It's easy to take the technology found on a modern mountain bike for granted, especially if you never got to experience the joys of trying to properly toe-in a set of cantilever brakes, or don't remember what life was like before dropper posts made descending with a fully extended seatpost a thing of the past.
For this episode, we decided to take a look back at the most important inventions in mountain bike history. Our special guest this week is Richard Cunningham, who's been involved in the sport since the beginning, and has amassed an incredible wealth of cycling knowledge. RC is also a master story teller, and his tales and recollections of everything from the invention of index shifting to disc brakes make this an episode you won't want to miss.
RC designed this bike back in 1989, and while there's a lot that sets it apart from a modern mountain bike, it's also equipped with a few glimpses of the future. The Bullseye two-piece cranks were ahead of their time, and so was the Hite Rite seatpost dropper, in this case complete with a handlebar mounted remote.
The Gravity Dropper helped usher in the modern era of dropper posts, although widespread adoption took some time.
Clutch-equipped derailleurs arrived partway through 2011 to help quiet things down out on the trail.
SRAM debuted their 1x 11-speed group in 2012, and the advent of narrow wide chainrings combined with a clutch derailleur led to the eventual demise of the front derailleur on most mountain bikes.
THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 56 - WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT INVENTIONS IN MOUNTAIN BIKING? April 8th, 2021
Would you rather give up your disc brakes or dropper post?
Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.