I just asked a different question about a very 90s GT rage road bike I picked up- polished aluminum and all. I might have to trash it and so I'm looking into other frames for the components. The other question is here.

What bicycle qualities and aesthetics scream 90s for y'all? What would go into a 90s restoration project? In my head I see lots of splatter bar tape, polished aluminum or titanium, lots of garish and ugly colors.

I'm not asking for specific frame recommendations, but photos and bikes as examples would be cool!

  • 2
    Yeah, unfortunately in my mind the 90s is when the manufacturers started "pimping", adding features more for show than for performance/function. (Not that they didn't do this back in the 50s and 60s with department store bikes, but in the 90s they started doing it with top-end bike shop bikes.) Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 21:30
  • All I can remember is rock hard titanium Flite saddles in bright colours. Yellow springs to mind. A single front shifter on the down tube aka Pantani. And you probably had to be riding with a mullet, big sunglasses and no helmet.
    – OraNob
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 22:00
  • My GT Karakoram was not hideous, it was... distinctive, thank you very much. That bike lasted nearly 7 years and I still miss it. 7 years and probably 100Mm, the head tube was worn out as was the BB tube.
    – Móż
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 22:15
  • 4
    I think this should be made community wiki if we keep it. It's very much "list the things", and entries will necessarily be opinions "I loved the ...". Not sure how we do that?
    – Móż
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 4:02
  • 1
    Should this question be about 90s bicycles rather than cycling in general? 90s cycling was surely dominated by epo. Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


1998 Mongoose RX5.3

Here's my 90's bike - the main period features are

  • Earlier alloy construction, with fatness in the downtube.

  • Group set, Shimano RSX and exage brakes. The RSX brifters lack trim support, so badly set up transmission makes a takka-takka-takka sound when in bad combinations. So 90s.

  • Too new for sissy brake levers, too old for cyclocross interrupter brake levers

  • Seat post diameter of 26.2 mm (because 25.4 mm was too small)

  • No frame pump mounts - they're 80s.

Unsure -

  • This bike still has a quill stem and a threaded fork, which would have been old-school even at the time.

  • Pedals - the period originals weren't with it, but Look clipless would be right. Platforms are probably okay too, but SPD would be seen as too much MTB.

  • Seat - this one was probably a replacement.

  • Rear wheel cutout - this bike looks a little tracky/tri because of how the rear wheel tucks into a cutout in the seat tube. This is not a 90s thing, its an overall design thing.

  • FD connector - this one has a braize-on mech rather than a band-on one, due to the cutout. Is this a 90s styling? I don't know.

Please make comments to refine this answer.

EDIT I think @ebrohman may have identified some of the defining style characteristics of a 90's bike.

  • Ugly - case in point

  • Minimalist - nothing that's not needed for going fast

  • Materials - There's nothing wrong with a good steel frame, but by the 90s steel was the cheaper end of the market. Aluminium alloy, and titanium had their blips, and right at the end of the 90s is when carbon was coming in.

  • Unconventional - The standard diamond frame was pretty much defined, so new materials and the new possibilities then became available. Consider my bike's brutal downtube, which lead on towards hydroforming of aluminium we see in today's MTBs.

  • @frisbee Yes it is - that was the day I got it, and much has been tweaked since then. And yes I have a messed up body, so my bikes tend to be "out of proportion" I'll update that question with more info in the weekend, have made some progress.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 0:46
  • Nice answer, but I have to say that is one of the ugliest bikes I've ever seen
    – ebrohman
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 4:24
  • @ebrohman yep it is, and I totally agree with you. I've done 966 km in 2 months on it. Comments aren't for chat though - feel free to join The Velodrome chatroom (link on the right side of the screen)
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 4:29
  • @frisbee This is not relevant to the OP's question. <end>
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 6:29

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