One of the best things about owning a steel bike is that they grow old exceptionally well — a worn bike is a collection of stories. Sometimes those stories extend even to the time the frame rolled off the production line, as in the case of this Bridgestone Atlantis.
Bridgestone’s Atlantis model was a regal lightweight tourer, advertised with fenders and racks against various cycling accoutrements and wooden duck decoys to help sell it’s luxurious nature to connoisseurs of Japanese mechanics.
Designed originally by Bridgestone’s Hiro Watanabe in 1981, the Atlantis has developed a cult of personality comparable only to their XO-1 “do anything” bike, designed by Grant Petersen, founder of Rivendell Bicycles, during his tenure at Bridgestone.
The story of this Atlantis still unfolds, but it began when a Japanese tourist brought it with him to Australia for a Great Southern Adventure. Upon its completion, it was sold to a fellow cyclotourist in Canberra, who owned it for many years as his daily rider.
The next chapter in the history of this Atlantis introduces a wheelman from Melbourne called Isaac Rae, founder of Tinker Bikes, who has established a reputation for eclectically repurposing old steel legends.
Already a pundit of classic and collectable steel, Isaac had the Atlantis on his dream-bike radar, and had a close connection with the now 60 year-old Canberra journeyer — who had imparted much of his mechanical philosophy upon the young tinkerer.
The Atlantis was bestowed upon Isaac, who proceeded to update the Atlantis with relevant and necessary improvements. SunRace’s new 10-speed cassette was installed, providing an 11-42T range, allowing Isaac to run a simple 1×10 speed friction system.
A NOS M700 rear derailleur was sourced as much for aesthetic reasons as performance. Mechanical too, as the M700 unit has its second pivot contained in the primary pulley wheel, making it a perfect partner for a large cassette.
Woolftooth’s Road Link is an added boon, improving the largest ring’s clearance. A Shimano Fingertip Control shifter was incorporated, whose engineering is also a complement to the system. Again, the design is irretrievably superb.
Isaac upgraded the brakes from the original DC610 to NOS DC510 arms, which allows toeing-in of the pads. A rare Nagaoka rack was employed at the bow, to support a handlebar bag handmade by Australian custom outdoor gear-maker, Terra Rosa Gear.
Isaac will undertake a great amount of journeying upon his Atlantis, preserving a legend and contributing to it’s saga. It just goes to show that deep pockets still can’t afford tempered character or integrity.
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