Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The XO-3

New-Old-Broke Bike Day!

A bike I've been on the look out for for the past year or so has been a copy from the Bridgestone 'XO' series from the early 1990's... These bikes were some of the first instantiations of Grant Peterson's philosophy of an all-rounder bicycle. They had road oriented geometry but 26" mountain bike wheels and rear spacing with clearance for (at the time) fat tires and of course the infamous moustache handlebars...  They were the first sketch of what today is the Rivendell Atlantis.  So a cool bike with a story, built by a quality manufacturer in steel.

This brings us to the copy that I located via ebay in Ocean City, MD... it is a 1993 Bridgestone XO-3, here is the catalog description courtesy of Sheldon Brown's site;

In 1993 the XO-1 was the top of the line, with skinnier tires, a fancier fork crown and about 1 lb lighter overall with the stock components, oh and the moustache bars came with bar ends instead of MTB levers.  The XO-2 appears to be the same frame as the XO-3 but with drop bars and lighter components.  Bringing us to the XO-3 which combined the moustache bars with MTB levers but kept the 'dummy lever' hand rests.  My copy is the Red color and has been pretty well abused/used over its lifetime as you'll see in the pictures.  
The possibilities are endless!!  I'm willing to take my time on this one as I'm still finishing up the Atlantis wheel-build and finetuning the drop bar setup on the Trek...  what to do with the XO-3?!?

-uitility/grocery getter with large baskets or a porteur rack?
-rough and ready offroad?
-singlespeed/fixie testbed (I've never ridden one)?
-Winter/wet weather commuter.. IGH drivetrain...?
-S&S Coupler candidate

Questions on the re-build;

-Restore vs rebuild; rebuild.  The orginal components are mostly shot and there is too much good stuff available now to try to make a period correct XO-3. I'd rather take the opportunity to make it work for me.
-Rust treatment/inhibition; obviously I need to treat the frame in a number of places.  Get the surface rust off then protect the steel.
-Handlebar orientation;  does it look to you like the bars are upside down? 
-Strip and repaint/powdercoat.... I'd hate to loose the decals, but this is a definite possibility 

My end '3 bike' solution then will be;

Atlantis, upright, primary commuter
Trek 650B, drops, sporty day rides
XO-3, .........see above..........

Pictures for anyone who made it through all the musings;

Even the headbadge is not on correctly.... crooked to the right...

Pitted and cosmeticaly awful, the headset does seem to turn ok.

None of the decals are in perfect shape, Velocals has XO-1 decals but no XO-3... anyone have a lead?

No rear shift cable, or shifter for that matter.  Chain is rusted, cassette is as well.

 I think the tires are the original 'Tom Slick' editions but the sidewalls are completely shot though there is tread left.

Even the quick release is pitted with rust.

The saddle is in remarkably good shape.

The stem and bars are also in good shape, retaining a pearl-like luster.

Cool Ritchey grips

I'm hoping to salvage the SS-4 Diacompe levers.  Pretty simple levers so a clean/lube should do the trick.

One of the dummy lever hoods is torn but otherwise the cockpit is in decent shape.  Of course minus a right hand shifter.

The shifter it does have is ineffective, not sure if its the front derailleur, cable or shifter yet, but we'll see.  Notice the rise in the bars here, I think the bars were inverted based on the way the catalog looks.

Non drive side front took a real beating at some point.  Talk about 'beausage'!


  1. We have a one owner, purchased new with the original manual and sales receipt. Interested? And it has been stored inside since 1999.

    1. I'm interested if you're willing to ship :)

  2. Allison, where are you located?