I am being 100% honest with you when I saw that I am not one of those ‘vintage was waaay better man!’ guys. I remember riding my Bridgestone a couple years ago, and thinking I’d try it on some of the root infested, technical trails we have all over the river valley here in Edmonton.
It was terrible. I could barely keep my hands on the bars. And I was worried the whole time about how this very lightweight steel frame – with a reputation for breaking – was handling the punishment of the trail, and the very not lightweight rider pounding it through the roots.
So, I would say unequivocally, that the general off road riding experience has been improved since 1990. V-brakes, and disc brakes, better forks, proper rear suspension – all of these have made mountain biking better.
But, I am convinced that there is something about vintage bikes that modern bikes don’t have. Some intangible factor that existed in the early days that you don’t see now. And this early 90’s GT Karakoram just might show us what that is.