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  1. #1
    Junior Member gypsy_hipster's Avatar
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    The Bridgestone Project!

    I just picked up a 1985 Bridgestone 300 mixte in absolutely perfect condition -- it looks like it's never even been taken on the road. It wasn't exactly a steal, but I think I paid a fair price; it was still a lot less than any of the new mixtes I've looked at! It is light, quick, and just a blast to ride. All of the original components work beautifully. Here are the specs some helpful soul scanned from the 1985 Bridgestone catalog and posted Sheldon Brown's website (mine's the mixte model in the upper left corner):

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/bridgest...stone-300.html

    I guess my question for you all is, I feel like a few upgrades would take this bike from "decent" to "awesome," but I'm not sure where to start. I had planned on buying an old mixte, riding it through the autumn, and spending the winter working on it. I have read that, as far as Bridgestones go, the 300 was an entry-level model and not exactly collectible. For me, this was part of the appeal; I don't have to feel bad about taking it apart!

    I was thinking the first steps would be to swap the 27" wheels for 700c, replace the stainless steel seat post with something lighter, take off all the reflectors, and trade in the foam handlebar covers for sleeker grip tape. I'm planning on using this as my main bike and I'd eventually like to get brifters and also try to make it as light as possible. I'm going to be using it mainly for 30-40 miles of commuting a week and some light touring. The single-speed beater bike I'm working on will also be getting upgrades as I replace its components with the leftovers from the Bridgestone, but that's a different story.

    Am I on the right track? What would be a good starting point for updating this great old bike? Other than sandblasting the thing and getting rid of all traces of that "dynasty pink" paint job... :shudder:

  2. #2
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    If exerything works properly I'd only make the following changes:

    Move the shifters fron the stem to the downtube.
    Replace the bar cushion with tape.
    Replace the brakes with dual pivot.
    Opional: Replace the brake levers with ergo levers.

  3. #3
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Many bikes that age had steel rims that were chromed. They were a death trap when it rained because the brakes didn't work on the wet rims. Better bikes had alloy rims which worked better in the rain. Maybe you can pick up some 27 inch alloy wheels. I would stick with 27 inch because the brake shoes will line up with the rims.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    Many bikes that age had steel rims that were chromed. They were a death trap when it rained because the brakes didn't work on the wet rims. Better bikes had alloy rims which worked better in the rain. Maybe you can pick up some 27 inch alloy wheels. I would stick with 27 inch because the brake shoes will line up with the rims.
    This bike has decent Araya alloy rims so that isn't a problem. The OEM brakes might have enough adjustment (4 mm lower) to align with 700c rims but that will have to be determined. If they are changed to modern dp brakes, he will need long reach ones and he'll still have to see if the adjustment range is adequate.

    To the OP: I had an '85 Bridgestone 400 (one level up from your bike) as my first "good" bike so I know why you like yours. I'd do the few changes Bezalel suggested except you will need clamp on downtube shifters as there are no braze-on downtube bosses. Perhaps using barend shifters, which will let you continue to use the current clamp-on double cable housing stop, would be more practical. New bar tape and aero brake levers are well worth the minor cost.

    I would not try to make this bike "as light as possible". Therein lies a money pit of great depth and, while the bike is very nice, it's not worth a huge investment. Enjoy it for what it is and make only minor improvements and upgrades. If you want something super light, start with something else.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Honestly, it's probably not cost effective but I LOVE doing projects like this.

    If it was my bike, the first thing that I would do would be to measure the distance between the rear dropouts.
    A modern road bike is 130 mm. I'm betting that your bike is 126 mm. Now 4 mm isn't much - it's less than 1/4 inch. But it's enough to affect most of your planned upgrades. A new wheelset is going to be 130 mm. Brifters are going to require an 8/9/10 speed cassette rear hub - 130 mm. If you decide to spread the dropouts, I'd do it prior to repainting.

    The next issue has to do with brake reach. If you switch from 27" wheels to 700c wheels, your brakes are probably going to be a bit too short. Again, if it was my bike, I'd "borrow" a 700c wheelset and test fit it in the frame. You'll be able to see what, if anything you'll have to do with your brakes and you'll be able to tell if the smaller 700c wheels are going to look goofy. Brake replacements might have new, nifty recessed brake nuts which will require drilling out your fork and rear brake bridge. That's another thing to do prior to painting.

    Have fun.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    If it was my bike, the first thing that I would do would be to measure the distance between the rear dropouts. A modern road bike is 130 mm. I'm betting that your bike is 126 mm.
    You'd win that bet. My '85 400 had 126 mm dropouts and came with the same 14x32 6-speed Sun Tour Perfect freewheel this one has.

  7. #7
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Hi.

    I just bought an 85 300, but the diamond-frame model. I like it plenty, but like the OP, i intend to make some radical changes. There'd already been some fairly major mods done by the previous owner (wheelset, crank, RD), but i'm liable to go whole-hog.

    As some ppl had mentioned, there aren't bosses for D/T shifters. I think bar-cons'd be the best bet for folks planning on using a derailer system.

    The brakeset is dia-compe 500. If memory serves me (it's been a week since i started tearing my latest ride down), there's at least 4mm of downward play in the brakeset. riding the bike in to work a few times, i found the brakes to be adequate, but barely so. The new rims were some cheapish alloy jobs, but i weigh an eighth of a ton, so braking might be better for the OP.

    I agree with the person above when s/he said that making it "as light as possible" is a questionable money-pit. Regardless of how cool the frame is, it's made of straight-gauge 4130 steel. My 23" diamond frame is heavy; i imagine that a mixte, with the extra tubes, is even heavier. It'll never be a lightweight bike. A better focus would be on reliability/durability/ comfort.

    I recently got an old fuji mixte for my ol' lady, and we're doing that up as a 3speed with drum brakes. this is what inspired me to grab the old B-stone for cheap; i intend to hook it up as either a SS or 3speed with drums, which sidesteps brake compat issues, and allows for even more rubber in there, should we desire.

    Good luck. enjoy the build. There seems to be a recent resurgence of interest in semi-decent japanese-made bikes of the 70s and 80s, but thereare still plenty of deals to be had. I got the late 70's mixte for my wife b/c the VO, riv, and soma mixtes are expensive, with overly-wide 132.5mm spacing in most cases. For $50, i got a complete bike with very little wear-n-tear, and some components worthy of keeping. Ya done well, so far, i reckon

    -rob

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    Hi.

    I just bought an 85 300, but the diamond-frame model. I like it plenty, but like the OP, i intend to make some radical changes. There'd already been some fairly major mods done by the previous owner (wheelset, crank, RD), but i'm liable to go whole-hog.

    As some ppl had mentioned, there aren't bosses for D/T shifters. I think bar-cons'd be the best bet for folks planning on using a derailer system.

    The brakeset is dia-compe 500. If memory serves me (it's been a week since i started tearing my latest ride down), there's at least 4mm of downward play in the brakeset. riding the bike in to work a few times, i found the brakes to be adequate, but barely so. The new rims were some cheapish alloy jobs, but i weigh an eighth of a ton, so braking might be better for the OP.

    I agree with the person above when s/he said that making it "as light as possible" is a questionable money-pit. Regardless of how cool the frame is, it's made of straight-gauge 4130 steel. My 23" diamond frame is heavy; i imagine that a mixte, with the extra tubes, is even heavier. It'll never be a lightweight bike. A better focus would be on reliability/durability/ comfort.

    I recently got an old fuji mixte for my ol' lady, and we're doing that up as a 3speed with drum brakes. this is what inspired me to grab the old B-stone for cheap; i intend to hook it up as either a SS or 3speed with drums, which sidesteps brake compat issues, and allows for even more rubber in there, should we desire.

    Good luck. enjoy the build. There seems to be a recent resurgence of interest in semi-decent japanese-made bikes of the 70s and 80s, but thereare still plenty of deals to be had. I got the late 70's mixte for my wife b/c the VO, riv, and soma mixtes are expensive, with overly-wide 132.5mm spacing in most cases. For $50, i got a complete bike with very little wear-n-tear, and some components worthy of keeping. Ya done well, so far, i reckon

    -rob
    Nice find. Older Japanese bikes are indeed starting to appreciate. In fact higher-line Bridgestones have developed a bit of a cult following. However, your 300 and my 400 really don't fit in the "higher line" catagory but they make very nice users.

    My 23" 400 has a butted Cr-Mo main triangle with Hi-Ten stays and fork and no one ever used the term "light weight" in describing it.

    The OEM brakes on my 400 were Bridgestone-labeled Dia-Compe single pivots with a novel self-centering feature that was quite nice. A very worthwhile upgrade for your 300 would be Kool Stop Salmon pads as they make marginal brakes decent and good brakes into world beaters. I never tried to fit 700c wheels so I don't know if the pads could be adjusted enough but I wouldn't be surprised to find out they would.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chris_in_Miami's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I share your vision of "awesome" because I think you're already very close. I'd probably just add northroads or arc bars and a set of 27x1-1/4 Paselas, possibly some hammered aluminum fenders, and call it done.

    Pink is awesome.

  10. #10
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    I have a diamond frame Bstone 400 which is just one step up from the 300. The frame as I found it, had down tube Suntour shifters which worked perfectly, but I changed them to suntour bar ends which work the same as the down tube shifters, but of course are on the bar ends.

    I replaced the original stem and handle bar with Nitto dlx Technomic and a Noodle bar.

    I found it with only one 27' wheel, and have put on mismatched 700c wheels(Super Champion front Ukai rear). 700c tires allow alittle more clearance for fenders with 700x32 Paselas. I'm thinking about putting 650Bs on it.

    I'd stick with 126mm rear wheels as there are plenty around.

    Some Bridgestones had cranks that were drilled for a third chainwheel. Mine was and I replaced the spindle and added a 28 inner ring. I also replaced the 52-42 outer and middle chainrings with 46-36 rings.

    I put on a Brooks B-17.

    If you go to the Classic and Vintage forum, you might find a lot of advice on Bridgestones.

  11. #11
    Junior Member gypsy_hipster's Avatar
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    Cheers, Retro Grouch! You sound like me. I know that, in the end, I'm probably not going to save money on this project and it's never going to look or ride like a new bike. But if I wanted a new bike, I'd have gotten one! About the only new bike that appeals to me is this one:

    http://www.handsomecycles.com/index.php?id=9

    And trust me, it's out of my price range. For me, the fun is in the project, the taking apart, putting together, perusing QBP catalogs, etc. etc. I don't know much about building bikes but I'm learning as I go and it's becoming an obsession! I took my new bike for a long ride yesterday and stopped in at my LBS, and the dude there gave me pretty much the same advice that I'm hearing on this thread. I think I'm going to swap out the wheels for 700c, get some new long-reach brakes and brake levers, and maybe make the switch to bar-end shifters. Out of curiosity, what's the advantage of moving the shifters from the stem to the downtube? From what I've read, both stem-mounted and downtube shifters seem rather inconvenient compared to handlebar-mounted shifters. I've ruled out brifters/STIs due to cost and the fact that I'd have to replace the entire drive-train, which was my original intention but has since come to seem like a lot of work for relatively little payoff. I also think I'm going to replace the stem and handlebars, like Ironwood did.

    Any recommendations for good, not super-expensive 700c wheels and long-reach brakes/brake levers?

  12. #12
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Just curious - why exactly do you want to swap out the wheels? The ones that are on the bike are decent quality wheels, and you say the bike is in like-new condition. I agree with Chris_in_Miami; just put a pair of 1.5" Pasela tires on, overhaul the hubs and call it good. There are plenty of us over at the C&V forum who ride 27" wheels. The money you save will buy you a Brooks.

    Here's an old Bridgestone that I had for a while. The color grew on me.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gypsy_hipster View Post
    Out of curiosity, what's the advantage of moving the shifters from the stem to the downtube?
    It's a riding position thing. To use stem ounted shifters you have to be sitting pretty much straight up. If you're used to riding in the drops or even on the brake levers, down tube shifters are a much easier reach.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
    I have a diamond frame Bstone 400 which is just one step up from the 300. The frame as I found it, had down tube Suntour shifters which worked perfectly, but I changed them to suntour bar ends which work the same as the down tube shifters, but of course are on the bar ends.
    Does your 400 frame have braze-on downtube shifter bosses or did it come with clamp-on shifters? The '85's like mine had to use clamp-on shifters but in '86 Bridgestone added factory braze-on shifter bosses.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
    just put a pair of 1.5" Pasela tires on, overhaul the hubs and call it good.
    Where can I get some of those?

  16. #16
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    Where can I get some of those?
    You can't. I meant 1.25. I recently was shopping for 26" tires and in that size, Paselas come in 1.5".

  17. #17
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    27X1.25 isn't a real tire size either. When it comes to bike tires, 1.25 does not equal 1 1/4.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Does your 400 frame have braze-on downtube shifter bosses or did it come with clamp-on shifters? The '85's like mine had to use clamp-on shifters but in '86 Bridgestone added factory braze-on shifter bosses.
    Mine had clamp-on shifters.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by grand bois View Post
    27x1.25 isn't a real tire size either. When it comes to bike tires, 1.25 does not equal 1 1/4.
    what?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kralizec View Post
    what?
    Yup, that's the way that it is. Fractional tire sizes and decimal tire sizes have different bear seat diameters. You can't mix and match.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Those old Bridgestone's were sweet rides back in the day. Great project!
    Livestrong. The personal fundmaker of Lance Armstrong. The company who are in business to not donate to cancer research, but only to inform people that cancer is bad.

    Armstrong. The man without integrity, no care for the sport, and no problem with testing positive for EPO and making donations to cover it up.

    01101010101010001010

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