This is what happens to a frame when someone drives into a garage and forgets they have bikes on the roof rack. Don’t let it happen to you. When I saw the above pictured Fuso frame offered on eBay earlier this year, my advice would have been, “This is not worth restoring.”
My thoughts were, by the time someone has two tubes replaced, plus the cost of a repaint, they could find another Fuso on eBay in good condition for less money. However, there was one option I had not even thought about.
Michael Maher, a friend and local Charleston bike enthusiast, who also owns a custom ‘dave moulton’ bought the frame for $22.38. He then sent it to framebuilder Steve Bilenky, who replaced the top and down tubes and fitted a pair of S&S Couplers.
This converted the frame into one that can be used for a “Travel Bike.” One that can be broken in two and packed into a regular size suitcase, thereby avoiding large surcharges the airlines levy for oversize bike boxes.
The frame was powder-coated plain white, and I created a special set of red decals. (Picture above.) Michael brought the frame to me, and I applied the decals and clear coated over them.
Michael has just returned from a trip to Italy with the Fuso, where he took part in a vintage bike rally called L’Erocia. Michael wrote about the trip here, with some videos included.
Fuso frames in good condition go for around $300 to $400. By starting out with a damaged frame, Michael offset the cost of replacing the tubes and probably came out somewhere near where he would had he started out with an undamaged frame. Plus this one was the right size (59cm.) and there was no guarantee he would have found another in time for his planned trip.
Anyway it is nice to see a Fuso that was destined for the scrap heap, restored and put back into good use.