Mountain biking is a sport that has progressed massively since it’s conception. Of course not all of us were there back in the day when the original repack riders were hammering around San Francisco’s surrounding mountains. In fact they’d just started racing mountain bikes the year I was born (check out Charlie Kelly’s site for more info). Yet even in the time I’ve been into the sport the changes have been significant. Look at this photo of Steve Peat from 1993:
Photo from MBUK
Rigid Kona, early SPD pedals, helmet with about 9 vents in… My first mountain bike was being hammered around the trails on the hill behind my house in the late 1980s. I started racing and buying mountain bike magazines in about 1992 and the trends and technology were very different. I remember the first suspension forks – early Rock Shox and Manitou models being introduced. SPDs came along replacing clips and straps. There was a lot of skepticism towards many new technologies, but not half as much as the amount which followed early disc brakes and full suspension frames.
Still the big companies threw lots of money into R&D which progressed the designs and ideas. Eventually they began to convince people with light, expensive and strong components and designs that worked efficiently. The benefits became tangible. This is why these days Steve Peat is racing something very different and despite the debate between hardtails and full sussers still refusing to die, Peaty is undoubtedly riding a lot faster, getting bigger air and hammering the trails more aggressively than he used to.
Photo from Dirt