Roadie looking for vtg MTB

Discuss light weight issues concerning mountain bikes & parts.

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eyedrop
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Location: Prescott, AZ

by eyedrop

I never thought I would be saying this, but Im looking for a vintage mid to late 90's era MTB. Something similar the Trek Y series MTB. Rim brakes, older suspension, but decent wheels and components. A nice retro bike. I really love the style and look of the bikes from that generation. Reminds me of the bikes I saw and lusted for when I was a kid...

Im aware that modern MTB has come a long way, especially with high tech disc brakes and suspension. However, Im not looking to compete at all. The bike will be mainly used for cross training, and easy spinning off road with my beginner recreational friends on easy trails. I would like the option of doing some more technical dowhill stuff, so maybe full suspension is something I may want.

I currently ride a 2017 47cm Ribble R872 road bike, and a 1999 Trek 2000 47cm road bike. The Ribble has fairly aggressive geometry, and I had to put a long stem on the Trek to get a good position. Im short at 5'2", but Im flexible with good core strength and can get away with a racey position on long rides. Not sure if that translates to a MTB.

I need a MTB that is the equivalent to my 47cm Trek road bike. Older, upper entry level/mid level, fairly light aluminum, Tiagra/105 level components, vintage style. Good bang for buck, decent quality and performance with no frills.

Im hoping to pick something up for around $300, like I did with my old Trek. Is this possible? What should I expect to pay?

What size and models should I look at? What should I look for when buying? What are the signs of worn out suspension etc..? Im basically not very knowledgeable about MTB. But I ride road alot and would like to have a nice classic MTB on the side sort of thing... What size do I need?

jmaccyd
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:12 pm

by jmaccyd

I recently updated my more retro MTB for a all new 'singing-and-dancing' machine thinking I would keep the old bike for what you are planning to do. I sold it within three weeks as after riding the new steed there was no way I was going to swing a leg over it again. I'm not a new kit freak by any means, and I was one of the old guys who would mutter about 'its the legs not the gear' but the new stuff is just stacks better. Spend a bit more and get an entry level modern machine or spend a bit more and get something really half way decent. Sorry, not really answering your question, but that was what happened to me!

AJS914
Posts: 2005
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

Same story. I had a 90s 26" Cannondale. Way back when, it got a nice Specialized Air/Oil shock. Then I upgraded every part to new Shimano 9 speed. It was as good as it ever was going to be.

Then I made the mistake of riding a friends new Stumpjumper carbon 27.5. It was just light years better and faster. Now I have a Specialized 29er Camber. Even on climbs where you would think it's all about legs, my 29er FS is way faster.

I was happy to get $300 for my Cannondale because I knew I'd never ride it again.

bikewithnoname
Posts: 999
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:29 pm
Location: UK

by bikewithnoname

Head on over to retrobike.co.uk and enjoy!

Remember that full suspension in the 90's was a relatively new phenomena and pretty terrible by modern day standards, with a noted exception of the Specialised FSR's. If you want 90's then I would personally look for a hardtail, but each to his own
"We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities." Oscar Wilde

Pegoretti Responsorium, Parlee Z5i, Donhou Commuter, 1946 MacLeans Featherweight L'Eroica!, 2x MTB 'dales

eyedrop
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Location: Prescott, AZ

by eyedrop

So what size should I be looking for? 15 inch?

It seems the 15 inchers are hard to come by, but I see lots of 16 and 16.5. How crucial is proper fit on a mountain bike?

I know with a road bike, its critical. Even one size to big will easily compromise comfort and efficiency. Is it correct to assume a MTB is more forgiving in this respect?

bikewithnoname
Posts: 999
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:29 pm
Location: UK

by bikewithnoname

At 5ft 2 ideally you'd be looking for a 14 or 15 inch frame, not the most common of size unfortunately. A 16 would probably be fine but keep an eye on the top tube length as you don't want to be too stretched out and keep in mind that that vintage of MTB often had 100mm plus stems so if you want the right look you don't really want a 50mm stubby
"We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities." Oscar Wilde

Pegoretti Responsorium, Parlee Z5i, Donhou Commuter, 1946 MacLeans Featherweight L'Eroica!, 2x MTB 'dales

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mvacolnago
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:29 am

by mvacolnago

Image

I would accept a reasonable offer
Bont Privateer, mostly XTR, Rolf ceramic rims

eyedrop
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Location: Prescott, AZ

by eyedrop

mvacolnago wrote:Image

I would accept a reasonable offer
Bont Privateer, mostly XTR, Rolf ceramic rims


What size is the frame? Would you be willing to ship to Arizona? Im looking to spend no more than $350 out the door MAX. Honestly, your bike is probably worth atleast that if not more, but then there is shipping....

Sizzler
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:49 am

by Sizzler

That's a nice Bonty! What year is it? Privateer or an OR?

eyedrop
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Location: Prescott, AZ

by eyedrop

So Ive been looking around. As usual, it seems quite difficult to find a decent MTB in my size. Alot of the bikes I find are womens bikes, way out of my price range, or just very low end.

Would it be better to buy a brand new, low end MTB with entry level suspension, cable disc brakes and Alivio/Acera? Or a 15-20 year old bike with XTR and "good" suspension? I see there are 29er disc brake MTB that go for $400-$500 new on Bikesdirect. I might go that route. The smallest and biggest sizes sometimes go on sale...

AJS914
Posts: 2005
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I'd try to find a used modern mtb that sold for $1000 for $500.

bikewithnoname
Posts: 999
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:29 pm
Location: UK

by bikewithnoname

I have a 20+ year old Cannondale, it looks the mutts nuts and its great to ride to the pub or on a nice gravel track, but I wouldn't hoon it down a hillside on it for fear of something breaking, and this is a bike I've owned from new so I know it's been treated well. Getting a 20yr old bike for actual hard riding wouldn't be something I'd advocate (especially if it's alu)

Getting a 1 or 2yr old bike is a great idea, your budget would put you in hardtail territory unless you got really lucky. Re 29ers, given your height I'd make sure you test ride one at your local store as the smaller frame sizes with the bigger wheels can feel a bit strange (or so my 5foot nothing cousin tells me)
"We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities." Oscar Wilde

Pegoretti Responsorium, Parlee Z5i, Donhou Commuter, 1946 MacLeans Featherweight L'Eroica!, 2x MTB 'dales

Dilberto88
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:37 pm

by Dilberto88

Late 1990s to 2003 F-Series Cannondale is perfect for OP. These awesome, handmade frames all can be built very light:

F700
F900SX
F1000SL
F2000SL
F3000SL

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F45
Posts: 871
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:08 am

by F45

I have a late 90s Cannondale Fatty SL that I upgraded to SLX 7000 and hydro brakes. The old wheels are Matrix rim brake rims on XTR 950 hubs, condition 8 of 10. If you want them I'll sell for a very good price.

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