There’s a first for everything: This is the first Giant presented on Cycle EXIF, but I’m glad it’s the ATX 990. Back in the 1997, it was seen under legendary riders in the UK such as Rob Warner, Team Animal and, in the US, the one and only John Tomac.
Johnny T changed sponsors in 1997 from Tioga/Raleigh Cycles to Giant Bicycles/Answer Manitou, and won the NORBA Downhill Championships in Deer Valley, Utah, aboard the 990 — the same year Brian Lopes won the Dual Slalom and Ruthie Matthes won the Women’s Cross Country titles.
We were still learning about suspension in those days, but the technology brought us to heady heights: GT released the STS-DH, Rock Shox brought the Judy range to the party, RST came with the grey Hi5 forks and Marzocchi blew the ‘single clamp’ market out of the water with their Bomber Z1.
The ATX might have been released as an ‘entry level’ model, kitted out with a Shimano Deore LX groupset and Judy XC forks but for the privateer, looking for an upgrade to their rigid steel machines, it was a whole ‘nother level of comfort and desirability.
Leonardo Caccciola is an Argentinian photographer who painstakingly restored his 990 to a clean and ridable state. It was found in an original state, thankfully it did not need much work, but Leo completely disassembled the bushings and suspension internals.
It’s sure to bring back memories for any old school MTB or JT fan. How many of you shredded trails on an ATX 990? Special thanks to Leonardo for the photos — see more of his photography on his flickr stream.