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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