You know, purple is not my color. In fact I’d go so far as to say I don’t like purple at all, in almost any capacity. Yet, here I am with not only a purple bike, but anodized purple rims to boot.
How does this happen you may wonder? Read on.
Last month Fred pointed me out to his friend who’d decided to sell his Bridgestone XO-2. I’d been after a 26in touring bike for quite some time, and jumped at the opportunity. How could I not? Here’s the spec
- 59cm 1993 Bridgestone XO-2
- 26in Velocity Rims x 2.0 Schwalbe Kojak tires
- 2×10 Shimano 105 5700 shifters/derailleurs
- Sugino Octalink Double Crankset (badged Specialized)
- Velocity rims laced to no-name hubs (free from Jimmy – damn you Jimmy)
- Wheels laced under pressure from Fred. (Damn you Fred)
The XO series of bikes are some of the first “hybrid” bikes ever created. Designed by Grant Petersen when he worked for for Bridgestone – the XO-1 and XO-2 series bikes often came from the factory with the controversial moustache handlebars.
Grant’s original concept of a hybrid bike was far different from what hybrid bikes have become today (a hybrid between a crappy mountain bike and a crappy road bike). Grant’s idea was to fit mountain bike wheels on a road bike frame – and so the XO series of bikes were born. Read all about it here: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/bridgestone/.
I like to think that Grants hybrids were more like the precursor to what’s become the cyclocross bike than the modern cruiser hybrids of today.
While the XO-1 has reached cult status and has collectors drooling and artificially inflating the price for them, the XO-2′s are slightly less sought after and tend to be more reasonably priced. Still it’s harder to get your hands on these than I expected.
According to the Bridgestone catalog, the 1993 XO-2 was intended to be a 1992 RB-T but with 26 inch wheels.
ABOUT THE RIMS: My friend Jimmy was giving these Velocity rims away for free. I turned them down initially because lets face facts, it’s pretty ostentatious. But later under pressure (aka taunting and dares) from (mostly) Fred I ended up taking them. The only stipulation Jimmy had about the rims was that they needed to be laced to hubs within the month. Fred got me the hubs and the spokes at nearly free pricing and suddenly I was out of reasons not to build.
Mounted are Schwalbe Kojak tires- and they’re friggin great. Supple, low rolling resistance, light weight, fast… come in either wire bead or folding bead – the biggest problem with them is Schwalbe won’t ship them to the US – you have to buy them from Europe. Jerks. Pictured here are the 2 inch Kojaks – I also have a smaller pair of 1.35 Kojaks that I plan to mount up tonight. These 2.0′s are great but I need fatter fenders if I’m going to stick with em, and the weather is awesome – time to fit a faster tire.
Though a little corny, I like the bar-end lights. Makes for a functional and clean way to cap your drops. I use these on 2 different bikes now. I really like the mudflaps.
Pictured here are the new Shimano 5700 brifters. Much cleaner with the shift and brake cabling tucked in, they also feel pretty great. Action is good and clean, braking is strong.
Last thing. Timing.
Pictured below is a Rawland rSogn. I ordered a frame and fork last fall with the hope it’d be in my hands by Jan/Feb. After production delays (and to be fair, building a new frame for production is a complicated process) kept pushing the deliver dates back I sorta gave up on it and focused on other projects. Last month the XO showed up and I was grateful for it – and then two weeks ago the rSogn shows up on my doorstep out of the blue.
Sited below is a side by side comparison of a built up rSogn vs my XO-2.
The rSogn pictured here is from Passhunter (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7556426@N06/5973908379/in/photostream/).
The rSogn is a beautiful bike but with the XO-2 in my stable I’m having a hard time justifying the build. The bikes are very similar in geometry and function. Seat tube and head tube angles are the same, top tube is the same, tubing is similar. rSogn is designed to be a 650b gravel grinder and front loader, the XO-2 is meant to be a 26in forest-road tourer. rSogn has a sloping top tube, a low trail fork, more brazeons and more tire clearance, but runs the far less common 650b tire size. The XO-2 runs the more prolific / universal 26in wheel size and will take 2.1in tires with fenders (more than adequate for me). With 26in tires the XO-2 has a far far broader selection of tires to pull from, but the 650b tires are usually much nicer, though only found in small segments of the US and Japan – and usually only by special order.
So I don’t know what to do about the Sogn. Right now it just sits on my wall, waiting. The XO-2 is meeting my light rando needs at the moment. What to do, what to do.