My compromise is a cast alloy stem (80-100 with some rise) with swept flat bars - in fact this mimics my first bike bitd (-'87) so it may in part just be familiarity. The sweep puts your wrists in a "riser" bar position and the stem makes you a little more upright.
I'd say that this position is naturally balanced as I don't carry any weight on my hands at all - which seems to be the
common thread in all bike fitting.
Though my Elite has a long top tube and flat 120 stem and bars and quite some reach for a sh*rt a*se! (TBH it's more short trunk)
Though I can ride it 30 miles reasonably comfy. I find that my behind always wants to go backwards, to an even more stretched out position and therefore more negative neck rotation to compensate. (My current thinking though is that the saddle needs to go even further back thus increasing offset and improving balance and hence below...).
Been also looking at this a lot as I've taken up road cycling and all the myriad of factors involved there.
IMHO a stretched position isn't too bad (even for the neck) if you can get sufficient rotation of the pelvis, which means a proportionately higher post position, but this fails dismally if you end up turtle necking (long arm reach / upright but rounded back and shoulders).
I think the position of the saddle offset is more significant than a lot realize too - and that of course is different on all bikes with saddle shape and position, even its level / seat tube angle and crank sizes.
In answer to your question if risers were around in '82-87 then they're perfectly acceptable now
Like a fish ever needed a bicycle anyway...MTB: '89 MF Alu Team Pro,'88 Muddy Fox Courier,, '92 Orange Elite (now 17"!), '04 Kona Fire Mountain (now Son's), '96 Muddy Fox Ranger home-build (son's), Specialized RockHopper '92 (Ad's retro-build) ,'02 Kona Scrap Special Edition OB (3rd Son's), 1989 Orange Clockwork (Gone!?)
ROAD 2013 Orange CarbO ,2012 Basso Devil (3rd son's), Colnago CLX3.0 Di2 self-build