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« In search of the perfect fork blade | Main | Evel Knievel »
Friday
Dec072007

The Fuso Lux



When I first produced the Fuso in 1984, I had hoped to keep things simple. My goal was to produce a frame that was built better than the average import frame, was better finished, and rode and handled better. At the same time was competitively priced.

In order to achieve this I built one model, and offered it in four different two-color paint schemes. The frame was available in 18 different sizes in one-centimeter increments, so the customer got virtually a custom fit.

However, I soon found that you can’t please all the people, and soon I had requests for different colors, chrome plating, etc, etc. I explained that this was not “Burger King;” it was not quite as simple as, “Hold the cheese, and add a pickle.” I still offered my custom ‘dave moulton’ frame, but the price was much higher, and the wait was longer.

In 1986 I gave in to the whiners compromised and brought out the Fuso “Lux” model. The standard Fuso was always in stock (Unpainted.) in every size, so I could fill an order immediately. The Lux was built to order, in other words an order existed before the frame was built.

It was built in the same standard geometry as the other Fuso frames. However, it had a different rear brake bridge, tubular, with diamond shaped reinforces. (See top pictures.)

Later Lux frames would have the same flat machined brake bridge as the standard Fuso, but engraved with the words, “Fuso LUX.” At this same time, the Lux had engraved seatstay caps. (See left.) The earlier Lux, (Pictured at the top.) had the same seatstay caps as the standard Fuso.

The Lux had Chrome plated dropout faces, and a chrome right chainstay; it also had an integral aero fork crown, which gave a one-piece look. (Below right.)

The big difference was in the paint finish; the Lux had the decals “buried” under eight clear coats, then sanded smooth.

All this LUXury came at a price. In 1990 a standard Fuso FR1 with C-record components retailed at $1,600, a LUX with the same components was $3,150.

A week ago received photos and an email from Hiram Sloan, he said,

“I recently purchased a Fuso Lux; it is the 1987 anniversary model. I was thrilled to find it among the used bicycles at Richardson Bike Mart in Richardson, Texas. As you can see in the pictures attached, it is in pristine shape and has been ridden very little.”

Hiram's bike is the red and yellow model pictured at the top. I never kept records of exactly how many of the Lux model were built; out of just under 3,000 Fuso frames, I’m guessing about a hundred or so.

Reader Comments (10)

Are those "aero forks" any better structurally than regular lugged forks? I have a similar fork on my old French bike and while it looks extremely good, it seems to be aerodynamically useless, since the fork crown sits in the turbulence created by the front brake.
December 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Simply beautiful! Care to give us your thoughts on using Columbus tubing instead of Reynolds?
Thanks,
Jack
December 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
No difference structurally between the aero and lugged style crown. The aero was more work (filing.) to make it so you couldn’t see the join. I agree on the aerodynamic aspect it is style rather than function.

Jack,
No difference either structurally or in quality between Columbus and Reynolds. That’s a subject for another blog.
Dave.
December 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Dave Moulton
Dave,

A comparison between Columbus and Reynolds would be great! Particularly from the point of view of a British clubman in the 1950s and later as a builder in the UK and the US. I'm sure there were a lot of prejudices, myths and misconceptions.
December 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
I'm in agreement with the rest. A future blog on the different tubing available and why one was chosen over another would be very interesting.

Why can't I find a Fuso..or Lux, for that matter... in any condition????
December 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter matese falcon
I have always been impressed with Columbus forks, vs Reynolds. Their section looks different, and I imagine it took you awhile to perfect the fork on your frames: they absorb road shock and steer sweetly.
Don't know your secret but it worked.
December 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter VintageSpin
Maltese Falcon

I have seen numerous Fusos show up on ebay over the past few years, be patient. It is a bike well worth waiting for.

Bob J
December 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Bob J
We have another Fuso at Richardson Bikemart, from the same gentleman who brought Hiram's in. I thinks its a 50 or 52. Exquisite and perfect.
December 8, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Mark Manson
Mark, can you either email me at ssamut@aol.com or call me at 650-228-4388 to discuss that fuso. Email might be better. Let me know where you are located, will you, as well as full information on the bike?

Thanks..
steve
December 8, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter maltese falcon
For technical information on Reynold's and Columbus and comparisons, check here : http://www.strongframes.com/material_tech/
December 9, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Ron
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