Throwback Thursday: High-Tech Mountain Bikes and Components from August 1988

Sometimes we have to look behind us to see how far we've come. That's especially true with mountain bikes.

Klein was one of the premier bike brands in America in those days. The company was famous for building extremely light, top-quality road bikes (thanks in large part to the use of oversized, thin-wall tubing), and they brought that technology to the mountain bike market.

Since front suspension wouldn’t be introduced to mountain bikes until 1989 when Rock Shox forks entered the market, almost all of the bikes in 1988 (except for the small number being produced by Dan Hanebrink and Brian Skinner) had no suspension of any kind.

In 1988, the latest technology still included strap systems designed to hold one’s feet securely to the pedals. The strap setups were called toe clips, which is why pedals such as Shimano SPD’s, which first entered the market in 1990, were called clipless pedals.

Back in 1988, these Dia-Compe cantilever brakes were cool. Things have definitely changed in that department.


This Sakae stem was cutting-edge technology in 1988. Try to find a stem that still looks like this one today.

Wheels have also changed dramatically over the last 30 years. Hubs like this one could be collector’s items now.

SunTour’s 6-cog rear derailleur was matched with a triple-chainring up front, offering a total of 18 gears. Was it better than the 12×1 drivetrains of today? Definitely not.




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