Older high-end componentry -- SunTour XC Pro, for example -- seems very well made, and is often simpler and more durable than much of the more recent stuff.
Then again, there have been real improvements over the years, in some cases at least. The seals, for example, on hub bearings (among others) have apparently improved greatly.
My guess is that some of the more recent higher-end, better-sealed bearings will be more maintenance-free and lasting.
Then again, there are issues of simplicity and serviceablity. Some of the old SunTour thumb shifters would probably outlast the more recent brifter designs, which have many more parts and much more to go wrong.
Some people say that some of the older stuff was really built to last, unlike the newer. Then again, I'm pretty new to all this, and don't really know if this is true or not.
Can anyone tell me: If you were choosing components for a reliable commuting bike, would you veer more toward newer designs, or older ones? (assuming higher-end components in both cases -- top of the line, or a step or two down)
If a person were going out on a long tour in third-world countries, simplicity and durability, or components that are trouble-free, would be important. Would older componentry or newer componentry be a better choice for this?
Sometimes the older stuff can be found at great prices -- a small fraction of what the newer stuff costs. I don't know if it's worth it though, if it is more troublesome or high-maintenance?
I'm not so interested in keeping up with the latest. And I'm not so interested in old for the sake of old. Either one will do -- old or new, or even a mixture. I'm mainly interested in quality (in the sense of reliability and trouble-free longterm performance).
What I'm not so clear on (and maybe some here know more about it, and can help on this), is where that can best be found.