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100 of the best vintage mountain bikes

This is something I thought would be interesting to share. It’s adapted from a list I’ve written myself in recent years, as I’ve  searched for interesting vintage mountain bikes for my own collection.

As one might guess, there is an obvious bias towards the following:

  • bikes from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, principally 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995
  • MTBs with steel frames
  • mass-produced MTBs
  • MTBs that won’t cost an arm and a leg
  • MTB brands that were available in the USA, Canada, and the British Isles

It’s not exhaustive, and it’s not especially objective either. It’s simply a list of what I consider to be the best 100 vintage mountain bikes. These are all bikes I’d like to own, and would consider buying for myself, in the right size and condition.

I plan to add links to photos or catalogue scans for each of the listed bikes, in the near future.

The list

Alpinestars Cro Mega (e-stay or normal)

Alpinestars Alu Mega (e-stay, without cracks)

Alpinestars Ti Mega (e-stay, without cracks)

Bontrager Race / Race Lite

492Bonty1

Breezer Storm

91breezerstorm

Bridgestone MB-1

mb1

Brodie Sovereign

93-brodie-sovereign

Cannondale Killer V series

Cannondale M series

Diamond Back Axis

Diamond Back Axis TT

Diamond Back WCF / Vertex

Giant ATX

Gary Fisher Montare, or any pre-Trek steel Fisher

GT Psyclone

GT Zaskar and Xixang

GT RTS

GT STS

Haro Extreme

20150806_093418

Ibis Mojo

KHS Montana Comp

Klein Attitude (pre Trek)

Koga Miyata Ridgerunner

Kona Hei Hei (Titanium)

Litespeed Titanium (without cracks – lifetime warranties no longer valid after buyout)

Mantis Valkyrie

Marin Rift Zone

Marin Eldridge Grade

Marin with late 80s to early 90s splatter paint

Merlin Titanium (without cracks – lifetime warranties no longer valid after buyout)

Mountain Cycle Moho

Mountain Cycle San Andreas

Muddy Fox Courier Comp

Nishiki Alien

Orange Clockwork

Orange P7

Orange Vitamin T (or T2)

Overburys Pioneer

Pace RC200 (and other RC frames)

Panasonic MC Pro (rare but awesome)

Pro Flex 855 (and similar)

Raleigh Dynatech Torus

Raleigh Dynatech Diablo LX, DX, or STX

Raleigh M Trax Ti 3000 or 4000 (1995 model with UGLI fork)

Raleigh Special Products Division 853 (hard-tail or full suspension)

Raleigh lugged and brazed 531 frames from the late 1980s (Moonshine, Thunder Road, White Lightning, and others)

Raleigh USA Technium Chill

Ridgeback 704 XT (and similar)

Rock Lobster / Amazon

Rocky Mountain Fusion

Rocky Mountain Blizzard

Santa Cruz Heckler

Saracen Kili

Schwinn Paramount

Scott Team or Pro

Slingshot

Specialized Stumpjumper (steel)

Specialized Stumpjumper (M2)

Specialized FSR

Trek Singletrack series (steel)

Trek 8000 Series, bonded carbon composite

Trek Y33

Univega Alpina 500 (and similar)

Yeti Ultimate (steel)

Zinn (anything)

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21 thoughts on “100 of the best vintage mountain bikes”

    1. Good call. A quick google image search brings up some nice examples of the MB-1, and I love it! I imagine I’ve missed this and many other American vintage MTBs due to my own UK bias. If you have any further suggestions, please do let me know.

  1. Got me a Dynatech Torus Lx Titanium (light Blue) last year full Deore Lx group set zoom stem original grips and Lx pedals . Glad it made your list.

  2. i like to ask about my haro extreme since i really don’t know nothing about bike, i wish i can send you the picture. it has elevated frame but no bent on the tube, since i notice every haro had a bent on the tube, please reply or send me an email for information, thanks before.

  3. I have a 1988 Haro MTB (or all-terrain?) I inherited from my stepmom, but I can’t find any information about it online or even from the company itself. I was wondering if I sent you some pictures of it, could you possibly tell me something about it? It looks similar to an Extreme, but only has the word Haro and some very 80s graphics printed on the frame, so I am unsure what model it is.

    I have zero knowledge on this subject, but am interested in learning more. Thanks in advance for your time. :)

    1. Hi there, we’d be very interested to take a look at the bike. The simplest thing would be if you could upload them to an online image hosting site like photobucket.com, and then tell us the link URL.

  4. I owned a red Bridgestone MB1 when they first came out, as I recall it was an less expensive knock of of the Scott Pro bike. I love that bike, rode the shit out of it put all kinds of better parts on it which included one of the nylon disc covers you could add to your back wheel.

    I moved on to a Klein Pinnacle, bought a frame built it from scratch spent between 2-3 grand on it. It got stole out of my garage but I had renters insurance so I bought another spent 4000+ on it and rode it till the frame broke in the early 90’s. Klein replaced it, It later was damaged in a garage fire and my insurance totaled it I bought it back for cheap upgraded to XTR, Avid levers, and Chris King rear hub with the insurance money. I rode her again till the hub and manitou fork failed, that was a couple years ago. I have recently gathered the parts I needed to make her good as new and dropped her off at the shop yesterday for a full like new rebuild, I will post pics when I get her back.

    Klein Pinnacle frame
    Manitou Ti fork
    Interloc stem
    Ti bar
    Avid brake levers
    Chris King headset that has been on this bike since 1989 best 85 bucks I ever spent.
    Cooks Brothers cranks
    Suntour XC cranks
    8 speed XTR freewheel NOS
    XTR short arm derailleur
    Ti rail saddle old one kinda looks like a concord jet
    Chris King rear hub
    Mavic front hub
    Araya rims
    Sutour XC front derailleur
    XTR brakes eagle claw pads
    Panracer Dart and ??? I forget what they call the back tire. Brand New from Japan
    New chainrings and pulleys and cables and rim tape and tubes and grips…..
    All will be tuned and freshly greased soon :)

    MikeD

    1. Hi Mike, your Klein sounds really sweet! It would be great to see a photo of it when you’ve finished the build. The rear Panaracer tire you’re thinking of was the Smoke.

  5. Disappointed no Pre- 95 Kona Kilauea or Explosif (i have just restored a 94 Kona Kilauea in front shocks gone with a original fit 94 project2 forks).
    Joe Murrey design and all steel frames – why not on the list?

    I however do like the list apart from that and having raved XC 1991-2003 i owned & raced
    # 1991 Alpinestars Al-mega DX (umm cracked and died in the command way 6 years later.
    # by 1993 was racing a early stumpjumper M2 Sworks frameset (the grey frame with silver graphics)
    # at some point raced a 96 Saracen Kili Flyer pro.
    # finished of the 90’/early 2000’s racing a Scott Comp Pro.

    Always wanted but never got a
    #Pro-flex 856
    #Klien Attitude
    # pre – 96 Kona Kilauea or Explosif……..(I now have one! A bit late but better than never! Just way things worked out but in the those days XC racing and getting some support from shops/backing the Kona chance never happened).

    Mark Turner-Smith

  6. Got a Univega Alpina 507 sitting in my possession which I need to do some work for. The frame is straight and true on it and a really comfortable ride, but the crankset and rear cassette need replaced. Hopefully going to strip it down this summer, repowder coat it in a blue and white scheme and rebuild it with new components. Given it bought the bike for £40, it should be worth it.

  7. I still own (and occasionally ride) a Bridgestone MB-1. Most of the components are even original (with maintenance/rebuilds). I did the one suspension upgrade, the softride stem and a set of bullhorn bars (no bar-ends), but such a beautiful bike, it’s a shame you only have a lo-res photo of the buyer’s guide.

  8. The Bridgestone MB 1 was a Grant Peterson design. Frame built with lugged CroMo. I still have mine and the tires I put on it are just a hair too big for the frame (Maxxis 2.25 wide). It was built with Shimano Deore XT thumb shifters and full Deore XT components. Not a thing has been changed out. A few paint blemishes and clipless pedals, but still in great working order.

  9. Any knowledge on Raleigh’s Mountain Tour series — specifically the Crested Butte (top model)? I’ve recently acquired one and am considering a spectacular overhaul.

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