Saturday, March 14, 2009


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.


RJ said...

This post makes me happy for a lot of reasons.

1) You resurrected a bike.

2) There's a cat in the first picture.

3) And your daughter is painting your bike!

I like, I like, I like.

Pat S said...

The metal work looks great and the paint is killer (goes without saying). A surgically-repaired road warrior. Very cool.

jim g said...

Hi John, yeah my same-year RB-1 also has its share of brass problems. I'll have to check inside my BB shell the next time I have it apart. Makes you wonder what they were thinking?

At any rate, I'm happy to read that you got your frame fixed, and I LOVE the combo of 650Bs and cantis on your bike!

John Speare said...

RJ, Pat, Jim: thanks y'all for the nice words.

RJ: congrats on your Trek deal.

Jim: The 650/cant's really suit this bike. I can't wait to get it out on trails and dirt to see how it handles. I can't believe Liza abandoned hers. What's up with that?

Anonymous said...

Love the commuter, but the Chairman Mao/Obama spokecard is effing creepy.
Fairey did our side no favors, IMO.

Stick with the cants. Bridgestone V-brake conversions make me weepy.

Unknown said...

It's a shame you had to ruin an amazing bike.

Josh said...

Brian, did you not notice that it was already ruined? Even if you disapprove of what's been done, it's been saved from recycling now, and surely that's more important than keeping a broken bike in some sort of pristine original state so you can fetishize it.

John Speare said...

Yes! Thanks Josh. It took a couple years, but I was hoping someone would bring up the f-word in responding to that comment.

I've been meaning to do an updated post on this bike. I reconfigured it again last winter and the result is a bike that I grab for just about every short trip to the store, boozer, friend house. It's also good for the occasional commute.

Realsteel said...

I have the same problem with both of my RB-1s
How did the bottom bracket weld hold up?

Generic007 said...

Hi John, what size 650b tire are you using on the RB-1? Thanks, love the bike (and the save from the junk yard), Steve