Mountain bike technology has come a long way. I've been riding bikes seriously for over two decades now and began with an unsuspended Specialized Rockhopper and graduated to another unsuspended Bridgestone MB-2 in the 90s. The handling on those bikes was precise and in particular, the Bstone was agile and as fun to ride as any bike I've ever owned. And pretty. It had a beautiful blood red paint job, and a biplane fork crown that was to die for.
Over the years I've fallen in and out of love with mountain biking depending on where I've lived. The midwest is a different animal in terms of mountain biking as opposed to riding in the rocky Sierras with our technical climbs and descents. I've now owned a full-suspension "26er", and now have a Jamis Dragon 29er. A 29er is a little big in feel for me at 5'6" but it rolls nicely over rocks and ruts with a front suspension fork. It also has hydraulic disc brakes which makes me extraordinarily more confident descending and makes riding with friends on the dirt more enjoyable.
But that gets to the point of this post. I went out riding on my refurbished Bridgestone MB-1 today and even though I was going slower in rocky descents, I enjoyed every minute of the agile and pinpoint steering of the unsuspended bike. This fact led me to the conclusion that should probably get out on this bike more often for my solo rides and leave the "modern" Jamis Dragon for my rides with friends or sub 24 hour camping trips where keeping together with friends might be the better choice.
With that I will just say...that no matter what you ride, new or old mountain bike, there is no denying the pure and beautiful aesthetics of a earlier mountain bike made from from a lugged steel. It beats the looks of a carbon labelled whatever made in Taiwan any day.
For over 12 Years I wrote the Reno Rambler Blog covering everything from Bicycle Advocacy, Reno Politics, Popular Culture, and my experiences as a long-time cyclist.