Frame size for new build

mk one

Old School GrandMaster
Retrobike Rider
BoTM Winner
Gold Trader
Kona Fan
gmtfd - I remember the experience you are talking of. The authentic experience of the 90's was essentially extreme terror on steep downhills, an inability to jump over anything, and a lot more fear of everything - not least because early brakes were terrible. You can replicate all this by removing the brakes from your new bikes, pumping up your tyres to 40 lbs, leaning right over your bars, and screaming.


You can make a retro bike perform really well by - making sure you get a largish frame - the Marin RR sounds good. Use an inline post to get a steeper seat angle. Use a shorter stem than usual, and use old riser bars. Get the widest retro rims - like Mavic CDs - and use wider tyres. Use V brakes or really good cantilevers like Critical Racing with decent levers - XT for example. All this COULD have been done in the 90's. And some of use WERE doing this - Team Marins with LOOONG tip tubes, inline posts, short stems, riser bars, top cants. Reduced the fear factor. Increased the pleasure.

Subjective, used to jump with no problem, brakes are fine if you know how to set them up, and some of my retro bikes preform better than my modern bikes on certain trails.


Senior Retro Guru
Mk1 - Agreed - and my original post very tongue in 1990 we’d really got things performing well. Indeed re brake set up - but I still welcomed the arrival of V brakes. Jason McR did excellent jumping on retro-geometry. But we have learned things, and things have advanced. Although........ it’s taken quite a while for new kit to climb as well as the older bikes - Stanton and Transition (SBG geometry) has taken us forward...well backward really, to the excellent climbing of the early 90s’.


Dirt Disciple
Some excellent food for thought there. You can definitely make other sizes fit - my current utility bike is a 23" Raleigh from 1990 with a shorter stem than the original. Fit-wise it's very similar to my 2018 XC 29er. Handles differently though, much more agile, despite weighing 50% more. I guess that's what I'm hoping for from the Marin build, lightness and agility (and excellent climbing).