Monday, May 24, 2010

Geeking out: 1993 Bridgestone Dealer's Packet

My buddy Willy, who just moved to Seattle, left a parting gift for me last week.

It's a dealer packet from Bridgestone from 1993.

There's so much to like about this bit of history. I like the minimum pricing explanation, the co-op advertising particulars, but the best part is the tubing explanation for the RB-1. The RB-1 "book" came as a home-jobber-bound leaflet thing. There are some hand-written and photocopied notes that explain specifics and particulars about the different combinations of tubesets that were used on the RB-1. I actually think the book was written based on the 92 models, but the differences are minor and only really interesting to the nerds that love to pour over this stuff.

For the record, I'm really not as in love with Bridgestone as it would appear on the surface. After owning and abusing many Bridgestones, I appreciate them for their simple practicality and their smart designs based on good stuff that appears to work -- and still holds up for me. Specifically, I like steeper angles; I like standard diameter steel; I like bikes that take reasonably fattish tires. But I'm no collector in the awe-struck sense. I admit to being annoyed at seeing Bridgestones pampered, polished and only ridden on sunny days. These bikes were made by the thousands (but not 10's of thousands mind you) and they were of average production quality for their day. To me, they must be ridden hard to be enjoyed to the fullest.

With that, here's the scan of the dealer packet:
Thanks Willy.


Dan O said...

Yup - I'd agree. The Bridgestone bikes have been elevated a bit to what they are not. Don't get me wrong though, they were cool bikes.

I owned '91 MB-Zip in the day (sold it about a year ago), and still own a '91 RB-1 (semi-retired from duty). I still have all the catalogs and other items from back then. I was a fan for sure. Oh yeah, we also have a '91 MB-3 in the garage as well.

Having them become collectable bikes not to be ridden seems a little out of place. They were great production bikes for the money. Not hand made works of art.

Doug said...

I agree. I rode my RB-1 into the ground -- or rather, until I could see light through the huge crack in the bottom bracket. Eventually getting chainrub light-pedaling around the neighborhood convinced me it was dead. I left it sitting next to my house and lo, two weeks later someone grabbed it.

Currently I run a MB-3 as a messabout and am doing my damndest to bust it as well.

John Speare said...

Dan: MB-Zip is a bike I've always wanted to ride.
Doug: shame that someone nabbed the RB-1. BB failure seems to be a standard failure on the b'stone road bikes. I cracked the shell on my RB-1 and on one of my RB-T's. Easy fix for a frame person: just file it out and fill the void with hot steel. Both are still taking a lot of abuse.
Looking in at the bb shells you can see lots of space around the inside of the lugs that should have bronze gooping out, but is totally clean. My working assumption (suggested to me by my local frame builder -- who has years of industry building experience - bontrager, serotta, rocky mountain)is that the bb's on these were machine brazed. Which, if true, is a tad disappointing, but not surprising.

Doug said...

Well, I wish someone had told me that. Everyone I showed it to suggested that it would be a difficult, expensive fix. Perhaps they assumed I would want to replace the entire bottom bracket?

It's not a big deal, I guess, since my Univega Gran Rally serves identical duty and seems to be a better frame. At the very least it can fit 32mm tires.