes and modern (expedition) tourers? One thing that's obvious is the higher stack in modern bikes. DB conversions typically require some steerer tube extension means to raise handlebars to a near saddle level height.
Top tubes of some/many vintage MTN bikes got very long in the latter half of the 90's. (early 90s 900 series Treks had shorter top tubes)
The bikes I've mentioned mix 26 inch wheels and 700c. Do the same frame(angles) designed for the two wheel sizes really impact rideability(beyond impacts of wheel size itself) in a touring application?
In short.. I just find it interesting the 71HT/73ST has been a constant for decades across so many bike types and manufacturers. So many bikes being sold by different mfgs into so many categories that are very much the same bike.
Differences between a vintage MTB and modern full touring bikes- disc brakes, braze ons for racks, 3(or more) water bottle mounts, geometry meant to get bars up higher(higher stack and shorter reach compared to a conversion with the same components on an old mtb), 700c wheel.
These are general differences as not all MTBs lacks brazeons(yours being one that had em).

Ill softly disagree that there are so many bikes being sold by different brands in so many categories that are very much the same bike. I would say that there are similarities, yes, but would not say that are very much the same bike. If geometry differences beyond HTA and STA dont much matter to a cyclist, then sure there are a ton of bikes that will be viewed as 'very much the same'.
If you look for just a couple of similarities, then most all bikes within a category/genre will look very much the same.


Toss a pic up of your conversion- I always like seeing the older frames given a second life or an entirely new life as something different!
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Old 12-02-20, 08:22 AM
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I agree..BB drop and trail are big variables in how a bike handles. I'd think at least trail would be similar in the bikes (types) I've mentioned as one design goal common to each(type) would be stability rather than the more squirrely handling of a road-racing bike. I did run some calculations (Bicycle Trail Calculator | yojimg.net) a while back and while I don't remember the specific results.., I do remember the results were very similar..within a few mm of each other. I do need to look into this further though.

My bike..ya..I haven't posted a pic here as I've wanted to put a Cigne stem on it..the stem should be arriving today..I'll try to get something up.

As for the other stuff(disc brakes, brazeons..) I'm thinking more toward the rideability-functionality aspects rather than creature comforts. Higher stack in modern bikes is big as riding like a folded paper clip has largely gone by the wayside..in many bikes.
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Old 12-02-20, 08:24 AM
  #82  
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The issue is the defintiion of "practicality."

As for serious 'round-the-world touring---I knew a guy who was part of an extreme bike-touring team (did it for kicks and publicity for products, and charity, and such) and he didn't use super-basic stuff .... Ashtabula crank, or whatever .... because if a place had a bike store, it probably had or could get whatever parts .... or such parts could be priority-shipped .... Maybe if you were intent on biking across Africa, you would go with a single-speed and push it up the hills ... because there would be a lot of places there where maybe you couldn't find Any bike shops.

I have read tour reports from people who cycle-trekked from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego ... they didn't use '90s MTBs. Same deal---if the place could get parts, it could get whatever parts. If not, it was time to rent a truck or hitch-hike to the next urban area and buy a new bike.

The stuff most likely to break outside of crash situations ... cablers, chains, whatever ... people just rode sturdy bikes which were well-maintained, or new, and counted on most stuff lasting the distance. (Check out AdventureCycling.org. You need a subscription and mine has lapsed, but if you are interested, sign up and you can read accounts of people doing all kinds of extreme touring.) If the bike crashed and major damage was done .... yeah, you aren't going to be finding repairs no matter what bike you have. Just think of a simple wheel taco after a bad crash----bent rim, broken spokes. Yeah, maybe you can jump up and down on the rim on a hard surface and get it to fit between the forks or stays ... but are you going to carry three dozen spare spokes in the different sizes you'd need (front, rear drive, rear non-drive)? And are you going to always need a wheel in a place where they have the size you need? Will they only have 26" and 27"? Only 700c?

I was on a cross-country tour about 18 years ago when I needed a wheel .... and because I was with a group and on a schedule, I had to buy a wheel with a steel rim (not so good when trying to stop a fully loaded touring rig on a downhill in the rain.) But ... it was all the place had on hand, and it would have taken too long for them to order what I wanted. So .... if two of us had needed wheels .... one of us would have had to go home, or camp a couple days, then try to hire ride to catch up?

There simply is no "universal" bicycle standard which everyone will always have. And there will not always be the parts you need, no matter how simple your parts needs. And it is more likely that a shop will stock modern parts than parts from 30 or 40 years ago. And it's not like the rest of the world has been in a time warp. Bike shops in South America or whatever aren't selling bikes from 40 years ago.

"Practical" as people are sort of using it here, is more towards "versatile." Versatile means, able to do a decent job at a lot of different things.

practical

1---of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas.
"there are two obvious practical applications of the research"
(synonyms: empirical · hands-on · pragmatic · real · actual · active · applied · experiential · experimental · nontheoretical · in the field · how-to · heuristic · empiric)
2---(of an idea, plan, or method) likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances; feasible.
"neither of these strategies is practical for smaller businesses"
(synonyms: feasible · practicable · realistic · viable · workable · possible ·)
3---suitable for a particular purpose.
"a practical, stylish kitchen"
(synonyms: functional · serviceable · sensible · useful · utilitarian · utility · everyday · workaday · ordinary · suitable · appropriate)
4---(of a person) sensible and realistic in their approach to a situation or problem.
"I'm not unfeeling, just trying to be practical"
(synonyms: realistic · sensible · down-to-earth · pragmatic · businesslike )
5---so nearly the case that it can be regarded as so; virtual.
"it was a practical certainty that he would try to raise more money"
(synonyms: virtual · effective · in effect)

Likely to succeed in real circumstances? The people who actually do adventure touring don't use '80s rigid MTBs that I have seen. They use bikes mostly with modern standards ..... because that is what stores carry. The one thing about old rigid steel-framed MTBs is that they can be forced to work with a variety of wheels .... but wheels have been mostly 130- or 135 mm dropout width since the mid '90s anyway so a modern bike is not less practical.

(Let it be noted---the number of people who actually do adventure touring is phenomenally small, compared to the number of people who tour, and That number is a ridiculously tiny slice pf people who ride bikes. And most of the people I have seen, met, crossed paths with while touring ... did Not have '80s rigid MTBs. In fact, none of them did.) )

Suitable for a particular purpose? From what I have read, the people actually trying to bike across continents are not using '80s MTBs, because they think reliable modern equipment better suits the purpose. Based on experience, same thing.

On the other hand:

versatile

1----able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities.
"a versatile sewing machine" ·
(synonyms: adaptable · flexible · all-around · multifaceted · multitalented · multiskilled ·)

Seems to me we might have avoided this debate (or a lot of it) if people had simply bothered to use the language more precisely.

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Old 12-02-20, 09:47 AM
  #83  
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The truth is, everything eventually becomes an old POS as time moves on. Well, that is, except for the ones who professes its greatness or place in folklore.

But the ability of being able to use and maintain an older design will be dependent on a few distinctive attributes that make the design become extinct.

For anyone with an older mountain bike, it has become apparent that good 26” rim brake wheels with QR hubs are getting harder to find, as well as the necessary V-brakes. And then there are suspension forks.

Thu axles and modern suspension fork steerers will displace the pinnacle of design. It is only a matter of time.

Hopefully my old bike, and more importantly me, will last long enough that I won’t be stuck with the 2020 garbage and be able to buy a real mountain bike when that time comes.

John
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Old 12-02-20, 01:55 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
The issue is the defintiion of "practicality."

"Practical" as people are sort of using it here, is more towards "versatile." Versatile means, able to do a decent job at a lot of different things.

practical

1---of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas.
"there are two obvious practical applications of the research"
(synonyms: empirical · hands-on · pragmatic · real · actual · active · applied · experiential · experimental · nontheoretical · in the field · how-to · heuristic · empiric)
2---(of an idea, plan, or method) likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances; feasible.
"neither of these strategies is practical for smaller businesses"
(synonyms: feasible · practicable · realistic · viable · workable · possible ·)
3---suitable for a particular purpose.
"a practical, stylish kitchen"
(synonyms: functional · serviceable · sensible · useful · utilitarian · utility · everyday · workaday · ordinary · suitable · appropriate)
4---(of a person) sensible and realistic in their approach to a situation or problem.
"I'm not unfeeling, just trying to be practical"
(synonyms: realistic · sensible · down-to-earth · pragmatic · businesslike )
5---so nearly the case that it can be regarded as so; virtual.
"it was a practical certainty that he would try to raise more money"
(synonyms: virtual · effective · in effect)

Likely to succeed in real circumstances? The people who actually do adventure touring don't use '80s rigid MTBs that I have seen. They use bikes mostly with modern standards ..... because that is what stores carry. The one thing about old rigid steel-framed MTBs is that they can be forced to work with a variety of wheels .... but wheels have been mostly 130- or 135 mm dropout width since the mid '90s anyway so a modern bike is not less practical.

(Let it be noted---the number of people who actually do adventure touring is phenomenally small, compared to the number of people who tour, and That number is a ridiculously tiny slice pf people who ride bikes. And most of the people I have seen, met, crossed paths with while touring ... did Not have '80s rigid MTBs. In fact, none of them did.) )

Suitable for a particular purpose? From what I have read, the people actually trying to bike across continents are not using '80s MTBs, because they think reliable modern equipment better suits the purpose. Based on experience, same thing.

On the other hand:

versatile

1----able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities.
"a versatile sewing machine" ·
(synonyms: adaptable · flexible · all-around · multifaceted · multitalented · multiskilled ·)

Seems to me we might have avoided this debate (or a lot of it) if people had simply bothered to use the language more precisely.
Very well put

Versatility does not always equal practicality. In fact, it often does not.

Also, I think part of what is getting lost in the conversation is that just because something is "practical" for one person or situation, does not mean is it inherently "practical" for all people and situations.
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Old 12-02-20, 07:26 PM
  #85  
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Old 12-02-20, 09:39 PM
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I am hesitent to post into this thread but these are my thoughts.

Saying late 80's to early 90's mtb (basically well built rigid bike) is the pinnacle of practical design is overall incorrect, although I understand and agree with the OP's underlying sentiment (I think). I might say they represent one pinnacle of design that is enduring because of their practicality and versatility. But there have been others...

The first bike design, after the experimental era, were Penny Farthings (High Wheelers/Ordinaries). No doubt fun but fairly impractical and dangerous. The "Safety" bicycle was what one could call a pinnacle design, in that it allowed the average person to ride bikes without risking skull fractures from headers and the step thru variation even allowed women in dresses to ride. That design was such a pinnacle that it still endures today.

Utility bicycles are another pinnacle design. Whether it is the Dutch Bike, Flying Pigeon or Raleigh DL-1, the upright, IGH, chaingaurd and rack design has allowed many people to ride bicycles for day to day purposes. Whole cultures have adopted that design.

The post war "Clubman", or sports/touring/rally model of the racing bike was another pinnacle. No longer just the purview of professionals, people could ride one bike to work all week, do club rambles on the weekend, and amateur race when they wished. That basic design saw its way into the bike boom or the 60's/70's.

The rigid mtb seems like a pinnacle because the basic design is so versatile but that is due, in part, to it's origins being a synthesis of other types of bikes being used as inspiration. Experimentally, early adopters used converted utility and cruiser bikes, and then built their own purpose build off road bikes based on those platforms. Bikes that were strong enough and geared low enough for mtbing that had a strong cruiser/utility influence. Consequently, those same bikes can be reverse engineered and used for better stronger cruisers, town or utility bikes.

They are amazing bikes for what they are. The frames are strong and can be used for a variety of purposes. The components are of decent quality. The technology is functional and basic enough that a common person can strip and assemble the whole bike with a few tools. And, they are now quite inexpensive to purchase.

But that doesn't mean they are the pinnacle of all bicycle design. Disc brakes are better than cantilevers or V's. 29r wheelsets roll over obstacles easier, wide range cassettes offer better gearing, CF is lighter and full suspension allows for more technical riding.

Those improvements on design make for better technical mtbs but come with a few downsides. Most 29r, full suspension, CF mtbs cost thousands of dollars and may be out of reach financially for some riders, especially if they want to participate in several genres. That's something I comment on often as we tend to champion the latest and greatest bike and poo poo the rest but if you like to do a variety of riding that could cost 10's of thousands of dollars to outfit. If you want to DH, buy a dedicated DH bike. If you want to be a roadie, buy a dedicated road bike. Like gravel, now you can buy a dedicated gravel bike. Touring bike, fat bike, fixie... while an old school rigid mtb may seem a step down in comparison to the best in each category, they can fill each niche fairly well for a low cost.

New technology is also pretty hard to service these days by lay people. Yes, you can do it, but most are more likely to take their 12speed gearing, hydraulic brakes, electronic shifting and suspension shocks to a bike mechanic rather than monkey on a multi thousand dollar bike in their garage by watching You tube videos. You gain performance but lose self sufficiency.

I think full suspension has also revolutionized technical mtb as a pinnacle design feature. It vastly expands what can be done on a bike and completely changed the direction of mtb design.

The next/current pinnacle will be/is E bike design. Years from now they may be a ubiquitous as the utility, ten speed or rigid mtb ever was. But they will probably still be based of the old original game changing "safety" bike design.

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Old 12-03-20, 01:10 AM
  #87  
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, 02:22 AM
  #88  
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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
  #89  
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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
  #90  
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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
  #91  
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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
  #92  
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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
  #93  
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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, 11:52 AM
  #94  
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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
  #95  
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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
  #96  
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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
  #97  
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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
  #98  
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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
  #99  
'02 nrs
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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
  #100  
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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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