Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Bridgestone Hits the Road (and Trail)

Well, I seem to be in the midst of some sort of surge of activity on getting some of my "project" bikes up and rolling. And it seems to be my Bridgestones that are the beneficiaries of this burst of productivity. The latest to get running is my 1987 MB-1, one of their mountain bikes. There's a little bit of history about these late-80s MB-series bikes... according to some, they were the first production bikes to introduce shorter chainstays and steeper seat and head tube angles to mountain bike design. Whether or not this is true, they were certainly among the first, and everyone else quickly followed suit. The advantages to the "new" geometry are better traction on the back wheel, and more nimble handling around obstacles. It certainly makes the bike more agile than my old '85 Schwinn Cimarron, which had really long chainstays and a really stretched out wheelbase. It was comfy as all get out, but just didn't climb or maneuver that well.

The MB-1, on the other hand, seems pretty quick and responsive. Now, I'm not a "serious mountainbiker" (actually, I try really hard to not be a "serious" cyclist of any sort... I like to smile and laugh too much), so I'm no expert. Really hardcore MTBers would probably think this bike is a dinosaur, or at least a thing of the past. Why? Well, there's no suspension, aside from the cushioning provided by the tires. These days, purely rigid mountainbikes are an oddity at best. But I'm simply interested in having some casual fun off road, nothing too hairy. I used to have a mtb in Flagstaff that was a lot of fun to ride on the trails out there, just exploring and enjoying the scenery. I expect this one will be much the same. If I ever do find myself craving greater "performance", there are plenty of options, but I suspect this is all the mountainbike I need for the forseeable future.

Riding it last night and today reminded me of how much fun my first MTB was, out in Flag. The first rides I took on that bike brought back memories of when I was a kid, tearing around dirt trails on my old single speed British bike. There's just something refreshing about a roll through the trees and leaves on a comfy, nimble bike.

It's sort of a mutt, equipment-wise... a few of the parts are original, like the wheels and the derailleurs and I think the stem. But the rest... brakes, crankset, etc, are not. Most notable are the handlebars... originally, this year's MB-1 had drop handlebars, similar to a road bike (and just like my XO-2). That apparently didn't catch on with the masses, because it's the only year Bridgestone set it up that way. I've never tried drops on an mtb, but I'm not in any hurry to swap things out here. The straight bars seem just fine, for now.

Anyway, it's nice to have a mountain bike in the stable again... variety is, as they say, the spice of life!

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