1989 Bridgestone MB-1
Here it is. The most famous “modern” bicycle in our museum collection. The Bridgestone MB-1 from 1989.
It’s not much to look at, is it? Kind of a dull paint job, fairly unassuming parts, no connection to Lance Armstrong whatsoever. Yet this bike has generated more talk in our shop while it’s been on display than just about anything else.
There have been more stories about this bike than we can count. Just like the “It” bike from 1970, the Schwinn Stingray, It seems that everybody who was riding bikes in 1989 had an MB-1. Or they wanted an MB-1, or they borrowed their roommate’s MB-1 and crashed it/won a race on it/had the most epic experience on it. A few times the storyteller has simply bemoaned the fact that they bought a Cannondale SM2000 instead of a MB-1.
So, what makes this bike so special? We’re not sure, but we have a theory: Owning and riding a 1989 Bridgestone MB-1 marked you as a no nonsense insider, a superior athlete and a savvy shopper all at once. If you rolled up to the start line at a mountain bike race in the early ‘90’s you would have noticed an awful lot of bike shop employees and budget bike racers on these bikes. Those budget bike racers were pretty successful on their Bridgestones, thanks to a light and reliable build. The bike avoided a lot of the early mountain bike fads, so those racers didn’t have to spend time or money replacing their Biopace chainrings with round ones. They didn’t have to swap tires, shifters, stems, or handlebars on their “almost” perfect bike with the stuff they actually wanted. The Bridgestone already had the goods.
As the ‘90’s rolled on, the MB-1 was invariable reassigned the task of being the grocery hauler or commuting rig. Everyday city use meant that these bikes got stolen or died a rusty death, so the Bridgestone storyteller often ends their anecdote being slightly wistful, wondering what could have been if they had kept a closer eye on their beloved MB-1.