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Best 26" hardtails from the recent past? Any with mod. geometry?

84GTIRookie84GTIRookie Posts: 3
edited November 2017 in MTB buying advice
I am in the process of totally rebuilding my 1997 GT Avalanche with modern components. Being a 26" - I have been able to get some really sweet parts for kinda cheap. I have been able to put together an amazing bike a lot less than a comparable new one. It looks like, when it's all said & done, the bike will end up at right around 23.0 pounds with 2.35 tires, wide bars, shorter stem, and a 100mm Fox F100 RLC. Fun!

Question - What were the best 26" hardtails in the years before they quit making them? Did any of them have what we now call modern geometry?

If my frame fails some day, or I decide to retire it... I'm wondering what frame to put the parts I have onto? I wouldn't mind being on the lookout for a good deal on a nice older frame to have as a backup.

In my searches, it appears that a 2010 Specialized Rockhopper and a 2011 GT Zaskar (maybe even carbon Zaskar?) were fairly highly thought of? Suggestions? Thanks!


  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Most of the more modern geometry bikes tend to be the harder riding ones, so will want longer forks than you have currently got.

    Your use of lbs (plus the time you posted at) suggests you are in the US, this is a Uk based forum so what may be available from the lesser known manufacturers I could only guess at.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    I have a mid 1990’s orange hardtail I ride in the Irish mountains. It is great fun once you get used to the handling, v brakes and 3 x 8 gearing. The gears are really smooth and fast changing , it is surprising how fast you get used to 3 x 8 and it can climb walls in the lowest gears.

    I just stripped it down completely, put new bars , shifters, cables and tyres on , it was then good to go. It is very different to my modern XC hardtail.
  • Thank you for the input. Yes, I'm writing from the US, but my wife is a Geordie, so we travel & communicate with the UK frequently. Not to embarrass themselves, the UK side of the family just tries to keep the existence of an American family member on the down low!

    I chose this forum because I like the insights & perspectives I find here.

    To clarify - I'm wondering about some of the best 26" hardtails of the last 10 years or so. I, like many of us at one point or another, totally detached from the mountain bike scene for about 10 years to help raise a family. During that time, obviously, 26" bikes faded out of the mainstream. There must have been some "best of the best" shining lights at the end of the 26" era?! What hardtails come to mind?

    Kajjal - I totally agree - building an old bike creates a fun ride. What I like is that I basically built rather than bought it! As a result, I know every part & adjustment. And the end product totally transforms the way the bike performs... based on my own planning and execution.
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