This article originally appeared on Bikemag.com and was republished woth permission.
Bikes looked very different 10 years ago. And they rode differently too. Seat angles, the current geometry hot-button topic of 2019, wasn’t even a metric you considered when buying a bike. Neither was reach. We still sized bikes by seat tube length or, at best, effective toptube length. You may have wondered whether your dropper post was out to kill you, if you even had one of those freaky contraptions at all. What about fork offsets? What the heck is a fork offset? The dominant wheel size was still 26-inch—29ers were for Jerry and 27.5 was barely even on the radar.
So what changed in the span of 10 years to bring us to where bikes are today? In no particular order, these 11 bikes broke barriers, set trends, spoke volumes or were just simply so freaking good that they changed the way we ride and how future bikes were designed. From the bike that garnered international YouTube fame to a simple hardtail that may have singlehandedly delivered the “long, low and slack” revolution, these weren’t just bikes—these were, and are, pieces of history.