Old Mountain Bike Upgradable??

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by SpyFox, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. SpyFox

    SpyFox New Member

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    I have an old Bridgestone RB-3 I purchased in the early 90's and have not ridden in a while. It had good compontents at the time and I always liked the geometry. Well fast forward, I have not ridden in a long time and have started losing weight through a diet and would like to start riding again. I don't have shocks, but would like to do both on and offroad riding. Can I upgrade to shocks? How about these new disc brakes? Can they be added or am I better off buying a new bike? If so, what's good for $600 or less?

    Thanks in advance, Chris
     
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  2. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Don't forget you'll raise the front end of the bike about 3" with a suspension fork. It may wind up unrideable.

    My '01 Raleigh owners manual said the frame may be overstressed by adding a suspension fork, even though my bike came with one. Must be written for several models.

    You have to determine the size and type of headset you have-threaded or threadless, and diameter. You may only be able to get the most basic fork new, or have to search ebay for an older 1" threaded model. See sheldonbrown.com and go to the glossary where they have pictures of the two common types of headsets.

    A bike without suspension conserves more energy on trails. I do a lot of trail riding on an old 3 speed with no suspension. You may need to go slower on rough downhills though.

    I think a frame and fork need to be designed from the outset with discs in mind. Canti brakes work pretty well, though. I think you won't miss discs unless you do a lot of mudding & will wind up with a lighter bike without discs.

    A few Bridgestones were built with a very unusual technology and might have collector value. The frame was made of stainless steel tubes which were insert molded into aluminum lugs (the lugs were poured molten around the tube ends). I don't know when they stopped doing that.

    Did that thing come with a freehub and index shifting? That would be a good upgrade.
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    If your frame's fork has a 1 1/8" steerer, then you probably can add a suspension fork ... my solid-fork TREK 850 (see attached pic) is from a similar, early-90s vintage & when I added a suspension fork the resultant geometry is pretty much what you would find on a current hardtail. The picture of the bike (sans seatpost/seat) is with the first suspension fork I put on the frame.

    I ended up changing EVERYTHING else on the frame ... I suppose that those components are a bit dated, now. Anyway, the bike now has V-brakes + a dated 8-speed drivetrain instead of cantilever brakes, etc. -- the bike is good enough to keep me from buying a new MTB.

    The only caveat is that you have to limit the fork's travel to 100mm ... that isn't really shouldn't be a problem. The last upgrade I made was putting a Marzocchi Bomber suspension fork on the frame to replace the original suspension fork that I had on the frame.

    You'll need:
    • the fork of your choice -- check MTB Reviews to see what the feedback is on almost all of the various forks that have been made
    • threadless headset
    • headtube spacers
    • stem
    For the cost of a new bike, you can certainly upgrade-and-rebuild your bike with better components than you would get on an off-the-shelf bike. Minimally, you'll spend a couple of hundred dollars ... with the cost of the fork being the greatest chunk of money -- the advantage is that you can choose the components & you can control the final cost.

    If I were looking for a new hardtail, I would probably look at what JAMIS and/or KONA have. There are, of course, other brands. While the forks on these bikes are okay, they are probably just-okay.

    BTW. Some of the older Bridgestones are considered to be collector's items ... so, save any of the parts you may remove during the upgrade.
     
  4. SpyFox

    SpyFox New Member

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    Thanks. Yes a 7 speed freehub with indexed shifting. I like the shifting. Yeath I don't think the brakes are upgradeable, but maybe the fork.
     
  5. SpyFox

    SpyFox New Member

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    Oh and this is a MB-3. Sorry the RB-3 is a road bike!

    Thanks alfeng. This gives me some hope to add a fork. I'll have to go to a shop and talk to a pro and see what I can really do.

    I am shocked to think this bike might be collectible. I have a nice Mercian touring frame with old camp record components that may be collectible, but did not think the Bridgestone mountain bike would be. Though I think I would have to find the right person, I really don't care to keep it as a collectible.
     
  6. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    There are Bridgestone websites which ought to tell you if you have a collector's item.

    Before you go any further with the fork, put a 3" high brick or something on the ground and rest the front wheel on it. Then stand over the bike to see if you have enough crotch clearance for off-roading.

    I don't think you can get a new suspension fork without disc mounts. I don't think the change to front disc would be worth the cost though.

    Changing the fork isn't that tough and requires no special tools. I think most people could do it at home.
     
  7. SpyFox

    SpyFox New Member

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    I am probably going to ride this in the spring, maybe upgrading a few small things, like clipless pedals and look for a new bike in a few months after I make sure I am going to stick with it. I don't think I would be happy with an upgrade fork over a new bike overall with everything I need.
     
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