In my opinionated way...
My golden era is 1989 to 1996.
Thats when I was pretty much getting into it and saw pretty much the way it increased in popularity. Over the those years we saw the trends, the cool stuff, the expensive stuff and also the blinkin stupid stuff. Anything theron turned a little stale and most technological advances were with suspension and mass manufacture which pretty much got a little boring.
I do blame MBUk for a lot of this in the Uk market. Mags such as Mountain Biker and also MTB pro were sooooooooooooo much better. They promoted the engineering, the riding and also the "nice" spirit that mountain biking had in those days. I kinda felt that MBUK turned into a glorified BMX/Punk/jump bike magazine which, ok probably kept up with the majority of their readership, but killed of whole "going for a ride in the countyside" type approach that I was more accustomed to back then.
I remember going to one of the mid-late ninetees cycleshows sponsored by MBUK and didnt really get to see any "cycling" specific stuff at all. It was all trials jumping, table tops and ahem.."pierced celebrities" who were advocating the latest trend in baggy shorts & shin pads. C*cks.
Ok - feathers ruffled?
1991 PROCOMP FUNK | 1992 PACE F2 | 1993 KONA HOT | 1994 ROBERTS DOGS BOLX | 1995 ROCKY MOUNTAIN ALTITUDE TEAM ONLY