I'm not a fan of "classic" mountain bikes. I mean, I feel a twinge of nostalgia every once in a great while, but I'm not one of those guys who sees the past through rose-tinted glasses. I rode a whole lot of those "classic" bikes and, man, they sucked. Bikes have gotten loads better over the years and we have technological progress to thank for that.
Anyone remember when riding rigid wasn't just a hipster lifestyle choice but the only choice? Yeah, screw that. And screw cantilever brakes and bull-moose bars and all manner of web-toed, inbred components from the "good old days".
Progress is good. Great even. But this doesn't mean, by the same token, that every glossy Next Big Thing that gets labeled as "progress" or touted as an "innovation" actually merits the lofty accolades. There are just as many half-baked ideas that get trotted out and sold to the masses as there are groundbreaking inventions. The interesting thing is that there's often a fair bit of disagreement between riders over which products are great and which products are greatly overhyped.
To that end, I've compiled a list of products, "standards" and technologies that have been heralded as significant breakthroughs over the course of the past couple of decades.
Which ones are truly brilliant and which ones are merely bullshit?