Another "project bike" hits the road finally!
I picked up this frameset longer ago than I care to admit, and it's been hanging in the attic for too long. It came my way when I casually mentioned on the Bridgestone Owner's Bunch internet list that I would someday like to own an RB-T, if I could find one in my size. Next thing I know, I have a guy emailing me and telling me he's got one he'd like to sell. That's actually the same way I got my Bridgestone XO-2. The BOB list is an amazing bunch of bike nuts.
The RB-T was a early 90s bike, Bridgestone's version of a light touring bike. Not a full on "load up all your camping gear and strike out across the US" bike like my Miyata 1000. Sure, you could use it that way, but it's not as "hardcore loaded touring" as that. Bridgestone described it in their 1994 catalog, which you can find here:
Since I got it as just a frameset, none of the parts are as described in the catalog. Rather, I put together a combination of parts I had on hand to create a bike I could use for commuting and casual fun rides on pavement as well as mild off road riding. Nothing too hard core... canal towpaths, dirt roads, that sort of thing.
To start with, I wanted to put moustache bars on the bike. I've had them on a couple of other bikes over the years, and in general have really liked them for the kind of riding I mentioned above. Also, based on past experience with an old Fuji road bike, I wanted to add "stoker" levers in addition to the real brake levers. You can see them in the pictures... they give you a nice comfy hand position near the stem, which is otherwise lacking on moustache bars,as well as giving you a large flat expanse to rest your palms across the stoker levers, bars, and brake levers. The rest of the parts are an eclectic mix of mostly 90s parts... Deore DX crankset, XT rear derailleur, RX100 front. The hubs are more modern Deores from the early 2000s, with Sun CR-18 rims, one of my favorites. Strong, reasonably light, and easy on the eyes. The saddle is my all time favorite, the Brooks B-17, with a Carradice Nelson saddlebag to carry my stuff. I also opted to put one of my Shimano dynohub-based wheels and a Busch & Mueller DLumotec Oval LED headlight, since I plan on using this bike for a lot of my commuting. Finally, like most of my bikes, this one is set up with fenders... SKS P45 Chromoplastics to be precise. I'm a big fan of fenders, as they vastly increase the usability of a bicycle. It's all about versatility.
Yes, some of you are no doubt saying "geez, can you say 'Grant Peterson acolyte'?" It's true, I've been a fan of Grant's views on bikes for a long while, and some of my choices were no doubt influenced by him. The moustache bars and saddlebag, definitely. But I've always been a fan of Brooks saddles, and have also always preferred classic, lugged steel bikes over aluminum, carbon, etc. And I've long leaned toward the practical niceties in bikes... such as fenders and having some way of carrying things, even if it's just a simple rear rack.
Anyway, I've only done a few short rides, mostly test rides and errands, but so far I really like the bike. It feels light and zippy, but I suspect it will handle moderate loads well too. And the frame has enough clearance for fairly big tires... I can get 32mm tires under fenders on there, which is plenty big for the riding I want to do on it. All in all, a great bike!