Which brands started as cool and have managed to remain so?

Elev12k

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For me cool or not has a lot to do with the attitude creating something nice that is not a disposible. A suspension bike or a mountainbike with power assistance can impossibly be cool imho.
 

brocklanders023

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Interesting subject without a simple answer I reckon as cool doesn't have to be expensive or boutique, just as expensive doesn't make something cool.

Yeti are probably pretty close to having a similar rep, always been expensive, probably still pretty cool.

Santa Cruz less so, as these days they have shifted position from pretty cool upper mainstream to mega money jewellery. I don't think they are cool these days, they have become a status symbol. Yeti are as well, but always were so can carry it off.

Orange? I love em, rode them bitd, ride them now. I would have said they were cool when Lester and Steve still owned them but since they sold, prices went up and they seem to really divide opinion. Cool to people who own them but there are plenty of people who think the opposite.

Fat Chance? I think the new ones are but they could do with updating and don't really have enough of a presence for anyone except us to pass judgement.

Trek/Specialized/Giant. Never were, nothing has changed.

GT/Marin? Nah, although Marin have made some great modern bikes, that no one seems to buy.

Pace? Had a real lull but the modern hardtails are sweet and are mentioned when cool, modern, steel frames are discussed. The full suss stuff less so.

Cotic? If you thought they were, you probably still do.
 

FluffyChicken

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Cool back then Hope, Middleburn were cool, as was Tioga stuff and Uno/Club Roost (kalloy) and Zoom (Hsin Lung)
Uno is not cool any more, Tioga of course not. Middleburn gone too.
Hope is still cool, it looks good and people still see it as ace cool stuff.

Rocky Mountain wasn't cool, they were excellent stuff and still are from what I see, not cool though.
PACE was cool, as was some Orange stuff, today PACE is good quality kit, wouldn't say it was cool though, same with Orange.

Syncros and especially Race Face was cool, neither are now from what I can see. Just some stickered up nice kit.

Same with a lot of stuff, of course your cool maybe different to my/my local friend, biking posse back then.
 

clubby

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Syncros and especially Race Face was cool, neither are now from what I can see. Just some stickered up nice kit.

Spot one there. Syncros stems were an early 90’s icon, now they are just Scott’s in house component brand.
Race Face is a funny one. They were definitely cool in the freeride era, but after the merger with Easton, kind of just became rebadged Easton gear. Easton stuff was also cool but not after they pushed down the road only route. From a marketing/ manufacturing side I understand the post merger reasons for Easton = Road and Race Face = MTB but rational thinking isn’t cool.
 

T'boo Ted

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Spot one there. Syncros stems were an early 90’s icon, now they are just Scott’s in house component brand.
Race Face is a funny one. They were definitely cool in the freeride era, but after the merger with Easton, kind of just became rebadged Easton gear. Easton stuff was also cool but not after they pushed down the road only route. From a marketing/ manufacturing side I understand the post merger reasons for Easton = Road and Race Face = MTB but rational thinking isn’t cool.
Yeah gutted that Easton stuff is road only now...or even gravel only almost. I'm a real Easton fanboy. Its not that I dislike Raceface...but to me RF is cranks and Easton is bars/stems/posts. Probably worse since the Fox buyout.
 

eri

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Slick marketing really turns me off, but If they make an ebike then they’re def kicked off the island.

Small companies busting excellence for their clients is cool.

davidson?
 

madjh

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Yeti. Since the Infiniti System, they recover all the interest. The carbon frames are in annother level, attention to detail and perfect finish.

Chris King. The head set Kings.

Race Face for me was cool and still is because they still do nice aluminium crank sets like the atlas and turbine, but I bought a Turbine stem and ... surprise, very well done, very cool. The carbon Next sl Cranks with turbine chainrings .... love them.

Thomson, they still made near the same, old school quality. Even the short 4x stem looks nice with some CK ... old school in new stuff works great.
 

Stringerfabrication

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Another vote for orange.

I think kona have just about held it together as well, mostly by pandering to the hipster singlespeed/fixie/commuter market. Their MTBs less so though.

I think there has to be a distinction made between mass market manufacturers and ‘boutique’ brands though. As mentioned most mainstream brands like trek/Marin/giant/etc were never really cool to start with, with the exception of certain high end models.

Where mainstream brands have carried on with relentless ‘improvements’, as it’s what their sales model has always been built on, you got brands like on-one coming in to pick up the slack left by brands like kona ditching simple, honest steel frames from their range, and they’re the brands that are now ‘cool’.
The amount of 90s kona and orange owners I know who have a on-one as their main rider is ridiculous.
 

brocklanders023

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Where mainstream brands have carried on with relentless ‘improvements’, as it’s what their sales model has always been built on, you got brands like on-one coming in to pick up the slack left by brands like kona ditching simple, honest steel frames from their range, and they’re the brands that are now ‘cool’.
The amount of 90s kona and orange owners I know who have a on-one as their main rider is ridiculous.
I'm a 90's Orange owner and have recently bought an On One!

Main bike is still an Orange though, although the On One is being ridden most atm.
 
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