30 January 2008

Surprised by purple steel: The story of a Bridgestone XO-1, Part 2

Posted by todd under: Bridgestone XO-1; My bikes .

[Read part 1 of this story]

Bush and I talked it over, and he agreed to sell me the XO-1 frame AND build it up for me, for some ridiculously low price — I remember it being less than $300.

Bridgestone XO-1 overallBridgestone XO-1 front viewBridgestone XO-1 handlebarsBridgestone XO-1 saddleIt would be built of parts salvaged from two previous commuting bikes — an early-1980s Bianchi Grizzly mountain bike that died of a cracked chainstay, and a Fuji S-10-S that perished in a crash.

Bush brought the XO-1 frame into the shop, and we put my wheels on it to make sure there would be enough clearance for the tires I had.

There was, barely. And sure enough, it was the 59 cm size. It would be a perfect fit.

Here’s the history of the parts:

From the Bianchi Grizzly:

  • Wheels
  • Cassette
  • Crankset, pedals and toe clips

From the S-10-S:

  • Brake levers and brakes
  • Stem
  • Saddle
  • Rear derailer
  • Bar-end shifters
  • Chain
  • Deflector

From Bush:

  • Mustache handlebars
  • Front derailer


Bush had me over to see how the build-up was going.

Three bikes (including mine) were under construction on the hardwood floor of his apartment, with tools and parts around them. He showed me his copy of the 1992 Bridgestone catalog.

It was clear then, as it is clear now, that he was doing a beautiful job. For example, I would find that not only were the shifting and braking tuned just about perfectly, but the cables were neatly trimmed to the right length — not too long — and capped.

He must have gotten tired of me saying thanks.

Nevertheless, I’ll say it again:

Thanks, Bush, for your generosity and attention to detail.


The mustache bars took some getting used to, and I raised the stem and adjusted the angle a little. But that was about all the bike needed from me.

Now, my XO-1 reminds me of past rides on well-used, well-loved bikes.

When I ride it, I think about Bush’s craftsmanship. I enjoy running a piece of cycling history across rutted trails and city streets.

It is a constant source of simple pleasure.

Hey, Bush — did I remember to say thanks?

4 Comments so far...

tank Says:

30 April 2008 at 12:01 am.

This is great man… I used to wrench back in grad school, and seriously coveted one of the senior mech’s XO-1 (purple too) with its goofy moustache bars. I was away from riding for six years, then got back into it, then had a hiatus when I was working in the Virgin Islands (roads way too narrow, and everyone drives like a true nutcase, plus open container is legal). Now in SoCal I’m riding to work 3-4 days a week, and have gotten to thinking about commuting to work/class in my younger days. Loved being able to switch wheelsets from mountain to commuter wheel/tires back in the day on my simple chromo mountain bike, given the ride ahead. Never found moustache bars, but still love my Zoom Brahma bars, lots of flexibility without clunky barends…

Looking to pull my old chromo out of storage and putting some wooden fenders on it for the commute when I can get my hands on it.

Ride well, be well…


Greg Galvan Says:

17 June 2008 at 4:14 pm.

Nice bike! I worked on the 92-94 catalogs with Grant at Bridgestone, and this bike was a favorite. I’d love to find one from the next year, as I think it came in a truly funky orange which he called “pumpkin”. It would also have the headbadge I designed up front on the head tube!

Enjoy your bike, and keep in mind it is a piece of bicycle history. -Greg

David Morgan Says:

8 April 2011 at 5:44 pm.

Thanks for sharing the X0-1 story and pics. I found a 42 cm tusk for girlfriend (only 50 mile charity ride done on it and only altered with 26 or 28t triple low added by original dealer) and, after MANY attempts to find a bike she feels comfortable riding (especially descending fast) she has found her “lifetime bike”. The Bridgestones are just fabulous. I discovered them by pulling a 93 mb-6 out of a junk pile as I noticed “Tange double butted…” sticker and found it to be vastly more comfortable than vastly more expensive bikes that I have had. Since then, I have lucked up and bought a near mint 90 RB-1 which is just a dream to ride; and accepts 28mm tires with Race Blade XL fenders for a super sporty commuting bike-but after learning how rather rare they are, use it only for recreation and putting a more replaceable commuter into service.

McBean Says:

11 January 2012 at 10:40 pm.

Love your bike stand. I want one!

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About the picture atop the page

Yes, that's me, Todd Van Campen. No, I'm not wearing a helmet. Yes, I usually wear one, so please don't scold! Seriously, I endorse wearing a helmet! Pinky swear! In fact, I almost ALWAYS wear one (while riding a bike anyway). (On the other hand, if YOU don't want to wear a helmet, I have no problem with it.) I don't remember what happened on this particular day. Fortunately for all of us it makes for a less-nerdly picture. My exceptionally talented professional photographer friend Charles Bertram took this photo.



Art for art’s sake

I asked my 6-year-old son, Caleb, an avid bicyclist and artist, to draw a bike for me. I think he did a great job!




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