A Kickstarter We Dig

When I go to any of the crowdfunding platforms, I have zero clue what I’ll find. I figure there’s a 50 percent chance that whatever I’ll find will be crazy, like bad-idea-that-shouldn’t-go-to-market crazy. There’s probably a 40 percent change I’ll find something worthy of the marketplace and just a 10 percent chance, if I’m lucky, that I’ll run across something that will make me wish I had a few thousand dollars burning a hole in my debit card.

Today would be one of those 10 percenters.

Handsome Cycles XOXO
Handsome Cycles is an outfit out of Minneapolis, Minn., that’s been around since 2008, doing short runs of steel bikes.

They’ve chosen to recreate the old Bridgestone XO-1.

Back in the 1990s, when I was managing a bike shop in Western Massachusetts, one of the lines I chose to carry was Bridgestone. At the time, the RB-1, their top-of-the-line road bike was the winningest bike in America. It was popular with unsponsored (or minimally sponsored) privateers who needed a hella-reliable bike with a great warranty.

The XO-1 was Bridgestone’s not-quite-a-road-bike-and-not-quite-a-mountain-bike bike. Which is to say, now that I think about it, the XO-1 was arguably the world’s first gravel bike in that it was a bike conceived to take in roads that the RB-1 wasn’t suited for, but was unlikely to be chosen for Singletrack excursions due to the existence of Bridgestone’s also-popular MB-1 mountain bike.

The XO-1, in broad strokes, featured 26-inch wheels, cantilever brakes, reasonably tread-free tires and a moustache bar.

Handsome Cycles is reproducing the XO-1 reasonably faithfully, but with a few tweaks handy to today, like wider rear dropout spacing for modern hubs, as well as a longer seat tube, for easier fitting. As it turns out, this isn’t the first time Handsome has done this; they did a run of what they call the XOXO, which is an apt monicker, given the love this bike engendered. It was that bike that so many of us thought of as the +1 to our bike collection.

Handsome has done a great job with this bike. You can buy it as a frameset ($699), or fully built with either a 2×10 ($1349) or 1×11 ($1499) drivetrain. And while the original XO-1 came in the best of all colors—orange—the XOXO is also available in purple or white.

The project has already funded with 22 days left to go.

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Join the conversation
  1. khal spencer says

    Sweet. I lusted for an MB-1 but it was my first year of a paying job and the school loans were due, so i got an MB-2. Wish I had eaten more Ramen noodles and got the MB-1 and really wish I still had it.

  2. gog says

    First of all, I have a problem because they don’t love tall people. I know – they’re small. But hey – I’m tall. And none of their bikes fit me. That makes me sad and surly. So take my snide comments with a grain of salt.
    Handsome Cycles is for urban hipsters who needed somewhere to go after Surly Bikes became too popular to be hipster any more.

    1. Padraig says

      I can’t speak to Handsome’s other offerings, but in this case, they are working from an established template—the original sizes of the XO-1. They actually lengthened the seat tube by 1cm, which plays to your favor. Adding a small size that didn’t originally exist doesn’t help you, they deserve some credit for expanding the number of people that bike can accommodate.

  3. Dan Murphy says

    Very much like a custom steel f/f I got my wife this year. 26″ wheels, porteur bars, fat slicks for rubber, 1×11 drivetrain. She loves it and lovesheading off-road with it.

    Still have my MB-3, my first mtb from the late 80’s. Haven’t ridden it in awhile as it’s relegated to tourist riding.

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