Modernize the performance of your vintage mountain bike.

If you’re like us and into ATVs, side-by-sides, or dirt bikes, chances are you’re into the sport of mountain biking. Besides offering many of the same thrills, mountain biking is extremely convenient for most people with trails nearby, and an excellent way to cross train for off-road racers. With modern high-end, full-suspension mountain bikes retailing for upwards of $5,000, the cost of balancing two expensive sports can be a little overwhelming. On behalf of off-road motorsports enthusiasts and all of the owners of older mountain bikes, we’re upgrading this old-school, Shimano Deore XT and XTR outfitted, 2002, Kona Stinky Dee-Lux, full-suspension trail bike. Our goal is to see what affordable modern upgrades can be made to an older bike to improve its performance at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new high-end mountain bike.

For the roughly $1,500 we spent updating our old Kona, any modern full suspension bike retailing for the same price would suffer in quality of components in comparison. For future upgrades, we’d consider adding wider rims for greater stability, a more rigid modern fork, and perhaps a 1×11 drivetrain.

While it’s virtually impossible to modernize the geometry of an old frame, we have undoubtedly improved the performance of our retro full-suspension ride using a handful of modern parts and have already had quite a bit of fun with it. Whether you’re trying to avoid going in debt on a new bike, or simply trying to improve the performance of an older bike you’re still in love with, the upgrades we used would lend themselves to nearly any older bicycle.

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