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Deciphering Fuji Finest details

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Deciphering Fuji Finest details

Old 05-29-23, 04:22 AM
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Deciphering Fuji Finest details

I bought this Fuji sight unseen a couple years ago. It's been sitting in my son's basement in Portland ever since (still sight unseen by me). Based on the color and the chrome panels, I think it's a Finest. As you can see, it needs a bit of work...



I'm a bit confused about the serial number. I can't quite read some of the key characters. Does it start "G6"? If so, that's facility G, 1971, but I'm not confident in my interpretation. @T-Mar's Asian serial number guide suggests the third character is the month, so either "1" or "I"? There's no month decoder, but the Wayback Machine's Fuji decoder gives this mapping:

Code:
(B) Month of Bicycle Frame Manufacture

I September   Frames built in these months
J October     are for the following year's
K November    Catalog.
L December

A January     Frames built in these months
B February    are for the Catalog Year as
C March       indicated by the Year of
D April       Manufacture (C).
E May
F June

G July        Occasionally a frame built in
H August      July or August will be for the
              following year's catalog.



From the catalog scans I've been able to find from that period, it seems some components might have been substituted (bike boom shortages?). It doesn't have side pull brakes (Dia-Compe center pulls), and instead of a SunTour V or Vx, it has a GT rear derailleur. The crank was probably a Sugino Mighty Compe. The frame appears to be sound from the pix. I guess I can thank the chrome plating for that.

Any guidance on nailing down the year and model would be appreciated.
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Old 05-29-23, 05:51 AM
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It appears that you have a stock Fuji Finest from 1972. I have the exact same model. To me this bike was significant as it was the Asian (Japanese) response to the European bike invasion. Beautiful bike and rides like a dream. I am attaching the catalog pages and some photos of a stock model in near perfect condition (mine is still in process).









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Old 05-29-23, 07:05 AM
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The 70s Fuji Finest is a very versatile machine as it has clearance for large volume tires. My Finest had been spread to 126 OLD. I built it with 3 x 7 gearing, dura ace brakes, cyclone derailleurs, suntour barcons, MKS pedals, a New Winner 7 speed freewheel, Nitto bar and stem, selle anatomica saddle, and shimano 600 hubs laced to Araya rims. I'm running 700 x 32c tires with plenty of room to spare. The headset and seatpost are original to the bike. It is one of the finest riding bikes I have ever owned. It is an excellent long distance machine.

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Old 06-01-23, 07:32 AM
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Just beautiful, bikemig.
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Old 06-02-23, 02:09 PM
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My Fuji "The Finest" is also from 1972 (though the serial is stamped on the bottom bracket). I've ridden it on three Seagull Centuries, It has a very comfortable ride. I've often referred to it as "plush". It has had that feel when ridden with cheap 23mm tires, even cheaper tubular tires and with the very nice, Grand Bois 25mm tires - which it has been wearing for quite some time now. It could easily accommodate 32s, I believe. One thing I noticed shortly after acquiring it is how much it resembles a PX-10. Aside from the longer wheelbase and slacker tube angles, the coloration has a definite resemblance - especially from a distance.



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Old 06-02-23, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Maohaus
It appears that you have a stock Fuji Finest from 1972. I have the exact same model. To me this bike was significant as it was the Asian (Japanese) response to the European bike invasion. Beautiful bike and rides like a dream. I am attaching the catalog pages and some photos of a stock model in near perfect condition (mine is still in process).









-----



beautiful job Maohaus

HS is not listed in specifications

it is Tange Falcon

this is a quality set although races are not rectified following plating

the Mikashima Unique Road pedals are first generation

a revised edition came out a few years later which has a different dustcap


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Old 06-10-23, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro

I'm a bit confused about the serial number. I can't quite read some of the key characters. Does it start "G6"? If so, that's facility G, 1971, but I'm not confident in my interpretation. @T-Mar's Asian serial number guide suggests the third character is the month, so either "1" or "I"?

. . .

Any guidance on nailing down the year and model would be appreciated.
The serial number looks like 6G10593.

I would suggest that the prefix letter (found on most Fuji serial numbers from this period) is missing or faintly impressed into the frame. This would mean that "6" is the Showa year 46 and G the month.

The prefix letters that I have seen for Showa year 46 (1971) are: F, K, and M. I have never seen the letter G as a prefix letter for Fuji serial numbers.
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Old 06-25-23, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
My Fuji "The Finest" is also from 1972 (though the serial is stamped on the bottom bracket). I've ridden it on three Seagull Centuries, It has a very comfortable ride. I've often referred to it as "plush". It has had that feel when ridden with cheap 23mm tires, even cheaper tubular tires and with the very nice, Grand Bois 25mm tires - which it has been wearing for quite some time now. It could easily accommodate 32s, I believe. One thing I noticed shortly after acquiring it is how much it resembles a PX-10. Aside from the longer wheelbase and slacker tube angles, the coloration has a definite resemblance - especially from a distance.
Do you know what the wheelbase is? I'm having a hard time finding out the geometry specs for the 1972 models. I know the ST/HT is 73 from their literature, but can't find anything else.

Thanks for any info.
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Old 06-25-23, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dschad
Do you know what the wheelbase is? I'm having a hard time finding out the geometry specs for the 1972 models. I know the ST/HT is 73 from their literature, but can't find anything else.

Thanks for any info.
I have the rear wheel positioned at about the midpoint of the dropout. Axle center to axle center there is 41-1/4" I could position the rear wheel +/- 3/8" from there.
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Old 06-26-23, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
I have the rear wheel positioned at about the midpoint of the dropout. Axle center to axle center there is 41-1/4" I could position the rear wheel +/- 3/8" from there.
Thank you. I think I'm zeroing in on a Finest as a project bike. I love your white one.
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Old 06-26-23, 06:33 AM
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A customer at the shop gave me his white Finest and his wife's blue Finest. They are real easy riders, smooth going down the road. He gave them to me, and I gave them to the next person(s). Both college students in need of transportation. My guess is that they are still out there somewhere.
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Old 06-26-23, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero
A customer at the shop gave me his white Finest and his wife's blue Finest. They are real easy riders, smooth going down the road. He gave them to me, and I gave them to the next person(s). Both college students in need of transportation. My guess is that they are still out there somewhere.
No doubt...they just need to get out of the garage rafters and be at the proper intersection of distance, size and economic reality. It seems hard to get all three (esp. the first one), but it also keeps me from getting in trouble with my wife.
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Old 10-23-23, 08:35 AM
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Thanks for all the notes. I got close to getting the bike rideable while here in Portland, but not quite. It will fly home in the belly of the plane back to Chicago for further work.

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Old 10-28-23, 05:29 PM
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I got the bike home and stripped it down. In the process, I came across some stuff I'd not seen before. Some things–like the Hupel Rider seatpost–I knew of, but hadn't seen. Others, not so much.

I know 3.3.3 and 8.8.8 are in some way "lucky numbers" in Japan, but this was the first time I'd seen "3.3.3" on an actual part (I've lived a sheltered life):



I've seen the early SunTour logo on various parts, but not on a quick release lever. In this case, the skewer is mated to a Sunshine 5345 rear hub. (Alas, the front was replaced with a Shimano skewer.) This bike also has early logo shift levers and covers. I still need to clean them up a bit though.



I've seen pictures of Hupel Rider seatposts, but not seen one in real life. This was pretty badly scuffed up:



so I spent a bit of time with sandpaper today to clean it up a bit, but didn't get too carried away (yet):



Finally, while not the highest quality seatpost bolt, it's kinda cool to see the Fuji logo there:

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Old 10-28-23, 08:10 PM
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------

​​​​​​

iirc this binder is a product of Primus

this symbol is also sometimes encountered on the heads of the centrepull brake caliper pivot bolts


---



the Finest was sometimes private labelled; one name recalled is that of Campania


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Old 10-28-23, 09:54 PM
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Think yours is a 71 like mine

Skip,

Think your 2nd digit is a 6 so I think you are right that it is a 71. The track style fork crown also suggests it is earlier than a 72 because the spearpoint crown lugs started showing up around then.

as you are aware, I am working on a similar project and the BF hive mind helped me to figure out my frame.

Need Help Identifying Mystery Frame with Nice Chrome and Beautiful Chrome Fork Crown

Unfortunately, mine was the frame only so the cool parts you have are missing from mine. I am building mine up with mostly 1st generation Shimano Dura Ace to at least be period appropriate. Gus Salmon has 1971 Fuji Finest reproduction decals if anyone is looking.
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Old 10-30-23, 01:09 PM
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I forgot to mention a couple other bits on the Fuji. One, a Primus pump, apparently made by Karasawa. Kurt Sperry on CR had a "Stuff I saw on eBay" thread about Primus pumps.



It was held in place by a Karasawa pump clip:



The bottom bracket spindle was new to me. I have seen Sugino MW-68 bottom brackets. What does "<<STRONG>>" mean?

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Old 04-01-24, 06:36 PM
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Another Patina Pony nears its maiden voyage. I've made a few changes from the equipment that came with the bike. I decided I'll probably send it back to Portland to be my n+0 bike there, stored at my son's house. Accordingly, I figured clinchers would be more practical. I returned the rear spacing to 120mm and built some wheels using some Galli hubs and CR-18 rims I've had in my stash for several years (Regina freewheel from iab), and replaced the SunTour GT rear derailleur with a Cyclone GT. The Spirt front derailleur seemed a bit sketchy on the stand, so I snagged Kontact's Compe V. It will also sport Mad Honk 's surplus fenders (it will probably live in Portland, after all). The cockpit is currently as purchased—pretty sure the bar tape used to be red—but will eventually get a little love. Once we get some warmer riding weather I'll take it out for a spin.

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Old 04-02-24, 04:37 AM
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Love the Finest - favorite blue color. I am rebuilding mine to original condition with sew-ups. Do you have the original rims?
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Old 04-02-24, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Maohaus
Do you have the original rims?
I believe they are original, yes. Sunshine high flange hubs laced to Ukai tubular rims, foam- or plastic-filled. Since the bike will be stationed at my son's house I decided a set of clinchers was a more reliable choice. If he wanted to ride it and suffered a flat, finding the bits necessary to get him going again would only require a trip to one of his many LBS's rather than an intro to tubular tire technology and maintenance.
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Old 04-02-24, 10:06 AM
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Hi, I sent you a message offline re: the rims/wheels.
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Old 04-02-24, 05:32 PM
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One really cool thing on some of the finest models is the forks made with round tubing, like a track fork. That’s how mine is built, you can sort of see it in this photo.
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Old 04-02-24, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234
One really cool thing on some of the finest models is the forks made with round tubing, like a track fork. That’s how mine is built...
Yup, mine too...
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Old 04-02-24, 06:05 PM
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Been watching this thread with great interest

Getting ready to build mine up.


Some assembly required.
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Old 04-02-24, 07:54 PM
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I’m curious whether the forks with round blades have significantly less clearance for wide tires than the later oval blade forks…
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