I got the RB-1 back from Glen yesterday. He learned a few things as he fixed up the crack at the bottom bracket:
- The crack on seat tube (at the bottom bracket) was longer than it appeared from the outside.
- The brass at the seat tube/bottom bracket interface didn't fill the lug; it was was only at the rim of the lug. Pretty shoddy brazing.
- The place where one of the seat stays attach to the seat tube was also beginning to crack
I'm not surprised to hear about the shoddy brazing. Bridgestone built interesting bikes, but the quality wasn't always top notch. The Japanese factory probably brazed 100's of thousands of lugged bikes every year in the mid-90's. Glen wryly commented that Bridgestone had great catalogs. I'm heavily invested in Bridgestones; I love my RB-T's (the commuter and the cyclocross) and my MB-2 has been lugging an Xtracycle since 2005. I fully expect the RB-Ts to fail (likely at the rear drop out or the chainstay/bottom bracket) someday and I fully expect to repair them.
Anyway. Glen ended up drilling holes at the end of the crack and then filling the crack by TIG'ing it.
And the rear seat stays will be held in place forever by the new brake cable hanger. I've got canti brakes and hopefully another 5+ years out of this bike for $114. That's a good deal to me.
Maddie and I painted the over the exposed steel to slow the rust. Maddie chose the colors. I'm partial to her sparkley finger nail polish, so I put that on the front posts and over some orange polish on the bottom bracket scab. Maddie has some fancy oil paints that she dug out of the basement. Once the oil dries, I'll put layer of clear sparkle Wet'n'Wild on it all to give that special bling.
I was able to build it up with almost all used crud from my stash. I did have to buy a brake cable and a front derailleur from Pedals2People. My old XT front derailleur was too long for the dinky chain rings I'm running (44/30). All I need is some bar tape and I'm good to go.
A quick run up and down the street shows a lot of promise. This may be the Midnight Century bike this year. I'm not going to fender or rack it.