Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Matt's Fuji Super Record With A Story (And Maroon Bar Tape)

Things have been hopping around here recently.  Matt, an avid Fuji enthusiast and occasional contributor to this blog, today sent in the story below.

Readers may or may not be interested in looking at Riv's new bar tape (made in the USA, of all darn places), but it is well worth following the link to read the inspirational and amazing story about the previous owner of Matt's Fuji Super Record.

"I've got a few things that you might be interested in.

Since you disappeared on us for a while, I wasn't sure if you ever saw the final conclusion on the Fuji Opus maroon tape thread over in BF.  Rivendell Bicycle Works carries some and since I just put it on one of my bikes, I thought that I would share the results.  I've already emailed Scott and Julian, but forgot about you.  Since I saw that you were working on your Opus, I thought that I would give you a heads up.

It is thicker than the Tressotar tape that VO sells and IMO, quite a bit better.  With Tressotar, I always used two rolls per side.  With this Newbaum's tape, I only used one roll per side and I think it looks and feels quite a bit nicer.  Having bought 8 rolls, I suppose that I will be happy having 4 rolls on hand after outfitting two bikes. 

I've included some pictures, but they show the tape being more of a pink than it really is.  Overall, I am very happy with it on the Super Record and have more rolls to put on the Opus.  I will note though, the Newbaums tape is just a bit lighter than the original Opus tape.  You may get a better match with shellac.

Now, since I mentioned the Super Record, I didn't think that it would be fair to not share some pictures and a bit of information, in case you wanted to add it to your blog.  Hopefully, all of the photos don't bog down your email.

After helping Scott get a minty 82ish Fuji Professional in his size, he sold me the Professional Super Record.  He bought it several months before that, but found it to be a bit too small for him.

When he told me that he would sell it, I was utterly thrilled.  When the bike arrived, I quickly opened the box and began looking it over to see the scratches and chips that are expected with these old bikes.  What surprised me though, was the Bob Beal decal on the top tube.  I had never heard of him and initially wrote him off as some average guy. 

After the initial excitement wore off, I went ahead and took the bike down to the garage.  When I came up, I did a bit of internet searching and was surprised to find that Bob made quite a name for himself in New England.  I won't got into great detail, but you can read about him here if interested
[Ed. Note - terrific story, a must read!].  I suppose that this lends itself to the "Are You Classic, or Vintage, or Both" post that you created.  New bikes don't come with this kind of history.

After reading the book(link above), I went ahead and did a bit more research...contacting Scott again, as well as a few bike shops in Bob's area.  Luckily, I heard back from a few people...with pictures of Bob riding the bike!

Unfortunately, it turns out that Mr. Beal passed on 8/27/09.  I was disappointed that I couldn't write a letter to him, but I went ahead and tried sending one to his family anyway.  It has been a few months, but I never heard back.

Regardless, I had plenty of work to be done on my bikes to get ready for Spring and when the Super Record's day came, I started cleaning and reassembling it. 

To start, the frame got a quick cleaning followed by touchups using fingernail polish.  The color is is pretty good match, IMHO.  New Bob Beal decals will be applied when they come in.

Last week, I regreased the headset, BB, and hubs.  Yesterday, I assembled the rest of it, but I didn't finish until 7:30.  The bike seemed too nice for electrical tape to finish out the bars, so I used thin strips of leather instead.  What do you think of it? 

Being an almost purely Fuji man, I have a Raleigh 3-speed, this is my first adventure away from Suntour derailleurs.  I have to admit, these Campy bits are pretty nice to look at and they work better than I thought.  I can't tell a difference from my Suntour stuff. 

The only major complaint that I have, came when I wanted to work on the RD.  It made me long for the open Suntour cages that allow easy removal from the chain.  This would certainly be a nuisance on the road.

I gave the bike the first ride about an hour ago.  Although I need to tweak the brakes, it was surprisingly quick and nimble.  I've spent all Spring riding the Special Road Racer, so this was a nice change of pace.




Issac said...

I remember Bob Beal. He was from the San Diego area and I use to ride with him in the 80's as a kid. i think he was a
neat older man, but its foggy. He was a figure in cycling down there and i could find out more maybe.

Beech said...

I do not think that he would be the same Bob Beal. This Bob lived in New England, near Boston.

mrbass68 said...

Hey there--I stumbled on this post via some searches I was doing to get information about vintage Fuji bikes, I am soon going to purchase a mid-80's Fuji Opus any rate, at least a couple of the photos on this post are my father in-law's work, and one of the photos has my wife in it (she was a racer in her teens to early 20's). She can also identify many of the people in the group shot. Where did you find these photos? Great post and story!

Diane Covington said...

I just came across this while reminiscing about my dad. I am Bob Beal's daughter. He would be so happy to know someone got one of his bikes who could really appreciate and enjoy it. Bob indeed was from New England and raced with Mass Bay Rd Club.