Thursday, February 19, 2009

Suntour Derailleur Encyclopedia

Astute followers of this blog may notice a new link in the Useful Info section to "Suntour Derailleur Encyclopedia". In general, those interested in old Fujis, or just vintage cycles often have a concurrent interest in Suntour. The link in question deep links into the Suntour section of Disraeli Gears, which is a phenomenal collection of derailleur information.

It is a well constructed, lushly illustrated resource with some priceless narrative gems such as this comment that closes a scathing review of the Suntour Superbe Tech derailleur:

"Continuing the theme of hubris, the Superbe Tech is often described as ‘the most beautiful derailleur of all time’, so I have deliberately included this mid-length pulley cage, ‘L’, example - the most thoroughly scratched derailleur in this collection. Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt."


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What is Y.F.C?

John, the proud owner of this Fuji Featherlight, writes with the following query:

"Hey, it's me again. I just found a cool retro-fuji leather racing saddle, made by fujita, on the sides it says

'fuji seamless y.f.c.'

Any idea what y.f.c. stands for?"


No, sorry, I can't help with that, but maybe a reader who knows will share an insight.


Fuji Otaku

p.s. gotta picture?

1980 Fuji Cambridge III

Some detail shots for reference. I'd like to pick one of these up for a styling city bike - some nice bits are the sloping top tube and what appear to be forged rear dropouts with double eyelets. The chrome chainguard is a nice touch.

1976 Fuji America

Here are some detail shots of a stock 1976 Fuji America for reference purposes. There are number of differences in components between this year and my 1980 model, which is still pending a photo shoot and writeup, as it is partially disassembled.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Otakus Take A Ride

Yesterday was clear and cold (upper 30's, low 40's) in our (or my, at least) nation's capital. So the Otaku clan saddled up for a ride.

Mrs. Otaku rode a quietly elegant 1985 Trek 720.

This bike has too much nice stuff to mention, but I'll try: 32h Croce D'Aune hubs laced to Campy Omega Hardox rims, Suntour Cyclone Front/Rear derailleur, CLB brake levers from Chris K's private stock at Velo Orange, Shimano XTR bottom bracket, Stronglight Headset, VO Grenouille brakes, ITM stem, Nitto Randonneur bars, Honjo fluted fenders, Brooks Countess saddle. C-Record dt Shifters.

My Trek 620 is the traction unit for baby Otaku's cozy Burley trailer. We hit the road and soon intersected with one of the seedier warrens of the Georgetown Branch Trail.

Crossing over Rock Creek into Chevy Chase, the social climate warms considerably. My son likes to watch the horses at Meadowbrook Stables, but from the comfort of his trailer:

The cold was not slowing down this budding equestrienne.

Rock Creek Parkway is largely closed to motorized traffic on weekends, giving the Otakus a safe, straight shot to the heart of D.C. We were aiming for Hayne's Point.

It isn't called Rock Creek for nothing.

And the stream valley gives the opportunity for a number of interesting bridges.

Our little flock takes a quick break. It is quite cold, outside the trailer anyhow, from which Otaku Junior still refuses to emerge.

Memorial Bridge from a low angle behind the Lincoln Memorial. This area is actually a little grungy - bad pavement, litter, detritus in the water.

We finally arrive at Haynes Point. The place isn't quite the same since they removed the awakening statue.

We take a very quick and chilly break. Otaku Junior, in maroon, risks a brief foray from the comfort of his litter.

Mrs. Otaku's special cycling onigiri provides sustenance. Believe it or not, my kid wolfs this stuff down.

The Trek 720 is looking good.

It was quite windy and cold at Haynes Point, so without further ado or photography, we hightailed it home up the Capital Crescent trail.

Here is another shot of my 1985 Trek 620 warhorse, which actually carries 1986 decals and paint styling.

This bike includes Dura Ace RD-7700-GS rear derailleur (I love these..), Specialized Triple Cranks, CR-18 wheels, rear hub is Campy Croce d'Aune, front is Schmidt Dynohub. Early Nitto mini rack. Brooks Conquest saddle. Berthoud stainless fenders. Bridgestone Solar powered fender mounted taillight. Rivendell Silver dt shifters. Canti brakes are Tektro knockoffs of Mafac frogless. All these parts are from the original build in 2000 w/the exception of the taillight, a recent addition to replace my dynamo powered taillight, and the brakes.

Owner Of (Formerly) Purple Club Fuj Needs Help:

This just in:

"Not quite a pure classic, but I found this Club Fuji for $25 and built a bike for my brother.

I'm curious, I check out all the 1971 through 1991 Catalogues and do not see a Purple Club Fuji.
Any ideas about what year it is? My guess is early 1990s because it had Shimano RX100 down tube shifters on it when I got it rather than Suntour Components.

It had an EXTREME ISHIWATA sticker on the fork to designate tubing material. I read that ISHIWATA of Japan went out of business in the early 1990's.

The "Orig Frame.jpg" is how it was when I purchased it. Dark purple in color. The serial numbers didn't sync up with the reference points. Large numbers 20 82 (side to side), small number 54 (back to front). It fits the "serial numbers were not always logical in the late 80's/ early 90's.

Since I rebuilt it last March, my brother has logged over 800 miles on it. You'll see it serves as a commuter bike fenders & rack. Due to tight clearance of the "race bike" frame it, it required custom fenders. It really isn't much of a classic since it has modern Sora STI integrate shifters/brakes, Truvativ Crank, Shimano 600 Brakes, ARAYA 7000 wheels w/ Shimano 8/9/10 Speed Cassette Hub, etc. I

t appears Club Fuji was dropped in 1994, but I'm not 100% certain.
I have not seen a catalog from 1992 through 1994 time frame.

David & Cyndi

David, Cyndi,

First, thanks for writing. The 1990's are outside the area to which my knowledge of Fujis extends, so I can't really help you out, but maybe some readers will speak up. Surely yours is not the only one out there.

Fuji Otaku

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rough and Ready 1980 Royale

"Dear Fuji Otaku,

I was browsing your blog and noticed that the Royal did not appear to be represented on your site. I recently bought one and did some rudimentary work to get it roadworthy again. I submit these pictures to you of the bike in its natural state: Covered in grime from a pleasant(read: huge squall with 40 mph wind gusts) day's commute. As you can see, this is not a prime example as the frame could use new paint, the decals are faded or gone, and the front derailleur was taken off an old Roadmaster(nothing like quality parts, eh?)

Anyway, I have enjoyed reading through your archive and look forward to reading you future post.

Thomas Harding"


Thanks for filling in this gap in our coverage. The Royale always constituted the top model of Fuji's midrange lineup and is quite a nice bike. One of my long term goals is to acquire a Royale, what I'm hoping for is one of the large mixte models.

Speaking of large, maybe it is just anecdotal evidence, but over the many hours scouring craigslist, ebay, etc, for Fujis for sale, I seem to have seen a LOT of really large Fuji Royales, like 63 cm. If anyone knows the reason for this, please let us all know.

And just like shiny and silver beats matte and black in components, dirty and ridden beats clean and garage bound in bicycles. And keep the pictures coming!

Your humble servant,

Fuji Otaku

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shellac, Take One!

Here is the bar tape on the 1972 Mondia Special with one coat of shellac, after about sixteen hours of drying time. An image of the raw bar tape with no shellac is here.

The green is saturating a little and is almost a perfect match to the frame paint. The yellow assumed a little more of an orange cast, about which I'm a bit concerned - the yellow highlights on the bike, note the head tube pinstriping, are a canary yellow, so this isn't matching well.

Hopefully, the yellows will diverge enough such that it doesn't look like an attempt to match the yellow highlights. Perhaps it will end up looking like old leather after repeated coats. If it is unsatisfactory, back to the drawing board.

Fortunately, I bought a couple extra rolls of theolive green Viva tape, which is out of production and getting scarce. Jitensha Studio is out, although Rivendell still has some (they call this color "celery"). If this doesn't work out, seems like it will be either solid green bars, which would be sad, or attempt to dye some white tape a much more pale yellow to match the frame highlights.

Here is a shot moments after application of the second coat. It goes on dark and lightens up as it dries.