Over the summer I posted some pics from a 1989 book called The Complete Mountain Biker and it was pretty amazing to see how much things have changed since then. Little did I know, I had another book on my shelf, Pro Mountain Biker, with full color pics of bikes from 1995, including some full suspension designs that will blow your mind.

Joe Breeze showing off a 1993 Breezer. Could this be the original Sh*t bike from Bike Magazine? It’s definitely the right color…

Outside of world record DH speed attempts, you don’t see too many mountain bikers wearing skin suits these days. The caption on this pic reads: “John Tomac is dressed in an aerodynamic skinsuit for maximum speed on a downhill course.” Good thinking.

Check out this early disc brake. The rotor looks like it weighs a pound and the overall mechanics look a little sketchy. I do like how the brake attaches to the fork – no need for disc mounts!

Notice the brilliant weight-saving circle cutout on this mountain bike frame!

When I was starting mountain biking in the mid-1990s, the Klein Mantra was the kind of bike my buddies and I would dream of owning one day. The book says “This Klein full suspension bike is one of the most radical designs around.” Rad indeed.

I’ll give everyone a moment to guess who this is. The bike looks like a Jeff Jones but in fact, it’s a Gary Fisher (who also happens to be standing behind the bike).

And you thought Lotus was only a sports car manufacturer. This bike actually features an early carbon monocoque frame and “the choicest components.”

Frankly I’m not sure what to make of this bike from Muddy Fox Interactive. “This design links the front and rear wheels so that hitting a bump with the front fork compresses the back at the same time.” Too bad the design ultimately ends up with more pivots than a tango lesson.

This bike appears to use matching shocks (front and rear) and you can just make out the Michelin sticker on the rear shock strut. Pro Mountain Biker says “Until 1995 the most suspension racers would use would be a front suspension fork. In 1995 several racers, including the ’94 World Champion Henrik Djernis, switched to full suspension bikes. Full suspension makes fast racing more comfortable.”

Aside from the white (!) tires and V-brakes, this design looks surprisingly modern for its age.

This doesn’t look like any Yeti mountain bike I’ve seen before! Note the disked rear wheel – and I’m not talking about brakes. The front chain ring on this beast is enormous – can you imagine shifting down to the smaller ring? The caption says “Yeti spend (sic) a lot of time testing their products on the race track.” I wonder if they spent any time testing this on the mountain bike trail? 🙂

This guy’s outfit (minus the exposed legs) says DH but the bike says XC baby! Skinny tires, V-brakes, and clipless pedals don’t really cut it on the slopes these days.

As a beginning mountain bike rider I always wanted a set of Spinergy wheels and it seemed like the only guys who could afford them were middle aged guys with more money than skills. Notice the circle cutout in the frame again and the chain retention device.

Another carbon fiber mountain bike, this one from Trek. Those wheels really look top of the line!

A specially designed “snow bike” with disc brakes, studded tires, and fenders. Oh, and a ridiculous looking frame and saddle that looks ready to dump the rider onto the top tube.

This type of mountain bike was probably pretty common back in 1995 and it’s awesome to see this guy getting air on a rigid bike with reflectors on the wheels. Ride on Mr. Ponytail Tight Shorts!

Another “snow bike.” This one looks more like a time trail bike than a mountain bike but I’m sure it was fast as hell in the right conditions.

Another Pro-Flex with a slightly different rear suspension configuration.

Many of the bikes shown above are in the hands of collectors these days and restoring (and riding!) vintage bikes isn’t uncommon today. We’ve even created a thread on the forum to share pics of vintage mountain bikes.

All the photos above come from Pro Mountain Biker by Jeremy Evans and Brant Richards. You can still purchase used copies of this book (in hardcover!) at Amazon.com, often for less than $4.

# Comments

  • dgaddis

    Back in the day, men were MEN! Look at how much smaller the cassette cogs were back in the day. People are whining now about not having low enough ratios!

    And look how thin the crank arms are! Flexy I bet.

  • Goo

    It’s amazing how diverse the designs used to be! Compared to the mid 90’s, every bike looks the same nowadays.

    PS I want a pair of those white tires!

  • element22

    Funny thing is I rode a few of those bikes….

    YES flexy…Yes Suspension was crappy and the brakes compared to today were a joke.

    Still kinda fun though. You had to have a pair when it came time to decents…The Proflex bikes were down right dangerous…Fatigue and breaking bolts was common on them.

    The Treks in carbon and the Cannondale Raven (same idea not show) sounded like they were going to explode every gear change. The Bio-pace was utter junk back then…If you were an accomplished rider at the time it was very hard to get used to the oval rings.

  • dgaddis

    @Bio-Pace ring comment….I converted my grandpa’s old bike to a commuter, and it had the Suntour version of Bio-Pace…can’t remember the name. Wasn’t that noticeable with flat pedals…but clip in…and yeah, it sucked. I’ll post some pics of it in the thread on the forums…

  • shiggy

    I remember when each and every one of these pics were published.

    The “snow” bikes were speed record bikes, for use on STEEP icy ski slopes.

    GF’s clunker: Jones? Really?? Not at all.

    The “never seen” Yeti was a production frame, outfitted for DH racing at the Kamikaze. The small ring was never used, and it was raced.

    The Mr Ponytail pic was a typical MBA bike test photo pose. They trashed a lot of bikes and blamed the bike rather than the way they abused them.

    Foes made the circle cutout frames. They claimed it was a stress relief feature and stiffened the monocoque. Regardless, it was the first good long travel fully design as was relabeled for use by many top DH racers.

  • fat_billy

    I had one of the Trek “Y” bikes back in the day! It was way better than my Trek “9000” with the elastimer “shock”. The “Y” bike at least had a rear shock lock out so you could climb on it. The 9000 was like a monkey humping a foot ball on the climbs. Early days of “full” suspension. Once I went hardtail I stayed there. Old school I guess.

  • element22

    I am surprised that no one caught the road bike set up of all those bikes with the seat set at least 3 inches above the stem…Dunno about you guys but that is just not fun when heading down a slope..Even Johhny T’s seat at the time was way up there…

  • imbartman

    I still ride my Mantra – Raced it about 5 years, and still ride it pretty hard, it’s my only ride! Love the ride (climbs great and decends well). But I have avoided sampling the ride of the newer dualies because I may then forsake my first MTB Love!

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