Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Old MB-1

Picked this old Bridgestone MB-1 up today, from a friendly gentleman on Alameda. After swapping out the 25 year old Ritchey tires for some halfway newer semi-slicks, I went for a short trail ride.

It has a very nimble feel on the trail, but it's surprisingly comfortable and forgiving, thanks, it would seem, to longish chainstays, a lowish BB, some heat treated steel tubing, and modern angles (despite the 1987 vintage.) Although the parts aren't 100% original, what's there is a nice selection from Suntour's and Nitto's late 80s best.

This is an interesting bike for at least a couple of reasons. For one, it comes right at the end of the first true mtb era, with japanese made mountain bikes finally shedding their bullmoose bars and starting to really flood the bikes shops of the USA. I think '87 or '88 is the last year of chainstay-mounted u-brakes for most brands, but here's Bridgestone already moving on to seatstay-mounted cantis (or back to them, as the case may be,)  and some seriously racer-oriented concepts. It's also the first production MTB to adopt the standard angles of the 90s and beyond: 71/73. I like the feel of this geometry, I must admit.

Another reason this bike is unique is that it represents Grant Petersen's attempt, I think, to pay homage to his Bay Area MTB mentors -- namely Charlie Cunningham and Tom Ritchey. By bringing this design into mainstream American bike shops, Bridgestone disseminated the kooky ideas of the Bay Area tinkers/innovators/alt-lifestylists to the unsuspecting riders of  our land. Thing is, drops on a mountain bike are not for everyone, and, as far as I can tell, this particular model didn't sell that great. Sounds like there are 300 of them around, in theory. I'm psyched to have one of them!

I'm not completely sold on the dirt drop handlebars. They're for sure cool, but the dirt drop stem could be a little higher (the quill is mysteriously short) and the drop could be a little shallower for my taste. This old fellow might be an excellent candidate for some bullmoose handlebars. Mark? You have any Nitto bullmoosen for this mb?


  1. Nice ride bro! I fer sher have some bullmoose bars...