Sunday, August 24, 2014

Eugene and BMW K100RS

Quite a bit has happened since I last posted to this blog.  To some extent, this is an experiment to see how much audience remains.

Long-time readers know that my family (wife/son) recently resides in Japan while I split my time between there and the U.S.  Recently, I moved our U.S. homeport, so to speak, from its 17 year tenure in Washington DC to Eugene, Oregon.

This was an epic undertaking which including towing a trailer of possessions coast to coast.  I've only sort of got settled in here in Eugene a week or two ago.  Given that Eugene is one of the great bicycling cities of the world, it would be remiss of me not to take note of this in the Fuji Otaku blog.

So here I am, at least a bicycling provincial capital of the world, and the first thing I do is run out and land this:

A 1985 BMW K100RS.

More to come....

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Some time back, I posted the draft of a story about my encounter w/a notorious serial killer.  I didn't leave it up for long because it was a draft and various people said I should get it published in a conventional magazine.

So I finished the story and then worked with Orange Coast Magazine to edit it to their liking/usages.

My title for the story was "The Crack Of A Twig", but we decided on a different name for their version of the story.

Orange Coast Magazine just published the web version of the story here.  It is a strange, dark tale.

I've been cycling a bit here in Japan.  I brought my wife's Trek 720 to Japan and managed to promptly wreck it.

I have made a lot of observations about cycling in Japan, I'll share them when I get more time.

In happier news, my little clan went to Azuchi the other day, rented some cycles, went riding through the town and countryside.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A 520 By Any Other Name Would Ride As Sweet - 1986 Trek 500 Tri Series

Well, it is turning into a veritable Trek-fest around here.  I got intrigued enough to buy this 1986 Trek 500 Tri Series.

It is a bit of an unusual animal - when I think of tri bikes now, my image is something as scaled back and as pared of fat as the triathletes themselves are.

I ran some triathlons back in the mid 80's, I just remember using whatever race bike we had at hand.  Trek seemed to think, in 1986 anyhow, that a Trek 520 touring frame, but with caliper brakes instead of cantis, was the ticket.

If you check the brochure on the Vintage Trek website, you'll see that the two frames have identical geometry and tubing materials. 

The Trek 500 Tri Series even has fender eyelets.  So despite the name, it actually has the makings of a nice sport-tourer, which for me and my purposes these days is the ideal bike.

I'm even thinking that this could be a good 650b candidate, although the bottom bracket drop is a bit largish at 7.2 cm.

The look, with the pewter paint and black headtube, is pretty conservative in contrast to the other paint job available for this model, a red/white fade that is a classic 80's Miami Vice bike.

Trek was still carrying a little water for the French manufacturers, as the wheels on this bike are built upon Maillard 600 Sealed Bearing hubs, nice and shiny they are indeed.

Pretty in Pink - 1985 Trek 770

I always wanted a hot pink 1985 Trek 770.  So much that I kind of got a fake one the hard way living in Hawaii in the late 80's - I had my 1986 Trek 660 repainted hot pink and I slowly swapped out the components on it for high level Campy ones.

That bike is long gone, but I still fondly remember zipping around in traffic on it in downtown Honolulu.  And I've always kept half an eye open for the bona fide article.

Today one followed me home.  Rather, it followed me from Ebay to Paypal and should be on a truck soon to my home.  All I've got now are the semi-crummy Ebay pics for a bike that is in purportedly outstanding shape w/original componentry, etc.

The square fork crown is pretty neato.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The End Of An Era (or Why I Just Bought 5 Sets Of Dura Ace 7900 Hubs)

Anyone with the inclination to spend time on this blog agrees that NSSS (Nice Shiny Silver Stuff) is a key component, pun intended, of Gorgeous Cycling™.  The heyday of NSSS was the 1980's and into the early 90's - Campagnolo X-Record, Suntour Superbe, Maillard, Mavic, Dura Ace, the list goes on of premium top end, gorgeously polished bike parts available during that era.

While the outlook for new production of NSSS is a lot better than it was in the trough of the late 90's and early 00's, the mass production really is more centered on MSSS (Middling Shiny Silver Stuff), the sorts of things coming out of white label producers, largely Taiwanese, and retailed by the cycling equivalents of J Peterman.

Primo, i.e., NSSS, is more confined to boutique manufacturers such as White Industries, Paul Components, Phil, etc., while the majors - Shimano, Campagnolo, SRAM, tend to favor black or matte or anything but shiny silver finishes on many of their components.

I've been thinking about this because I'm contemplating another wheel build, which naturally leads to contemplating about hubs, which inevitably leads to NSSS longings, yearnings, and, sometimes, mournings.

This mourning is about Dura Ace hubs.  As the whole world, with the exception of my wife, knows, Dura Ace 9000 hubs will be offered only in black.

That means that the Dura Ace 7900 hubs must be the last of a breed - top end, shiny silver, cup and cone, with in-house quick release skewers (and the Dura Ace ones are exceedingly fine...).

Here are some pics, tip o' the pirate's cap to Luxe Wheelworks Tech Journal:

They are a sight to behold, and this vision of beauty has given me great comfort and and unquenchable conviction to return to cycling during my recovery from a Tibial Plateau Fracture.

Well, not really, but it sounds a lot better than the hours of mindless surfing cycling porn sites during the same convalescence...

But kidding aside, one thing Shimano has learned from the great NOS cycling parts glut of the late 90's/early 00's is that it is extremely painful to be hawking your current offerings against the previous 1 or 2 models of the same product that are reduced in price by 50% or more.

So nowadays, Shimano manages their inventories such that within a couple years of introducing a new Dura Ace series, the previous series becomes scarce and, hence, expensive.

What is all this leading up to?  Simple - if you want a shiny silver top end non-boutique cup and cone w/beautiful branded quick release hubset, get your Dura Ace 7900 hubs now.  They are already getting a little scarce, but I just ordered 5 sets from Ribble, who has them on sale for $222 USD for the rear, $111 USD for the front, free shipping.

I got 36 holes to boot, so I can use them for heavily loaded applications.

As they say, if you snooze, you lose....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

If Rivendell Made Kid's Bikes....

They'd make them like the ones in Japan.  Notice the fenders, integrated lock, racks/basket, and even a dynamo light...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tabitha's Sunny Fuji

In the years of maintaining this blog, I've taken a fair amount of bicycle pictures.  I'm no great shakes at this sort of photography, but I like to think that I at least get the job done.

Until I see something like Tabitha's Sunny Fuji (the Team Fuji pictured below) on Flickr.  Then I know what it is like to be Salieri listening to Mozart.

Sheer genius...