They are a lot shinier than the photo does justice. Today, I did the painting, then baked them in the oven at 350 for about an hour. These are going on my 1981 Fuji America:
The idea is to harmonize the cranks with the two tone blue of the frame. I'll get these on the bike shortly.
Actually, right now is a pretty fun part of the process of personalizing a bike. I'm contemplating all sorts of things.
One thing is handlebar treatment - I want to do something dark, either black or navy blue. I have a set of Toshi stitch-on leather handlebar wrap in black and it is also available in navy blue in a synthetic suede called ecsaine. The other option is simply tape.
Black brake hoods are definitely in. I have a set of new Superbe brake levers, the drilled ones with the engraved "Superbe" logo. For the calipers themselves, I'm deciding between sets of Superbe and Cyclone sidepulls and a set of the Dia Compe NGC centerpulls.
Beyond that, there is the question of fenders, whether to have them at all or if so, which ones. Todd's excellent 1984 Fuji Series IV has rekindled my interest in hammered Honjos - he has shown us all how these can look really sporty on a bike.
I've got this wild idea about getting a set of fenders and having them powdercoated either navy blue or black. I've always thought the blue Fuji Americas would look pretty good with black or navy fenders.
The last thing I'm considering is another set of wheels, maybe something go-fast so I can finally use the 32h Suntour Superbe Pro hubs that have been gleaming on a shelf for so long.
At first, I daydreamed a little about finally doing some Deep V wheels. I did a little research and found that Velocity Deep V's come in a color called Frost Blue. In the catalogs, the color looks like a dead ringer for the light blue inset of the America's headtube and seat panel.
But I wanted to see some in real life. By happy coincidence, I rode past a fixie rider yesterday that had a set and got a good look. Let's just say that that experience put the kibosh on the notion of Frost Blue Deep V wheels. They looked dreadful in person.
The Fuji America is a pretty dark bike, so now I'm thinking maybe a set of black rims with machined sidewalls. But there is no hurry on this.
Beyond that, today I was supposed to have a meeting in Bethesda. As I was preparing to ride over, I got notice that the meeting was cancelled. So I took a good long ride on my new America out to Great Falls and back, about a 40 miler.
Beyond being a pleasant ride along the Potomac river, it was a chance to really explore the bike on both pavement and gravel towpath. My observation is that this bike really does fit the sport/touring category under which it was produced. The frame is light and lively for when you want to jump on it, but the steering is a little more stable than a pure sport bike so you can just spin along and let your mind wander as well.
It is little wonder that these are one of the more sought after vintage Fujis.
The Fujita F17 Professional saddle is a bit of a wonder as well. It is one honking hunk of immutable leather. I'm the third owner of this bike and it looks like no one has ever sat upon it. It did start getting more comfortable towards the end of the ride and actually I think that it will turn out to be very comfortable.
That is a good thing, since it gives no indication that it will be wearing out anytime within the next several decades.
That is all for now, except for a personal note. As I write this, my little boy Benchan is in his first day of first grade in Japan, where the school year starts in April. I'm wishing him well in this endeavor and hope to be reunited with my family soon.