The other day I received an email from someone who had just bought one of my bikes. It was a 53 cm. Fuso (Pictured above.) and although the buyer had not heard of the name before he worked in a bike store and knew enough about bikes to know that this was a quality product and he got it for a bargain price. “Almost brand new, hardly ridden.” Was his comment.
After buying the bike he did a Google search and found my website which led to his contacting me. The thing I found interesting was the serial number 010; yes this was the 10th Fuso built and by far the lowest number Fuso I have heard about outside of the number 001.
The number one Fuso was a 58 cm. and was used for display at a trade show when I introduced the brand in 1984. After the show I gave the bike to my friend David Ball from San Luis Obispo, California in exchange for some photography work he had done for me. Several years later David sold the bike to the owner of a local bike store, and as far as I know he still owns the bike even though he has since sold the store.
The Fuso was built in batches of five frames at a time; so the first five were 58 cm. and now it seems the second batch of five were 53 cm. I have considered starting an owner’s register where frame serial numbers would be registered against the current owner’s name. But with close to 3,000 Fuso frames built between 1984 and 1993 the number of owners in contact with me is less than 200, and that’s for all frames built, not just Fusos; so it hardly seems worth it. There would be a lot of gaps in the register; a lot of frames un-registered.
I see Fuso bikes and frames for sale on eBay all the time; in fact is rare for a period of more than a week to go by where there is not one for sale. I always monitor these sales and keep track of prices for my own interest even though I have no part of these sales. Once a bike is sold rarely do I hear of it again.
So it seems the Fuso and the other brands I made are still one of the best kept secrets around. With only 200 owners that I know of means there are several thousand others out there; many of them sitting in garages and basements and can still be picked up at bargain prices because the owners don’t know what they have.
Fri, July 7, 2006
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