The Kid’s RB-2 Refurb

Bridgestone RB-2
Bridgestone RB-2
Bridgestone RB-2
Bridgestone RB-2
Bridgestone RB-2

My daughter and I finished up her 1993 Bridgestone RB-2 refurb project this weekend. There are still a few small tweaks to make, but she took it out for a long training ride yesterday and the report is two thumbs up. She’ll be using the bike for on-road training with her mountain bike racing team as well as for general getting around town when she doesn’t have a big load to carry.

The bike was in such good shape that the project was pretty straightforward. We stripped it to the frame, cleaned everything up, repacked the bearings with fresh grease, trued the wheels, obtained the parts that needed to be replaced, and put it all back together. We used the original parts where we could. Here’s a list of the new replacement parts we used in the project:

  • SRAM Chain
  • Shimano Dura-Ace Downtube Shifters
  • Planet Bike Cages
  • Michelin Pro 3 Tires
  • Schwalbe Tubes
  • Jagwire Cables and Housing
  • Soma Saddle
  • Soma Saddle Bag
  • Fizik Bar Tape

The weak link with the bike as it sits is the single-pivot caliper brakes. I need to replace the pads, so we’ll try that first, but a set of modern dual-pivot calipers may be in order. Otherwise she’s doing fine with the stock 2×6 drivetrain and downtube shifters.

We had a blast with the project and it makes me think I should keep an eye out for a utility/commuter refurb as a fun summer project.

39 Responses to “The Kid’s RB-2 Refurb”

  • sygyzy says:

    Wow that is a really a beautiful bike! Congrats on the clean build.

  • voyage says:

    Nice, both in terms of the process and the result.

    Are the rims original?

  • Bob Bryant says:

    Refurb? That looks like a show bike.

  • bongobike says:

    Beautiful. Makes you nostalgic about the days when you could still buy a nice production bike off the rack built with a lugged frame and a proper fork with a crown.

  • Karen says:

    Beautiful! I have an old Centurion which has a similar brake set-up you hace there. I look forward to seeing what you replace it with.

  • Mel Hughes says:

    What a beauty! It looks like it is flying standing still!

    I can appreciate the pleasure to be had in doing a refurb. I just gave my 1989 (88?) Bianchi Tangent to a close friend of my son’s. Neither was born when I bought the bike new. But with a good lugged frame, double-butted tubing, lots of braze-on attachment points for fenders and racks, it was perfect for a young man who wants to start cyclo-touring. I had a blast stripping it down and building it back up again. It was such a pleasure to see the incredulous grin on the young man’s face…

  • Evan says:

    Beautiful! And hooray for downtube shifters!

  • Nico Forte says:

    Very, very nice. I love the white tape and cable housing. I wonder where the ‘kid’ gets her design sense from?

  • Matt says:

    There’s a certain kind of elegance that traditional drop bar aero brake levers lend to the overall look, brifters just look bulbous and ugly to me in comparison although I love their functionality. I wish there were a way to combine looks of the former with the function of the latter.

  • John Ferguson says:

    Nice job, Alan! It’s a gorgeous bike – she’ll be the secret envy of all her teammates, except on long climbs judging by the gearing. She can even pop a full size frame pump in the front triangle, which can’t be said by anyone riding a modern carbon bike.

    Looks like you went period correct (even down to the biopace inner ring) except for the crank bros. pedals. Can’t fault you for that, but let me know if you’d like some old Time Equipe pedals in a matching red to complete the look ;)

    I’d suggest getting some Kool Stop dura holders and salmon pads. Those brakes will work better than you think, especially in dry conditions. If she rides much in the rain then dual pivots are probably in order. Give the rims a chance to break in – I don’t see any brake wear in the front rim, so braking will get noticeably better as the pads mate to the rim.

  • John Ferguson says:

    Oh, and @Matt, they’re called bar end shifters ;)

  • Ron MH says:

    That is one of the finest looking bikes I have ever seen! Wonderful!

  • Doug Robertson says:


  • Zach says:

    Beautiful bike and great job on the refurb! I bet those single pivots will work well with new pads. I’ve used the same series of calipers on my old 61cm lugged roadie and I used to ride in some pretty hilly routes. Once you get them setup and keep them maintained, they work wonderfully.

  • David Bolles says:

    why a sram chain? what size did you buy?
    say i have an average chain…will a higher end chain help out overall?

  • Alan says:


    Thanks! Yes, the wheels/rims are original. Low miles…

  • Alan says:


    “Makes you nostalgic about the days when you could still buy a nice production bike off the rack built with a lugged frame and a proper fork with a crown.”

    Doesn’t it though?

  • Alan says:


    “Very, very nice. I love the white tape and cable housing. I wonder where the ‘kid’ gets her design sense from?”

    We couldn’t have done it without you! (Nico is our friend who sold my daughter the bike.)

  • Alan says:


    Many thanks. We’ll give the Kool Stop pads a go.

    We’ll see how she does with the gearing. I have a Campy Centaur compact crankset we could put on there. It’s not period correct, but it’s pretty and would help keep her knees healthy.

  • Alan says:


    The old chain needed replacing. I like SRAM chains simply because they’re easy to take on and off with their Powerlink master link.

  • Boni says:

    Beautiful build. Most stunning RB-X pic I have seen so far. Nicely redone. Congratulations. You are a great dad.

  • Ted says:

    Very nice! First rate and dependable.

    Gives me the incentive to finish my son’s Raleigh Technium refurb. I thought for certain you’d go with bar end shifters! Glad to see some riders still aren’t frightened to shift from the downtube.

  • Joe Bernard says:

    Absolutely gorgeous. Not a ’93, though. 6-speed freewheel and “Synergy” were late ’80s.

  • Joe Bernard says:

    Tis this one.

  • Alan says:


    Awesome. Thanks for the info…

  • voyage says:


    “…would help keep her knees healthy.”

    It’s not cycling, but weightlifting (lunges and squats) that strengthen the vasti (vastus medialis) can prevent and correct many knee problems. The objective is to stabilize the knee.

  • David Bolles says:

    @ Alan

    a masterlink as in you don’t need the chain tool?

  • Alan says:


    Thanks for the info.

    My reference to knee health was in regards to cadence. Her current gearing is pretty high which means her cadence will be low when climbing; this places more strain on the knee. With a compact crank we could place a smaller chainring up front which would allow her to gear down and spin at a higher candence, reducing knee strain.


  • Ryan says:

    Wow that RB-2 is GORGEOUS! you guys did a great job. I recently bought a ’79ish Miyata 912 at a garage sale that I just got back on the road. I heartily recommend swapping out the small ring- I went with an Origin 8 34t in silver that looks almost stock on the bike, Sugino makes them too. My knees thank me on every climb ;-).

    If you want to continue the white “bling” Origin 8 makes white dual pivots-FYI

    Glad to see there are more DT shifting Brothers and Sisters out there !(I am loving my Shimano Arabesque DT shifters) I did a charity ride on the 1st and saw 6 or 7 DT shifter equipped bikes including a RB-1 that was not nearly as sparkly as your RB-2.

    Hope the Kid gets miles of smiles out of her new ride. Makes me think I need to find a nice vintage ride and set it aside for my now 8n year-old daughter to refurb and ride in a few years.

  • Alan says:

    Thanks, Ryan! Have fun…


  • Jim says:

    This is cool. I saw the amount of drop and thought the person must be able to ride. The torch is passed, I suppose.

    As you know dual pivots are so much better, particularly with Salmons.

    One 16 year old high school mtb racer I encountered explicitly told me she was a MOUNTAIN biker and fielding my question of whether she rode road was spat at.

    Ah, kids these days ; )

  • John Ferguson says:

    All mountain bikers should have a road bike. It’s just so much easier to train and it doesn’t beat up your body nearly as much.

    I just don’t get the bike subculture wars. The % of people who bike regularly is so frigging low, we don’t need to slice it any finer.

  • Alan says:


    “I just don’t get the bike subculture wars. The % of people who bike regularly is so frigging low, we don’t need to slice it any finer.”

    Hear, hear! Just coincidentally, see my op-ed from today that was written last night… :-)

  • Jim says:

    Where I live and ride there are so many riders of different stripes that this girl’s comment surprised me. I’d since discovered there were extenuating circumstances, so it’s all good.

  • ZacK (Bike mechanic) says:

    If your running friction shifting with a freehub rear wheel an 8-speed cassete should work prefect. Especially, if she is really looking for those extra gears. Just make sure your low gear on the cassette is no larger than 30(depends on derailleur cage length). I am running this set up currently on my 82′ Mino Denti with era Campy Athena, mechanically solid, and doesn’t make any extra noise since all 6,7, and 8 speeds use the same width chains.

  • Alan says:


    Isn’t there an issue with horizontal spacing if trying to run an 8-speed on this bike? The dropouts are 126mm. I didn’t measure the freewheel, but it should be around 30-31mm compared to the typical 8-speed at around 36mm.


  • voyage says:

    The spacing is almost certainly 126mm. The drops would have to be cold set to fit in 8 speed; doable with a steel frame, unthinkable with alum or bonded alum/steel. Cold setting is probably a lost art in 2011. I don’t think the risks to the frame and rider are worth the small benefits of 8 spd, especially given that one goal was to keep the bike close to period and that it will perhaps be outgrown yet always be retained and used for something, memories.

    Even Sheldon Brown is a little hedgy about this cold setting:

    I tried to channel him last night, but he didn’t answer. I’m pretty sure he would have counseled to leave the fine bike restoration the way it is.

  • John Ferguson says:

    I’ve cold-set an older steel frame from 126 to 130. It’s not that hard and the link to Sheldon’s article demonstrates a better method than I used. Most important after making sure the rear triangle alignment hasn’t degraded is to make sure the dropouts are as close to perfectly parallel as possible. You’ll need a pair of dropout alignment tools like these:

    The benefits of doing this will be a much wider range of freewheels that you can use to make the gearing what you want. When I cold set my Tommasini from 126 to 130, it took a lot of force to get it to stay at 130. I have since restored it to 126 as a single speed, and the return trip was quick and easy. The steel keeps the memory, even after years of service at 130.

  • voyage says:

    @John Ferguson:

    I never meant to suggest that it (spacing) can’t be done: I only meant to point out that one can’t simply slap an 8 spd on a 126 as Zack would have it.

    And spacing has its risks, even with steel.

    My bias is to leave the restoration the way it is. If it works for the kids for now, why mess with it?

    Is there a shortage of 9 and 10 spd hub bikes?

© 2011 EcoVelo™