Trying to date it and thus would like to know when 21 speed transmission started to appear on MTB's as this is whats fitted and also when did freehubs replace freewheels as the standard on mid to high spec bikes.
I have a shimano manual for a Deore freehub dated 1988 if that helps to date it, however check out www.sheldonbrown.com
for all the answers!
On the other point you made: "there is much retro activity north of the border" surely this is just due to the legendary caledonian thrift?
Welcome to retrobike mate, sounds like you'll fit right in!
Somerset, like 'Heartbeat' with newer cars!
Retro MTB: 1992 Cannondale M1000 Deore XT M730. 1992 Raleigh Dyna Tech Quantum Deore XT.
Retro Road: 1992 Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra Telekom Shimano 6500 Ultegra. 1993 Dyna Tech Ti Campagnolo Athena 8 Ergopower.
Modern: 2004 Wilier scandium Ultegra 6800. 2014 Wilier GTR Dura Ace 9000.