Finished up my 1972 Fuji Finest today. Well, these things are never finished, but I got v1.0 up and running in time for the the traditional late afternoon picture taking and shakedown ride.
The Suntour V Luxe GT rear derailleur didn't want to play nice with a 7 Speed 13/28 IRD freewheel. It didn't seem to have enough travel to get to the low gear and when shifting to the biggest cog, the derailleur cage interfered this the spokes. I still want to use a derailleur of this type but I didn't have time to investigate or test another one, so I just installed a Suntour Cyclone GT I had handy for the time being.
I ended up using a set of 27" wheels with Sun CR19 rims laced to Campagnolo Croce d'Aune 36 hole hubs. In a previous post, I described how I saved the rear hub from a possible dumpster fate.
Campagnolo C-Record and Croce d'Aune hubs have the most elegant spindle of any hubs I've ever seen.
The previously cut rear fender stays are a little short for this wheelset, but I think I can swap them out with the some of the fender stays on my 1981 Fuji America. These haven't been trimmed yet and it looks like the America can use shorter stays than the Finest.
The relatively short 54 cm top tube has me wondering whether I should have used a stem with more extension or whether I am just not used to this position. Time will tell on this.
The Finest has a very plush ride. This is the first bike I've been able to ride Specialized Armadillos at 100 psi on gravel without my teeth being shaken out of my head. My 10 mile test ride had about 6 miles of gravel, so I had plenty of time to make this observation. My thought is that if I were doing a towpath century, this would definitely be the go to bike.
I ended up going with Dia Compe DC510 brake calipers rather than the Dia Compe Gran Compe ones. The biggest reason for this was the DC510 are slightly exotic and unusual, although the brake pads are easier to adjust.
The small pulley on the nifty Dia Compe straddle wire hangers gives a lot of mechanical advantage. At first blush, this feels like mushy brakes, but it is quite easy to lock the rear wheel. One just has to pull the lever far enough. The upside of the is very fine brake modulation. Again, time will tell whether this needs to be addressed. One simple way to do so and still retain the blingy hangers is to use slightly shorter straddle wires.
I'm guardedly optimistic about the Brooks Imperial saddle. There is a noticeable lack of pressure in one's nether regions, especially for a brand new saddle. Riding with non-cycling, civilian shorts, I did feel the edges of the cutouts a few times, making me think that padded shorts may be better for this saddle. However, that sensation diminished by the end of the ride, raising the possibility that this is an issue that will disappear as the saddle is broken in. Again, another issue about which time will tell.
Everything worked fine on the approximately ten mile test ride; there were no emergency adjustment stops necessary. Even the fenders were buzz free - I took a bit of care in the installation to put sound dampening bits of scrap bar tape at contact or close fit areas between the fenders and frame.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with this build which has been two years in the making. I put everything together, other than the fenders, with various parts and supplies I had in-house.
If the weather holds, I may try a longish C&O towpath excursion this weekend to further shakedown this bike.