This is a thread for anything and everything Vintage MTB. First things first, what would you consider a Vintage MTB? I think anything pre 2000 is vintage, but I’ve heard different dates. The two most extreme dates I’ve heard are pre 2005 and pre 1985. When a friend asked me why I thought everything 1999 and before was vintage I asked him to think about vintage cars. For cars anything pre emissions control (pre 1973) is widely considered vintage. with the automobile starting in the 1880’s this means the 60’s are 2/3s through the history of the automobile. Apply this to MTBs. 2/3s of 40 is roughly 26. using this method pre 2001 is a vintage bike. Another reason why I think vintage MTBs are pre 2000 is because although 1999 doesn’t seem so long ago, most MTB technology we use today became popular after that. Don’t think so? Disc brakes, air suspension, dropper posts, wide bars, 27.5, more than 100mm of travel, aluminum frames, tapered headtubes, 9 speeds, 2x chainrings, internally routed cables, arguably full suspension, etc, etc, all became popular after 2000.
Now I like old bikes. I see them as an easy, cheap way to get into mountain biking with some quality used components. Only one of my bikes was made after 2005,which is My 2012 Giant XTC 29er 2. I have Two bikes that fit into my vintage category, my 1999 GT XCR-3000 and my 1998 Gary Fisher Gitchee Gumee. Most would say, “You ride a full sus from the 90’s.” Yes, I do,but I am fully convinced that the original GT I-drive is a great system. All my other old bikes are awesome hardtails. These hardtails have helped me develop my love for hardtails, and now I think hardtails are the bomb! Yes, they are a little rough some times but these awesome, low-maintenance, survivors are doing better than ever, especially with the introduction of the Plus-size.
So lets see any thing vintage MTB. It can be a photo, video, a story about an experience with one, maintenance help, parts questions, a cool looking one, or even just a spec sheet. Go wild!
I have a 1998 Schwinn Moab 3 that I love. The frame itself is very lite and I’ve upgraded most everything to modern XT components. The only complaint I have is I wish the frame had disk tabs for the rear wheel. Disks would be a great upgrade for an otherwise solid bike!
I think 1999 is a pretty good cutoff for vintage MTBs. I feel like the 1990s was the last golden age of mountain biking (before the current one, of course). The rig above was my main rig from about 2000 to 2009. Technically I think it was a 1999 model year (back when they actually had those.)
I have no desire to go back to riding this bike (I gave it away so I couldn’t even if I wanted to.) Our family also has (had? maybe it’s gone) a steel Bridgestone MB-5 kicking around that I wouldn’t mind fixing up and trying to ride again. Rigid mountain bikes still ride like rigid mountain bikes so I can understand wanting to restore one of those. But suspension from the 90s just plain sucked–no need to relive that chapter in MTB history!
I have a 2000 Trek 4500 that I still ride regularly. I was my first MTB and takes me back to a time when I had no worries about my biggest enemy, suspension problems (probably because I didn’t know you had to take care of suspension at the time). Also that bike is bullet proof. I’ve always thought it would be the perfect bikepacking bike because although the technology is not superb, I don’t think I’ve ever had 5 maintenance problems with it. Slap on a new rear derailleur and it will be good! Jumping from a 1999 bike to a 2010 bike must have been a shock for you! I got some bike pics on the way.
That thing looks to be in great shape. Although those steel frames are a bit heavy, I still love them. My Gary Fisher’s in pretty rough shape, and I see a pretty serious shake down of that bike in my future. Have you ridden on it recently?
Great, I have found with a few upgrades you can turn a vintage hardtail into a seriously awesome bike. For instance my Trek 4500 is still the lightest bike I’ve ever owned, even coming in lower than my Giant XTC 29er 2. When I get bigger bars for my GT this winter, I’ll take its Carbon XC bar and put it on the Trek. Boom! even lighter. Also a new derailleur will be needed soon as the 16 year old Vintage derailleur (That somehow functioned this long) I have on it has finally sputtered out.