These pictures of a Fuso built in Columbus Max tubing were sent to me by the bike's owner Phil Strong. Phil from San Luis Obispo, California, bought the frame from Art's Cyclery in 1993; this was about the year that I built it.
October 1993 was when I finally left the business. It was a time of transition when bikes were changing in appearence. Up until that point frames had round tubes, standard 11/8 inch down and seat tubes, and a 1 inch top tube.
The Columbus Max tube set intruduced around 1992/93 had oversize tubes that were ovalized at the ends. The top and down tubes were ovalized vertically at the head tube front end, and horizontaly at the other. The tubeset came with a special set of investment cast lugs, bottom bracket shell, and fork crown.
The photos above and left show the seat cluster aragement from the rear and from the side.
This seat cluster was a little tricky as the seat stays were oval in shape and a normal seat stay cap could not be used. A cap on the side of the seat lug would have looked out of place anyway on this radical new design.
As it turned out the seat lug bulged out where the top tube entered, as the top tube was oval and therefore wider than the seat tube that was a standard 1 1/8 inch diameter at the top end to accommodate the seat post.
This bulge in the seat lug made an obvious spot for the seat stays to merge with the seat lug. The stays had to be hand mitered to fit, then fillet brazed for a smooth transition. The seat tube was oval at the bottom bracket end for extra stiffness.
The picture above shows the ovalized seat and down tubes where they enter the bottom bracket shell. Also note the oval chain stays. I clearly remember doing this one of a kind paint job on this frame. Six bands of masking tape were placed around the tubes, the cut down the length of the tube with an Exacto knife to form squares. The alternate squares were removed to give a checkered effect.
(Above.) The front forkblades and the investment crown that came with this tubeset are interesting. The forkblades are aero in shape, round at the leading edge, and knife edge at the trailing edge. The narrow section fork crown is integral fitting that gives the finished fork a pleasing one peice look.
Phil recently rebuilt the bike up using a 2007 Campagnolo Centaur Gruppo. In an email he wrote:
I felt it would simply look wrong swathed in the black carbon fiber of either Chorus or Record. I built up a set of NOS Mavic GP-4's withthe Centaur hubs, but I need to glue on some new tubulars so it's wearing some Neuvation clincher wheels for the time being.
I agree with Phil, this gruppo with this frame makes a perfect transition from the old vintage look of the 1980s to the modern all carbon-fiber bike of today. Phil also stated:
In all the years I've had this bike, it NEVER fails to put a smile on my face when I ride it, and I plan to keep riding it for many years to come.You've written more than once that you doubt anyones life has ever been changed by one of your bikes, but I'll tell you this. My life has most certainly been enhanced by one of your bikes.
I thank Phil Strong for these kind words and great picures, two of which I have added to the Gallery page. Phil currently works at Wally's Bicycle Works in San Luis Obispo.