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Vintage mtb- best sleepers?

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Vintage mtb- best sleepers?

Old 04-02-16, 08:21 PM
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Vintage mtb- best sleepers?

Hi all:

I sort of missed the mountain bike craze.. went from BMX to road. But now that I feel my road bike options are pretty solid, I have been looking for a nice vintage mtb for transport and a bit of sport riding. Trails, coastal hills...Mt. Tam around here (though I heard that its 15 mph speed limit now.. wtf) I'll also use it with my daughter's trail-a-bike for general transportation.

I thought i had a good chance at a GT timberline today, but failure to obtain it has sent me to post this and gather opinions on good sleepers from the 90s. caveat: I don't want to pay over $150. yes I want a decent, but cheap MTB that I can thrash on and it will take it and like it.

what would you look for if you had $150 and wanted a mtb?

Last edited by jetboy; 04-02-16 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 04-02-16, 08:26 PM
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Oddball stuff. I picked up a Skykomish in February. Costco originally sold them. Full Deore LX, Tange MTB frame/fork/stem. Couldn't be happier. Under $150. Older Schwinns like the Sierra are also usually underpriced for what they are.
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Old 04-02-16, 08:33 PM
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Trek 930/950/970/990. Pretty much the best production mountain bikes of the era, IMHO. Some are lugged up until 1993 I think.
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Old 04-02-16, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
Trek 930/950/970/990. Pretty much the best production mountain bikes of the era, IMHO. Some are lugged up until 1993 I think.
+1 non-suspension of course.

I'd add Rockhopper, Stumpjumper, Bianchi Grizzly, Schwinn PDG Series 50, Series 70, Giant ATX 9XX, Bridgestone MB-1, Park PRE, Barracuda, Kleins, higher end Gary Fishers.

component groups: Deore, STX, Suntour Mount Tech,

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Old 04-02-16, 08:40 PM
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GT Timberline was 3rd from the bottom, but a good all around bike. For a while in the 90s, you could get rigid, or Rockshox. GTs were tough, maybe a little heavy, but if you could find a Karakoram or above, it would be a sweet vintage piece. Til they brought out the Outpost Trail later, they never used Gripshift BITD. That alone made us respect the company, in the dark years of companies using GS to save money over Rapid Fire. Had a shelf in the case for GS improvement gimmicks for sale. Met a lot of new people going from shop to shop trying to get their GS ATB to shift well. Sorry, I digress.
Lots of good ATBs from the 90s usually with decent hubs,BBs, removeable chainrings, decent wheels. Find one cheap with non working early Rapid Fire 7 speed, avoid broken Altus cantilevers, and look for all cromoly frames. A new set of shifters and you'll be good to go.
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Old 04-02-16, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
+1 non-suspension of course.
I agree, you'll likely end up with the crappiest of suspension for $150.
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Old 04-02-16, 08:48 PM
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thanks! now on CL with more keywords. the GT timberline was cromo in great shape and $60 - which seemed like a no brainer. also it was large, and being 6'2 I see lots of nice smaller mtb, but the larger frames seem rare.
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Old 04-02-16, 09:01 PM
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Add Miyata Terra Runner to the list.
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Old 04-02-16, 09:20 PM
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a few hours drive but i'm thinking to email: at first glance i'd think it too small but checking a mtb sizing on the internets say it should work. (oddjob2's keyword found it)


Schwinn Paramount
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Old 04-02-16, 09:22 PM
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I feel like mountain bikes have been going up in price recently. Not sure if they are selling or if people are just asking high prices.

As for sleepers id look for supergo brand mountain bikes. Ive owned 2. one with full deore dx that i picked up for $25 and another with full deore xt for $70. The xt was listed on craigslist for several months with good pictures. I doubt anyone clicked the ad thinking it was a cheap brand. Definitely sounds cheap.
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Old 04-02-16, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jetboy View Post
a few hours drive but i'm thinking to email: at first glance i'd think it too small but checking a mtb sizing on the internets say it should work. (oddjob2's keyword found it)


Schwinn Paramount
The PDG series bikes are great. I picked up this same 1991 Series 70 last summer. Tange Prestige frame, full Shimano XT. It's a full-on race bike with no extra eyelets and not much clearance for any rear tire wider than a 2.1"

This is a safe bet.
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Old 04-02-16, 11:26 PM
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Schwinn High Sierra- $100 (hercules, pinole, san pablo, el sob)

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/5512876150.html



Bridgestone MB-4- $125 (dublin / pleasanton / livermore)

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/5489343057.html


1994 UNIVEGA ALPINA 5.3 BIKE!!! - $100 (south san francisco)

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/bik/5516708935.html


Trek 930 mountain bike - $125 (los gatos)

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/bik/5517764412.html


Mongoose IBOC comp- $60 (dublin / pleasanton / livermore)

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/5515150459.html


Specialized Rock Hopper - $50 (oakland north / temescal)

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/5520417913.html

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Last edited by Clang; 04-02-16 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 04-03-16, 02:08 AM
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Everything posted here looks too small to me for a guy 6'2", but that just might be my personal bias, as I have a really big Raleigh Elkhorn Mountain Tour for sale.
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Old 04-03-16, 03:53 AM
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The Paramount and RockHopper would be on the rack of my SUV already.
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Old 04-03-16, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
Add Miyata Terra Runner to the list.
Yes!

Plus a Trail Runner as well.
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Old 04-03-16, 05:01 AM
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Can't go wrong with the old Bridgestones
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Old 04-03-16, 05:39 AM
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I'm a big fan of Kona bikes from the early '90s though I don't know if they are sleepers or not since they aren't as common. The 1993 Kona Kilauea won Mountain Biking magazine's mountain bike of the year, but all of their models- Fire Mountain, Cinder Cone, Lava Dome, etc- shared a similar geometry. Worth looking for IMO.
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Old 04-03-16, 05:42 AM
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@jetboy, you're in a pretty hot market for bikes also on CL also, though the posts from @Clang all look really good. I'm in Boston, where things seem to disappear from CL very fast, so I actually started searching using SearchTempest.com, which searches multiple CL sites and gives you their distance.

As a result, I actually drove two hours to Maine yesterday and picked up a 1995 Trek 930, for $140, which is really amazingly clean yesterday: the guy says that he rode it less than 200 miles during the whole 20 years, which is pretty believable, given the paint job.

The only drawback is that it might be too small -- it's an 18" and I could ride a 19.5", probably -- so I might re-sell it and try again.

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Old 04-03-16, 05:52 AM
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finding the right size will be a challenge. I ride a 60 cm road bike and my RockHopper is a 20.5" Finding this size is unusual in the local market.
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Old 04-03-16, 05:54 AM
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Schwinn made several rigid MTBs back in the late '80s/early 90s that would probably be worth considering. I trash-picked a '90 Woodlands that I use for my 'pit bike' - meaning I ride it around the pits at my local dragstrip when I'm there racing. We usually end up parked almost a half mile from the concession stands/flush toilets so having a means of transportation is nice to have. Lots of guys have golf carts or ATV quads, but they're expensive and take up a lot of room. I have my bike. It came equipped with steel racks front and back that come in handy when transporting a five-gallon fuel jug...

Anyway, the Woodlands has canti brakes, alloy wheels, CrMo main tubes... The High Plains is full CrMo frame. The Sierra is more of a racing MTB. Many of Schwinn's MTBs of that era were made in Hungary of lower-tier components. I've never had a problem with mine.
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Old 04-03-16, 07:08 AM
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Rockhoppers and the steel Trek's are the best deals I see. The Treks have really nice frames, even the low end models. I almost bought an old 820 in new condition for $50. It had Altus components but a True Temper OX frame.
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Old 04-03-16, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Rockhoppers and the steel Trek's are the best deals I see. The Treks have really nice frames, even the low end models. I almost bought an old 820 in new condition for $50. It had Altus components but a True Temper OX frame.
Speaking of the 800 series, there's also a really clean 1992 Trek 850 for sale that might be big enough.

[h=2]Trek 850 Mountain Bike - $130 (danville / san ramon) [/h]https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/5517781407.html

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Old 04-03-16, 07:51 AM
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It's amazing how reasonably priced vintage mtbs are. That's great if you're a buyer; not so great as a seller.

My two favorites are the Trek 900 series and specialized stump jumpers. The vintage stumpjumpers are, to my mind, the iconic MTBs. Yeah I know a lot of people are no fan of specialized but it was the first company to commercialize mountain bikes in 1981. The Treks just look cool with lugs and they have that great Trek paint job.
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Old 04-03-16, 08:12 AM
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I'll be the contrarian here and I admit that I really don't get the vintage mountain bike craze. I have 2 1989 mountain bikes, GT Karakoram and Raleigh Technium, and they are horrible for actual mountain biking I.e. single track or technical riding. They're nice for strolling down a crushed limestone path but for me, lack any of the cachet a vintage road bike has on the pavement.

When I go mountain biking, which isn't often any more, I gotta have suspension and better shifting and brakes than what my vintage Deore bikes give me. Without them, you'll get run over by every novice Rockhopper on the trail.

Anyhow, I'll consider myself the minority on this subject. Carry on...
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Old 04-03-16, 08:16 AM
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Another fan of the early 90's Trek 900 series. I picked up a mostly original 93 950 for $60 from the local college surplus sale. It's a great riding bike.
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