The Bridgestone Years

Coming soon…..there are quite a few !

Oh dear, guess I’ll start with the fondest / oldest mistress, er bicycle first. Date of birth or rather purchase was in early 1991. A Ritchey Logic steel and lugged 48  cm Bridgestone MB 1 mountain bike. Made in Japan and priced to match. The retail was SG $1850 but I paid about $1400. What a huge mark up. FF to today, I’m sure some people will gladly pay $2000 and up for a piece of history. I remember selling the parts for $1000 to a friend who was building up a US made Klein mountain bike (read Cadillac in those days)  I had am MB -0 from 1990 but it was too big 52 cm and sold the frame fork and headset to a lanky British school kid.

The parts from the MB 0 or ‘Zip’ to the Americans were top notch. a low Q Speciailized crank (Sugino made) Mavic ‘Paris Gao Dakar’ hubs, Ritchey rims, seatpost, stem bars etc. Some these parts are still in use and lovingly polished when the mood strikes. Almost 2 decades old, but with a new ‘dress’ / paint, a deep blue for the last 8 years after being ‘scuba yellow’ for a few years. That was so ugly, so no photos till I get them scanned.  This bike has been to Malaysia, Indonesia and Bali umpteenth times.

(Just remembered that I had my oldest MTB,  a 1987 Bridgestone MB 3 which went through a lot of use and abuse in Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok and a 1990 Japanese winter, the memories just keep coming back…..can’t avoid plugging in the scanner then….)

Introducing the first mistress that’s still ‘at home’ ha ha. 2004

The MB 1 in it’s original racing colours of grey/white and subtle red stripes. BTW that’s not me but some guy named Gene

The MB 0. Meaning lighter and better than the MB 1 ? Not really. Made in Taiwan. Off white pearl colour. Limited to 1000 bikes a year. Many broke during races. RRP SG $2185

Late 2009, shod with drop bars, 8 Spd Ultegra shifters. racks, road tyres etc. Frame, fork, Specialized cranks are the only stock parts left.

Some time ago, I stuck on a Cenelli head badge and old Campy SR headset. It irritates the roadies to no end 😉

In touring mode, Malaysia 1998

For 2011. we’re back to the bike’s original ‘looks’ While some parts of the frame are showing signs of wear and rust 80% of the gleaming deep blue paint says, put a hold on a total paint job. What it really needs are actually a pair of seat stay rack eyelets, and that will be brazed on together with a new colour. Only a question of ‘when’ In the meantime that deep blue is gorgeous, unlike the yellow powder coat it had from  1998 – 2004.

An almost original downtube decal, courtesy of Bridgestone ‘golf’

Back to a very comfy riser bar and XTR 8 speed trigger / quick shifters

The mother of all bikes, once. And for 2011 at least

Cycling in Japan seemed like a lifetime ago. January and February of 1990 to be exact. I had this 1987 MB 3 (looked  like only Bridgestones were sold back then) and won an essay contest to travel in Japan all expenses paid, for 30 days. They asked the mode of transport. Why, by my bicycle of  course ! Freezing cold at the time. Winter boots, winter gloves, taped up helmet vents etc. Karrimor backpacks converted in to ‘rear panniers’  Never heard of Ortleibs back then. Whenever I arrived late at some city or town, it wasn’t because I was a slow rider but I got sidetracked by some 3 storey bicycle shop. Kagoshima to Tokyo in 3 weeks. And a bit of Hong Kong. Talk about deja vu. This deserves it’s own post. As usual, when the mood strikes !

Riding on the footpaths was illegal, but I have this aversion to traffic esp when it’s 30 kms long

The 1987 MB 3 from Sheldon Brown’s web pages

Jan 1989. First MTB, first overseas off road and camping trip. Lots of suffering….

  1. Howard Runyon says:

    My MB-Zip survived lots of races and would still be on the trail if I hadn’t given away the original rigid fork. I fitted it with an elastomer-bumper Manitou 2 shock fork that took excellent care of me for many years, but whose bumpers eventually wore away to nothing. In the meantime I had given the original Ritchey steel fork to a friend whom I can’t track down now; and apparently there’s no one left who makes a respectable shock fork with a 1″ steer tube. Rather heartbreaking. The bike is hanging from a hook, with nothing to do. _Great_ race bike.


  2. taiwoon says:

    my goodness me. Chris! thank you for the Bridgestone education! Really enjoyed ur article! I remember peering into the Bridgestone shop at Orchard road but dun dare to go in.. Cuz as a school boy,I didnt have money. Just enough for a bus ride to see the bike and look.


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