Flashback Friday – Mountain Bikes from 1993

It’s about time for another Flashback Friday, and since our local Triangle Fat Tire Festival is coming up (Saturday, October 16th), we thought we’d look back at a little Performance mountain bike history.  Our subject for today is the Spring 1993 catalog, which sported a cover with classic Onza barends, an XTR crank, and a Manitou 2 suspension fork artfully placed in the middle of a stream (no word on what happened to the rest of the bike… or the rider):

First up in the catalog (and also straddling a stream) was the high-end M003 model mountain bike, which forgoes a suspension fork (although the goemetry is suspension-ready) but was fully kitted out with a Shimano XTR drivetrain.  Weight for this True Temper AVR chromoly-tubed beauty: a respectable 22.5 pounds (ditching a suspension fork was the only way to keep the weight down in this era).

Next up were our more budget-friendly offerings.  The M103 model also had a tig-welded chromoly frame, but featured a Rock Shox Quadra suspension fork and a Shimano Deore XT grouppo.  The M203 mountain bike was our “downhill mountain bike racing” model, with a 7000 series aluminum frame, although we’re guessing that the elastomer rear suspension was not exactly ready for the Red Bull Rampage.  Our last model was the M303, our budget Shimano Deore LX-equipped bike, but still light enough for easy stair-portaging.

But that brings us to the sweet lineup of suspension forks that we offered in 1993.  As you can see, we had it all: a full range from RST (whose forks featured a choice between steel springs, elastomers, or air/oil damping), the heavy-duty looking Tange Shockblades, the somewhat-terrifying (yet 2-time world cup champion) Allsop Frankenstem, the Rock Shox Quadra and Mag 21, along with the always reliable Manitou 2.  The 2 standouts on the page have to be the Manitou 2 and the Rock Shox Mag 21; if you were looking to upgrade your fork in 1993, it was bound to be one of these 2 forks that you lusted after (suspension travel for these beauties: 2″-2.5″).

It wasn’t just suspension forks that were being upgraded, as Shimano’s SPD pedals were “quickly becoming the standard among off-road enthusiasts”.  But those neon toe-straps are ripe for a comeback!

And who could forget the Scott AT series handlebars.  You could get integrated barends with the AT-2 & AT-3 models, but why stop there when you could go all out with the AT-4 model, with a full-on, wrap-around aero-esque extension.  These bars were really used in serious competition, too, as you can see in this story about the 1990 World Championships in Durango, CO (just check out the 3rd photo).

Finally, this last catalog selection has absolutely nothing to do with mountain bike history, but we just couldn’t resist sharing.  Behold the glory that is the Performance Durango Trail Shield.  Yes, that is a headband with a snap-on sunglass lens, and yes, we did actually use the tagline: “Have you ever wanted eye protection that didn’t hit the dirt just because you did?”

We hope you enjoyed our brief look back at mountain biking in 1993, but remember that if you want to see the future of mountain biking (and you are in the Chapel Hill, NC area), be sure to stop by the Triangle Fat Tire Festival on Saturday, October 16th.

Performance will be there in force with a great selection of 2011 mountain bikes to test ride and check out.  We’ll bring along our Access mountain bikes (including samples of our new line of carbon 29ers, which look fantastic), and our friends from Fuji, Breezer and GT will be there too with mountain bikes from their 2011 lineups.  There will also be a 6 hour endurance mountain bike race plus a whole host of other events to keep the entire family entertained/distracted (while you check out the bikes)! We hope to see you there.

2 Responses to Flashback Friday – Mountain Bikes from 1993

  1. Jeff Aanestad says:

    I need the elastomeric rear replacement bushings for my 1993 M203 mountain bike. I don’t know if their still available, but if so do they make a polyurethane bushing. Thankyou Jeff

  2. Robert Welsh says:

    Wow, that 1993 catalog cover reminds me of some Performance purchases from that era, including a tent and sleeping bag (around 1993-95?). I still have and use both! It’s a nice two-person tent. I’ve always wondered if it was made for you guys by Sierra Designs. Either way, it’s served me well! Would love to see the catalog page for it.

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