Heavy hardtails, V-brakes, stair drops, questionable fashion, these are some of the classic symbols of our cherished biking memories. We may ride the latest and greatest bikes now, but we had humble beginnings too. Below you’ll find a collection of old photos of our first mountain bikes and riding shots. Mainly, the point at which we became passionate about the sport and that eventually led to jobs in this industry. Keep in mind, the following photos are not typical ENDURO quality, these are genuinely old-school! Enjoy!

Joe Parkin – Chief Editor USA



It was the fall of 1988 and I’d just returned to the U.S. after my first full year as a professional road-bike racer in Europe. I had ridden almost 140 races that year — the Classics, more small stage races than I could remember, the World Championships — and I was worn out. I knew I had to stay fit and keep pedaling my bike, but the idea of endless kilometers alone on the road seemed like pure punishment. I telephoned my friends at the California Pedaler, the bike shop where I’d worked before moving to Belgium, and asked if I could buy a mountain bike from them. I mailed them some money, and they shipped a 1989 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp to my parents’ house in Denver, Colorado. I had ridden a mountain bike once before, but riding this Stumpjumper on just a few rocky and loose kilometers of Colorado singletrack is what got me hooked. [Note: my bike was modified from stock with the addition of a HiteRite and plastic toe clips.

Jim Buchanan – UK Editor

Twitter | Instagram | Strava

Scan 1

This is my old GT Avalanche, circa around 1995. It was bought 2nd hand off my mate and probably the first ok-ish MTB I owned. Back then was before GT went bust and when they were flying high and still seen as one of the top MTB brands in the world. I used to do lots of distance at a local off-road area and down the many surrounding lanes where I lived at the time on this rig. I’m sure if I sat on it now it would seem tiny, as it must have been way too small for me, but this is what originally got me hooked on our great hobby.

Trev Worsey – Chief Editor UK


old bike-2

My first real bike was back in 1992, a Marin Bear Valley. It was just beautiful, we shared many adventures and no mountain was too high, including up and down Snowdon (burnt out brakes and buckled wheels). Over the years I upgraded it with some of the first generation RST suspension forks, a DCD on the back and x-lite bar ends, but technology had moved on. After a brief affair with many other hardtails and a Stumpjumper FSR, I built up this badass Santa Cruz Bullet in 2003. It was not new so I had it powder-coated white and built it up with tough parts. Holy crap it was so heavy, it took two of us to get it out of the van, but you could just point it down the hill and hold on. It was like riding a runaway train, with big Hope 6 pot brakes desperately trying to slow it down. Pedal bob was ridiculously bad and brake jack was severe – it was a bit like owning a bear, amazing fun but you knew one day it was going to tear your head off. It felt bottomless on the descents around Wales, and this was the bike that made me fall in love with technical trails. The joyous relationship ended with a tree stump, metal parted from metal and the White Bullet was no more. Cheers for the memories, you will be missed.

Aaron Steinke – Web Director

Twitter | Instagram | Strava

I got into mountain biking pretty much by accident. My dad ran a folding bike business and so I was on folding bikes way too long. Well, someday I decided “enough with those small wheels!” and typed “mountainbike” into ebay and pretty much picked the first one that came up – a used dirt/freeride hardtail (yes, that was a thing back then!) for 1000 €. Illmatic Freeraid frame, Shiver SC Upside-down fork, Mavic Doubletrack in front, Mavic Double-wide at the rear and the legendary Grimecca System 12 brakes with moto-style reservoirs. Total weight was between 16 and 17 kg. I was in love immediately but quickly noticed I bought something that wouldn’t be of any use for everyday use at – but then I found a trail…


Christoph Bayer – Chief Editor Germany

Strava | Instagram

first bike

I’m not sure that you could call the heap of aluminium that was my first bike an actual mountain bike. It was a cheap Focus Cypress with RockShox Jett forks. After fewer than ten outings in the countryside my day-long rides were over and I dived feet-first into drop-offs. After my dad had swapped 25 spokes on the rear wheel and lots of the bearings had been knocked out, I’d finally saved up enough money for my first proper bike – a camo-green Cube Flying Circus with RockShox Psylo forks, Magura HS33 brakes and Mavic 521 wheels. It would still be another few years until I realised my dream of owning a fully though!


Tyler Malcomson – ENDURO Intern


I got a 2006 Norco Bushpilot as a gift from my parents. Not coincidentally, it was shortly after the threaded headset of department store bike caused me to crash rolling down a rock face. I was pretty stoked about the lightweight aluminum frame, disk brakes and owning a Norco! I used this bike for 3 years of trail riding, dirt jumping, even a day at lift-accessed bike park! At some point I replaced the skinny Suntour fork with Marzocchi Dirt Jam Pro’s, probably doubling the weight of the front end. My riding outgrew the bike and it was time for something better so I got a job and started saving for a new one. From that point on I was hooked, with an empty wallet to prove it!

"That table-top was flat, right?"
“That table-top was flat, right?”

Words: ENDURO Team Photos: Various

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