Ever notice how newer isn't always better?


Hey guys,

I'm Win and this is my first post (I would have posted under the First Timer's forum, but the system wouldn't let me).

I'm looking to get back into biking on a regular basis after several years of being away from it. Used to ride a tricked-out '98 Merlin XLM, but I gave that bike to my younger and stronger brother-in-law (who is finally really getting into biking hardcore himself). I recently got a Voodoo Bokor frame (cheapest one I could find) with a Rock Shox Recon fork, and as soon as I build the bike, I plan to just beat the crap out of it. In the past, I mostly rode on the road. I got into MTB and hit the hardpack fast and intense, but wiped out too many times due to poor bike handling skills, and had issues properly negotiating technical areas, fast downhill sections, switchbacks, and the like. Anyway, my goals are to get fit again and to learn some basic MTB skills so I can have some fun and bring my 35 year old butt safely home to my long-suffering and understanding wife after I'm done.

Anyway, back to what I alluded to in the subject line. Ever notice how newer isn't always better? Maybe I'm a retrogrouch in some ways, but I've found that, among other things:

1.) Shimano 9-speed shifting is crap compared to their 8-speed stuff from a decade ago. I haven't found anything that compares to the '98 XTR Rapidfire setup I have on my old bike. The shifting is more precise and less fussy and the shifters are crisper and have a shorter stroke.

2.) For flat-out blazing on hardpack (and on the road too), nothing beats Bontrager Revolt SS tires. But Bontrager doesn't make them anymore, and the SS2's that replaced them are crap. I ordered WTB Vulpine tires for my new bike because they more or less looked the same and am hoping they'll have the same performance. BTW, does anyone have a set of these that they're willing to sell (folding only)?

3.) Why do most floor pumps nowadays seem more complicated and less reliable than my Blackburn TP4 (another item that has lasted me a decade)?

4.) How come I've never been able to find brake levers that feel as good as the old Shimano Deore II's and Deore XT's from 1989?

5.) I got a Race Face Evolution XC crankset for my new bike - my very first X-Drive. Haven't tried it out yet, but what do you know, I saw a few scathing reviews about it here on MTBNJ. Just great. Hope they fixed all the problems in this year's version. Meanwhile on my old bike, the Turbine LP ISIS cranks are still going strong, and the BB is rock-solid, maintenance-free.

I'm grateful that some classics are still around and haven't changed one bit:

Thomson's kickass seatposts and stems
Time ATAC Aliums
King headsets
Easton EA70 bars

I'm sure some of you guys think I'm too old or too old-school or both. And maybe some of you agree with me. Tell me what you think. Anyone else have classic components that today's stuff can't touch?


Yeah, that's probably true. I used to be a weight weenie, but now that I'm an old man, all I think about is durability. After all, it's my butt on the line. If I had kids, I guess I'd be even more paranoid. Is it me, or is a lot of stuff nowadays lighter, but not as durable?


Unapologetic Lifer for Rock and Roll
King headsets are still the industry standard, Thomson seatposts have taken up the mantle of the orginal Syncros posts (RIP), Race Face Turbines and a good square taper bb will still outlive many frames. Newer is certainly not always better.

Welcome to the nuthouse, btw.
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