Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bridgestone Madness

I'll admit it--I love Bridgestones just as much as the next giant bike dork. My first 'serious' bike was a Bridgestone and I loved it.

The irony is that the model that I owned was called the 'T-7OO', which was the touring model before Grant Petersen even laid a finger on Bridgestone's creative design. Stripped of the name, my bike was nothing more than a pretty sweet early 8O's Japanese touring frame. That isn't a bad thing, but all the hallmarks that made Bridgestone famous are completely absent from the bike. I ended up selling it to a friend of a friend after I got too big for it, but I still have a lot of memories attached to the bike [touring, winter snow and ice, trail rides, etc...]

That being said, I think the whole Bridgestone thing has gone pretty out of hand. Too often I'll go on BOBish listings or Craig's List and find a Bridgestone in the $1OOO+ price range such as this XO-1. What made these bikes so cool was that serious cyclist on a budget could buy these models and compete against sponsored riders with the latest and greatest gizmos and still do fine [and often times win.] The better frames were made of pretty great thin-gauge tubing, the components were mediocre but totally functional, and the procedure was all through production construction in either Taiwan or Japan. This all added up to a bike that was truly performance ready at an accessible price.

When I see these bikes with astronomical price tags and 'upgraded' with full XTR, Dura Ace or Superbe Pro, it completely detaches what made these bikes so great from why we would want them now. I understand the whole collector mentality of not just buying a bike but buying the 'innovation' [why else buy those early Schwinn MTBs with caliper brakes and cruiser bars?] But effectively what happens is that primarily younger riders who don't have a lot of cash to drop are barred from riding these bikes that are perfectly suited to their riding style because of collector value--and in the case of Bridgestones, that directly contradicts why they were so great in the first place.

It's also silly since these bicycles aren't under-valued at $5OO or less. Beyond the innovation and hype, Bridgestones are still production frames that fatigue as much as any other old school, good quality Japanese bike. That makes it doubly absurd when I see a pre-Grant Petersen Bridgestone such as mine caught in a fierce bidding war on e-bay with the seller talking-up the 'notorious reputation' of the Bridgestone label. These bikes aren't custom Davidson's or even production Rivendell's as much as we want them to be, and we should treat them as such.

Anywho not hating on Bridgestones, but just a reality check for when you start getting 'beer-goggled' while searching Ebay for that mint condition RB-1 and start thinking $8OO sounds reasonable. Cause it isn't!

[Though I may just bitter because there are no B-stones in the 66cm + size range...]

No comments:

Post a Comment