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Old 01-13-07, 12:19 AM   #1
x37
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Bridgestone bicycles

I've been reading about Bridgestone bicycles on Sheldon Brown's webpage: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/bridgestone/

It sounds as if the Grant Petersen-era Bridgestones are great bikes, and I'm thinking of trying to find one. I've heard, however, that Bridgestones are prone to break at the headtube. Is this true?

Also, what would be a fair price for, say, an RB-1 or RB-2 in good condition?

Thanks.
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Old 01-13-07, 12:24 AM   #2
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yeah good luck finding an rb-1, I was just doing my weekly search myself
my sister bought hers last spring for 250. I'm still in shock.
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Old 01-13-07, 02:16 AM   #3
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Finding an RB-1 is not impossible. They pop up on CL here in the bay area pretty often. Just have to be patient. The last one to close on ebay (just after xmas) only went for $330.

If you reallly want the BEST bridgestone, keep your eyes out for the Grand Velo (strangely absent from sheldon's article). These were one up on the RB-1.

Here's a pic of a '75 Grand Velo Randonneur:

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/%7Euc6y-s...elo061126.html

I'm pretty sure they made them up until the late 80's.
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Old 01-13-07, 05:54 AM   #4
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There is one at an LBS in Rutland, VT. about 7 miles from my
house...........Its Yellow, VG to Excellent for the age.
The asking price..........




Are you sitting...........?





900.00 !!
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Old 01-13-07, 07:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x37
It sounds as if the Grant Petersen-era Bridgestones are great bikes, and I'm thinking of trying to find one. I've heard, however, that Bridgestones are prone to break at the headtube. Is this true?

Thanks.
I owned two 1985/86 Bridgestone 400 road bikes, the low end of their "good" line at the time, and I've followed Bridgestone's and Petersen's trials and tribulations since. First, I've never heard of any routine frame failures so that may be a false rumor. Others will have to chime in here with more accurate information.

Second, the Grant Petersen-era at Bridgestone was technically interesting but a marketing and sales disaster. The bikes were well made but he imposed his eccentric opinions and ideas on their components saying they were what riders should want. Potential customers voted with their feet and bought elsewhere and after a few years under his direction, Bridgestone withdrew from the US market.

Grant then went on to found Rivendell Cycle Works which allowed him unfettered ability to market off-beat and obsolete equipment by claiming it's better for you. The company has flirted with bankruptcy since it's founding. It now seems to be financially viable by selling expensive touring frames and appealing to the small minority of "retro-grouches" and those who yearn for the past in bike technology. I wish him well but he did Bridgestone no favors.
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Old 01-13-07, 08:12 AM   #6
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My bike for the past 12 years or so has been a Bridgestone XO-2. It has a variation of the moustache handlebar and 26" wheels with slicks on it. It has been a joy to ride from day one. The bike is still stock and I just ordered a new set of Richey Tom Slick tires for it. I am still running the original tires and have had only 2 flats in that entire time.

I am thinking of doing a re-imaging of a Schwinn World Sport that I just picked up -- change out to 700c wheels, moustache bar and new set of brake levers. I am going to set it up to approximate what the XO-2 has and see how it rides.

The one thing that has been priceless has been the half dozen time peoples have stuck up conversations on the trail with me asking about the bike. Those conversations are what made me realize that the bike is kind of special and that I should never sell it.
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Old 01-13-07, 10:21 AM   #7
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Keep your eyes on eBay and check the iBob for sale listings. They're not that hard to find. I'm currently advertising an RB-2 on CL, but because I completely reconditioned it, I'm not offering it at a bargain price (I think it's listed somewhere on that iBob list). My RB-2 is a 1988, and something I've noticed about it and other Bridgestone RBs at least is that the paint does not hold up very well. I'm not sure if it's something specific to a few years, or if it is common on most of their models.

By the way, there is a Gran Velo on eBay: $1999 starting bid, $2999 Buy in Now price!

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Old 01-13-07, 10:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillRider
I owned two 1985/86 Bridgestone 400 road bikes, the low end of their "good" line at the time, and I've followed Bridgestone's and Petersen's trials and tribulations since. First, I've never heard of any routine frame failures so that may be a false rumor. Others will have to chime in here with more accurate information.

Second, the Grant Petersen-era at Bridgestone was technically interesting but a marketing and sales disaster. The bikes were well made but he imposed his eccentric opinions and ideas on their components saying they were what riders should want. Potential customers voted with their feet and bought elsewhere and after a few years under his direction, Bridgestone withdrew from the US market.

Grant then went on to found Rivendell Cycle Works which allowed him unfettered ability to market off-beat and obsolete equipment by claiming it's better for you. The company has flirted with bankruptcy since it's founding. It now seems to be financially viable by selling expensive touring frames and appealing to the small minority of "retro-grouches" and those who yearn for the past in bike technology. I wish him well but he did Bridgestone no favors.
This article tells a slightly different story...

http://www.ebykr.com/?p=35

I'm sure Bridgestone's withdrawal from the US was a combination of both Petersen's insistance of marketing bikes with functional, useful, durable designs (why that is bad, I'm not sure... but the American consumer is an interesting creature) and the economy between Japan and the US during the early 90's...

Also, per Seaneee's post, I highly doubt that Bridgestone's Grand Velo Randonneur ever officially made it outside of Japan... and most likely the Randonneur version never made it to the states... I could be wrong..

Last edited by dbarnblatt@usa.; 01-13-07 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 01-13-07, 04:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbarnblatt@usa.
This article tells a slightly different story...

http://www.ebykr.com/?p=35

I'm sure Bridgestone's withdrawal from the US was a combination of both Petersen's insistance of marketing bikes with functional, useful, durable designs (why that is bad, I'm not sure... but the American consumer is an interesting creature) and the economy between Japan and the US during the early 90's...
Well, the article does and it doesn't. I'm not saying Bridgestone's withdrawal from the US market was all because of Petersen's insistance on his own vision of what we should want but, even this rather fawning review of his tenure at Bridgestone admits it was a factor.

His concept of "functional, useful, durable designs" wasn't accepted by enough riders and since bicycles aren't a major utilitarian form of transportation here, the market wasn't large enough. Also, I'd debate the "functional, useful" part of some of his concepts too.
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Old 01-13-07, 08:52 PM   #10
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I had a 400 as well and loved it (still miss it, it got stolen). Pretty solid bike. Worth finding, mine was sub $200 and I swapped out the 27s for 700c.

Don't let anyone tell you it can be done, the stock Bridgestone dia comps have great reach and easily adjust for 700c.
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Old 01-13-07, 08:56 PM   #11
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I like the bridgestones, but from what I've seen they're usually way overpriced.
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Old 01-13-07, 09:23 PM   #12
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The "Grant Peterson" designed Bridgestone bikes typically sell on E-Bay for about 50% more than similar bikes from other companies. Consumers are often a bit slow to recognize quality, but quality wins in the long run.

Looking at Bridgestone catalogs, I noticed that most of their bikes were made in Japan, five or ten years after their competition had moved most production to Taiwan. Building the bikes in Japan meant using a lower spec of components (although always a GOOD lower spec) and selling for a higher retail price.

I can imagine the difficulty of a store salesman trying to explain to a customer why they ought to buy the $600 bike with downtube shifters instead of the $500 bike with STI...a very tough sale.
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Old 01-14-07, 01:26 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
The "Grant Peterson" designed Bridgestone bikes typically sell on E-Bay for about 50% more than similar bikes from other companies. Consumers are often a bit slow to recognize quality, but quality wins in the long run.

Looking at Bridgestone catalogs, I noticed that most of their bikes were made in Japan, five or ten years after their competition had moved most production to Taiwan. Building the bikes in Japan meant using a lower spec of components (although always a GOOD lower spec) and selling for a higher retail price.
So would you say there are similar vintage bikes for better prices? I'm not wedded to the concept of buying a Bridgestone -- my real goal is to find a quality steel-framed used bike for a good price.
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Old 01-14-07, 12:05 PM   #14
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So would you say there are similar vintage bikes for better prices? I'm not wedded to the concept of buying a Bridgestone -- my real goal is to find a quality steel-framed used bike for a good price.
YES.
Much as I like a vintage Bridgestone, I don't think of the RB1 as the holy grail, and if you can get that notion out of your head you'll probably find a fine quality Japanese-made vintage bike for a lot less $$, and less competition. There are many brands and models to consider, and most posters to this forum have their favorites and loyalties...just to name a few: Miyata, Panasonic(including Schwinn), Fuji, Centurion, Nishiki, Bianchi(made in JP), Univega (see Miyata)...and many more that I'm forgetting. Best to educate yourself a little before and as you shop. Concentrate on finding a quality frame made with high-grade tubing (Ishiwata DB cromoly, Tange Champion, and proprietary Miyata and Fuji sets) and clean construction...best of luck, the bargains are out there!
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Old 01-14-07, 04:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
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The "Grant Peterson" designed Bridgestone bikes typically sell on E-Bay for about 50% more than similar bikes from other companies.
That's because they are rare. Why are they rare? Because Bridgestone didn't sell many when they were new and I'm convinced Perterson was a big factor in that.

Also, the fact the frames were made in Japan doesn't mean they were necessarily better designed or better made, just more expensive.
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Old 01-14-07, 08:53 PM   #16
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Looking for a RB-1? Here's one on EBAY with a mix of components.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Bridgestone-RB-1...em140074247013


and a Grand Velo

http://cgi.ebay.com/56-cm-Bridgeston...em120074375975
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Old 01-14-07, 10:26 PM   #17
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Looking for a RB-1? Here's one on EBAY with a mix of components.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Bridgestone-RB-1...em140074247013


and a Grand Velo

http://cgi.ebay.com/56-cm-Bridgeston...em120074375975
Sure that Grand Velo looks nice, but $3000 nice!??! I could find something nicer if I had 3 Grand to spend...
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Old 01-15-07, 12:54 AM   #18
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Thanks for the heads-up. I've been watching the RB-1 auction but not the Grand Velo. Too bad neither bike is the right size. I agree with unworthy1 regarding the Velo -- it's nice, but if I had $3,000 to spend I'd order a custom.

I'll keep an eye out for Miyatas, etc.
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Old 01-15-07, 03:16 PM   #19
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Take a look at the Bridgestone bike I found by clicking the thumbnail below. One of the LBS in my area was a Bridgestone dealer and said he had never seen one like this. I have not changed anything on the bike. It has Bridgestone emblems embossed on the seat stays and fork crown and has original epoxy paint with no decals and never looked to have had any. A Bridgestone with emblems embossed in steel should have 27" wheels but not this one. It's a later model with 700c wheels and the spacing between the frame and rear wheel is so close I must let all the air out of the tire to get it out of the dropouts with a 23c tire on it. I should have put 20c tires on it, which is what was on it when I found it. No way a 27" wheel would ever go on this bike and the rear spacing is 130mm. I put a yardstick on the seat and chain stays and they're straight as an arrow so they have not been widened from 126mm. I have never found any information on this bike. The dealer said it is possible it was a custom built Time Trial bike.
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Old 01-15-07, 03:54 PM   #20
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The bikes were well made but he imposed his eccentric opinions and ideas on their components saying they were what riders should want. Potential customers voted with their feet and bought elsewhere and after a few years under his direction, Bridgestone withdrew from the US market.
It was Shimano that was deciding what riders should want. Each year they changed the way components worked and then told the bicycle makers they could buy complete component ensembles but no a la carte. Grant thought the new two-lever underbar mtn bike shifters did not work as well as the older top bar thumb shifters so he kept the thumb shifters but at an additional cost since he had to buy the whole Shimano group, shifters and all. Every other bike manufacturer kow-towed to Shimano and Bridgestone was looking pretty isolated. Throw in a few breathless magazine reviews of how the latest Shimano shifter had just advanced the entire bicycle experience a hundred years AND have said magazine label Peterson a retro-grouch for not following in lock step with their advertisers and things were downhill from there.

It took a lawsuit from the makers of Grip Shift to break some of the iron grip Shimano had on component choices for bike makers.
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Old 01-15-07, 08:37 PM   #21
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It was Shimano that was deciding what riders should want. Each year they changed the way components worked and then told the bicycle makers they could buy complete component ensembles but no a la carte......

It took a lawsuit from the makers of Grip Shift to break some of the iron grip Shimano had on component choices for bike makers.
Yes, I certainly remember those days and the controversy over Shimano's cavalier attitude.

In fact, I remember Trek spec'ing one of their mid-line Al frame bikes with a full Campy group just to stick a finger in Shimano's eye and show their independence. This had funny consequences because Campagnolo had never dealt with an single order of this magnitude before and struggled to meet Trek's requirements. In fact, one Trek rep told me they received all of the Campy parts packaged in individual boxes just as you or I would find them at an LBS. Trek was used to having their OEM stuff delivered in huge cartons all in bubble wrap to make assembly line work faster and the Campy parts caused unwanted delays. The upshot was that Trek gave up on Campagnolo about mid-season and reverted to Shimano components for that model for the rest of the year. I recall seeing two Trek's at an LBS that were the same model year, same model number, same paint scheme but with two different groups. The dealer told me what happened and I got confirmation from the Trek guy somewhat later.
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Old 01-16-07, 04:28 PM   #22
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I got lucky and found a Bridgestone "Mile 112" on E-bay for just over $100 a couple years back. It is a lesser known model but a really nice bike from the late 80's with a cool Lavender and silver paint job. It has longer stays and a real raked out fork which was supposedly easier on the body at the end of the bike portion of an Ironman Tri. Tubing is 4130 and a nice riding machine.
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Old 01-16-07, 04:43 PM   #23
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Here is a frame on craigslist in Charlotte.

http://charlotte.craigslist.org/bik/259344001.html
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Old 01-16-07, 05:33 PM   #24
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I dont get the hoopla?That yellow Bridgestone for $2000 is identical to my 1989 Ishiwata.
If rarity is a price command,then my 83 Detel is worth a fortune,they were only in business aprox 7 months.
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Old 01-16-07, 09:08 PM   #25
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Here is a frame on craigslist in Charlotte.

http://charlotte.craigslist.org/bik/259344001.html
I emailed the seller of that frame last week, but he never replied. I guess he had already sold it.
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