Dr S wrote:
Its so much more than the frame material too. Look at a Cunningham compared to other contempory bikes and you will see so much innovation that we now take for granted...
Oversized thin wall tubing.
Geometry to suit off road riding rather than the slack 'Schwinn' inspired geo or geo nabbed from road bikes.
More compact sizings with longer oversized, stronger seatposts (ok this example is a bit of a gate, but most were smaller with generous standover). Most contempory bikes were built big because off the shelf seatposts were for road use and thus rather short.
Wide spaced bottom brackets with sealed bearings. Allowed greater tyre clearances and better chain line.
Grease port hubs and headsets.
Sophisticated braking systems that were far superior to anything else at the time.
135mm rear hub spacings for a stronger rear wheel.
All Cunningham firsts (and I'm sure there are others that I have missed). Look beyond the aesthetics and you will see bikes brimming with innovation. Innovations that shaped the modern mountain bike.
All this and more.
Some shocking comments on here apparently missing the point entirely. If you're remotely
interested in MTB evolution and history how can you not be fascinated by these innovations? It looks like shit? -so what!
..If this was an equally relevant early motorbike it wouldn't be getting such facile comments