Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Scott's 1976 Fuji Finest

Scott, the gracious and knowledgeable Fuji enthusiast, has shared some pictures of his 1976 Fuji Finest. As you will see, it is a beautiful bike with an interesting back story:

"Enclosed are a few photographs of my 1976 Fuji Finest. There's an interesting story I'd like to share about this particular bicycle. This was posted on my local Craigslist but due to the high asking price it seemed to languish for months. I developed a dialog with the owner and he explained that in 1976 he had ordered a Fuji Ace from his local bike shop. The Ace was of interest of course because unlike other Fuji's that year, the Ace was fully built up with Shimano Dura-Ace instead of Suntour, Dia Compe and Sugino components. Unfortunately, the Ace frame arrived damaged and the owner agreed to have all of the components switched over to a brand new Finest frame. Most of the components are Dura-Ace, including the hubs. Some exceptions are the Nitto Pearl stem, Sugino seatpost, MKS Unique Royal Road pedals and the Fujita Pro Nubuck saddle.

I continued to be in touch with the seller, usually dropping him an email every time it showed up on Craigslist. The price slowly began to drop with every new listing. Eventually the two of us got together and I got a chance to view the Finest. I was absolutely stunned at the amazing condition it was in. Tom, the owner, had kept it in wonderful shape. The decals were all intact, the frame was rust free and mostly devoid of scratches. The chrome lugs sparkled like new. What pushed me over the edge was the original receipt, warranty papers, the 1976 Fuji catalog, a small can of still usable Fuji "Rainbow" blue touch-up paint and and extra tubular tire stretched onto an surplus Ukai rim. Tom's a great guy, he wanted it to go to a good home and I wanted to save it from being parted out on EBay. In the end, we both agreed on a price that we were happy with.

A few differences with your 1972 Finest..... The presence of the "The Finest" decal on the top tube and the small tri-color decals around the fork and chain and seat stays. Also the Fuji head badge is the tall extended version rather than the shorter, rounder badge.

I haven't ridden it extensively, the rear tubular tire has a slow leak and I'm a novice in the tubular tire repair & glue department. Other than putting air in the rear tire and removing a rack and kickstand, I haven't made any changes. It's a extremely elegant bicycle and I'm thrilled to be it's new owner.

Thanks again for your wonderful Fuji blog!


Scott, that is another beautiful bike you have, thanks for sharing it. The paint and chrome are stellar, I wish mine looked so nice!

Here are the original Craigslist posting pictures:

Friday, August 15, 2008

1972 Fuji Finest Project

I've blathered on about my 1972 Fuji Finest several times, so although it is partially dissassembled, it seemed worthwhile to get a few pictures of this up. After it is finished, I'm planning a more in depth article that will include readers bikes and more in-depth discussion of this storied model. But for now, just some bare bones.

1972 was the second year of issue of the Finest, and this one was obtained from the original owner. It had been well used, in that it was far from pristine, but had not been treated roughly nor suffered excessive corrosion.

Here is a rather bad picture of what it looked like upon receipt, although the top tube brake cable housing clips had already been removed:

Nice original configuration for the most part, obviously the saddle is a later addition. The plan for this bike is to strip it down to the frame, freshen things up a bit, and rebuild with the original components. Here is what it looks like today, still in the disassembly phase:

Tres 70's, no? One thing the observant reader will notice is that there is no "Finest" decal on the top tube. This was a rather odd point on this bike, as there is no evidence whatsoever that there ever had been a decal (scratches, paint fade lines, etc.). This was of some concern until Scott Ryder, the eminent Fuji scholar, noted that the very early Finests had no model indication as such.

The earlier Finests, for the first 3 or 4 years, also had fully chromed frames. Hence all the chrome panels, stays, forks, and, of course, the sexy lugwork:

Many fully chromed frames from various manufacturers are only polished in the areas intended to be exposed. However, this one appears to be fully polished, as everywhere the paint is chipped, it looks nice and shiny underneath.

So one of these with unsalvageable paint is a reasonable candidate for stripping the paint and building up as a fully chromed bike. The paint on this one has lots of "patina", but is nice enough that not keeping it would be sort of a crime. It has yellowed quite a bit, as one can tell from where the downtube shifter clamp was located:

The Finest was intended to compete against the high end European bikes, so frame material reflects this:

Just in case anyone still isn't getting the message, Fuji helpfully points out:

These "Racing" decals, also located on the top tube and forks, are highly reflective. The above picture also displays the worst corrosion on this bike, which for the most part is pretty minor.

At this point, as I'm going on and on about the originality of this bike, the observant reader is waving his hand, ready to explode with, "What's up with those wheels?". Yes, they include a set of high flange hubs:

And not just any old high flangers, but (p.s., note the nice dropouts with adjuster screws):

Paired with these rims:

Yes, Campagnolo Record high flange hubs with flat QR levers on Mavic clincher rims constitute the wheelset. As we all know, this bike was spec'ed with Sansin hubs on Ukai tubulars. However, the original owner at the time of purchase didn't want tubulars, never took possession of them, and bought the bike with this wheelset made specifically for him. So it would seem, in this man's Fuji, Campy Record high flange paired with Mavics are original. Tell it to the Marines, I guess.

There is going to be a lot more on Finests around here, so stay tuned. For now, a last parting shot of the Grand Dame of the Fuji Otaku fleet.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Reader Needs Help With 84 Del Rey

In the mailbox:


I love your Fuji website. I've become a recent fan myself, after purchasing an S-12-S on Craigslist for $25, sight unseen. The downtube's damaged and the frame's too small for me anyway, but the components are pristine. It looks like it went on a handful of rides and got banged up on one of them.

Long story short, i've bought another Fuji, an 84 Del Rey just like yours. I bought this one labeled as "broken" on CL thinking i'd mount the group from the S-12-S on the frame from the Del Rey and have an around-towner. Turns out the front wheel on the Del Rey has a broken spoke and the bottom bracket spindle is sheared off at the crank - the rest of the bits are fine. Now i just need a new bottom bracket, reusing a wheel i've got. Any chance you know the spindle length for that Sugino XT crankset on your Del Rey? I'd like to hit up the shop on the way home and didn't get into the crank last night.

Thanks a bunch and keep up the good work!


Well, Joe, thanks for you kind words about the blog. As for the bottom bracket, while it is on my to do list, I haven't yet repacked the bb on my 84 Del Rey (you're going to love yours when it is up and running), so I can't say authoritatively what it is just now and none of the literature I have mentions anything.

Perhaps a reader out there in Fuji land knows this and could post it to the comments for this blog entry? It sure would help Joe out.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tomita-san's Fuji Feather Compo

More mail for Fuji Otaku! Hope this trend continues.

"Hello, Fuji Otaku-san!!

Nice to meet you.
This is Tomity (Tomita Toshihiko), Classic Rendezvous mailing member from Tokyo, Japan. I'm a professional Keirin rider (1982~), 50 y.o. now.

I send some Fuji bike photo. I had old FUJI bike. The base was 10 speed bike though remodeled to fixed bike. This has already been transferred to the friend.

This is old Japanese Fuji bicyle catalog from old catalog fan:

Ride safe,



Thanks for the pictures and the catalog. That headbadge on the Feather Compo is excellent, and I'm sort of partial to the pink color. My wife is Japanese, and on our annual visits to her hometown of Moriyama, I spend time looking for Japanese cycling things hard to find in U.S. It would be really nice to be able to find one of those old Fuji camping/randonneur models shown in the catalog.

Again, thanks for writing, and here are the pictures of Tomita-san's Feather Compo:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fuji Catalog ca. 1976

1976 Fuji Catalog. Click on the images for a higher resolution image. The model lineup is:

The Newest
The Ace
The Finest
Fuji America
S10 SL (mixte)
Dynamic 10
Dynamic 10L (mixte)
Gran Tourer
Sports 10
Sports 10L (ladies)
Sports 5
Sports 5L (ladies)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Scott's Time Machine 1973 Special Road Racer

Fuji Otaku gets mail!

"Attached are the photos of my 1973 Special Road Racer/S10-S. I won it on Ebay last year for, if I remember correctly, 75 dollars plus a a small amount for shipping. The bike is pretty much 100% original except that it's missing the spoke protector on the rear wheel. The frame, components and decals are absolutely pristine with no rust and you'd be hard pressed to find even a small scratch. I've never had to clean it or wipe it down. The only difference I can see from the 1973 catalog photo is that mine has alloy rims, the catalog has them listed as steel. The 1974 was the first SSR that was spec'd with alloy rims. Perhaps mine was a late year '73. By the way, I don't ride it with these tires, I swap out a more modern set of rims and tires. I just couldn't bare to loose that patina on these gumwalls!



Scott, that's an incredible bike that plain kicks butt on my 73 Special Road Racer in the well preserved and cool color categories at a minimum. And an honorable mention for the nice Fujita saddle, 35 years young there. Curiously, my Special Road Racer also has alloy Ukai rims. I think I read somewhere this was an option on the bike.

Well, on to the pics and extra thanks for the catalog page.