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

 

RIDING THE FUJI THE ACE

I spent very little time riding the Fuji The Ace.  The bicycle was much too large, for me to ride with any degree of comfort, however; I did mount the old bicycle and spend about half an hour trying it out.

The Dura Ace components worked about as well as anything I had used to date.  That comment must be qualified.  I am comparing the function to components of similar vintage, not the newer indexed transmissions or light action brakes that become increasingly common as road bicycles matured.

The bicycle felt light and very responsive.  I attribute this in part to the frame set design as well as to the wheel set chosen for the Fuji.  The bicycle was fitted with Sew-ups and these wheel sets always seem to offer a lighter or more agile feel.  Though I used to snub my nose up at the Sew-up I have come to appreciate them more every time I try a bicycle equipped with them.  This coming season I plan to set one of my own bikes up with the Old School running gear system and give Sew-ups a fair try.  I do, however, shudder at the thought of "flatting out" - the mess and expense will no doubt flavour my tasting of Sew-up soup.

The Fuji seemed to accelerate very well, once again supporting the notion that Sew-up wheel sets add considerably to the ride quality of a vintage bicycle.  I suppose that part of the acceleration thing comes from the ring and cog ratios offered.  With a tooth count of 44, the small ring on the front was somewhat larger than the 42 tooth units I am accustomed to, but the cog set offered a 28 too big gear to make up for it.  Most of the bikes that I set up for myself run a rear cog set with a 22 or 24 tooth big gear.  I never have taken the time to compare gear ratios to acceleration feel but this combination seemed to work well for me.  As I get older, I have noticed that I tend to like the opportunity to shift to a bigger rear gear when climbing hills.

I was really looking forward to testing the brake system.  My 1972 Motobecane Grand Record ran the early Dura Ace side pull brakes and I really liked them.  In fact, the early Dura Ace stoppers were the best Old School brakes that I have ever been lucky enough to use.  And those on the Fuji mimicked those of the Grand Record.  These brakes are almost perfect for me!  The levers are very comfortable and the stopping power of the callipers is second to none that I have used to date.  And that statement also needs a qualifier.  The first generation Dura Ace brake set is equal in feel and performance to anything I have used - Old School or new.  But that is just how they felt to me.

The TTT leather cover saddle proved to be comfortable but I did not spend nearly enough time in the saddle to test it properly.  I have ridden identical saddles for longer periods of time and found them to be quite acceptable even though they do not meet the comfort standards offered by my Brooks seats.  The one thing that I absolutely did not like about the saddle was its pattern.  To me it looked like some kind of skin disease.  I cannot help but wonder why Fuji would have selected such a pattern.  But, again, that is just me.

I tested rode the The Ace with the original pedals, rather than my clip-in units.  Again, hardly a fair opportunity for testing the bicycle itself.  I just don't like the lack of positive feel of the Old School pedal system and I probably never will.  I have honestly tried mounting old style pedals on a couple of my personal bikes and always gone back to the modern sets that I prefer.  I know the clip-ins look out of place but I can tolerate the appearance for the incredible increase in function.  I have heard people who I would consider to be "experts" criticize the modern pedal and I do not agree with some of their comments.  For me, the new pedal system is the only way to go!

An speaking of go, that's what the Fuji had to do - go.  The bicycle did not fit!  I considered parting it out and offering the frame set for auction on Ebay, while keeping the Dura Ace grouppo for myself but I just couldn't do it.  The Fuji deserved to remain intact, in my opinion.  I offered the bicycle for sale on Ebay and it sold immediately, though I always allow an auction to run its course.  Today, I would do things a bit differently.  The frame set would have been offered separately and the Grouppo would be mounted on a personal bike, my 1975 Sekine SHT-270.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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