As a collector since '84, I've picked up figures over the decades from many lines, both original and modern. And given a choice between an 80s figure and one from nearly three decades later, I will nearly always pick the latter. It's not just the complexity of transformation, it's things like better plastic, better joints, and the subtle advantages which come with twenty-plus years of design experience.
That isn't to say I'll always pick the recent stuff. I don't tend to collect great swathes of new material every time a new line comes out - I'm more likely to pick up one or two figures I think work well from an engineering standpoint. Sometimes that means leaving the marketing-driven toys crowding the shelves altogether, and wandering the backlots of eBay and TF swapmeet sites for something simple, solid, and classic from the late 80s or early 90s. And yes, they tend to come with easier transformations. Sometimes it's just fun to have something to fiddle with, even if it's a plastic brick the size of my forearm.
So while I lean towards the modern era, I can see the appeal of the earlier generations. Clunky they may be by comparison, but they don't have quite the same cognitive demand, and that's a fair factor to take into consideration.