Author Topic: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone  (Read 323 times)

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Offline Bridgestoneboy

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My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« on: June 04, 2018, 10:44:01 PM »
I felt this post needed to be uploaded since I wanted to thank everyone who has helped me throughout the restoration of my Bridgestone, as well as tell of how I got into Bridgestone...

My first two-wheeled vehicle I ever restored was a 1969 Honda z50 my grandpa gave me. I started this restoration when I was about 12 and at that time all of the money I could gather from grass whipping neighbors lawns and taking care of others dogs went into this bike. There was a point during this process when I found that I was in need of some fairly rare parts for the bike, and this was when I was directed to a private collector in the Marlette Michigan area where I could find parts. As I searched the rows and rows of motorcycles my eye caught the badge of a motorcycle that I was not familiar with. At first I though the badge said BSA, and I was extremely excited that I may have found one of the British made bikes. Yet, as I got closer I found that there was only a BS on the side. Upon further inspection I found that this was a Bridgestone motorcycle, a name I had only ever heard associated with tires. I immediately became intrigued and was lucky enough to buy the bike off of the collector. After taking the bike home I began researching not only the bike (which ended up being a 1967 Bridgestone DT 175), but the brand itself. At the same time, I had already had the bike in bins and piles, slowly realizing that the bike was beyond a 13 year old's ability to fix up, since the cylinders were scored, there were many parts missing, and the headlight bucket and seat were hardly there do to weathering and rust. I then reassembled the bike from the transmission back up and sold the bike as is to an individual who was sure he had what it took to fix it (about two years later I found the same bike for sale again on Facebook  :o). Yet, because of the performance, design, and overall history of the bike, I simply could not let the Bridgestone name slip from my mind.

For the next several years, I looked all over for another Bridgestone. Since I didn't even have a license to drive and pick up a bike, my searches were rather limited to a local area. As if it were meant to be, one day I stumbled across a mis-titled add that had two motorcycles for sale; one was a 1972 Harley Davidson MX250, and the other was a Bridgestone GTR 350. I was very excited, but I still had a limited budget and not enough time. So, I saved the phone number and waited several months until I eventually saw the ad was removed. It was only out of curiosity that I called the number to see if by chance the ad was removed because no one saw it, or the bikes had sold. The individual still had the bikes and was willing to sell. With a job at a local ice cream parlor, I convinced my parents to take me to buy the bikes. It was on Thanksgiving Day as we traveled to see family that we stopped and I bought the pair for $125. Years later that I found out the the Bridgestone may have been purchased at a dealership in Marlette, and then eventually made it to the back corner of a barn, where it sat with 5,821 miles. The man I bought the bike from said he found it sitting on the side of the road, the women living at the house saying they had no use for it and wanted it gone.

I can now say that I truly didn't know what I was getting into, but by no means do I regret it. I was discourage by both family and friends from pursuing the bike as a project, and that it should just be sold and I should buy a bike that was running. In fact, when I bought the GTR it was completely seized, the crank bearings on the right side rusted solid from years of water seeping in through  the carburetor. Yet, I had read so much on Bridgestone and was so passionate about the bike, I knew that if I didn't try to save it, it may just be parted out and never see the pavement again. Still, I tore the bike down to the transmission twice, both times talking myself out of restoring the bike. It was only the third time that I tore the bike down to the transmission did it stay that way, as I slowly began the restoration process.

At 15 years old, I had already done some engine rebuilds on a yz80 and snowmobiles, but never had I done a twin cylinder, let alone such a rare motorcycle. Two make many stories of hardship and success short, I have spent the last two and a half years restoring the bike. Almost every single paycheck from the ice cream parlor, to a summer landscaping job, and eventually to a job as an ORV mechanic all went into the Bridgestone. If I couldn't hang out with friends on the weekend, they could guess that I was working on "the Bridgestone" again. I constantly ran into unexpected issues, such as kick starts not springing back, scratches in the cylinder, transmissions not shifting gears, timing not set right, valves 180* the wrong way, cracked cases, etc. Yet (although it may sound slightly Hallmark) through all of the hardships I stayed determined and kept my goals in sight.

I just graduated from high school yesterday, and I am extremely happy with all that I have gained from the Bridgestone. I was able to ride the motorcycle to school on the last day, and I donned the Bridgestone crest on top of my cap as I received my diploma. After tearing the motor all the way down to the transmission over 9 times, the bike is now titled and insured and I just got my motorcycle endorsement a week ago. Restoring a motorcycle is definitely a character building project, and I have gained so many life skills from doing the project. So, once again I would like to thank everyone who has helped me with my questions and has welcomed me into the Bridgestone community. I plan on keeping this bike as long as possible, and putting as many miles on it as I can. With luck, I will be able to find more Bridgestones and save them from either the salvage yard or Ebay.

Offline Jeff Bar

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2018, 10:16:08 AM »
Nice story, sort of reminds me of my youth.
Thanks for posting it for all of us to read and think. banana

Jeff Bar

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2018, 11:28:23 AM »
Nice job!  It's heartening to see someone your age take an interest in these "old bikes", especially ones that aren't well known to the general public.  8)

Confucius say... "Better to have Bridgestone than Kidneystone"

Offline Steve Swan

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2018, 08:49:40 AM »
Nice job!  It's heartening to see someone your age take an interest in these "old bikes", especially ones that aren't well known to the general public.  8)

DITTO!!!!!!!!!!!  DITTO!!!!!!!!!!!  DITTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Congratulations and keep coming

Offline Steve Swan

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2018, 08:50:26 AM »
Nice job!  It's heartening to see someone your age take an interest in these "old bikes", especially ones that aren't well known to the general public.  8)

DITTO!!!!!!!!!!!  DITTO!!!!!!!!!!!  DITTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Congratulations and keep coming back!

Offline Steve Swan

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2018, 08:57:02 AM »
You are a remarkable young man and have succeeded in accomplishing a major project.  Your family should be very proud of you!  Your story is very similar to my first bike i bought to restore when i was 17.  Congratulations and keep finding those old bikes!

Offline CL-100

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 02:18:40 PM »
It always amazes me when I run across younger people that are interested in the same things I am.  I've been retired since 2004 and only then did I resurrect my passion for Bridgestones after buying a new '69 100GP in my youth.   Your write-up was very interesting and well written.  My guess is that you are well on your way to fulfilling all your goals in life.

By the way, what did you do about the "scratches" in the lining of the cylinder?

Offline OldSwartout

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2018, 03:40:58 PM »
What is the significance of the GM and Bulldog on your mortarboard?
Karl Swartout
Mooresville, IN
BS175 Roadracer
BS350 GTR

Offline Bridgestoneboy

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2018, 07:42:40 PM »
It always amazes me when I run across younger people that are interested in the same things I am.  I've been retired since 2004 and only then did I resurrect my passion for Bridgestones after buying a new '69 100GP in my youth.   Your write-up was very interesting and well written.  My guess is that you are well on your way to fulfilling all your goals in life.

By the way, what did you do about the "scratches" in the lining of the cylinder?

The cylinders I had hoped were savable do to the milage on the bike. Yet, after I had already put the money into rebuilding the cranshafy and new seals and pistons and rings, I wanted to make sure the bike would survive and be reliable. I ended up taking the cylinders to my local ORV dealership/repair shop and had them sent out and nikasil coated, which is more durable than the original chrome coating in the cylinders.

Offline Bridgestoneboy

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2018, 08:37:37 PM »
What is the significance of the GM and Bulldog on your mortarboard?

The bulldog is because I am attending Kettering University in Flint in the fall, and the GM logo is because through Kettering's co-op programs, I attended a job far and interviewed with multiple companies including General Motors in March. About a week later I received I phone call from them saying because of my background (that being in restoration and hands on, as well as two years experience in CAD through a vocational technology center) I was offered a position as a computer aided engineer at General Motors.

Offline OldSwartout

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2018, 07:27:52 AM »
I thought it might be Kettering.  I graduated from there in 1968, when it was still General Motors Institute.  Good luck with your studies.
Karl Swartout
Mooresville, IN
BS175 Roadracer
BS350 GTR

Offline Steve Swan

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Re: My First Motorcycle Restoration Was A Bridgestone
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2018, 11:04:38 PM »
It always amazes me when I run across younger people that are interested in the same things I am.  I've been retired since 2004 and only then did I resurrect my passion for Bridgestones after buying a new '69 100GP in my youth.   Your write-up was very interesting and well written.  My guess is that you are well on your way to fulfilling all your goals in life.

By the way, what did you do about the "scratches" in the lining of the cylinder?

The cylinders I had hoped were savable do to the milage on the bike. Yet, after I had already put the money into rebuilding the cranshafy and new seals and pistons and rings, I wanted to make sure the bike would survive and be reliable. I ended up taking the cylinders to my local ORV dealership/repair shop and had them sent out and nikasil coated, which is more durable than the original chrome coating in the cylinders.

keep your eyes open for one of these, they are still being found, more often than not - http://cb750sandcastonly.com/

 


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