Looking Back 20 Years

Looking Back 20 Years

Down The Trail

Brand-new bikes and the start of another season of top-level racing dominated the news in our July 1999 issue. On the racing front, both the Sea Otter Classic and first World Cup race of the year were covered in the July issue, with many of the world’s top riders showing up for both events.

Mountain bike frame designs from 20 years ago look like they might have been designed to appeal to the eye first, with performance being a secondary concern. Most of the visually striking frame designs of the late 1990s have long since been discarded. It makes you wonder what the mountain bikes of the future will look like.

Cannondale’s Cedric Gracia wowed the crowds at the ’99 Sea Otter with his jumping skills.

 

The Klein Mantra was winning style points with its appearance.

France’s Miguel Martinez won the Napa, California, 1999 World Cup race and would go on to win gold at the Olympics a year later.

Paola Pezzo, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist, was working her way up to the 2000 Olympics, where she’d win again.

The Gary Fisher Joshua frame was turning heads, too.

The Cannondale Lefty was winning fans left and right. We may still call it a fork, but it’s technically a strut. The same concept is used for some aircraft landing gear, so you know it has to be strong.

Cadel Evans was sitting at the top of the mountain bike world in 1999. He’d won the 1998 Elite Men’s XC World Cup title and would win it again in ’99 before switching to road bikes, going on to win the Tour de France in 2011.

Former pro downhiller Kathy Sessler was showing off her jumping skills as an MBA test rider on the Gary Fisher Joshua.

Norway’s Rune Hoydahl was still a major star. He’s the only World Cup racer besides John Tomac to win World Cup races in both the Elite Men’s Cross-Country and Downhill events.

John Tomac was nearing the end of his professional racing career. He took third in dual slalom at the Sea Otter that year. Son Eli was six at the time and heading towards a highly successful career as a professional motocross racer.

For hardtail bikes in 1999, the Answer BodyShock seatpost provided a small amount of cushion.

Marla Streb won the downhill at the Sea Otter in 1999, but she got her picture in MBA with her dual-slalom racing.

The Trek VRX300 helped show how strong the monocoque influence was in 1999.

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