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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-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  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)
    Fuquay, Saracen Kili Flyer, DBR Axis, Dave Yates Diabolo, RSP 450, Mystery Ti, Proflex 855, Orange X1

  19. #19
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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
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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.

  26. #26
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    I have four Bridgestones, so count me as another Bridgestone MB fan! I'll also second the vote for the early 90's Rockhoppers. I picked up this Rockhopper Comp for a song last year, and would still have it if it was a bit larger:


    ...and of course, I have a soft spot for Trek 900 series bikes, especially the lugged ones like this '89 950. Again, too small or it would have been a keeper...

  27. #27
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    Best bang for the buck, in my book, was the Specialized Stumpys. They had the angles down by '90 and handled great. Bridgestones were well made and seem to be more valueable these days than any other production bike. And they have lugs
    "I think it is heavy and often stupid and doesn't work as well as Shimano, but I keep using it. -- NG

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by cegrover
    Finally, no one's mentioned early Jamis or Scott bikes...
    Anyone have a link to old Jamis catalogs? I've got my eye on a full rigid Dakar frame to replace my Bianchi trash bike frame, but have no idea on the measurements beyond what the seller has measured with a tape rule.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt H.
    I have four Bridgestones, so count me as another Bridgestone MB fan! I'll also second the vote for the early 90's Rockhoppers. I picked up this Rockhopper Comp for a song last year, and would still have it if it was a bit larger:
    I still miss my Rockhopper Comp - exactly like that one, it was......

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    Anyone have a link to old Jamis catalogs? I've got my eye on a full rigid Dakar frame to replace my Bianchi trash bike frame, but have no idea on the measurements beyond what the seller has measured with a tape rule.

    oooh yeah, the Jamis Dakar was pretty darn cool! Definitely not a cookie cutter oriental-made bike.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fillet-brazed
    oooh yeah, the Jamis Dakar was pretty darn cool! Definitely not a cookie cutter oriental-made bike.
    Yeah seems like Teesdale built some of them too. This one is built of Prestige steel with lugs and I just revisited the photos and see it has roller cam studs under the chainstay. That kinda discourages me because I'm looking for a lighter and livelier frame to put parts I've got on it, not a frame to buy ever more parts for.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    Yeah seems like Teesdale built some of them too. This one is built of Prestige steel with lugs and I just revisited the photos and see it has roller cam studs under the chainstay. That kinda discourages me because I'm looking for a lighter and livelier frame to put parts I've got on it, not a frame to buy ever more parts for.

    Suntour roller cams are cheap. I remember them being fillet-brazed but that was in the 80s. Don't think I've seen a lugged one.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssmike
    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?).
    matt grey with red decals? that was the 91 stumpjumper comp in the UK at least. colours seem to differ country to country in some cases.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt H.

    ...and of course, I have a soft spot for Trek 900 series bikes, especially the lugged ones like this '89 950. Again, too small or it would have been a keeper...
    WOW...this was my 1st mountain bike! What memories! Same color and all. I ordered it in the fall of 1988. If I only had the same freedom today that I had then...

    Nice discussion all...this is what I hoped for.

  35. #35
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    mb-1 was my first real mtb. wish i still had it. their catalog was the coolest of the day. it sold me. anybody have one from about 92'
    it takes lighting speed to make thunder.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by scant
    matt grey with red decals? that was the 91 stumpjumper comp in the UK at least. colours seem to differ country to country in some cases.
    That was definitely available on both Stumpys and Rockhoppers in the US - both Comp, I think. I've never seen a Hardrock with that paint, however...

  37. #37
    I picked two too many
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    Pint -

    I have to hand it to you. Some great threads you have been starting lately.

    In my mind you are epitomizing the kind of member we appreciate around here.

    Just a note of thanks.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by pint
    ...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 do have a strange affection for my M800 Beast of the East. I started with black with lime green splatter 1990 SM800 that I bought in college with some internship money and got a new frame in about '95 when the original's chainstays got tweaked. I can't bring myself to get rid of this thing.

    I didn't ride it much from about 1999 to 2005 after I had a BK amputation after a car accident. But my kids inspired me to get back on and get in shape so I can keep up with them.


  39. #39
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    Another vote for the early 90s stumpjumpers. Konas were nice too, agressive looking and a ride more to my liking.
    Quote Originally Posted by banks
    That is one big f'n dude!
    Yes I am!

  40. #40
    25-yr old Retrogrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by IF52
    Another vote for the early 90s stumpjumpers. Konas were nice too, agressive looking and a ride more to my liking.
    Too new for the crowd here but this is the girl that got me started:


    Before I SS'ed her this fall she did have a threaded stem and a straight handlebar...
    Keep the Rubber Side Down!

    Wanted: Judy FSX decals

  41. #41
    I picked two too many
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    I should go try and ride a Specialized to see what I think. I just have a knee-jerk reaction to them and Trek. I just throw up a little. I had a Trek 820 SHX and it was a tank, but it handled fine. I also had a Raleigh Technium that was just OK.

    Bridgestone, I always liked, rode a MB-3 for a bit.

    So for me it's Bridgestone.

  42. #42
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    I dig the Breezers!
    Looking for 58cm Road Logic or Road Classic

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrOrange
    Pint -

    I have to hand it to you. Some great threads you have been starting lately.

    In my mind you are epitomizing the kind of member we appreciate around here.

    Just a note of thanks.
    MrOrange - I really appreciate that! I thought a thread on more readily available bikes might spark a few lurkers to jump in. I lurked around this sight for a year or so before I began to contribute. It can be a bit intimidating when all the talk is about bikes that are out of reach for many. My opinion is, the more the merrier. As long as us newbs contribute, rather than just suck out info to go and sell something!

  44. #44
    I picked two too many
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    Quote Originally Posted by pint
    MrOrange - I really appreciate that! I thought a thread on more readily available bikes might spark a few lurkers to jump in. I lurked around this sight for a year or so before I began to contribute. It can be a bit intimidating when all the talk is about bikes that are out of reach for many. My opinion is, the more the merrier. As long as us newbs contribute, rather than just suck out info to go and sell something!
    Amen.

  45. #45
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    specialized stumpjumper and m2 fs, bridgestone, 1991 nishiki ariel (the improved design in steel)

  46. #46
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    I will have to agree with others, but I am partial to the late 80's early 90's stumpjumpers.
    I have a 93 stumpjumper M2 (just the base model) and its still going strong.

    I always did want to try out a bridgestone though...

  47. #47
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    Hey everyone, I couldn't resist any longer. I've been lurking for
    awhile and I'm starting to feel ashamed. he,he.

    Gotta let you know about my 1984 Mt Fuji I bought, built and
    modded slightly in 1986.

    Lugged, quad-butted Ishiwata, powercoated with candy red, white pearl,
    and candy blue. I accented the lug work with the red and blue. It's
    a full XT bike with a set of Campy Contax wheels I built in 1986.

    Running a 39in wheelbase and a good set of Conti's, it's as stable
    and solid as you will find. With the relaxed seatube and steep
    headtube along with generous rake, the bike handles quick but
    is not a squirrel

    When I decided to re-paint in 1985 with the red, white and blue
    powdercoat, little did I know that Fuji would use the same colors
    for their team bikes some 22 years later. So, it's Vintage and
    contemporary at the same time.

    I have over 25,000 on her and she's still a classy Lady !

    I'm looking forward in getting to know everyone, and enjoy reading
    the Forums.



    Skinnedshins. ( in 63 years, you get lots of em )
    Last edited by skinnedshins; 01-21-2009 at 04:58 PM.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinnedshins
    Hey everyone, I couldn't resist any longer. I've been lurking for
    awhile and I'm starting to feel ashamed. he,he.
    Well welcome aboard, Skinnedshins! Your Fuji sounds interesting, make sure you post up some pics sometime...

  49. #49
    Re-friggin'-Lax!!!
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    92 Zaskar
    92? Fisher Supercaliber (Neon Green one with the Shark on the top tube and XC Comp)
    91 Stumpjumper (white with blue lettering)
    93 Stumpjumper FS (grey with orange/yellow lettering and Future Shock)
    92 GT Karakoram (the orange/yellow with black splatters)
    all bikes I lusted for as a goofy 14 year old.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is the deadbeat dad that knocked her up.

  50. #50
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinnedshins
    I have over 25,000 on her and she's still a classy Lady !

    I'm looking forward in getting to know everyone, and enjoy reading
    the Forums.



    Skinnedshins. ( in 63 years, you get lots of em )
    I'm more of a Skinnedelbow type of person, but I love your story. Amazing that your bike has 25k miles on it. That's over 8 times across the U.S. Freaking awesome.

    Welcome to the snakepit. :P

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