Saturday, May 21, 2016

Old Stoner: 1970 Bridgestone TMX100

We live in an age of choice.  Compared to 50 years ago, we have numerous choices in our living arrangements, snack foods, apps on our smartphone and even which restroom you want to use. However, one place where is less choice today is in motorcycle brands.  Today, you can choose from the major names from Europe and Asia, but off beat brands, like Bridgestone (yes the tire company) are no longer part of that choice.  Find this 1970 Bridgestone TMX100 for sale in Portland, OR for $1,200 via craigslist. Tip from JB1025.


You may know them as the world's largest manufacturer of tires, but they also manufacture such diverse products as bicycles and golf equipment.  From the 1950's to the early 1970's Bridgestone was known also for producing high quality two stroke motorcycles.  One such, was the TMX 100, built as Bridgestone's entry into the enduro craze of the late 60's.  Powered by a two stoke, air cooled single, displacing 99cc and a ring-dinging 11hp.  It boasted a chromed cylinder bore, rotary valve, and a strange rotary four speed shift, where after top gear, you went to neutral and then back around to first.  This bike has owner "upgrades" of a neon yellow fuel hose and inline fuel filter.  It would be the first and second thing I'd remove.


Of course, it was equipped with Bridgestone tires (Bridgestone still makes motorcycle tires today) and this bike still has its original tires, with the nubbins still on them (along with age cracks).  I wouldn't ride much farther than down my driveway on those.  Supposedly the reason Bridgestone got out of the motorcycle business was that the other Japanese manufacturers told Bridgestone they'd stop buying their tires if they didn't stop making bikes.


The tank looks like it still wears its original paint, stickers and knee pads.  It's a cool combination of painted metal, chrome and rubber, with not an insectoid-shaped piece of plastic in sight.


See a more reasonably priced choice? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

Gianni is Daily Turismo's Pacific Northwest correspondent.

3 comments:

  1. Bridgstone was a good if not better product then the other Japanese players at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As everyone knows Japanese bikes of this era have been pretty much at a plateau much higher than 5 years ago. I'll bet there is plenty of room upward as nicer bikes, and this is a nice one, get bought up on spec. Especially scramblers in any make.

    About 3 years ago I fixed up a 72' Kawi 100 scrambler. Had about $500 into it an could have sold a dozen of them at $1000 last year.

    My daughter road it up when we had a house in Vermont. Now that she and her guy are in Portlandia, I just sent her the Craigslist link. These little bikes are a pisser.

    Found out it was great in the snow! I have an old Vimeo around of my now son-in-law blasting around in 3 ft of snow. Very cool.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That rotary shift thing looks neat. It's not often you run across a vehicle with a different shift pattern than the norm. I wonder how it is in practice. I had to research it to find out what it was:

    "When the Bridgestone 175 was introduced, it was especially unusual in having a two-way transmission. With the flip of a lever, you could have a 4-speed "rotary-shift" transmission, in which neutral was between 1st and 4th and you could get 1, 2, 3, 4, N, 1, 2, etc. endlessly by pressing down on the shift lever. " source:
    https://bridgestone.skew.org/articles/bs175test.html

    Looks to me like the rotary mode would be useful going from stoplight to stoplight, where regular shifting might be better in the woods where downshifting for hills, corners etc. would be more desirable.

    I wonder if it died because of patent issues or because it was silly.

    ReplyDelete

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