Whilst browsing through a July 1987 copy of Bicycling Magazine in the reading room, I stumbled across an article about a new bike for the time, the Bridgestone MB-1.
“Fat Tires Meet Drop Bars”
Correct me if I’m wrong, this bicycle appeared before John Tomac was spotted running drop bars during the 1990 NORBA MTB season.
Regardless, there are some little gems in this article.
“many gonzo-come-lately manufacturers are profitably producing ATBs (MTBs) with fat tires and flat handlebars. These bikes are about as well-suited for the rigors of off-road cycling as a Schwinn Varsity would be for the Coors Classic“.
“I’ve had drops on my ATB for a year, I think they’re superior to flat bars for all but technically demanding trials riding, where slow-speed control and frequent lifting of the front wheel is necessary“.
“Unlike a road bike’s bars, which are set low for aerodynamics and often gripped about the hoods, off-road drops are high and close to the rider“.
Can you say, early beginnings of a gravel road bike?
By today’s standards, this wasn’t a light bike, tipping the scales at 27.4lbs complete. At the time, this was cutting edge stuff.
Other interesting observations about the frame, where opinions may differ today:
“the MB-1 flexes noticeably during hard pedaling, although this doesn’t seem to detract from its climbing performance“. Today, every manufacturer seems to be obsessed with mega frame stiffness.
“The springy frame also means you don’t have to reduce tire pressure to improve shock absorption, so snakebite flats and dinged rims are less likely“. Remember, this is before suspension appeared on mountain bikes. Also, no tubeless tyres.
The 1987 Bridgestone MB-1 – I want one.