Plus it's my blog right? I could write about Bridgestone every damn day if I want. What are you gonna do about it?
That's right - nothing.
It didn't matter - riding this bike was a blast!
Pics of old, lower-level bikes like this are rare. And even more rare to find them in stock condition like this. Minus the tires - mine had Ritchey Quads on it. Anyway, this picture came form Flickr user jeff r shaw. I don't know who he is, but looking his album, I think we'd get along, and I hope he doesn't mind me using his picture here.
What was really cool about it, was that there was not one Shimano part on it. Mavic cranks, BB, and hubs, SunTour derailleurs and shifters, Dia-Compe brakes. An impressive feat in a time when Shimano really owned the mountain bike market.
Of course all the cool kids now will say the Japanese-made, lugged MB-1 was the better bike. Which, ok, sure? It was certainly the more durable bike. The MB-Zip was not made to last.
It offered a punishing ride on the rooty Edmonton singletrack I tried - once! - to ride it on. I got rid of it because I'm quite sure I just weighed too much to be riding this lightweight machine.
Sure was pretty to look at though.
And just look at this catalog! It's incredible sure, but just so out of touch with mountain biking in general in 1993.
Suspension came in 1994, on a couple of their bikes as an option, but it was really too late at this point. They never made an aluminium mountain bike, never made a full suspension bike. Retrogrouch product manager Grant Peterson went on to start Rivendell bikes, and he took the cult with him, making bikes best described as "Adventure" bikes. Road, gravel, racks, panniers, fenders, all stylish as hell? Yes.
I wonder if Peterson even liked mountain bikes in fact. Look at Rivendell; they have never made mountain bikes. He put together amazing bicycles, but really out of touch mountain bikes. I wonder if he ever even rode on a rooty, rocky singletrack?
This is fine though. The mountain bike crowd didn't buy his not very good mountain bikes, Bridgestone stopped selling bikes in North America, and Peterson went on to good success at Rivendell. No harm, no foul.
They were really ahead of their time in being so old fashioned. Feels like there's tons of guys building bikes like this out of whatever they can re-purpose. I said steel's days were numbered earlier? They really weren't. Steel bottomed out in the 2000's, but has made a healthy comeback thanks to all the custom builders and NAHBS junkies, and companies like Chromag, All City and Surly, who never gave up on steel.
As I was looking for pics of the XO-1, the most Bridgestone-est of Bridgestones, I found this XO1, the most XO-1-est of XO-1s. It belongs to former Bridgestone Factory Pilot Gene Oberpriller. Each year's catalog always had pics of Gene looking really kick-ass on the MB-Zips and MB-1s. He always seemed like a super cool guy.
This picture came from my new favourite website, BikeJerks, where it was written up after coming down from the rafters of Minneapolis landmark One on One Bicycle Studio. This after the shop started by Gene was forced to move out of downtown. Judging from the posts I've found on BikeJerks, Gene is indeed a super cool guy.
This most XO-1-ests of XO-1s was raced to victory by Gene in the 1993 Chequamegon MTB race. In 1993 this race was capped at 2500 riders (holy crap!) and was won in '90 and '91 by some French punk named Lemond. The '93 had cantilevers instead of side-pull road bikes, and I see some cool Continental tires, and a non-hyperglide cassette. Or whatever the SunTour equivalent was. PowerFlo maybe?
Really glad I found BikeJerks and was able to read about One on One before their move. Like maybe cool bike shops, their location is a bike part of what makes them cool. One on One goes on to my top five list of Bike Shops I Was Meant to Work At for sure.