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Monday
Sep142015

West Coast Tour: Itinerary 

Here is my itinerary so far for my upcoming West Coast Tour. I fly into Portland, Oregon on the afternoon of Tuesday, the 29th. September. I will hit the ground running with an appearance that evening.

Tuesday 29th September. 5 pm. the  Bike Commuter, 8524 SE 17th Ave, Portland Oregon.

Thursday 1st. October. 7 pm. Greater Eugene Area Riders (G.E.A.Rs.) Washington Park Cottage, 2025, Washington Street, Eugene, Oregon.

Sunday 4th. October, 3 pm US Bicycling Hall of Fame, 303, 3rd. Street, Davis, California.

Wednesday 7th October, 6:30 pm the Sports Basement, 1177 Kern Ave, Sunnyvale. CA.

Saturday 10th. October, Time TBA Wally’s Bicycle Works, 306 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA

Update: New event added, thanks to Nick Delia, at the Fireman's Union Meeting Room, 2026 N Riverside Ave #H Rialto, CA. (Easy access off the 210 Freeway. Behind Carl''s Jr.) 2 pm. Sunday afternoon on the 11th October. Bring your DM bikes along fo a mini bike show. Let me know if you plan to attend so we can get a head count for refreshments.

Monday 12th October, 5 pm. Empire Bikes, 4200 Chino Hills Pkwy, Chino Hills, CA

I was also hoping to meet people in San Diego, and/or Long Beach area. I could possibly squeeze in a couple more meet ups. I need suggestions for a meeting place. Any local bike stores interested?

 

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Friday
Sep042015

The Story of a Thousand Crowns

A Fuso owner emailed me recently and asked, “Why does my frame not have the FUSO name on the top of the fork crown? Did someone switch out the front fork?”

The answer is no one switched the fork, not all Fuso frames have this feature, in fact out of somewhere over 2,400 Fuso frames built, just 1,000 have the name cast into the fork crown. Yes, it was in the mold during the casting process, not engraved, which would have been cost prohibitive.

In the late 1970s early 1980s bicycle frame lugs, bottom bracket shells, and fork crowns became available made by an engineering process called “Investment Casting,” A way of making precision castings that come out of a mold practically ready to use with a minimum of machining or further preparation needed.

Also known as, “Lost Wax Casting.” The method had actually been around for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the ‘70s and ‘80s the technology became available to make the process economical and cost effective.

There is a video at the bottom of this piece that explains the process so I won’t go into it further here, but these cast frame lugs and other parts were a vast improvement over anything that had been available before. Although these cast parts were more expensive, there was a huge saving on labor and it enabled the framebuilder to build a far superior frame.

The first Fuso frames were built in 1984, I started the serial numbers at 001 and went on from there in sequence. The early frames had investment cast lugs and bottom bracket shell made by the Japanese Hitachi company. I used an Italian Cinelli fork crown. Later I used lugs and BB shells also made by Cinelli.

Sometime in 1985 a rep from the Cinelli Company told me that if I ordered a minimum of 1,000 fork crowns, I could have my own name or logo cast into the crown at no extra cost. So I went ahead and ordered 1,000 crowns with the FUSO name on either side of the crown top. (See top picture.)

When the crowns arrived and I started using them I was up to frame number five hundred and something, somewhere under #600. After that the next 1,000 frames had the FUSO fork crown, until frame number 1,500 and something.

When the crowns ran out, I can’t remember if the offer was no longer available, or it the price had gone up, but I never re-ordered and went back to the plain crown. So that is the story of the 1,000 Fuso crowns and the reason why all the frames don’t have it.

If you go to the Picture Gallery on my Bike Registry, and scroll down to the Fuso pictures, you will see Fuso #591 has the FUSO crown, and so does #1511, so presumably do the ones in between those numbers.

I would be interested to hear from Fuso owners with frames numbered just outside that numerical range with the FUSO crown. This will establish when the Fuso crown started and ended.

Update: After writing this, seaching through my archives I found this picture (Left.) of Fuso #439 with the named crown. So earlier than I initialy thought.

 

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Wednesday
Sep022015

My West Coast Tour: Update 1

 

This is how this three week tour came about. My Bike registry now has some 400 members who live on the West Coast.

For some time now I have felt that I would like to meet some of these owners of bikes I built.

I also realized the possibility some of these owners might like to meet me. So the idea was born.

I emailed the 400 members to see if there was an interest, and there was. Now to decide how long and when.

Every year I attend and take part in a private mini-music festival held the last weekend of September. The event takes place on St. Helina Island, South Carolina. We call it “Frogstock” because it is held at a place called Frogmore.

So that pretty much decided when. My wife Kathy has three weeks’ vacation, so that meant we could leave on the Tuesday 29th September, right after Frogstock.

It became apparent we couldn’t cover the entire west coast in three weeks, it either had to be from Washington to hallway down California. Or starting out in Oregon and going all the way through Southern California.

I chose the latter because there was far more response to my initial email from people in Southern California than from Washington. This was not surprising. My business was in SoCal, so that is where most of my frames were sold and where most of them still are to this day.

So our flight was booked to Portland, Oregon on the 29th September. From there I will rent a car and drive South to later fly out of Ontario, CA back home, on the 17thh October.

There was an almost immediate interest from a group known as the ‘Greater Eugene Area Riders,’ or G.E.A.Rs. for short. They a arranging a group meeting that will take place on the evening of Thursday October 1st. I will announce the venue and time when I have that information.

The word got out from G.E.A.Rs. and reached Maria Schur an event planner from  Portland. She contacted me and as a result I will be speaking at the Bike Commuter in Portland on the evening of the 29th September.

I will be at the US Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis, CA on Sunday afternoon 4th of October. Empire Bikes in Chino Hills on Monday 12th October. 5 -7 pm.  

Obviously a lot of dates to be filled in, more to be announced later.

 

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Thursday
Aug272015

My West Coast Tour

On September 29th I will be flying to Portland, Oregon to begin a three week speaking Tour of the West Coast. From Portland I will drive south to Eugene, and then on to the San Francisco Bay Area.

My next stop will be San Luis Obispo in Central California, before traveling down to Los Angeles, and Laguna Beach in Orange County. I will also be in the Chino Hills area of the Inland Empire, and I am hoping to make it down to San Diego.  I fly back home to South Carolina on the 17th. October.

The purpose of my trip is to meet with people who own bikes that I built, obviously, but not exclusively. I will meet up with anyone who is interested. Bike enthusiasts in other words, and I need the meetings to be in a group setting in order to reach as many people as possible.

I do not have an exact itinerary at this moment, other than the trip will be from September 29th. to October 17th. Please contact me if you are interested in attending a meeting along the way, or even organizing a meeting. I will be posting updates here and on the “Dave Mouton Bikes” Facebook page.

The top picture is a tee shirt design, that can also be used as a poster.

A second tee shirt design will printed white on a dark colored shirt. (Picture left.)

A brown shirt is shown here, and at this time I am doing a test run in black, brown, navy, dark grey, forest green and burgundy.

A larger image is shown below. Let me know if you would like to reserve one, or would like one even if you are not on the West Coast, I can mail it to you.

My contact email is an easy one to remember, davesbikeblog[AT]gmail.com

 

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Thursday
Aug202015

It does my heart good

It does my heart good to see a frame I built thirty years ago still being ridden and enjoyed.  Ken Avchen who owns this bike said:

“I did consider building this one up with period correct components, but I thought this is the bike I want to ride, not just admire it, so I went with a modern group.”

So let’s look at exactly what we have here. This hand built lugged steel Fuso frame built in 1985 will give a ride quality and precise handling that is hard to replicate in a modern frame.

The modern Campagnolo components offer a far wider range of gearing than was ever imagined possible back when this frame was built. Add to this shifting between gears at your fingertips, and the far superior stopping power that modern brakes offer, and you truly have the best of both worlds.

Another important factor, Ken did not have to take out a second mortgage to pay for this. It is still a buyers’ market for vintage frames and ones like this can be had for $300 - $400 on eBay.

Sure some sellers ask a lot more, but I built over 2,400 Fuso frames between 1984 and 1993 and I recently counted only 277 on my Bike Registry.

This means there are a lot of my frames sitting in people’s garages and basements waiting to be found. I good supply for many years to come.

This particular frame is what I call the 1st. Generation Fuso. At the time it was simply a ‘Fuso.’

There was only one model. The two tone paint with the white decal panels does not date the frame.

It was unique, and never really in style, and for that reason it never went out of style. In my opinion it does not look out of place decked out with modern components.

At the time I wanted to do a paint job that was different. It wasn’t widely copied because it called for some pretty complex masking work that took time to execute. There were a little over 1,000 painted like this from 1984 to 1987.

Then as customers demanded more and more colors, and in order to cut costs, I simplified the decals, reduced the amount of masking, and offered the frame in one, two or three colors. (Picture below.)

The 1st. Generation Fuso also had the metal head badge, which was a nice touch. (See above left.)

This too was replaced with a decal on later models. When in business there comes a point where one has to either raise prices or cut costs. It is often wisest to cut costs, people don’t like to pay more.

Paint jobs were simplified to make them easier to apply, but the quality of the paint was never compromised. Neither were the materials used or the build quality. The charcoal grey and red 1st. Generation Fuso, like the one featured here, has always been my favorite.

Unless you are an absolute weight fanatic and you are looking for a nice riding bike that won’t bankrupt you, this might be the way to go. Let’s face it, unless you are going man to man on a mountain stage of the Tour de France the slight weight difference doesn’t really matter.

If you still want a new frame, you might consider one of the new Fuso frames built by my ex apprentice Russ Denny. Feast your eyes on this beauty below. He started to work for me in 1985, the same year the featured frame was built. So that is thirty years of framebuilding experience under his belt. Russ’s email is rdbikes[AT]yahoo.com

 

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