Despite all the advances in mountain bike technology, there are times when sentimentality for bikes of yesteryear bubbles up like oil oozing past the seals of a well-used Marzocchi Z1.
We’re not going to take you back to the golden age of steel and titanium hardtails (which would pretty much all look the same). But rather, to a time period that I think is incredibly influential for today’s mountain bikers.
The dawn of this millennium ushered in much more than just boy bands and questionable foreign policy decisions.
From 2000 to 2005 there was an incredible growth in mountain bike technology. Fox Racing Shox entered the mountain bike fork market, forcing every other suspension manufacturer to up their game. Tubeless tire systems gained traction, thanks to Stan's NoTubes. Mountain bikes with 29-inch wheels started the journey from niche to mainstream, thanks to companies like Gary Fisher and Surly. Last but certainly not least, early dropper seatposts from GravityDropper and Maverick laid the groundwork for this most essential of modern components.
“That’s all well and good, but that era doesn’t exactly qualify as ‘vintage’, does it?” you indignantly exclaim.
Aging is hard, but time and technology march on.
Coming to the realization that the bikes you once lusted after in the glossy pages of mountain bike magazines are now footnotes on a path toward progress, refinement and “optimization” is a lot like the first time you tuned in to a classic rock station expecting to hear Led Zeppelin or The Who but instead found yourself listening to the first four grungy chords of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
If you think you remember Y2K like it was yesterday, take this quiz and see how many of these model year 2000-2005 mountain bikes you can actually identify.