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Scrambler Survivor: 1970 Bridgestone 350 GTO

Most of us know the Bridgestone name as a manufacturer of tires, but at one time, they made some really nice and interesting motorcycles. Sadly, they would be forced out of the market in 1970, less than two decades after their first model hit the market. This 1970 Bridgestone 350 GTO can be found listed here on eBay in Canastota, New York and the current bid price is $2,325.

If shipping wouldn’t add $600+ to the price and I didn’t just get another motorcycle that I didn’t need, I would be very tempted by this one. As a last-year bike, and being a 350 scrambler-type configuration, it’s pretty appealing. I have never owned a Bridgestone motorcycle but I know that a few of you have. Let’s hear those stories in the comments section!

Bridgestone made their first motorcycle in 1952, or actually, in 1958. For a few years prior to that first “real” motorcycle, the company produced bicycles and then motorized bicycles before their 1958 motorcycle hit the market. Speaking of the market, Hagerty is at $2,600 for a #3 good condition 350 GTO and $4,600 for a #2 excellent bike, just for the record. This example appears to be in nice condition, although it’ll most likely need some tinkering from being in storage. The company was basically forced out of business by the motorcycle companies that bought their tires as they didn’t want the competition.

This Bridgestone is owned by the seller’s father who is selling a few motorcycles from his collection due to age and health-related circumstances. That’ll be the case for most of us eventually, like it or not. There is a photo of the father riding this Bridgestone but no video. Still, it’s nice to see that it runs and to see the seller’s dad enjoying it before it goes to the next owner.

The Bridgestone 350 GTO was a variation of the 350 GTR but with high pipes for more of a scrambler look. I personally prefer this look, but that’s just me. The engine is a 345-cc two-stroke twin-cylinder with around 45 horsepower. It’s set up for pre-mixed gas and oil as per the seller’s description so keep that in mind, but for anyone looking for a rare and unusual yet usable vintage motorcycle for trail or street, this could be it.

Comments

  1. Rick Norman

    had a SR100 in a Van Tech frame back in the early 70s was really fast and light for back then, just to bad Bridgestone didn’t have a decent dealer network

    Like 2
  2. james dupree

    My first motorcycle was a black Bridgestone 50 I’m 68 years old great memories

    Like 1
  3. Edward Sel

    Prodessor Wiki has both a general page on Bridgestone and a separate page for the 350, both claim a horsepower rating of 37 hp at 7500 rpm, and a nominal top speed of ~95 mph and it came with a 6 speed trans – A roadtest article in Motorcycle Mechanics magazine dated April 1968[2] puts the top speed as 108 mph and the average mpg as 65. Standing start 1/4 mile was 91mph in 15 seconds. However, reviewers both past and present have generally been very positive about the motorcycle. Cycle praised the bike’s engine, transmission and brakes, also stating that “Never before have so many advanced features been incorporated into a single package.”[3] Cycle World praised the bike’s styling, its comfortable riding position, and stated that it was “as big and as fast as any 500.”[3] Roland Brown of Motorcycle Classics praised the bike’s usability, and the responsive nature of the engine. Although a mostly conventional design, the engine used a rotary disc-valve induction system, allowing more precise management of the gasses inside the engine than traditional piston-port systems did.[1] Two of these disc valves were used (one per cylinder), and a 26 mm Mikuni carburetor was bolted to each one.[1] The picture I saw shows a “B” logo on the forward surface of the tank which may be missing from this edition. As far as the “adding oil by hand when you fill the gas tank” there is also this from Wiki – >> The 177 cc Dual Twin was introduced in 1965.[4] The engine was virtually a doubling up of the 90cc engine. The engine used rotary valves to control the inlet with the carburettors mounted by the ends of the crankshaft. This configuration required the generator to be positioned above the engine behind the cylinders. Cylinder bores were chrome-plated. This was the first Bridgestone model to use the “oil injection” system. Instead of the oil being mixed with the petrol as was normal for two-strokes of that time, oil was stored in a separate tank and pumped into the engine. <<- So, maybe there wasn't enough room made for a separate oil tank/delivery, etc., but if you do it right maybe you could have it set up – or maybe it already is and the dad just doesn't know it. Interesting, well-preserved bike though, IMO, and I like the handle bars too in the above pic shot from the rear of the bike.

    Like 3
  4. BA

    Yamaha RZ350LC ,Suzuki RG 500 is all you need to know less modern kawasaki H1 500 H2 750 & RD400 As well

    Like 1
  5. Howard A Member

    I’m sure some folks will say, “Bridgestone? As in tires? Actually, while probably the most obscure make of Asian motorcycle to be offered, they were quite popular, and I venture to say, they were one of the better 2 strokes to come along. I don’t remember any Bridgestone dealers, and I think were sold through some major retailer,( Gambles comes to mind,,,,what a name, Gambles) so service was non-existent, in Milwaukee, anyway. Oh, there were plenty of fast 2 strokes, Big Bear, X-6, even the Italian jobs, but Bridgestone seemed to be better. All I remember, is the clouds of smoke these emitted, probably get you the middle finger today, or a ticket in some places, but for a brief moment in history, before the Honda 750, that is, these 2 strokes ruled the streets. The highway was different matter entirely, although, I’m sure there was some poor schmuck that rode one of these cross country to claim their fame in California, more than likely trip completed on the bus, when the ring-ding stuck a piston in Oklahoma,,what a find, and to think SOMEONE actually saved one. THAT’S the real miracle here.

    Like 2
  6. Rick in Oregon Rick in Oregon

    Having owned 80 classic Japanese bikes at one point in my life, one of my favorites was a 1970 Bridgestone GTR, the low pipe version of the feature bike, and I regret it’s sale to this day! The rotary valve twin had some wicked performance for its day coupled with a grabby and noisy race bike inspired dry clutch made the bikes a really great experience to ride. I wish I had spent more time on mine but I did get in some memorable rides. Finding a running, riding example such as this is a treasure to say the least! These were not easy to get parts for 25 years ago, and I imagine even tougher now, so starting with one this clean and complete is a god send to a collector and enthusiast. The biggest pitfall to the Bridgestones were their chrome bored cylinders with left you with few options when you had a pistons/bore failure which is common on these old 2 stroke bikes due to running lean and lack of proper oil mixing with the fuel or in these the oil pump, but oil pump technology had been well worked out by this bikes production. Whoever lands this one will be the envy of any bike show or cafe rides!!!

    Like 1
  7. whilst

    Nice find! Rare indeed. I did like the ‘suede’ seat top of the street version!
    1971. I had a Yammie R5B and was always ‘challenged’ by the one guy who had one of these. He and another who had a Kaw Avenger.
    Never did race them tho..;).
    I did buy an Avenger,10 years ago. Full of dog hair, as the engine was ‘open’ with no plugs,etc.
    To be honest, I was amazed at the solid craftsmanship. Put the Yam to shame.
    Shouldn’t have sold. As we all say:(

  8. david r

    More motorcycles please!

    Like 1
  9. Peter Conine

    I owned a 1969 GTR. It had an oil injection system with the oil tank in the triangle area under the front of the seat. You can see the filler cap under the back of the gas tank on the right side. An oil pump hose came off for one cylinder and it seized up on me. The cylinders were hard chrome lined and when it seized some of the chrome peeled off, I cleaned it up, put it back together and rode it for a while and looked for a new cylinder. Never found one but it didn’t really matter. Always thought it was one of the cleanest looking motors because the carbs were under aluminum covers and low on the sides of the crankcase. Went through spark plugs like crazy because the vibration cracked them. It was fast for a 350 at over a hundred mph. I love the sound and mosquito killing smoke of the 2 strokes. I think the GTO’s had gold paint and the GTR’s were red. Mine was red.

  10. James Chrisner

    Had a buddy with a sixty something 175. I got to ride it a couple times and it was wicked fast for it’s day. The only issue was the dual shift mode selector. It was either up/ down like normal or rotary. Things could get real stupid in rotary if you didn’t keep track of your shift numbers.

  11. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this one sold for a mind-bending $5,905! That’s way over #2 excellent condition value, wow, someone really wanted this bike.

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