Bridgestone was a unique cycle brand during the early 90′ies. The company was lead in the US by a person that is categorized into what is popularly referred to as a “retro grouch”. Since I am not from US I guess a retro grouch is someone preferring, augmenting, winning arguments and sticking by old things that works- something that was typical for Bridgestone mountain bikes more than ever during the innovative 93 season when their bike line still had thumbshifters and no suspension forks (it was not even an option) when everybody else sported rapidfire plus and second generation suspension forks.
Bridgestone was famous for many things in the bike world (the bicycle division, not the tire/tyre maker), probably their most famous products where their 93/94 catalogs and a weird bike for its time that utilized a “moustache” bar. We should also mention the MB-0 (or MB zip), a super lightweight steel rigid mountain bike, think of it as the cheaper version of the Ritchey P23 with more classy paint.
In a perfect world there would have been a steady market for classic lugged rigid steel mountain bikes but the marked did not approve, combined with economic problems in Bridgestones home country Japan, 1994 was the last time we got a fresh revision of the Bridgestone bike line.
Finally sporting suspension forks on some of the 1994 models was not enough to waken interest in the brand and Bridgestone pulled out of US and out of Europe to.
Bridgestone as we know it is no more but Rivendell bicycle works was set up by the above mentioned retro grouch in 1995.
If you dream of lugs, steel, weird wheel sizes, drop bars, moustache bars and silver anodized japanese made bicycle components I guess you will find everything you will ever want in a bike over at their website.
If you do not have a spare 1500 dollars to spend on a Rivendell frame you can just as well hunt down a vintage Bridgestone frame.
This is a Bridgestone MB-2 frameset from 1990 in size 19″. It is painted in a lovely green color in a earthy hue typical of Bridgestone. The tubeset used is Ritchey Logic Super tubing and Prestige. I think that the main tubes are Ritchey Logic tubes and the rear triangle are Prestige but to be honest with you I do not know.
The frame is lugged, which means that the tubes are pressed in to the lugs and then soldered so they stick, since I do not know the technical jargon for frame building, just google “lugs cycle frame” if you are interested in the matter.
A lugged frame is traditionally more heavy than a TIG welded frame since instead of a seam you have a lug. But a lugged frame is more beautiful and I think it is easier to replace a broken tube on a lugged frame.
Even though this Bridgestone MB-2 is lugged, I was still amazed at the light weight of the frame/fork combination when I picked it up.
Bridgestone used to be quite famous for the radical seat and head tube angles. In these days of 8 inch suspension bikes and riders are running different front and rear wheel sizes the angles of a frame does not seem so important anymore. But back in the old times a couple of degrees difference in the angles on a bike from the standard 71/73 could inspire editors of bicycle magazines to write half a page on the matter when reviewing a Bridgestone mountain bike.
In other words, the head tube angle of a Bridgestone MTB was a bit steeper than usual, 72 degrees IIRC which made the bike handle more nervous. Some magazines issued warnings if you where a noob riding a Bridgestone.
I think that is pathetic.
The frame have a one inch headtube since GP of Bridgestone did not believe in oversized head tubes, other than adding unnecessary weight. The headtube holds a classic Ritchey Logic fork which if I remember correctly weighs around 750 gram. The Ritchey fork is a nice classic unicrown fork made out of Ritcheys own tubing, it is not too stiff so it absorbs some vibration. Steel is a nice material for an MTB (and for a rigid fork) since it has a unique ride, steel is also very bombproof. Unlike aluminium and carbonfiber a steel frame or fork will not snap in pieces in an accident, instead it will bend (in a perfect scenario).
The stem is a Ritchey Force one inch quill stem so that you can adjust how low or high the handlebar should be. The headset is a Tange version, it is in good visual condition but indexed. The stem is not stuck to the fork since it have been greased.
The condition of the Bridgestone MB2 frame is in good condition besides some chain suck issues which I will get to later on, there is some surface rust at the drop outs but there appears to be no rust issues with the frame. The paint is the original paint and it has been touched up in places, there are still places that needs to be touched up. Most of the decals are in good condition, the decals on the forks are in bad condition but could probably be cleaned up.
There are some scarring on the drive side of the chainstay, I guess a chain got really stuck there once upon a time so that area looks a bit nasty. If you are really hardcore, you can off course let a professional frame builder replace the tube, if you are like the rest of us you could just as well sand the area down and source some touch up paint before you go for the ride – thats the beauty of steel.
Besides the chain suck damage the rest of the damage is what in fine circles are known as patina, in the right market and for the right goods, patina can jack the price way up there.
Since I do not want to jack up the price of this excellent Bridgestone frame that would make a fine commuter or true vintage mountainbike I will let this frame/fork/stem and indexed headset go for 125 euro. Sold!