Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Newly Acquired Mountain Bike: 1994 Bridgestone MB-S

As some may be aware, I have toyed with the idea of taking up mountain biking to experience a different side of cycling here in Colorado. While I know I'll never be one of the hard core, rock-jumping, racing down the steepest slope kind of rider, I am intrigued by the challenge of sweating my way to the top of a mountain side, and then maneuvering my way back down again. Just like there's a part of me that longs to try roller derby: to be the tough girl, skating through the others, and scoring the winning points for my team (Have I seen too many "chick flicks?"). Much like roller derby though, I do have some fears about trying out mountain biking.
1994 Bridgestone cover
**Image from sheldonbrown.com
Prior to leaving for our vacation a couple of weeks ago, Sam spotted a 1994 Bridgestone MBS on E-bay, that just happened to be for sale by a local owner, and decided that since I love a good lugged frame, and have expressed at least some interest in mountain biking, how could he go wrong purchasing this fairly inexpensive ride for me to try out a new experience? One of the fascinating things about this specific model is trying to obtain information about its origins. From what we can determine, there were very few lugged frames that also had a front fork with suspension during this model year. The bicycle was actually released in 1993 (as is the case with many model years that are distributed prior to the calendar year), and the mountain bike models seemed to be numbered MB-1 through MB-6 (with lower numbers indicating higher quality -read: more expensive- components). We believe that the bicycle was a Japanese model, rather than a Taiwanese model because only the Japanese models were lugged.  However, the catalogs state that the suspension models were made in Taiwan, while the non-suspension bikes were made in Japan.  The MB-3 is indicated as having suspension in 1994 in catalogs, but when reading the catalog entry we see that the frame came in a dark red color only (for the suspension model), not the grayish-blue-lavender color that the bikes' paint shows. However, the MB-2 does seem to come in a similar color to the bike.. so, it's truly been a head scratcher.
The bike says it's an "MB-S" model, but that doesn't appear to exist.
While I do realize that the history of the bicycle makes no difference as far as whether or not it rides well, it's an interesting history to discover and attempt to figure out. If anyone has any information, I would, of course, be fascinated to hear/read more about this.
Obvious wear from the prior owner(s).
Since returning from California, we haven't had the opportunity to go out for any actual mountain time, so I'll refrain from commenting on the ride until that point in time. However, what I will say is that I find the bike to be quite interesting. I had mountain bikes as a pre-teen and teenager because it was the "in" thing to have. Everyone had a mountain bike, but rarely used it for actual mountain biking. I fell into that category, as the only rides I made on these bicycles were to the grocery store, the bowling alley, or to meet up with near-by friends. Hey, I grew up in a small town, and there wasn't much else to do. Anyway, the bicycle itself has a lugged frame, an interesting paint color, and while the paint is scratched and scuffed from time and use, I think it provides some character to this bike. We believe the parts are all original, and the fact that it even has a shock for this era and being a Bridgestone bike fascinates me as well.
A shadowy picture of the Bridgestone.
I'm interested to see how I feel about riding in the mountains. I know that in much of the U.S. people do trail rides with their mountain bikes because they don't necessarily live near mountains, but because they are so readily accessible to us, and I know how rocky our mountains are, I'm a tad bit on the petrified side of the spectrum. It has been promised that we will start out easy on dirt trails, followed by an old fire road, before we move on to more treacherous terrain (I'm likely exaggerating with the word treacherous, but at this point, that is how I feel), so hopefully it will be a nice break in and I won't freak out and give up on it before I even start.
The Brigestone in the shadows of morning.
So, while I wait with some trepidation, the new Bridgestone sits patiently for our inaugural ride. Fortunately, I can take it for a ride anywhere here on the streets to get a feel for it before setting out for anything more intimidating to me.

6 comments:

  1. Did you ever get any more info on the MB-S?? I am having trouble finding anything concrete on them.

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, no. It seems like one of those tricky items to find out much of anything.

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  2. I have one, great vintage Mountain Bike. Value $400 to $600. Good make.

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  3. Your Bridgestone MBS is a 1993 and a half (1/2) produced in Japan. Your tires actually look original (correct rear and front tread design). However, your front fork and, from what I can tell from the photos, your shifters are not original. It would have come with a Specialized oil filed shock. She's designed more for downhill (at the time) than real rock hopping .. although the geometry is well suited for single track ... she's take a real beating .. you'll be amazed at the relative stability.

    How much did you get her for?

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    1. That is really good to know. It's always interesting to know what is original and what items were added down the line (which is hard to know when I'm not the original owner). I ended up having to let it go because it was too large for me, and much as I tried to get used to it, things just weren't going well. As I recall, we paid somewhere around $150 for it. I was really unhappy to let it go, but it was more painful to watch it sitting around and wanted to see it get used.

      Thanks for taking the time to share this info. I knew there wasn't much to be found about it, so it's always good to have any info someone is willing to offer.

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  4. Oh, the saddle (seat) is also not original ... :-)

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