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  1. #1
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    Best Mass Production Vintage Mountain Bikes

    I know "best" is a relative term, but I'm looking for opinions on decent quality mass production mountain bikes. Everyone can't afford a Potts, Cunningham, Ritchey, Bontrager, etc. No Diamondback will compare with the mistique, attention to detail and overall quality that went into a Yo Eddy. However, there must be a few decent mass produced bikes out there? What brands made good quality for the price in the 80's and 90's? I'm thinking Specialized, GT, Trek, Cannondale, etc. I don't want to get into a bash session that a Trek 970 is a POS, just honest opinions for those that want to restore or get into vintage without having to automatically jump on one of the "cool brands." There are no "right" answers, just opinions. Let the fun begin!

  2. #2
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    Get out.
    -eric-

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  3. #3
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    I'm kidding.

    I really liked my 91 Stumpy Epic Carbon and my GT Psyclone.
    -eric-

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  4. #4
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    Actually, there is a right answer. Rocky Mountain.

    ("Right" being a subjective term.)
    Show me your Toads. Old Brodies, too.

  5. #5
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    I'm sorry

    I'm still having a hard time hearing 90's and vintage. maybe early 90s, maybe.
    from the 80s, Specialized and Fisher.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by haaki
    I'm still having a hard time hearing 90's and vintage. maybe early 90s, maybe.
    from the 80s, Specialized and Fisher.
    I was thinking 80's and around 1993. Nothing after the last generation or XT, XC Pro thumb shifters, mostly rigid, but early front suspension designs, etc. Bikes that retailed for $900-$1,400ish. Mostly full XT or XC Pro.

  7. #7
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    for me it is all about the Bullmoose era

    Quote Originally Posted by pint
    I was thinking 80's and around 1993. Nothing after the last generation or XT, XC Pro thumb shifters, mostly rigid, but early front suspension designs, etc. Bikes that retailed for $900-$1,400ish. Mostly full XT or XC Pro.
    to maybe just after. the WTB era I guess. Fishers in the mid 80s were mass produced (like the Mt. Tam) and were great bikes. My brother had one (as well as a Marin Built fisher comp) he sold the production bike and kept the custom

  8. #8
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    For me, it's got to be late 80's early 90's Specialized Stumpjumpers. The Direct Drive forks were nice. The frames were nice. Good riding bikes - especially the matte gray Stumpjumper (Pro, Team, Comp?).

  9. #9
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    Bridgestones!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfgirlonbike
    Bridgestones!
    Ha! Only if they fit. Even their largest frame was/is too small for me.

  11. #11
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    Kona, always put alot of thought into spec of their bikes. Had some lovely steel frames and the Hei Hei when it was a ti hardtail was always nice.

  12. #12
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    Depends on how you define best. Bridgestones were lugged and butted frames from chromoly. That would check a couple boxes for me, but maybe not everyone. The geometry wasn't as aggresive as the Specialized or GT.

    x2 for Bridgestone.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fltplan
    Depends on how you define best. Bridgestones were lugged and butted frames from chromoly. That would check a couple boxes for me, but maybe not everyone. The geometry wasn't as aggresive as the Specialized or GT.

    x2 for Bridgestone.
    I always forget about Bridgestone for some reason? Nice bikes.

    Like I said in the beginning, best is a relative and subjective term. I'm just looking for companies that made a nice solid bike at a reasonable price. I worked at a shop in college, but I was also paying for much of my college tuition. So even with my employee discount I settled for things like a Trek 990, Trek 8700, Cannondale Beast of the East, etc. They rode nice and I beat the crap out of them! I finally graduated to a Bontrager in 1992 and never looked back. I was also living in Iowa, so most people had never heard of Ritchey, Yeti, Potts, Fat, etc.

  14. #14
    John Galt
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfgirlonbike
    Bridgestones!
    Exactly what I was thinking. Beyond that, there are a lot of very cool (IMHO) bikes that were mass-produced. It sounds like we're talking late 80s into early 90s. Personal favorites:

    - Bridgestone, Specialized and Kona, as mentioned
    - Higher-end GTs
    - Higher-end earlier Diamondbacks, such as the Arrival and, later, the Axis (each full XT) and on to the Overdrive
    - Are Paramount frames considered mass-produced? I tend to think they were close to it by 1990 or so (?)

    Frankly, it seems lots of the big guys had nice top-of-the-line bikes with high-end tubing and full XT. I think I like the ones that did something a little different, like Bridgestone or the DB Arrival being early mass-market aluminum. The Axis (TT OX tubing) is just one I have personal experience with, and I like the way it rides.

  15. #15
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    There are lots of nice production bikes. A Rocky Blizzard would be my bike of choice but I dig the Stumpjumpers and the Miyatas too. I also love the Ibis Avion.

  16. #16
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    I had a 1991 Stumpjumper Comp, Tange Prestige, full XT group right down to the headset and pedals, and that thing was bulletproof. My only gripe was the lame paint which chipped if you looked at it wrong. I wish I had it back now.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefmiguel
    Kona, always put alot of thought into spec of their bikes. Had some lovely steel frames and the Hei Hei when it was a ti hardtail was always nice.
    I'm going to go with Kona as well. Nice frames with fairly forward-thinking geometry.

    Also, I'd like a MB-1 so i'll add another to the Bridgestone camp.
    Keep the Rubber Side Down!

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  18. #18
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    Over in the UK - Orange (think Clockwork, P7 etc)
    [SIZE=1]Fuquay, Saracen Kili Flyer, DBR Axis, Dave Yates Diabolo, RSP 450, Mystery Ti, Proflex 855, Orange X1[/SIZE]

  19. #19
    CS2
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    I like Specialized. I've got a 86 and 87 Rockhopper. They're both full XT except for the crank. I've also got an 86 Stumpjumper Sport. It's identically equipped to the Rockhoppers except for the U-brake and lugged frame. They're not exotic but very capable.

  20. #20
    John Galt
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    Mass produced "orphan brand" bikes

    Let's not forget some brands that may not have been around long, but which put out some interesting product! I'm thinking ParkPre, Balance and Nishiki, but there are plenty more.

    Then there are the brands with racing and better product history, but which have been watered down since: Schwinn (High Sierra, Homegrown, etc), Raleigh (Technium and the Tomac specials) and Mongoose (IBOC, Amplifier, etc), as well as GT and DB, which I mentioned in my other post.

    Finally, no one's mentioned early Jamis or Scott bikes...

  21. #21
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    Not exactly mass production bike, but by a mass producer: I nominate the 1992 Panasonic MC Team.

    Why?

    full Tange Prestige frame silver brazed with lugs
    Japanese typical very high precission built
    full XTR m900
    neatly understated well made Nitto parts top it off
    team paint

    Too bad the people in the USA never got it (by 1989 Panasonic had with drawn from the US market)

    Overall Miyata made the best of the shelf bikes in the eighties, early 90s imo.

  22. #22
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    Specialized Rockhopper from 91-93

  23. #23
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    I'd have to say late '80s Bridgestone for their cool spec, quick geo (72 head angle, short stays) and cutting edginess.

    And SSMike's pick for the 1990+ Stumpjumpers. They finally got some nice thin, lively tubing it seemed. The 85 Team Stumpjumper was really cool too.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slimpee
    I'm going to go with Kona as well. Nice frames with fairly forward-thinking geometry.
    Make me a third, heck even the low-end Fire Mountain rode better than most of the other non-custom bikes of the time. I also think the Giant ATX series were quite nice.

  25. #25
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    A lot of the higher-end bikes form most the manufactures were pretty nice.

    Bridgestone is the obvious choice for me. I have an upper end KHS from the early 90's and it's super light - a bit quick in the handing department - but a nice bike.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

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