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1992 Bridgestone RB-T

The RB-T was designed by Grant Petersen to be  a “sport-touring” bicycle, a fore-runner of today’s hybrid bikes.  It’s intended to fill a number of roles, from putting in long rides on the road to tearing up off road trails, to weekend touring loaded with gear.  It does all of these things quite well, and has a classic style that harks back to the French randonneur / audax bicycles of the 1950’s and 60’s.

This particular example was found on eBay in dusty but barely used condition.  It’s a 1992 model, shown in the Bridgestone catalog here.  I cleaned it up and added a lot of new parts.  Like most of the Grant Petersen-era Bridgestones, the stock parts group on the RB-T is a well-thought out mix of reliable but affordable components.  It’s hard to “upgrade” a Bridgestone, but I replaced the brakes, handlebars, and saddle with my own selections, chosen for comfort and style.  Also, it needed racks and a new fork with the appropriate eyelets to mount them on in order to be truly tour-worthy.  The result was a classy, easy-riding machine that gets a lot of compliments.  Read on for details on the restoration and build.

I added a new chrome fork with mid-blade eyelets for mounting lowrider pannier racks, Nitto M-12 front rack and R-15 rear, and SKS longboard fenders.  I switched up the cockpit to modern Tektro aero brake levers, replacing the stock Dia-Compe Blaze brake levers which seemed a bit flimsy to me.  I replaced the stock cantilevers with Dia-Compe 981 brakes, which have a more classic look.   The bar tape is Newbaum’s black velo cloth, and has a layer of cork tape under it for comfort.  I finished it off with shellacked hemp twine on the bars and drive-side chain stay.  The seatpost is my favorite, a Sugino SP-KC with measurements engraved in the flutes.  Topping it off is a vintage Assos saddle – a pretty in-demand vintage item that’s well worth it in terms of rear-end comfort!  The stock Avocet tires (almost 20 years old now) were replaced with Panaracer Pacela Tourguards, in a nice wide 700x32c size.

Unfortunately, I have acquired a few too many bikes, and the RB-T wasn’t getting ridden enough.  I also have a Surly Long-Haul Trucker that got more use due to its ability to haul ridiculously heavy loads, plus has dynamo lighting.  However, the RB-T showed me that I’d prefer to tour in the future on 700c wheels as opposed to the 26″ wheels on the Surly.  So I got my hands on a couplered Surly Cross Check and am building it as a replacement for both the RB-T and Long Haul Trucker.  More on both of those bikes in the future.

I just sold the RB-T two weeks ago, and I hope the new owner is riding it every day.  I definitely recommend this bike to anyone looking for an all-round road, touring, and commuting bike.  It’ll do whatever you need it to, plus it dresses up quite nicely if you want to go fancy with it.  Check out the gallery of pictures, below:

12 Responses to “Bridgestone RB-T randonneur touring bike”

  1. Kevin says:

    I’m the lucky owner of the above mentioned RB-T. It is getting ridden every day and getting lots of love. I only changed out the saddle to a Brooks B17 Special (green) as it was just my preference over the awesome looking Assos. I’ll send some pics to you sometime.

  2. tim says:

    Beautiful bike, I’m looking at one myself. Nicely done.

  3. naptrax says:

    thanks Tim! i highly recommend the RB-T, I hope you find one that works for you.

  4. John says:

    Hi:

    I bought my Bridgestone RB-T 56cm in Burlington, Vermont, in 1994. It was in original and excellent shape. It was stolen out of my securely locked shed last night. I’m essentially in shock – I loved that bike.

    Can you tell me what its value would likely be for insurance purposes? I’d like to buy a new bike that is as close to the RB-T as possible, so if you have a recommendation I would really appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks much.

  5. naptrax says:

    Hi John, an RB-T in very good condition would be worth between $500-800 depending on the local market.

    For insurance purposes, you should look up the original price of the bike and claim that. The RB-T has held its value well over the years and is now sought out by fans of Bridgestone and Rivendell bikes, but it hasn’t appreciated in value or become a collector’s item.

  6. L. Taylor says:

    I have a '91 RB-T with less than 1K miles.  I love that bike!  But, with it's short top-tube (for a very short person), I discovered toe clearance to be a serious issue.  Finally found Terry bikes and like my choice, though even after all the years I've had mine, it still feels so light in front.  As I was about to sell my RB-T (and it's orig. price would have been easy to get), I took one last spin after it'd been hanging for 3 yrs.  Oh, boy…I still love that bike!  Keeping it!  Even with that one little glitch!  

    For fun, I might add that about 4-5 yrs ago, a fellow offered me $1200, and about a week later, another fellow offered $2K…he really wanted it.  Holy cow!  Just a thought…but the market has to be there.  I see a resurgence in interest around here (midwest) because of the 'retro' thing but don't think I'd get that kind of interest again.

  7. Holger says:

    Hello naptrax,
    I’ve bought a RB -T in Germany, but the fork Must be replaced. Where did you find your awesome chromed replacement. Thanx for help (from anywhere!!)
    All the best, Holger

  8. naptrax says:

    Hi Holger – it was a lucky find on eBay, an unused vintage part. However, I suggest you check Soma Fabrications’ website (www.somafab.com) as they sell chrome touring forks in classic styles.

  9. I know this site gives quality based articles
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  10. Mary says:

    I have a RB-T that I purchased new in 1994. It is all stock, but I am looking to make some changes. Anyone change out the bars to moustache style?

  11. Steven says:

    Hi, what diameter is the seatpost?

  12. naptrax says:

    Hi Steven, the seatpost size was 27.0

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