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Fuji Finest, early 70s build thread

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Fuji Finest, early 70s build thread

Old 07-14-19, 08:47 AM
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Fuji Finest, early 70s build thread

I've really been getting into 70s era bikes lately. I've been commuting on a mid 70s Sekine SHS 271 with all original parts and I recently fixed up an early 70s Motobecane Grand Record. I love all the chrome, the eyelets (which started to disappear from racing bikes by the 80s), and the generous clearance for fat tires (these bikes were not made for short reach brakes). Most of the 70s era bikes I've worked on can take a 32c tire.

The one downside is that 5 gears on the back means that you are lacking some in between gears unless you run a tight cluster. I do some rides every year in WI and MN where there are a lot (and I do mean a lot) of hills so having 7 on the back is a big help.

The Fuji Finest that I have may well be a 1970 or even a late 60s model. The frame has been spread to 126 so it will be easy for me to get the gearing I want.

It lacks a serial number and the Fuji vintage site says that the vintage Fuji bikes without a serial number may have been imported before Fuji published its first catalog in Fall of '71 for the '72 model year:

Fuji Bicycle Serial Number Formats - 1971 through 1991

In any case, this is the bike as found in the wild. It had a hodgepart of parts but had original derailleurs, headset, crank, and seatpost. The brakes were after market first generation shimano dura ace, the pedals MKS, and the wheels in the picture are not the original ones. The stem is an uber long 3T (15 cm):




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Old 07-14-19, 08:51 AM
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The paint job is in terrific shape and since the bike is completely chromed underneath the paint, the scratched up areas look nice and shiny. Still there are some (few) rust issues esp. on parts of the chrome and many of the parts.

The gel evapo rust is working pretty well on the bike (it just sort of sticks where you put it) and the rusty bits all went into a bucket of evapo rust. The parts went into my parts cleaner.



Gel evapo rust on frame


orange degreaser works well


Evapo rust does wonders for small parts

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Old 07-14-19, 08:56 AM
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I haven't decided on the parts yet but the gearing needs to be generous as I want to use this to ride hills. I'll keep the first gen dura ace brakes that came with the bike and seatpost but I'll likely change out the derailleurs to suntour cyclone. I need to decide between running a compact double or a triple. I suspect I'll go with a triple. The compact would take care of the high and the low that I want and simplify the shifting but I find that a triple gives me better in between gears when running 7 in the back.

There are so many great high end Japanese parts to choose from; this will be a fun build.

It's always fun to look at the catalogs to get an idea of how to do a build. The catalogs list the Finest from 1971 to 1977. The early catalogs show it as a racing bike and the later ones say it is a touring bike. The Fuji America (which came out in 1975) pretty much took up the touring slot and the Finest Mark II which came out in 1978 was clearly more of a racing bike.

http://classicfuji.com/index.html

First I need to deal with the minor rust issues on the frame though.

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Old 07-14-19, 10:57 AM
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Cool project, Miguel. I also like early 70s bikes for the same reason. No harm to spread the rear to 126 and use a 7-speed cluster, as well as Cyclone GT RD and Cyclone FD.
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Old 07-14-19, 08:11 PM
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Brakes

I've been thinking about this build for a while and I finally freed up some time to make it happen.

The first generation dura ace brakes on this bike were clean but there were no hoods. Oddly there were no hoods on the '71 or '72 Fuji Finest but I like hoods. The cane creek hoods are pretty good replacements. I know I'm going to be tempted to swap out the brake levers for aero levers as that will give me a 2d quick release. I like running quick releases on the brake calipers and levers when running 32c tires as that makes getting the wheels on and off a lot easier. Plus aero levers work better and give you a better hand position. Still nothing quite says vintage bikes as shifters on the downtube and cables running up over the handlebars, .

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Old 07-14-19, 08:18 PM
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Crank and bottom bracket

I'm going to use the SR Apex triple crank. It's a copy of the stronglight 99 and both can be run as a double or as a triple. It has an 86 bcd and new chainrings are still available via SPA cycles in the UK (which will ship to the US).

I think the SR Apex is underrated. It is a very pretty and versatile crank. I'll be running 48/38/28 rings.

Because the crank uses the same chainring bolt for all three rings, the bolts are long. I was surprised--happily--that you can get long sugino bolts (14 mm) from Amazon and they work on this crank.

It's always hit or miss when looking for a bottom bracket for an old crank but I tracked down an SR catalog via the web. It has all the technical info you need. The SR Apex takes a D3SS which is 121.5 in length. I had a shimano D3SS in my parts bin and a set of shimano cups so I'm good with the BB. Actually having the right spindle and cups in your parts bin counts as good luck for sure,







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Old 07-14-19, 08:25 PM
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That is/was how mine looked. Currently everything is on my Colnago to see if I liked the shorter wheelbase and geometry. I do so itís going back on this one. Iíve owned it since 73. Rear spacing easily fits the 130 spacing. Campy long reach brakes make it work. Have fun with your build. Great riding bicycle
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Old 07-15-19, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by 72fuji View Post


That is/was how mine looked. Currently everything is on my Colnago to see if I liked the shorter wheelbase and geometry. I do so itís going back on this one. Iíve owned it since 73. Rear spacing easily fits the 130 spacing. Campy long reach brakes make it work. Have fun with your build. Great riding bicycle
Cool bike and the fact that you've owned it since new is also very cool.
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Old 07-15-19, 05:51 AM
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Suntour V

New guy here, but I have ben looking at rear derailleurs myself. Is that perhaps a Fuji branded Suntour Vx rear derailleur on your nice Fuji? From the bit I have read, they are highly rated and have the period correct look. With the triple in front, you may get the gearing you want with a closer ratio in back that the shorter cage can handle.

Suntour Fuji Vx...late 70s.. Fuji Vx S derailleur
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Old 07-15-19, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by sd5782 View Post
New guy here, but I have ben looking at rear derailleurs myself. Is that perhaps a Fuji branded Suntour Vx rear derailleur on your nice Fuji? From the bit I have read, they are highly rated and have the period correct look. With the triple in front, you may get the gearing you want with a closer ratio in back that the shorter cage can handle.

Suntour Fuji Vx...late 70s.. Fuji Vx S derailleur
It's a little older, it's a suntour v derailleur from the 70s which was original equipment on the Fuji Finest:

SunTour V derailleur (2nd style)

You're right that sometimes you can get away with running a short cage RD and a triple but this doesn't have the capacity at 24 teeth. Some of the early mountain bikes came with short cage RDs (less likely to get bent up) but they could handle a bigger cog and more chain wrap than the suntour v.

I'm running a triple with 48/38/28 rings and likely a 12-28 on the rear so I need a RD that can handle a 28 tooth max cog and 36 teeth of chain wrap. The Suntour Cyclone GT can handle this as can pretty much all the long cage suntour rear derailleurs:

VeloBase.com - Component: SunTour Cyclone GT
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Old 07-15-19, 08:32 AM
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Actually the Cyclone GT or later Mkll are the ones on my list for a recently acquired Trek that I want to run a 14-28 on. No hills where I live. Pretty Fuji.
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Old 07-15-19, 07:14 PM
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Derailleurs

So I am going to use a suntour cyclone GT rear derailleur, a cyclone front derailleur, and suntour ratcheting bar cons. I like downtube shifters a lot but I know that bar cons were kind of a thing in the 70s and a lot of people used them. The 1977 Fuji Finest came with bar cons but by '77 Fuji called this the "perfect touring bike." In the early 70s, Fuji said this was a "racing" bike. Go figure,

I still need to decide on a wheelset and a freewheel as well as work on the frame.

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Old 07-17-19, 02:30 PM
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Gear ratios

I have a pristine Suntour new winner 7 speed freewheel: 13-15-17-19-21-24-28. With the 48/38/28 rings I'm running on the SR Apex crank, I'll end up with 5 usable and useful gears on each chainring. I'll end up with a high of around 100 inches and a low of 27 inches. I'll try to track down a new winner 30 tooth cog as that will get this down to 25 inches. Nothing wrong with tweaking your bail out gear.



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Old 07-17-19, 02:53 PM
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Wow, fantastic frame and build plan. Looks like a racy yet comfortable machine. The chrome lugs and earlier Fuji decal are perfect.

What tire size can this guy fit?
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Old 07-17-19, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
Wow, fantastic frame and build plan. Looks like a racy yet comfortable machine. The chrome lugs and earlier Fuji decal are perfect.

What tire size can this guy fit?
Yeah this bike can take seriously fat tires. The first pic with the mock up wheels are 27 x 1 and 1/4. The bike came stock with tubulars and I'm going to run it with 700c clinchers. For sure it can take 32c tires and I'll bet it can take a 35c as well. I'll likely end up running
lightweight 32c tires.

The continental grand prix 5000s come in 32c and weigh all of 295 grams! But I'm not sure I can talk myself into paying $116 for a pair of tires. The Compass Stampede tires cost $134 a pair (!) and weigh 290 grams. Soma Supple Vittesse 700 x 33c are $88 for the pair and also 290 grams in the "extra" wear version. A pair of folding Panaracer Gravel Kings 700 x 32c will run me $70 and they weigh 290 grams. I think I'm going to run the Panaracer Gravel King tires,

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Old 07-19-19, 07:20 PM
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Frame and headset

It has been hotter than heck and my garage has become more of a sauna than a workshop. So I did some outside work on my bike. I overhauled the headset. I was a bit surprised to see ball bearing cages. Normally I run them loose at least for the lower end but I decided to make my life easy and recycle the retainers. I finally got the frame cleaned up so I waxed it and sprayed the inside with framer saver. I had a hard time getting a good picture because the light was so strong (plus I'm a crummy photographer) but the frame is looking good.

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Old 07-19-19, 07:26 PM
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Looking great.

I've run the Supple Vitesse in 38 and 42, and the Gravel Kings in 32 and 35. Either would be a good choice.
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Old 09-02-19, 08:56 PM
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It took me a while to finish the bike up but I have a ride coming up in Wisconsin which was good motivation. I rode the bike around 80 miles over the Labor Day weekend. I really, really like the way the bike rides. I like the parts I picked out as well. I didn't build it up entirely with period correct parts but I did build it up with Japanese parts that I really like and most of which came from the 70s:

(1) Suntour cyclone derailleurs with suntour barcon shifters;
(2) SR Apex 86 bcd crank with 48/38/28 rings;
(3) Suntour new winner 7 speed freewheel, 13-28;
(4) MKS Sylvan pedals and MKS toe clips;
(5) Nitto bar and stem;
(6) first gen dura ace brakes with kool stop pads;
(7) suntour superbe pro sealed hubs laced to campy omega rims;
(8) panaracer gravel king 700 x 32c tires;
(9) sella anatomica saddle and "great rider" 2 bolt campy copy seatpost.



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Old 09-02-19, 09:25 PM
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Nice build, first rate! The cyclone GT is a touch of class on that bike, my favorite RD. What blue cloth tape did you use? It may have been mentioned earlier, but what hoods did you use on the dura-ace levers?
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Old 09-02-19, 09:29 PM
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Very similar to the way I found my finest:

Cyclone GT RD
Shimano first gen dura-ace brakes.
Weyless hubs
Light blue bar tape





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Old 09-02-19, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
Nice build, first rate! The cyclone GT is a touch of class on that bike, my favorite RD. What blue cloth tape did you use? It may have been mentioned earlier, but what hoods did you use on the dura-ace levers?
Thanks! The hoods are Cane Creek. They fit the dura ace levers pretty well. The tape is Velox Tressostar. Newbaums may be a bit higher quality but I actually like the tressostar better. It's not as thick or as sticky and so it is easier to get it to lie down flat. The thinner tape is a big plus when wrapping around the levers.

Yeah Fuji used blue bar tape on some of the blue Finest bikes; you can see this in the catalogs (at least when the catalogs were available online).
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Old 09-02-19, 10:55 PM
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Someone recently confirmed that my '74 Campania Professional is a rebadged Fuji, so I am taking a greater interest in Fujis of the era (and am eagerly awaiting the relaunch of the Classic Fuji site). Yours is beautiful!
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Old 09-03-19, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
Someone recently confirmed that my '74 Campania Professional is a rebadged Fuji, so I am taking a greater interest in Fujis of the era (and am eagerly awaiting the relaunch of the Classic Fuji site). Yours is beautiful!
Would you mind posting a link to that. That is a really interesting connection.
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Old 09-03-19, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
Would you mind posting a link to that. That is a really interesting connection.
Sure, no problem - here is the link to the thread, and post #61 is from someone who worked in a shop around that time and was familiar with the importer/distributor at the time.

Campania ďProfessionalĒ freebie
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