Well, I see you recently did a spread on Todd’s Fuji Touring Series IV, but dang-it, perhaps we can compare and contrast our styles and taste in fixin ‘em up…here’s some pics (since then I’ve taken fenders off to increase functionality [yeah, I said it] and added a wooden rear rack)
The story behind this acquistion:
A couple weeks ago I had a deposition starting in Springfield at 6 am so decided to head down the night before. Not wanting to pass up any potential hidden treasures, I checked Springfield’s Craigslistings prior to departure. When I saw the bike I too had to catch my breath but calmly emailed the owner offering him $25 below his asking price if it was in as good condition as the ads/pics suggested and if it fit me.
In the meantime, I lurked around some classic/vintage bike forums and learned that this Fuji was from “the golden era of touring” and sought after. It is designed to be loaded down with packs and panniers and ridden thousands of miles, it has extra spokes mounted to the frame in case you need to replace one in the countryside, it is made of steel but still lightweight.
When the student-aged man answered the door, I asked him the history behind it, “I bought it from a friend of mine’s dad who hadn’t really ridden it, but the frame was too big for me (he was 5’8”ish) so its been stored indoors since”.
When he opened his garage, I immediately said, “I’ll take it” and handed him the cash without so much as touching the bike. I was prepared to test ride it and had researched the various considerations and tests when buying a used bike, but the bike was an absolute diamond, I didn’t want the guy to reconsider-I wanted to get the bike on my Jeep and leave. As I was loading it, he mentioned what he had paid for it (which was more than I was paying him for it) and a guilt washed over me prompting me to insist he accept more money for it. I fully disclosed that in the right market (Portland, Seattle) the bike was worth considerably more.
Since that time I have spent many times more the purchase price on parts and accessories making this my dream machine. Just yesterday, my saddle arrived. It is a Brooks B-17 Champion Special in Honey Brown (They are hand made in England out of leather and have offered that model of bike seat since 1898). I stitched elkhide on the handlebars, stitched leather on the water bottle cages/pedals and fashioned my own mudflaps out of old ‘executive’ leather folders. I’ve already planned a couple trips for this summer (setting out east to Missouri wine country) and will forward pics once I complete the finishing touches.
I’ve also attached pics from a ride I took along the Missouri River on the Katy Trail (our state’s long rails to trail route) and the Frisco Highline trail (our state’s 2nd longest rails to trail route) and my smiling companions bike which was stolen off Craigslist for $60 (note the new handlebar mounted drink holder on the Fuji).
This has all happened rather quickly (within the last month I got the Fuji fever bad which corresponded nicely with our warming weather) and just this week one of my coworkers brought in a Fuji Titanium bike from ’87 that her husband acquired many years ago from a bike shop owning friend. It was in similar pristine condition, the frame was a little small for him, and at the price I paid for it, he basically gifted it to me (thanks Frank)…pics to follow.
Back to the growing Fuji Fleet,
First, I want to say good on ya for doing right by the seller of your extremely fine Fuji Touring Series IV. I have no doubt that at almost any reasonable price, this is a far better deal than anything at the LBS.
Second, you are right - the Touring Series bikes from the mid-80's were the best equipped and designed Fuji touring bikes. At that precise moment in time, high-end touring bikes were a very competitive market niche and Fuji pulled out all the stops on the Touring Series line.
Third, we are definitely going to want to see pics of that titanium bike when you have a chance.
Finally, I'm glad to see that you are putting this bike to intended usage. I'd also like to add that you and your companion look every bit as buff as your new bike.
Thanks for writing!