Vintage bicycle parts are often hard to come by. While I have decided not to participate in the current trend of dismantling and re-selling vintage bikes and parts on eBay, sometimes buying a bike for parts is the only way you can acquire what you are looking for.
So, almost by accident, I purchased a 1989 Bridgestone MB3 in order to harvest the parts I wanted: Deore friction/SIS thumb shifters, Deore derailleurs, and a very unusual lavender anodized Nitto dirt drop style stem and Nitto bar (see below). I also noted that the bike’s wheelset looked pretty good – Deore hubs, laced with Wheelsmith spokes to a Ritchey Vantage rim.
When the bike arrived, I was a little taken aback by the quality of this frameset: triple butted Ishiwata oversize tubes, and forged drop outs with eyelets. These features, combined with the two bottle cage mounts and rear seat stay rack mounts, make for a versatile frame. The secret is out that lugged steel mountain bike frames make great Portland winter commuters. I think my 1987 Panasonic MC-7500 is feeling a little threatened right now. I had planned on selling or donating the MB3 frame, but now I am not so sure.
The Shimano Deore groupset dates to 1989, except for the shifters which have a 1987 date code. The Nitto bar is not original to the bike, and is in as new condition. The Ritchey wheelset turned out to be a real bonus. With a simple hub overhaul and minor truing, this wheelset is as nice as any 26″ example out there.
The parts I wanted have exceeded my expectations, with the lavender anodized Nitto stem being the absolute gem in the group. It is shown pictured above as an idea for the stem on my new Rivendell Appaloosa. The stem color picks up the brown/purple accent colors in the paint scheme, which is just what I hoped for.