...a shonky, heavy-ish late 80's entry level 'thing' restored & built up to its original (slightly below par on the grand scheme of things) factory spec that is paraded around like its something special is uncool, regardless of how pretty the pictures of it are. the same bike, lovingly restored to recreate someones first 'proper' mtb & it being given a good old thrashing at any opportunity making the owner feel like he is 15 again makes it cool, even more so if they got opportunity to embarrass someone on a high spec'd modern (or retro) bike with their 'uncool' chunk of pig-iron!
Right, so we're judging the groupset out of context. Is that it?
not so much out of context but in black and white rather than seeing the whole plastic coated greyness of it!
my point is simply that in the right situation, on the right bike and with the right reasoning, they can be considered cool by those who appreciate the picture as a whole rather than looking past its function to what it 'means' rather than what it 'does'