I introduced the Fuso frame in 1984. Sales went pretty well right from the start, and I was able to quickly establish the Fuso name amongst all the many import brands from Italy and Japan. I built 18 different sizes in one centimeter increments. My aim was to have every size in stock (Unpainted.) at all time.
With top tube lengths and frame angles varying throughout this range of sizes, it meant one could get a custom fit from a frame that was in stock, and could be delivered, painted in your choice of color, in two or three weeks rather than having to wait several months to have one custom built individually. Plus the price was reasonable.
In 1987 I realized it had been 30 years since I built my first frame in 1957, under the tutelage of Albert “Pop” Hodge. (Picture right.)
I was 21 years old at the time, and had worked part time for Pop since I was 17. Pop Hodge was born in 1877, so was 80 years old at the time. Roughly the age I am now.
In 1987 I realized it was probably a good marketing strategy to label frames sold that year with a special 30th. Anniversary decal on the left chainstay.
As I already mentioned I tried to keep all sizes in stock, so I had between 60 and 100 unpainted frames hanging on the wall at any given time.
Many of the frames sold in the early part of 1987 were actually built in 1986, but were painted and sold in 1987, so therefore got the special decal. It was the only practical way to do it. Likewise many frames built in the last months of 1987 were unsold and unpainted on December 31st. that year. Those frames did not get the Anniversary decal.
I recently realized it is now another 30 years since 1987, so it is the 30th. Anniversary of my 30th. Anniversary. I other words 60 years ago I built my first frame. A point I would like to make is this, the chain driven bicycle was invented in 1885. Pop Hodge was born 8 years before that date, and started building frames around 1907.
Those early framebuilders were blacksmiths, and Pop brazed his frames in a hearth of hot coals. I not only learned framebuilding from this man, but learned the history of bicycle building and design.
I have lost count over recent years of the number of times I have written to bike manufacturers offering my knowledge for the price of my expenses in getting to their facility. Not once have I even got the courtesy of a reply.
The last one was just a few weeks ago, my attitude now is fuck it, I’m done. Please don’t suggest that I write a book, I am also through with writing books that no one buys. It is what I should expect really. The top bike makers are now large corporations, and my emails are probably getting deleted by some junior clerk who doesn’t even ride a bike.
Excuse the little rant there at the end, but I get frustrated at times.