I've just recently got back into mountain biking after many years in the wilderness.
I started way back in the late 80's when I was at school and when mountain biking really took off in this country. This was the time when Muddy Fox was king of the hill and Suntour was still a major player in the market. I got my first bike in 1989, a Specialized Rockhopper in bright yellow with a Shimano Exige groupset - very fetching at the time! I had this for a while and upgraded various components until I decided that I wanted to upgrade to a better steel bike. I opted for a Saracen Kili Flyer (can't remember the year) in a tasty epoxy coated purple finish with Tange prestige tubing and a special black finish (rare at the time) Deore groupset. This bike was my pride and joy until some a-hole nicked it from the school bike sheds. Luckily, I was insured so I got another one - new for old policy. I had this for a while and then this one was nicked too!!
Again, my insurance company paid out and I got a Diamond Back Axis in a cool splatter type finish with full XT. Lovely bike with great handling and a sloping top-tube. Again it wasn't long after that my luck ran out - yes, you guessed it! it was nicked, this time as I was riding home from Uni in Bristol. I was mugged at knife point!
As you can probably imagine, I was beginning to think that mountain bikes and me were cursed. I decided to leave it for a while and started to get into cars. I've always loved cars and got into them in pretty big way when I left uni. Anyway, a couple of years later when I had the money and time I decided to get a nice steel bike again. I got a lovely 95 Kona Explosif and attempted to get back in to riding but never found the time. I sold it about a year later and put more money into buying cars - Old BMWs
Anyway after many years, I've now got an On One Inbred (a retro bike for modern times), which I'm very happy with. Great bike, simple and very cool. I quite fancy an aluminium bike now as well - maybe a pristine old Cannondale or Klein with front shocks. Cars and bikes - expensive hobbies!