I shared that on a roadie/tourer based forum a while back, it was well received!Just came across this little gem
An embarrassingly outdated cyclocross bike from eight years ago “works just fine”, despite its lack of electronics and hydraulics, primitive braking, tubed tyres and paucity of gear options, CyclingTips can exclusively report.cyclingtips.com
My first shop bike was a 1995 $600 HT with cantilever brakes in 1995, Middle Brother's first shop bike is a 2019 $500 HT with discs.
In 1997 in then bought a $2200 Trek Y3 of the shop floor with V brakes and Judys
And in 1999 I custom built a Carbon Trek Y11 with hydro discs, Spinergys, and Bombers for $6k
I still find that level of bike for the same coin, but it'll roll faster, stop better, corner much much better, and probably last longer.
So yes MTB is expensive, but I think we're getting a better deal now than 20 years ago.