Dave Moulton

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« Well, I Guess I’m Back | Main | Bicycles are Vehicles »

Fuso Components

I am often asked, “What was the standard component package on the Fuso?” or John Howard, or Recherché.

The answer: There was no standard component package. The reason, I only sold frames, not complete bikes. The frames were ordered by bicycle dealers, usually for a specific customer, who then chose the components and the bike shop ordered these in and built the bike.

Often what happened was the customer could not afford an all Campagnolo or Shimano Dura-Ace equipped bike. So the dealer built the bike with lower priced components like Sugino, Sun Tour, or Shimano 600.

The thinking was, (And I agreed.) the frame is what determines how the bike fits, handles, and feels to the rider. Wheels are the next important factor, but after that a Sugino crankset, or cheaper pedals will, for the most part, feel no different than Campagnolo. The main difference is the quality of finish and the durability of the product, not so much in the ride quality.

The theory was, get a newcomer on a quality frame, get them hooked on cycling and they would come back and upgrade to a better quality component later. This was a smart business move for the Bike Dealer, and it sold frames for me.

For about the same price as say a mid range Japanese or European import, a customer could get on one of my frames with lower priced components. And of course when the customer compared the mid range import and my bike on a test ride they could feel the difference.

That was the theory. In reality what happened in many cases, the bike purchase was an impulse thing, and after a short period, the bike ended up sitting in the garage where many still languish to this day.

From time to time such a bike comes up on eBay, often with a mish-mosh of cheap components. If you are buying such a bike, realize that you are basically buying it for the frame. If you strip the components to replace them with, say Campagnolo; these left over parts will have little or no resale value.

On the other hand, many may not want such a bike. If you can buy it at a bargain price, you can ride as originally intended and upgrade the components as they become available.

All frames I built were measured center to top which is approximately 2 cm. more that the center to center measurement. For example frame stamped 58 under the bottom bracket shell, would measure 56 cm. center to center. Also, if it is a Fuso and you ask the seller for the frame number, you canlink to my website here and get the approximate date it was built.


Reader Comments (6)

In June of 2008, I won Fuso # 1587 for $610 with mostly 8-speed Dura Ace 7402 components. It was a bad listing - the seller did not say Fuso in the title and misspelled your name Moulten, so I am guessing it was largely overlooked. The bike is in very good shape with some wear on the paint but no dings or dents. I believe it's stamped 56, but will check when I get home. Thanks for posting the list.

March 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteve C

Dave!! You're posting again! You're blogging again! Hooray!!

What can I say? I, and probably hundreds (if not thousands) of web surfers and bike enthusiasts have missed you. Your eclectic mix of bike lore, technical knowledge, and bike tips is a fresh and entertaining oasis on the internet.

As a proud owner of an early production Fuso #216 (54cm with plum and silver paint scheme), I'm appreciative of the unique pleasure of acquainting myself with the frame artist behind the bike.

Keep it up, and congrats on your new bike.

Bill in Pasadena

March 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBill in Pasadena

interisting article, i've bookmarked your web site for future reference

March 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commentererik


Thanks for the articles, I've really enjoyed your blog. Since finding your blog I've picked up your #98 Fuso frame and am beginning to build it up. I could not find on your spec sheet what type of bottom bracket the Fuso's took. Italian or English?


September 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJared Sopko

I just finished a great ride on my Fuso FR1. It's a gorgeous day in L.A., and we went for a spin on Mulholland Drive and Ventura Blvd. It's hard to believe she's approaching 20 years in age. She still looks great -- and still gets compliments. And her ride is as smooth as ever. Being on my Fuso is one of the sweetest places on the planet. Thanks for the care and craftsmanship you put into your work. It's given me 20 years of joy.

November 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Core

I just finished restoring a 56'' fuso, powdercoated to mint green color. now converted to singlepeed, all shimano, cinelli and campo and touched off with a set of carbon clinchers. shes beautiful, i love her so much. thanks for building a classy elegant and versatile frame..

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterandrew
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