MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

FUJI THE ACE - INTRO

FINDING THE FUJI THE ACE

BUILDING THE FUJI THE ACE

RIDING THE FUJI THE ACE

 

BICYCLES OF JAPAN

 

BUILDING THE FUJI THE ACE

The Fuji is practically free of any kind of braze-ons.  There are no top tube brake cable guides.  A clamp, on rear derailleur cable guide, mounts to the right chain stay, eliminating the need for that braze-on.  The bottom bracket guide is also a clamp-on unit, as are the holders for the water bottle.  The beautiful Dura-Ace shifters are not braze-on mounted either.  The entire frame set is clean and sleek, thanks in part, to the absence of these modern component guides or mounts.

The long horizontal Shimano forged drops, would lend themselves well to a Fixed Gear of Single Speed build, assuming that restoration is not the goal.  And, restoration would be an absolute snap, with this great old Asian bicycle.  The Fuji was one hundred percent original, as nearly as I could tell.  It appeared that nothing had been changed, added or upgraded, with the exception of the clamp on water bottle holder.

The quality of workmanship, on this early seventies mount, is equal to the materials used.  Fugi's own chrome molybdenum double butted steel tubing, ending in very cleanly install chrome plated forged drops, form the foundation for this remarkable bicycle.

The cleanly installed lugs, though very plain in both design and presentation, add to the simple beauty of this frame set.  The Fuji name is pantographed into the seat stays and, aside from than that, no other adornment can be found.

Completing the classy and vintage look is the beautiful head badge, depicting the world famous Mount Fuji.  I find it sad that bicycle manufacturer's elected, one at a time, to eliminate these, sometimes highly ornate, frame attachments.  My own CCM Tour du Canada has perhaps the ugliest head tube sticker I have seen, while lesser CCM bicycles were offered with a very ornate brass head badge that, needless to say, improved rather than detracted from the appearance of the bicycle.

The only thing, about the Fuji, that I did not like, was the color.  At one time, my favourite color for a bicycle was black.  Today, I see this much differently.  Today, I want bright colors, announcing my bicycle's presence in traffic.  I want to wear bright clothing to emphasize the bicycle's announcement of its presence.  And, the Fuji makes little or no statement with its drab silver/bronze color choice, blending perhaps invisibly into traffic.

In all fairness to the "I didn't like this" thing, the tubular tires did throw me off.  I just can't see the value in running these antiquated rim skins, in today's high pressure clincher world.  That said, as my level of understanding and interest, in all things of Velo vintage grows, I am learning that the tubular tire does offer a better ride.  It is unlikely that the novice (and I am no expert by any means) will notice a difference, but use of, and comparison, to clincher set-ups, does suggest a positive difference.  Today, even though I have built up a beautiful set of clincher wheels for my 1975 CCM Tour du Canada, I am seriously considering installing the original tubulars that came with the bicycle.  And I have a set waiting for the bike already, hanging in The Old Shed.  Additionally, I have built up other bicycles, long after owning the Fuji, and each of those were fitted with tubulars.  My Bottecchia Professional, all but demanded the sew-up system, as did my sixties something Peugeot PX10.  So, too, did my sixties something Legnano Gran Premio and, I will soon be replacing the clincher hoops on my 1976 Marinoni Quebec.

The wheel set was really quite nice.  The Dura Ace low flange hubs, seemed to be in excellent condition though I never did take them apart, for inspection.  The UKAI sew-up rims, were the first I had ever come across, and in very good condition, showing little brake surface wear, though the brake surface was in need of a good cleaning.

The balance of the component grouppo made a simple statement.  The best!  It is a simple as that.  The The Ace is full first generation Shimano Dura-Ace.  The only other component grouppo, that would offer reasonable competition to this wonderful old set, would be Campagnolo's Nouvo Record grouppo, of similar vintage.  In fact,  closer inspection of the Dura Ace offerings, will reveal a close resemblance to many of  the worshipped Campy components.

The Crane derailleur, predecessor to the Dura-Ace unit, was in great shape, however; I the only picture I have, to depict the component, is poor at best.  The Crane, ornate in itself to say the least, worked just fine and looked good doing it.  The first generation Dura-Ace crank and ring set is another great example of imitating the best of the time.  From a distance, it is hard to tell the Shimano offering from the Campagnolo Nouvo Record one.

The Fuji's pedals and traps proved to be very interesting.  This was the first set, that I had run across, with leather clip protectors.  I guess the leather was intended to protect the riding shoe and, perhaps, dress up the appearance the bicycle's appearance, at the same time.  None-the-less, these unusual leather covered toe clips, did add a touch more vintage appeal to this nicely prepared old road bicycle.

The best part of a first generation Dura-Ace grouppo, for me at least, is the brake set.  I have never used a set of side pulls that I like more, with perhaps one exception - the Mavic SSC brakes mounted on my eighties something Vitus 979.  The Dura-Ace levers seem to fit my hands perfectly.  The first time I had the pleasure of using these brakes was on my 1972 (best guess) Motobecane Grand Record.  The levers were perfect and little effort was required to implement powerful braking action.

Of course, the hoods, handlebar tape and other perishable items had, indeed, perished with the passing of time.  The cloth handlebar tape had rotted, as had the original Shimano brake hoods.  No effort was made, to replace these items, since the bicycle, being way too big for me, was never intended as a keeper.  The fellow, who purchased the Fuji from me, had owned an identical bicycle, in the early seventies.  It would be up to him to restore the bicycle to his own specification.  What a great ride the The Ace must be today.

The control center for the Fuji was a bit unexpected.  I am unsure of when the Nitto Universiade 105 handlebars were first issued, but I was surprised to see them on the Fuji.  Perhaps they were added at a later date.  And, that might also apply to the beautiful Nitto Pearl 9 steering stem.  I had never run across one of these Pearl stems before, nor have I seen one since.

And, in keeping with components that were unfamiliar to me, the seat post must also qualify.  Try as I might, my old eyes just could not make out exactly what was etched into the early indexed seat post.  The post supported a very nice and old 3TTT patterned saddle.  The leather was still in great shape and I could see no reason to warrant replacement.  For the few miles I rode the bicycle, the 3TTT proved to be an adequate perch.

Though I have few pictures, of this great old Asian road bicycle, the few that I do have depict the beauty and preparation of this bicycle, reasonably well.  The Fuji, in spite of its drab appearance, is really an intricate joy to behold, assuming of course that one likes to behold bicycles.  I personally found the The Ace to be a very nice bicycle.  I like bicycles from the Far East, generally finding them to be exceptionally well made, attractive and affordable.  And, some of the best rides I have experienced have been on Asian road bicycles.

The day will come, when another really nice mount, from the Far East ,finds its way into The Old Shed.  Perhaps I will even be lucky enough to stumble across another Miyata 1000.

NEXT - RIDING THE FUJI THE ACE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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