Retro VS Modern Downhill Bikes

Retro VS Modern Downhill Bikes

Retro versus modern. We’re going to
compare downhill bikes that are 20 years apart. This here is a Specialized S-Works
FSR from 1995, and this is a brand-new S-Works Demo 2015 model. Just on first
sight, they look a lot different. The new bike is really long, the wheel
base is much longer than the old bike, and just look at the head angle. You can
obviously see straight away that it’s much slacker, much better on really fast
tracks. It’s also a lot longer top tube, and that really is that modern sort of
geometry of having a lot of space up front. Downhill bikes nowadays, they all
really use…50 or 40 mill has become the norm stems, whereas on the old Jason McRoy
bike, really, you’ve just got the long stem on there to give you the space. It
doesn’t really help for controlling the bike, and that really comes down to the
fact that these weren’t necessarily downhill bikes, they were just
modified to ride downhill fast, with big riser bars. Whereas this modern
downhill bike, you can’t ride that round a trail. It’s just not going to work. Bar widths, a lot different. You’ve got
the 780s on the front of the modern bike, versus 660s. Also, B-B heights. The
downhill bike, the new Demo, has a much higher bottom bracket than the
old bike, and that really comes down to the suspension. A low bottom bracket is
going to make that bike corner really well, but the modern bikes are 200 mils
of travel. So, if it starts off too low, you end up dragging your pedals
towards the floor. Your old bikes, it’s only got 76 mils of travel on
the rear and 80 mil on the front, so you can get away with having a
lower bottom bracket to start with. Looking at rear suspension, you can really
see the difference in the shocks. This huge Ohlins system, it’s the same in
theory really. You’ve got a coil spring and it’s oil-damped, but you’ve got
compression by winding the pre-load onto the spring, you’ve got rebound damping,
you’ve got high- and low-speed compression, and three separate
compression settings on that shock. The old shock, you’ve got rebound and
you’ve got pre-load on the spring, and that is it. Some similarities,
actually, you can see, is the rear ends. If you actually look, there’s a pivot
around the bottom bracket on the modern bike, there’s a pivot on the end of the
chain-stay, and that’s actually pretty similar to the old bike. The pivot’s just
behind the bottom bracket, pivot on the chain-stay, and you’ve got
the seat-stay, goes up to a linkage. There, obviously, the shock is much
different mount, but there are some similarities in that system. So the modern RockShox Boxxer Team up
front has got a coil spring and it’s got rebound and compression dampening. So
actually it is along the same lines as the old fork, but you’d have to say that they
don’t perform anything alike. Suspension action on these
is much plusher and much better. Frame materials. We have the steel chromo
old-style 1990s bike, compared to the modern all-molded
lovely looking carbon frame. Carbon front end and rear end on this
Demo, so you can really see the difference in the size of that tubing
compared to the old steel. Now, wheel size, this is 27.5, this
is 26. Can you notice the difference? I guess you probably can.
There’s much bigger tires on the new bike as well there. The brakes on the retro bike are
cable-actuated, cantilever brakes, so this is even pre V-Brakes. That was
later on in the 1990s. Cantis were pretty awful to be honest. Compare that to the
modern bike with 200 mil discs on there, hydraulic disc brakes, work in any
conditions, and they’re absolutely amazing. Compare that to the old bikes
where, especially in the rain, you’re really struggling to slow down.
You’d have to use two fingers on your brakes most of the time. Looking at the gears, it’s one of the only
places, really, where these bikes actually aren’t a million miles apart. Still
running a rear mech that’s pulled by a gear cable, and this is actually an
eight-speed cassette on the back of this 20-year-old bike. This modern Demo
bike’s seven-speed. So, yeah, one less gear, bit of devolution there,
but it’s the same idea of a cable pulling a rear mech. Who’d have thought, 20 years
ago, that we’d still have these things hanging off the back of the bike? So, the funny thing about the weights,
the modern bike is about 36, 37 pounds. The old one is down nearer 30,
but really that comes down to obviously the size of everything. The forks,
the shocks, they’re much more durable. You find that you don’t break down on
bikes nowadays, whereas the old downhill bikes, you’d go through a couple of frames
a year, probably. They just weren’t quite up to the job. So, now they’re
really overbuilt and really strong. So, there you go. These downhill bikes are
20 years apart. Leave us a comment down below. Let us know what you think downhill
bikes will look like in 20 years’ time. I guess if the trend continues
they’ll be a little bit heavier, and one less gear, probably. If you want
to see more videos from us here at GMBN, you can see a pro bike on JMC’s
bike up here, this very bike here. Click down here for handlebars
explained. Or click on me to subscribe to GMBN.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I think a few parts on that old bike were a bit more recent than 20 years, the bars and AVID breaks look newer, but i might be wrong, they just look more modern than the rest of the bike.

  2. You've gone too far in my opinion. Compare a modern bike with something that at least had a Boxxer in it, even if it's just a 6" travel one. Look at geometry, transmission, components, etc. I know brakes were a lot shittier, even with 8" discs. Tires too, had really scant grip in comparison with today's, also because they had to be run at quite high pressures.

  3. JMC! It says it all to me. I'm rapidly becoming an aging mountain biker but its THAT bike that set me on a path which has bought me so much happiness and many many miles of smiles. May the mountain bike take over the world!!! 😊

  4. If you look at the downhill bike in 1997, you see something more similar to what downhill bikes look like today. Carbon and wheel sizes have been the big changes during the last few years. I would predict that the next 20 years will be a lot of small tweaks to bikes, just like the last 16 years. Once we went to 8 inches of travel with 63-65 degree headtube angle on downhill bikes, we have not really seen major changes.

  5. In 20 years it will be electric, you'll sit on the beach and control your bike via some new high powered BlueTooth and you'll see your ride on the screen thus eliminating the need for the seat completely. You'll put it back on your car then grab a shake on the drive home and upload the video on youtube for other asshats to put down or fanboi's to admire. And we'll all have a sixth toe and have at least 1/4 alien DNA and regenerative gene ability.

    27.5? What happened to the 29er? Which was always just width to keep everyone more confused which is why we need the alien DNA.

  6. I still ride a 2001 GT iDrive. I've ridden every other version since and I am not compelled to upgrade for regular trails. The difference between these two bikes is the downhill courses. The modern downhill courses challenge the riders/bikes as much as the old downhill technology. The real difference is the courses. I love when a kid sees my bike and asks me when it came out, thinking it's a new design.

  7. i would've prefered a comparison between a downhill bike from around 2000 and a present one. especially things like weight, frame material, reasoning behind it (oldschool, pure durability vs. lightweight).

  8. I had a 95 Manitou DH factory bike twin shocker that came with about 3.5" travel. It was a work of art though.
    When I snapped the rear stay Manitou replaced it with a 96 model. I couldn't believe the difference one year made. It had a top tube mounted elastomer monoshock with around 5" of travel. Although I never got on with that frame and sold it. Wish I still had that twinshoker though as they're collectible now.

    I recently bought a Dominer DH with around 8" front and rear. That whole bike cost less than the Manitou frame/fork/stem/seatpost kit (£2600) back in 95 but boy has the tech moved on.

  9. I remember I would've killed for one of those back in the day. My first FS bike was a Cannondale delta V, talk about a dog!

  10. 20 years time, suspension will be programmed by GPS so you
    have the perfect setup for each section of the track. Also the frame geometry
    will adjust to the perfect setting for the section of the track. Become longer
    and slacker for the fast stuff and shorter and steeper head angle for the tight
    twisty stuff through the woods. The brakes will have an abs electronic system,
    or at least the front. Who knows, Rockshox might be as good as the current DVO,
    BOS, Ohlins suspension.

  11. Why not use the undisputed king of retro dowhill bikes the INTENSE M1 (circa 1994), its geoetry and all the stuff you mentioned on the new bike was first used on the M1´s by pros like Shaun Palmer, Johnny Tomac, Toby Henderson…

  12. I have a feeling in maybe 5 years there will be bikes dropping the entire derailleur system and running a sequential drivetrain built into the bb area once they can lighten it up, I think gmbn covered one at interbike this year

  13. I'm a big fan of your channel and a subscriber. You provide so much useful information. Thank you for that! If you don't mind, I'd like to mention that you always incorrectly use the term "mil". A mil is one thousandth of an inch (0.001"), not a millimeter. So when you say the bike has "200 mil" of travel you're saying 200 thousandths of an inch (0.200"), which is only 5.08 mm of travel! In short, a mil is not shorthand for a millimeter, but a very different unit of measure.

  14. God bless JMC. Good to see his old bike again. The beauty of the old v's new shown here, is that the old bike could be used for any type of cycling. It was a lot of fun on any ride and you'd pass you mates on the downhill sections. The modern bike shown here is really only fun when you have a ski-lift to take you to the top of the run each time. This limits the new bikes usability as there is nothing multi-purpose about it!

  15. I have an early 2000s rockhopper with a seized front suspension and rusty pedals. Good enough and will be upgrading soon.

  16. Nice video! You should do a video called ' Modern VS Future' and draw up what you think the bike will be like in 25 years and compare that to today's modern bike.

  17. I owned a san andreas mountain bike, with marzocchi Monster T's, / Muddyfox Rock n Roll with Monster T's / and my baby i loved this bike K2 Proflex 5000

  18. I wonder what that old frame would look like with a modern dh fork, short stem, longer bars and an updated rear shock. My guess is that the geometry would be quite similar to the new bikes.
    You'd have to modify the rear to get disk brakes on both wheels. But you could also re-align the frame after the bike hugs a tree.

  19. The rear derailleur is not incredibly out of date, I think it was ahead of it's time. I used to be fascinated as a kid( in the '90s) of how the mechanics works and works so well.
    I had no such admiration for the front ones, though. I'm glad so many modern bikes are going with one-by gear systems.

  20. I prefer in my new downhill mechanical discs had too many issues with the elixir hydraulic disc just a pain in the ass and actually I owned both a trek and Norco frame last year both carbon both failed splintered and cracked I then bought a Cove that's aluminum frame same weight as the carbon ones previously no problems at all absolutely beautiful

  21. I can't really tell the difference between the 26" and 27.5"… Just the tyres look chunkier…

  22. i have a question…… how is BMX different from MOUNTAIN BIKE and FAT BIKE….. WHICH IS BETTER FOR STREET RIDE and ROUGH TERRAIN

  23. Дурак ебучий чето базарит сука, стоит пиздит, да возьми ты нажми на подвеску, ДАЙ блять посмотреть, нажми на вилку, нажми на седло, падаль паганая.

  24. I rode this old stuff.. if it wasn't for the answer mantiou EFC we wouldn't have 20mm axles. Mountain cycles san Andreas and foes fab LTS6 who paved the way with long travel monocoque bikes we might be riding junk still. Every issue of mountain bike action magazine was like Xmas. Always new cool stuff coming out… what's the next crazy awesome fork or frame .. great time to be racing. It was so fun.

  25. For the record some bikes did have hydraulic disc brakes in 1995. They were super expensive and thus very rare but they did exist.

  26. I would of been the coolest 10 year old kid cutting around on that old skool specialized if my dad had one .. anyone remember taking they're dads mtb out lol

  27. I don't know that's some awful looking downhill bike that specialized oldie. I can think of a Ritchie or Yeti or Dimond|Back from the 90's that looked more like a modern down hill mountain bike. Back then there weren't as many classification of MTB's .

  28. Cantilever brakes are awesome if set up correctly. Of course they're not as good as disc but I'll take em over v's any day of the week. The real shocker here was the grip shifter? Why in the hell does that retro bike have a grip shifter?" Grip shifters: the dark days of specialized.

  29. Thye fact that there were folks who rode that make me wanna get a 2008 enduro or XC as my first mountain bike. Why is this concstant need to have the coolest and the latest gears?
    Weren't folks running downhill on the same earth we live in? Now, tell me why I have to break the bank to ride a two-wheeled object? Please!

  30. Last summer was given a 1996 Specialized FSR Stumpjumper. It was a beast of beauty. Let me tell, it was stored away for too many years. Rode it once. Someone offered me money for it so I sold it. It needed major overhaul like the pivots and bearings etc. Now its in great hands….

  31. yeah, the new bikes are much better in many ways, but cantilever brakes are awful!!??!!, why? they're easy to modulate at any speed and can deliver any amount of braking force, including lockup on dry pavement. I'm sure the new disks are awesome, but there's nothing wrong with cantilever brakes.

  32. Really cool video to see the difference and the Howell mountain bikes of evolved I have a 2013 Kona dawgma 26 inch rim 3 by 9 27 speed it's an all-mountain class it is by far the best all-around bike that I've seen around that can travel on the street plus climb over and climb up crazy train cuz of the gear ratios that new modern bikes gear ratios are pathetic that's the only thing about that bike that suck one thing that extremely impresses me about my Kona is the gear range I can climb extremely steep hills and still on the flat go 0 to 25 miles an hour and if I push myself with no wind or a little bit of a Tailwind I can get this thing going 30 miles an hour on the flat ground I've raced them 29 with a 2 by 10 drivetrain and I blew his doors off my bikes a lot quicker it sucks a lot of these newer bikes have too small of a chainring in the front they're not very fast on the flat my bike is probably the best all-around ratio I've ever encountered back cassette 3411 front chainrings smallest 22 teeth biggest 44 teeth it's the best bike I've ever had I have a wireless cycle computer on it I've had it for 3 years and I put 5154 MI

  33. I was racing downhill 20 years ago when i was 16. I remember those red Rock Shox forks.
    I destroyed them after a very violent drop. Landed on the front wheel. The forks were fractured in half, and the pivot had a lot of play.
    Most components were quite fragile back then. I destroyed a lot of parts and some frames.
    I don't know how I survived all that madness 🙂

  34. I collect vintage mountain bikes. I ride a different bike everyday of the week. They were all high end of a bygone day. Technology has reinvented the wheel many times over the years. Today’s bicycles rock. technology good. But there is something about preserving your roots.

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