Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Catching Up

The 1993 Bridgestone XO-1 is one of my favorite bikes, ever. I'm particularly fond of the "Construction Pumpkin" (orange) color. I've wanted one for years, but they enjoy a cult status which puts them firmly out of my reach, both due to their rarity (only 1000 were built) and the prices they command, nowadays. One recently sold on eBay for $2200.00!

Plus, the maximum tire size allowed by the frame and fork is a 26"x2.0. I like a wider tire, off road, and I really want to use the bike as a convertible on-and-off-road rig.

A couple of weeks ago, Mark and I were talking bikes, on the phone, and he casually mentioned seeing a red Bridgestone MB-4 Trailblazer at the junkyard. He had pretty much ignored it, because the tig-welded frames don't interest either of us, that much.

I happened to be leafing through the 1993 Bridgestone catalogue as we were speaking, and I flipped to the MB-4 page. In 1993, the MB-4 was a lugged Japanese frame, rather than tigged in Taiwan. So, I got on the internet, and looked up the "Trailblazer" version. The only red MB-4 Trailblazer I could find in the catalogue archives was the 1991 model, also a lugged Japanese frame (all of the other years were tigged).

Excited by the prospect, I asked mark to go and check it out. "If it's lugged," I said,"I want it."

Two days later, I had a lugged MB-4 in hand, minus the front wheel and with a broken freehub on the rear. No worries, since I was planning on using other wheels, entirely.

I had just sold the Portage on eBay, so I had some project money available. I got on Rivendell's site, and ordered up. Then, on to eBay for some tires, and Cycle Analyst for a lugged fork to replace the stock unicrown model. Some other stuff I had in my inventory.

So, I built this:

Rivendell 650B wheels, Pacenti 2.3 tires, Sugino cranks, Suntour XC Pro beartrap pedals, Suntour derailleurs, Nitto Mustache bars, Rivendell Silver shifters and bar-end mounts, XT V-Brakes. It was my more "modern" take on the XO-1.

Unfortunately, the super-short steer tube on the 17.5" frame meant I needed a huge steerer extension to get the bars where I want the. Not only do I not like the look of this, but you can't run that much extension on a threaded fork without the possibility of snapping it off. I cut the fork down and, at a reasonable extension of the stem, the bars fell about 2" lower than I wanted them.
I rode it to the coffee shop, on Sunday, and ran into Brad. As we talked, the subject of the Rockhopper he recently acquired came up. He told me that he was planning on building up a bike to pull Noella's trailer, but he didn't want to go to the trouble until he found a lugged frame.
"Step outside with me," I said.
I showed him the bike, and had him lower the seat to his position and sit on it. It worked fine, for him. So, I told him that he could have it in exchange for his Rockhopper frame.
After I got home, I started doing a three-way parts swap. The result:

The 1984 650B Stumpy Monstercrosser. I had to go with the Avid Shorty brakes, because the V-Brakes didn't line up with the rim, as they had on the other frame. Otherwise, the parts are all the same as those which were on the Bridgestone with the exception of road bike brake levers replacing the V-Brake lever and I used the stock Specialized headset since I left the Ritchey Logic headset on the Bridgestone.

I'll get some nice 650B road tires for it (I still have the stock tires from the Portage to use, in the meantime). But, I want to do some off-roading with it before I swap tires.

The fork is the stock fork which came on this bike. I had removed it when I converted the bike to 700c wheels, so I had to put it back in place to use the 650 wheels.

I had used the black fork to convert the 1965 Huffy tandem to V-Brakes, so I had to swap another mountain fork onto it (oddly, this one is very similar to a stock XO-1 fork and won't take a wide knobby tire, though the 26x2.125 cruiser tires work nicely).

The red fork ties in well enough with the red cable housing that I decided to not spray it black. Carol may make me do so, since the tandem is going to her house so that she and Colin can ride it. That's one reason I turned it into a 7-speed.

It still has the original 1984 stem and handlebar from the Stumpjumper.
You can see the temporary fence I erected across the back yard so that I could re-seed the grass where the dogs have run it down to bare dirt. Once I get the metal building moved to it's new position behind the shop building, I will actually sink some wooden posts and permanently install the fence with a gate. That way, the dogs can play in the grass when I am back there, but the grass can recover at other times.
So, that was my week, along with getting my taxes done. This is why I'm not getting many bikes built for the yard sale.


At 8:41 PM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

The red MB-4 was very Rawland-esque, I almost thought it was a Sogn before I read the caption.

I am amazed that those 650b tires fit either of those bikes they're pretty wide.Stumpy has to get painted,as you put it "Construction Pumpkin Orange"it would really complete the look.

Have you ever looked at Handsome brand bikes? Check them out their bike the Handsome Devil is very close to XO-1 geometry,but fits 700c wheels and tires up to 45c.I only glanced through their site I dont think it's lugged.The frame and fork sells for about $400.00

At 9:08 PM , Blogger Jon said...

I've looked at the Handsomes. They are nice, but kinda generic.

Funny that you mention Rawland. My eventual goal is to get one of their framesets and build this same bike, if the Stumpy works out as a combination road/mountain bike.

I think that the Stumpy will end up orange. I probably can't exactly match the XO-1 color, but I'll try to get it close.

At 1:10 PM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

I have been looking forward to the updates of Rawland's Drakkar,I just hope they paint it some other color than the powder blue prototype.

At 10:13 PM , Blogger big.tea said...

I am aquiring a small collection of Bridgestone MTBs - picked up a 93 MB-4 for $50. I'm intrigued by the 650b possibility. I had thought it out of the question because of canti brakes. What brakes did you use, and how do you feel about how it works?

At 6:21 AM , Blogger Jon said...

I used Avis V-Brakes on it, as I recall, which lined up on this particular frame. They would not line up on the StumpJumper.

Cantilever stud placement can vary considerably from frame to frame. The Avids may or may not work on your particular frame. My advice, if you can, is to just try a few different brakes until you find one that works...


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