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  1. #1
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    Looking to get a retro modern mtb

    So after 26 years my 1994 Specialized rigid mtb gave up the ghost. I was given that bike by my parents when I was 16 for being a good kid & because it was time to upgrade from my cheapo Huffy. I really enjoy the bike. So I am looking to get a similar style rigid bike. I thought about getting another one in the used market, but I like how these new bikes have disc brakes & improved gearing for uphill. Mines is a 3 x 7 with 27t being the largest in the back and 22t the smallest in the front. I am thinking 2 x 10 38/28 with a 38t in the back. I am told that 26in tires are out of style and that 27.5in x 2.5 is what's popular and more common in terms of tire size. So, I think I will want to go with that size as I'd be worried 29in tires might be too big coming from 26in tire bikes.

  2. #2
    Sneaker man
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    Have a look through this thread, maybe get some inspiration:

    https://forums.mtbr.com/vintage-retr...b-1065294.html

    Also don't sweat the wheels size, I love my 26ers, but also have 27.5 and 29, I'll take the 29er over the 27.5... its more the complete package rather than the wheel size.
    All the gear and no idea.

  3. #3
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    Go to a few local bike shops and start trying some bikes. Enjoy the process and buy the bike you like the most from the shop you like the best. You won't find the best bike for you from other peoples' opinions.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Go to a few local bike shops and start trying some bikes. Enjoy the process and buy the bike you like the most from the shop you like the best. You won't find the best bike for you from other peoples' opinions.
    So, PizzaRider, are you still a good kid? Doesn't much matter, but those kinds of memories are sweet. Don't let the old bike go away without taking a memento of some kind.

    mountainbiker24 has sound advice here. You can trust your test ride the same way you trust trying on shoes...if it's not a good fit it doesn't matter how nice anything looks or what kind of "deal" you get. The best shops don't make you excited about buying a bike, they get you excited to ride a bike.

    The only other thing I might offer is to not look past the 29ers if you're looking for another rigid or hard tail bike.

    And steel is, after all these years, still real.
    MERCY! MERCY! MERCY!

  5. #5
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    If you want a real retro looking bike - and there IS something to it - for sure look at steel frames. There aren't many running around out there, but you can find them. That look I'm talking about is evident in bikes like the Soma Juice, which I reference because I have one. I'm not specifically recommending it - just using it as a visual example - for instance:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BbCux-RAPwM/

    Compare that picture of the Juice to this picture of my nephew with his new Specialized Chisel:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B5d1BfpHOWN/

    While both bikes are hardtails with suspension forks, the steel tubes have an undeniably classic line. The chisel is a good looking bike, but there's something evocative and nostalgic about the steel frame, just in the way it looks.

    Some notes about the Juice - it's a good riding frame. I've liked it, and would love to be able to give it a solid recommendation, but I just can't right now. There have been too many complaints about the dropouts breaking, something I basically wrote off until my dropouts cracked. So while it's a perfect visual example of what I'm talking about, structurally if you buy one, I'm not sure you'll get the same 25 year lifetime out of it, and frankly, that's what I've come to expect of a steel frame bike, hence, this is disappointing.

    I wish you the best of luck in your search - remember it's about having fun. As a side note - I keep all of my old broken frames. They're hanging up in my garage, each one is a story, each one part of my life, a friend from series of epic rides, great memories and painful lessons.

  6. #6
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    Try perusing the following site for classic/retro/modern ideas:

    https://theradavist.com/
    Do the math.

  7. #7
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    I wouldn't discount the used market. There are plenty of good used bikes available with disc brakes and more modern gearing. Also, the difference between 26" and 29" wheels is not that drastic. Older 29'ers with more of an XC geometry will feel more familiar to you after many years on your old bike.

    The challenge for you may be finding a rigid bike since the majority of bikes come with a suspension fork. You can find some decent forks to convert a hardtail to a rigid bike, if you still want rigid. I've had a nice carbon rigid fork from Niner and steel rigid forks from Vassago and Surly.

    Surly bikes, whether new or used, would be good to consider. They have kind of a retro-modern look.

    I rode dozens of 26ers between 1985 and 2007, but now I'm riding older XC 29ers exclusively. My current favorite is a 2008 Jamis Dragon 29 that I run both as a hardtail and rigid. I picked it up inexpensively in the used market a year and a half ago.

    Rigid:
    Looking to get a retro modern mtb-1121180741a.jpg

    Hardtail:
    Looking to get a retro modern mtb-0916191040.jpg

  8. #8
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    A Surly Karate monkey might be a good bike to look at

    https://surlybikes.com/bikes/karate_monkey

  9. #9
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    Some Juice, & Karate monkey looks too modern for my taste and lack that 90s charm. But, the Surly Bridge Club looks closer to what I am looking for, but it doesn't look simple. How does the Bridge Club compare to the Ogre, and my 90s Specialized. Looked at Vassago and it doesn't look like what I am looking for. Really I just want my 90s mtb with modern gearing and brake setup. I am open to 29in tires as people seem to like them here. I went to a bike shop in town and it was all hardtails and full suspension, not retro modern. I also have no qualms going used pending it meets my needs. Thanks

  10. #10
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    Sounds like you may be better off buying a used bike. May be difficult to find a '90s bike that will accept modern disc brakes, though someone can probably make some suggestions. I'm not sure what would be all that different between a '90s and a '00s besides already having a more modern drivetrain and disc brake options, you may want to look more in that decade. But in the '00s most of the decent bikes were coming with suspension forks so you may have to swap that out.

    What exactly is the "90s charm" that you like? Maybe the steal frame? That would still be possible in a slightly newer bike.

    What exactly happened to your '94?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Sounds like you may be better off buying a used bike. May be difficult to find a '90s bike that will accept modern disc brakes, though someone can probably make some suggestions. I'm not sure what would be all that different between a '90s and a '00s besides already having a more modern drivetrain and disc brake options, you may want to look more in that decade. But in the '00s most of the decent bikes were coming with suspension forks so you may have to swap that out.

    What exactly is the "90s charm" that you like? Maybe the steal frame? That would still be possible in a slightly newer bike.

    What exactly happened to your '98?
    A "steal frame"? REALLY

    I think the Surly Bridge Club looks like a fine bike. There are elements of modern geometry and suspension that you shouldn't discredit, depending on how or where you want to ride. Take that with a grain of salt, my primary bike for trail riding is a 2002 Monocog. No derailleurs, no suspension, not even modern geo, but I have fun. Maybe you're like me, you don't care how fast you're going or even if you can clear every section, you just want to keep going at your own pace. In that case, the simpler the better.

    What I'm getting at is that you know what kind of riding you like to do. If you really dug that no suspension, steel frame vibe, there are plenty of options, even those that fit you stylistic desires.
    dang

  12. #12
    Bikesexual
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    How about the Kona Unit X?

    I agree if going rigid, steel all the way.

    Maybe a Krampus?
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  13. #13
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    If you're right about the 1994 model year your Specialized probably had cantilever brakes. Of course the discs will be better, but the direct pull brakes (v-brake) are night and day better than cantilever brakes, especially if you aren't riding in nasty conditions.

    There are plenty of good bikes from the late 90's/ early 2000's in great condition if you look hard enough. ( how about a Cannondale Super V for $25 this past summer ). I run through my local Craigslist ads with a $125 dollar filter 2 or 3 times a week to see what's out there. A brandy new bike might be the solution, but you could find a good vintage bike if that's what you really want.

    best K.


    edit...FWIW, there are mounting kits to add disc brakes to non-disc frames and forks, but I would never recommend that for anything more aggressive than 'round town cruising. I can look up the maker if you want. During the ratrod bikes summer build off there was a disc build onto a 1964 Columbia Firebolt. Anything could be done...not everything SHOULD be done.
    MERCY! MERCY! MERCY!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDD View Post
    A "steal frame"? REALLY

    I think the Surly Bridge Club looks like a fine bike. There are elements of modern geometry and suspension that you shouldn't discredit, depending on how or where you want to ride. Take that with a grain of salt, my primary bike for trail riding is a 2002 Monocog. No derailleurs, no suspension, not even modern geo, but I have fun. Maybe you're like me, you don't care how fast you're going or even if you can clear every section, you just want to keep going at your own pace. In that case, the simpler the better.

    What I'm getting at is that you know what kind of riding you like to do. If you really dug that no suspension, steel frame vibe, there are plenty of options, even those that fit you stylistic desires.
    A lot of those old steal bikes came with cantilever breaks, you know. Also some may have had peddles with toe straps. I think your just jealous. Besides, read my sig, mister.

    When I originally typed "steal", I actually looked back and asked myself if that was right and decided it was. And in regards to the Bridge Club, how can you not like a bike that's available in Gramma's Lipstick and Diving Board Blue?
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    A lot of those old steal bikes came with cantilever breaks, you know. Also some may have had peddles with toe straps. I think your just jealous. Besides, read my sig, mister.

    When I originally typed "steal", I actually looked back and asked myself if that was right and decided it was. And in regards to the Bridge Club, how can you not like a bike that's available in Gramma's Lipstick and Diving Board Blue?
    This coming from a guy who hassled me for randomly switching between "break" and "brake".

    Also Surly has great color names. They need to keep that up.
    dang

  16. #16
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    Steel is reel.
    MERCY! MERCY! MERCY!

  17. #17
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    if you really want retro look up retrotech ,pricey but nice.

  18. #18
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    jcd46 beet me to it with the Kona.
    Not gonna fall in line.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDD View Post
    Take that with a grain of salt, my primary bike for trail riding is a 2002 Monocog. No derailleurs, no suspension, not even modern geo, but I have fun. Maybe you're like me, you don't care how fast you're going or even if you can clear every section, you just want to keep going at your own pace. In that case, the simpler the better.

    What I'm getting at is that you know what kind of riding you like to do. If you really dug that no suspension, steel frame vibe, there are plenty of options, even those that fit you stylistic desires.
    Exactly! Yeah want the simple old school type rigid geo with modern brakes and cassette to go at my own pace how I've been doing it for years. My frame cracked due to a rust that started from the inside the bottom that I caught a bit late. I ride xc style in the dry, sandy and dusty trails between the border of Arizona and California.

    I like the idea of the Kona Unit, but not keen on adjustable rear, goes against the simple I am looking for. It also look a bit too new for my taste. I like how my current bike rides, but disc brakes sound safer to me as does going up a size or two in tires.

  20. #20
    Sneaker man
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    You could always try tracking down a2nd hand mid 2000's HT, something liek a Rocky mountain Blizzard, or Yeti ARC, still old school geo, you can mount disc brakes, they go well with rigid forks, then you can throw on any drivertrain you want, old drawback would be no through axles, which may/maynot be an issue.
    All the gear and no idea.

  21. #21
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    Not really familiar with through axles. What year ARC & Blizzard should I be looking at, as the new ones aren't for me and the older models don't look to offer disc brakes. I take these will be 26in tires, probably max at 2in wide probably? I take there isn't a version that can take 27.5 without going new style?

    Edit: the Yeti looks to come only in a suspension fork, was hoping to keep it rigid and simple as I like how my bike ride overall.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaRider View Post
    Exactly! Yeah want the simple old school type rigid geo with modern brakes and cassette to go at my own pace how I've been doing it for years.
    You can put a pretty modern drivetrain on an older frame as long as the cassette is compatible with your hub.

    If you find a good vintage steel bike, a frame builder should be able to add a rear disc tab for a reasonable amount and then you can find a disc compatible fork or have disc tabs added to the fork too.

    I had a 1997 bike that I really liked, but wanted better braking. First I installed a disc compatible fork and ran the bike as a mullet, with a disc up front and linear pull v-brakes on the back. Eventually I paid a local frame builder to add disc tabs to the frame and ran disc brakes front and rear.

  23. #23
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    Around how much did you get your frame for if you don't mind me asking? How do you like your Moots? Did you or the frame builder know where to put the disc tab? What is the biggest rotors you are able to run? Is the frame strong enough to handle discs? What fork do you have & what are the specs? Have you looked to see what size 27.5 tires can you ride? Thanks

    Soma Juice caught my eye when I started googling, but I think that's a 26in tire ride and it's hard to find. Same with the Salsa Ala Cart disc, but this looks to be 27.5in tire bike.

    Seriously tempted by your setup, maybe even with a low maintenance and simple fork that let's me run 27.5 tires. Was hoping 2.4in like I was suggested to look a but 2.0in would be simple upgrade from 26in I am use to.

  24. #24
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    I get that you are not overly enthused about it, but my Kona Unit is an incredibly awesome bike. I am so happy with it. And yeah - steel IS real. Love the beautifully glassy smooth ride quality in every steel Kona I own. Good luck. I hope you find something that carries the good vibe forward.
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  25. #25
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    Was on Surly's sight and discovered the midnight special. It can handle 27.5 x 60mm, which is 2.3in(maybe 2.4 can fit?) tires. Not sure if this would be similar geo to what I am looking for, but looks wise geo seems a bit closer to what I want vs the Bridge Club, Soma Juice, and Vassago. Hmm

  26. #26
    Sneaker man
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaRider View Post
    Not really familiar with through axles. What year ARC & Blizzard should I be looking at, as the new ones aren't for me and the older models don't look to offer disc brakes. I take these will be 26in tires, probably max at 2in wide probably? I take there isn't a version that can take 27.5 without going new style?

    Edit: the Yeti looks to come only in a suspension fork, was hoping to keep it rigid and simple as I like how my bike ride overall.
    2000-2008ish...frome memory they both came as frame only, so you put whatever for you want on there, buying second hand, if a bike, you then put whatever fork you want on it. I had a rigid fork on my 2004 ARC and it was a lot of fun.

    If you want something actually new, then as people have mention there are bikes out there, just not many, you can always go a custom frame, depends on how much you want to spend.
    All the gear and no idea.

  27. #27
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    I have a rigid Kona Unit and in the year that I've owned it, I've never messed with the sliding dropouts. If you're running gears, even less reason to do so.

    Jamis and Kona made lots of nice steel bikes during the 2000s that will take discs and modern drivetrains. I have two Jamis steel frames, though they are 26ers and I have suspension forks on them.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    A lot of those old steal bikes came with cantilever breaks, you know. Also some may have had peddles with toe straps. I think your just jealous.
    Ouch. Mercy! That hurtís.

  29. #29
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    Soy much missspeeling in these thred.
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    We get old because we quit riding.

  30. #30
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    Depending on how easy the color is to match, you could get an old bike with v brakes and then replace the fork with a rigid, disc compatible modern fork. The majority of your stopping power comes from the front, so you're getting most of the benefits with a front disc if you can't find a modern bike you like.

  31. #31
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    I prefer two disc brakes, but one is better than none. Can anyone here comment on the Surly Midnight Special? It has that geo look I want, I think.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaRider View Post
    I prefer two disc brakes, but one is better than none. Can anyone here comment on the Surly Midnight Special? It has that geo look I want, I think.
    I mean, it looks like a nice bike for what it is, but you're essentially saying that you want a gravel bike. That head tube angle is noticeably steeper than even 90s mountain bikes. The good news is that they are a hot category now. Find the one that you like the looks of and can fit big tires (as the midnight special can) and enjoy!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    I mean, it looks like a nice bike for what it is, but you're essentially saying that you want a gravel bike. That head tube angle is noticeably steeper than even 90s mountain bikes. The good news is that they are a hot category now. Find the one that you like the looks of and can fit big tires (as the midnight special can) and enjoy!
    Agree with this assessment. Would not be the most fun bike to ride on trails. I think the Bridge Club is a better option for that. Heck of OP wants drop bars, I really think it would look good with dirt drops, like a Salsa Woodchipper. But if the OP wants to ride mostly on roads Midnight Special is a great option, just for a different type of riding.
    dang

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDD View Post
    Agree with this assessment. Would not be the most fun bike to ride on trails. I think the Bridge Club is a better option for that. Heck of OP wants drop bars, I really think it would look good with dirt drops, like a Salsa Woodchipper. But if the OP wants to ride mostly on roads Midnight Special is a great option, just for a different type of riding.
    My LBS is a Surly dealer. The Bridge Club is owned by a few of the dudes there, who have it fendered up for winter duty. Nobody I know owns the Midnight Special. Anyone interested in that style seems to gravitate towards an Open (they also sell those) or one of the Kona offerings.

    I looked very closely at Surlys a couple of months ago when I replaced my Kona Fire Mountain, which has seen almost daily winter duty since I bought it in 2008 (I have been running it rigid since the entry level boat anchor of an RS fork corroded to the point of not being safe, years ago). In the end, I was able to get a Unit frame and we built it exactly how I wanted it to be built. What won me over with the Kona was the geo, fit and magic that Konas have always provided. Over the past 25+ years, I have strayed but have always come back to Kona. They always fit me like a custom frame. Every single one of their bikes feels like it is dialled for me.

    Most importantly, enjoy the journey, which might prove to be as (or more) exciting than the destination. Have fun with your deliberating.

    PS - speaking of custom frames, why not shoot an email to Walt at Waltworks and see what he might be able to do for you? Personally if I were you, I would definitely do that before I threw my cash down on anything.

    Or what about one of the many UK bike companies who are dialled almost exclusively into steel frames?
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaRider View Post
    Around how much did you get your frame for if you don't mind me asking? How do you like your Moots? Did you or the frame builder know where to put the disc tab? What is the biggest rotors you are able to run? Is the frame strong enough to handle discs? What fork do you have & what are the specs? Have you looked to see what size 27.5 tires can you ride? Thanks

    Soma Juice caught my eye when I started googling, but I think that's a 26in tire ride and it's hard to find. Same with the Salsa Ala Cart disc, but this looks to be 27.5in tire bike.

    Seriously tempted by your setup, maybe even with a low maintenance and simple fork that let's me run 27.5 tires. Was hoping 2.4in like I was suggested to look a but 2.0in would be simple upgrade from 26in I am use to.
    I paid $300 for the Jamis as a complete bike. The Surly Ogre fork I use on the Jamis when I ride it rigid was $100.

    I have two Moots. I have over 15,000 miles on the 1997 26'er that had the disc tabs added. I liked it well enough to pick up a 2008 29'er version of the same bike. The framebuilder had a jig to correctly place the rear disc tab when he added it. At 165lbs, never needed to run anything larger than a 160mm rotor on the back, so I never tried anything larger. I had the Ogre fork on the old Moots for a while and it would have easily cleared a 203mm rotor if I had wanted one. 160mm front and rear was plenty for that bike, even when descending steep trails while fully loaded with 65lb of bikepacking gear.

    The old Moots frame was plenty strong enough for the disc brakes, even without the additional support that some framebuilders weld between the seat stay and chainstay. It has been going strong for several years since the addition of disc brakes.

    The fork I was using on the old Moots was a Surly Ogre fork. The specs should be on their website. I know that fork will fit a 29x2.5 tire, so a 27.5x5 should also fit. Since it is a 26" bike, that Moots doesn't have a lot of rear tire clearance. I could fit a 26x2.2 or a 700x32c. Even my 29'er Moots only fits a 29x2.3. If I go any wider, the rear end flex while climbing makes the side knobs rub the chainstays.

    Aside from a 1 week rental overseas, I have never ridden 27.5. I went straight from 26 to 29.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgltrak View Post
    I paid $300 for the Jamis as a complete bike. .
    Which model Dragon is it? I'm guessing not a Reynolds 853 at that price. But an extremely low price regardless. Old 26er 853s go for more than that. The 29ers seem to very rarely show up for sale.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Which model Dragon is it? I'm guessing not a Reynolds 853 at that price. But an extremely low price regardless. Old 26er 853s go for more than that. The 29ers seem to very rarely show up for sale.
    Looking to get a retro modern mtb-1208191807.jpg

    When his neighbor upgraded several years ago, his neighbor gave it to the guy from whom I purchased it to get him into mountain biking. It was his first mountain bike. When I bought it in May 2018, the seller had just bought a new FS bike and his wife was enforcing the "one in and one out" rule for their garage, so I got a great deal.

  38. #38
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    Maybe an older Unit? They come up for sale every now and then.

    Paid $200 for a mint 2012 frame.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    Maybe an older Unit? They come up for sale every now and then.

    Paid $200 for a mint 2012 frame.
    NICE score. That is one sweet looking Unit. Well done.
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    I test road a bridge club and it was close in terms of feel. I also tried a ECR and that's no. The shop recommended I look into the All-City Gorilla Monsoon as they called it a old school mtb style with drop bars. It can take 27.5in x 2.4in tires, and can be run with flat bars, cause I want flat bar style I am use to, not drops. It has my interest. Sadly they didn't have one to let me test ride, but might in two weeks. I searched around a bit and discovered there is also a Crust Evasion, which is similar to the Monsoon. Anyone one want to comment on these models? How do they compare to the Bridge Club, or 90s mountain bike I am familiar with? I'm not sure if these two are more similar to retro mountain bikes or to road bikes. I'm hoping mtb.

  41. #41
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    Great deal on the Dragon and on the Unit!
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    NICE score. That is one sweet looking Unit. Well done.
    Thanks, it's my version of the Unit X with my 1x11.
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  43. #43
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    Take a look at the GT Zaskar.

  44. #44
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    Check my posts, one has a link to an album on my FB graphics page of my last 2 rebuilds of my pair of 96 Killer Vs. depending what gave up the ghost on your old one maybe just a retrofit of new discs and gearing, or find an early rigid disc frame and build it up to whatever you want it. Both these 96s were 3x7 rigid with the old Cannondale roller cantilever brakes originally. Both are now 3x9 dual controls with better ranges, one for road and one for everything else, the bright green one I welded a disc mount on when I rebuilt it last and has Shimano hydraulic discs, the other I went w/ Shimano m960 rim brakes and dual control shift/brake levers. If you are mechanically inclined you can definitely build whatever you want for much less than buying a new bike.
    https://forums.mtbr.com/cannondale/k...l#post13655620
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  45. #45
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    Looking to get a retro modern mtb

    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    Thanks, it's my version of the Unit X with my 1x11.
    Iím running my Unit geared with a 1x11 too. Already too many disincentives to reaching for it in frigid temps. Donít need gearing as an additional one. I may run it in SS mode come April.

    Looking to get a retro modern mtb-59730253748__c369cbac-a6c0-40dc-926a-d192be73995a.jpg
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    Take a look at the GT Zaskar.
    Which years should I be looking at?

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    it sounds like the most important factor for him is a long stem and road bike geometry, hes not going to want a true mountain bike

    The closest thing to those old 90s bikes would be a Gravel Bike with a flat handlebar since they are basically road bikes with 2" tires (which is similar to what those old mountain bikes were)

    I would recommend doing a search for "27.5 gravel bike" and see if anything catches your eye (you want to make sure it supports 2" 27.5 and isnt limited to 700c).

  48. #48
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    I did look up the Gorilla Monsoon, but that feels too road bike vs 90s mtb, but I need to rest ride one first. I want 90s mtb with modern brakes not modern road bike.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaRider View Post
    I did look up the Gorilla Monsoon, but that feels too road bike vs 90s mtb, but I need to rest ride one first. I want 90s mtb with modern brakes not modern road bike.
    Visually, the Gorilla Monsoon seems less like a road bike and more like the early Bridgestone mountain bikes, of which some models had drop bars. There was a poster in the commuter forum a while back, Newfangled, who had an absolutely beautiful Bridgestone restored with drop bars.

    I would love to test one out, and think they would be capable on many trails, depending on line choice, speed, and rider ability.
    dang

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaRider View Post
    I want 90s mtb with modern brakes not modern road bike.
    so you want a gravel bike with flat bars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC_xFpg_UmA

    there are many different types of gravel bikes, some that are basically cyclocross bikes and some that have identical geometry as 90's mountain bikes

  51. #51
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    Looking to get a retro modern mtb-specialized.jpg
    Have you checked out Rockhopper 29? Still pretty classic, in spite of the wagon wheels...
    Looking to get a retro modern mtb-scott-scale-750.jpg
    Scott Scale is pretty nice too

    Also a lot of fun in Kona's lineup. (Can you tell I'm "pro-hardtail?)
    http://konaworld.com/platform_mtb_hardtail.cfm
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    has the OP tried some modern bikes before deciding they want ride like it is 94' ??

    I mean I recently sold my old 98' stumpjumper pro.. if fixed it up before hand and rode it some..

    pretty much thought.. well yeah yeah no.. I'd rather have my 2018 trance advanced 2 thanx.. The 20yrs~ of bike development is much appreciated here.

    I can't really see riding a hardtail off road at this point in my case.. I have arthritis and back issues.. I'm quite happy to have full sus personally.

    but a modern hardtail is still much improved over a early 90s bike.

  53. #53
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    I would probably stay away from the gorilla monsoon/midnight special etc. type bikes unless you are exclusively looking to ride on pavement/gravel. Same goes for the crust evasion too.
    Something that would probably fit the bill would be an older surly karate monkey (or ogre). The pre 2015 models of these bikes have geometry that handles closer to a 90s mtb but with disc brakes, 29er wheels, and a little more capability than your old stumpjumper. I have a 2014 karate monkey that I really like for light mtb'ing and atv trail etc. They are readily available on the used market for reasonable prices too (check salsa/surly trader Facebook group)
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    Sounds like the most important thing is a horizontal top tube?

    So this is probably soo slanted, but cool.

    https://nordestcycles.com/en/product/sardinha-kit

    Looking to get a retro modern mtb-39442196_317808392295471_8136090573267271680_o.jpg
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  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by BufaloBill View Post
    I would probably stay away from the gorilla monsoon/midnight special etc. type bikes unless you are exclusively looking to ride on pavement/gravel. Same goes for the crust evasion too.
    Something that would probably fit the bill would be an older surly karate monkey (or ogre). The pre 2015 models of these bikes have geometry that handles closer to a 90s mtb but with disc brakes, 29er wheels, and a little more capability than your old stumpjumper. I have a 2014 karate monkey that I really like for light mtb'ing and atv trail etc. They are readily available on the used market for reasonable prices too (check salsa/surly trader Facebook group)
    I'll have to look up an older Karate Monkey. What's the difference between the Ogre and Karate Monkey? Is this facebook group just for salsa and surley, or does it included other models too, like All-City, Soma, and Crust?

  56. #56
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    What's wrong with the Gorilla Monsoon in a flat bar variant as a 90s style mtb?

    Between, the Ogre, Bridge Club, & Karate Monkey which is the better bike for what I am looking for?

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    Sounds like the most important thing is a horizontal top tube?

    So this is probably soo slanted, but cool.

    https://nordestcycles.com/en/product/sardinha-kit

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I might just be projecting my 90s retro lust here, but it isn't just the horizontal top tube, some of my favorite old bikes were rocking that slant back in the mid to late 90s; Kona, Marin, Specialized, Fat Chance to name a few... For me, it's the floppy fork angle that defines the modern geometry. They're dialed in for downhill blasting, at the expense of flat land finesse.
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  58. #58
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    I like the purple surlys. Which is more capable bike that similar to what I am looking for the Bridge Club, Karate Monkey, Krampus, or Ogre? I take all are similar weight and not considered very heavy?

  59. #59
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    Looking for a modern retro bike.

    Look at Rivendell Bicycle Works or Crust Bikes.
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), 91 Schwinn High Plain (single speed "gravel" bike), Nashbar CXSS (workout)

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaRider View Post
    Between, the Ogre, Bridge Club, & Karate Monkey which is the better bike for what I am looking for?
    There are a lot of hits if you google "surly ogre vs karate monkey" (for example).

    This thread from MTBR is from 2014 which might be in line with the frame model years you're interested in: https://forums.mtbr.com/surly/ogre-k...ey-928233.html

    I found this exchange interesting:

    ÖSurly told me the two bikes have different tubesets, the Ogre a touring tubeset and the KM a trail tubeset. I'm just concerned that the Ogre will have a more "dead" and less "lively" feel than the KM.
    i could tell the difference easily,the karate monkey is a much more lively bike.while i wouldnt call the ogre "dead" by any means its certainly more tank like than the monkey.the ogre is a fine trail bike,but the monkey is a trail slayer.without looking at the frames specs i would also say the ogre is a bit more relaxed than the monkey so more comfortable over a long day of riding.
    Not gonna fall in line.

  61. #61
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    What size are you?

    How about ca. 2015-16 Kona Big Rove ST?

    https://2015.konaworld.com/big_rove.cfm

    Might be limited to 2.0" tires...
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  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    What size are you?

    How about ca. 2015-16 Kona Big Rove ST?

    https://2015.konaworld.com/big_rove.cfm

    Might be limited to 2.0" tires...
    Is this considered a mountain bike?

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by the one ring View Post
    There are a lot of hits if you google "surly ogre vs karate monkey" (for example).

    This thread from MTBR is from 2014 which might be in line with the frame model years you're interested in: https://forums.mtbr.com/surly/ogre-k...ey-928233.html

    I found this exchange interesting:
    I will have to go back to my local shop and test out the Karate Monke, Bridge Club(again), Ogre, & Krampus if available. I may like it. How does these Surly bikes compare to Kona Unit X?

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    What size are you?

    How about ca. 2015-16 Kona Big Rove ST?

    https://2015.konaworld.com/big_rove.cfm

    Might be limited to 2.0" tires...
    His old bike he's trying to replicate probably had 1.9s.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaRider View Post
    ...How does these Surly bikes compare to Kona Unit X?
    I suspected it would only be a matter of time...
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  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    His old bike he's trying to replicate probably had 1.9s.
    My broken ride is 26in x 2in, which is the max.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    I might just be projecting my 90s retro lust here, but it isn't just the horizontal top tube, some of my favorite old bikes were rocking that slant back in the mid to late 90s; Kona, Marin, Specialized, Fat Chance to name a few... For me, it's the floppy fork angle that defines the modern geometry. They're dialed in for downhill blasting, at the expense of flat land finesse.
    I'll be honest I hear that slack head angles make for crappy landing on the flat but I don't find that when I am riding mine.
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), 91 Schwinn High Plain (single speed "gravel" bike), Nashbar CXSS (workout)

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I suspected it would only be a matter of time...
    Beat me to that punchline. I lust for the 2020 Unit X, but would go frame-only and build it up. The stock kit leaves something to be desired... I assume to meet a price point.
    Last edited by J_Westy; 12-13-2019 at 07:58 AM.
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  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    Beat me to that punchline. I lust for to 2020 Unit X, but would go frame-only and build it up. The stock kit leaves something to be desired... I assume to meet a price point.
    That's what I just did with my Unit frame. And I built it geared. So now it's a KILLER Unit X.

    The stock kit on most bikes these days is total shit. SRAM Level T brakes and an NX drivetrain. Yeah. Thanks a lot. Like I have said, it's like they roll the frames through a SRAM factory with a shit magnet attached. Who can blame them though? I suspect SRAM is almost giving those components away.
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  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaRider View Post
    My broken ride is 26in x 2in, which is the max.
    I came here to suggest a schwinn homegrown or a steel Jamis. Jamis has the dragon, which is fantastic and I had the not cool version of it called the Dakota XC, which may have only been made for one year in 05. I rode it for 5 or 6 years until I sold it. Wish I still had it.

    A homegrown has been the best handling 26 inch bike that I've ever ridden. I'm talking about the 26 inch version of these bikes. I know Jamis remade the dragon is multiple wheel sizes, but I have no experience on the newer ones.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    I came here to suggest a schwinn homegrown or a steel Jamis. Jamis has the dragon, which is fantastic and I had the not cool version of it called the Dakota XC, which may have only been made for one year in 05. I rode it for 5 or 6 years until I sold it. Wish I still had it.

    A homegrown has been the best handling 26 inch bike that I've ever ridden. I'm talking about the 26 inch version of these bikes. I know Jamis remade the dragon is multiple wheel sizes, but I have no experience on the newer ones.
    Jamis made the Dakota XC several years, I have a 2003 converted to SS. I also have a 2005 Dragon.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    That's what I just did with my Unit frame. And I built it geared. So now it's a KILLER Unit X.

    The stock kit on most bikes these days is total shit. SRAM Level T brakes and an NX drivetrain. Yeah. Thanks a lot. Like I have said, it's like they roll the frames through a SRAM factory with a shit magnet attached. Who can blame them though? I suspect SRAM is almost giving those components away.
    Actually the 2020 Unit X has SX... even worse shite.

    Is your Killer Unit X on mtbr? Link please if it is.
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  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    Actually the 2020 Unit X has SX... even worse shite.

    Is your Killer Unit X on mtbr? Link please if it is.
    That was an over-statement. I am trying to control my hyperbole and that one got away on me.

    I built my Unit to be my dedicated winter bike. It is an inexpensive but solid build. One that won't cause concern when it comes time to replace corroded components.

    https://forums.mtbr.com/kona/kona-un...ld-775022.html

    Post #169 lists my build spec. It's a working man's build. But MUCH better than the stock Unit X IMHO.
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  74. #74
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    What's wrong with Sram? I am only use to Shimano as that's what my bike has.

    I was watching youtube and the Ritchey P29 caught my eye(guy was riding a variant of it with rigid carbon fork). It's looks to have been disconnected, but looks interesting. There is also the 650b variant too. Which is the better model, or are they both the same geo, just different tire size? I would probably go either steel fork or something like a budget rock shock, unless someone has a better suggestion. Thanks..

  75. #75
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    ^it's not so much that it's SRAM, its that it's SX groupset...

    The P29 and P650 are the same frame, but adjusted for the different wheel sizes, so same in tubing spec and design intent, but probably slightly different in geo to make them similar for the wheel sizes. There is also the the Ultra, which can run 650b or 29er.
    All the gear and no idea.

  76. #76
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    I saw the ultra, but that looks a bit more modern vs P line I saw. How does the ultra compare to the P? How do these models compare to Surly?

  77. #77
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    Ultra can run both wheels and has a slacker head angle, the P's are a lot steeper, older geo style 9keeping with the old P bikes of yesteryear).
    Compared to Surly, no idea.
    All the gear and no idea.

  78. #78
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    It has been brought up and I will say try to test ride the gorilla monsoon if you can! It is a great bike that seems to be good for most types of riding (for a rigid bike). Absolutely love mine! I also think it has a nice retro look to it.


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Looking to get a retro modern mtb-a75757ae-ae3e-47ed-b108-70351a729350.jpg  


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    Thank you, really like the color. Drop bars aren't for me, but will see if I can try out a flat bar model. It's geo looks close to what I am use it. But, Ritchey P series has my eye, but 29 and 27.5 seem to max out at 2.2, which is a small con for me. I want to run 2.4 tires if I can.

  80. #80
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    Thank you. Loving this bike! Being able to run 2.4 is nice. Iíve seen some flat bar builds and they seem to be really happy with those as well but m sure it would be almost impossible to test ride one. I got lucky and test rode the shop owners where I bought mine.

    The p series looks nice. Iíve been a big fan of thru axles with discs though. Also like replaceable derailer hangers. Tough to find something that checks every box for all of us I guess! Good luck!

  81. #81
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    I've got a killer Jamis Dragon 29, Reynolds 853, listed in the classifieds. Perfect mix of retro/modern set up. I was running it 1x and it was a killer rig. Would also make a killer single speed. Looking to get a retro modern mtb-img_2401.jpg

  82. #82
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    I'll have a look into Jamis Dragon and see how it rides for me.

  83. #83
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    There have been quite a few Trek Sawyer's listed lately on the Facebook Bikepacking and Gear Swap/Marketplace. 2011ish, they have a nice classic look to them. Range is $500-$850 for completes. There is even one on the western slope colorado craigslist.
    Silly bike things happening.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by atarione View Post
    has the OP tried some modern bikes before deciding they want ride like it is 94' ??

    I mean I recently sold my old 98' stumpjumper pro.. if fixed it up before hand and rode it some..

    pretty much thought.. well yeah yeah no.. I'd rather have my 2018 trance advanced 2 thanx.. The 20yrs~ of bike development is much appreciated here.

    I can't really see riding a hardtail off road at this point in my case.. I have arthritis and back issues.. I'm quite happy to have full sus personally.

    but a modern hardtail is still much improved over a early 90s bike.
    I was listening to the Tomac/Overend interview on Payson McElveen's podcast and got a chuckle when they were saying how sketchy those old bikes were. Two of the masters of 90's MTB saying straight up that those bikes sucked relative to modern MTBs.

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