Sunday, September 5, 2021

Ever Onward! 1972 Fuji The Newest

 Sadly, I just have not found the gumption to post with any consistency on here, as anyone out there who's following knows all too well.  I think part of it is that I used bike projects as a major source of my material, and I just haven't had that many new bike projects or acquisitions lately.

But that just changed!  I'm in several bike related Facebook groups, and a few weeks ago, a fellow posted photos of a "barn find" bike that he said he planned to sell once he cleaned it up.  I immediately chimed in, saying I wanted to know about it when he was ready to sell. Well, it turns out I was the first to voice interest, so he offered it to me at what I consider a very fair price.

 So what the heck kind of bicycle is this that I jumped at the mere mention that it might be for sale?

1972 Fuji The Newest

"Richard's Bicycle Book",
a classic of the 70s.
 For the answer, we need to go back to my first years falling in love with cycling.  I learned much of what I needed to know about bicycles and bicycling from the classic Richard's Bicycle Book, one of the classic cycling guides of the 70s.  The copy I owned at the time was the first revised edition, which had a photo of the author on the cover, working on a lovely Fuji road bike that said "Fuji Racer" on the down tube and "The Newest" on the top tube.  

 The author included a brief buying guide in one of the chapters, listing a few bikes at various price points that were well worth considering, and one of the entries in "good quality, high-cost bicycles" is the Fuji The Newest.  As a teenager I couldn't afford one, given that it sold for close to $500 at the time, but in 1977, when I bought the first bike I bought with my own money, I selected a Fuji S-10S, one of Richard's entries in the "good quality, low-cost bicycles", and had many wonderful times with that bike.  In fact, I still do, as you can see in "Fuji Finished and Fun!" and other posts here.

Description from 1974 edition of "Richard's Bicycle Book." Slightly different from the 1972 model.

One of the themes of my bike collecting as an adult is finding bikes I dreamed of in my youth, and the Newest was definitely on that list.  Which brings us back to the bike in question, a 1972 Fuji The Newest, that arrived this past week, and which I unboxed as soon as I had a free moment.  The seller did an amazing job of packing, basically double boxing the bike and padding everything with foam, as well as a layer of newspaper which prevented any nicks from cutting away the padding.  I don't think I've ever received a bike so beautifully packed, and the bike made the journey from Montana to Virginia with not even the slightest damage, which is a big deal these days.

Seamless Super YPC saddle.
On top of the great packing job, the seller had also done a complete tear down and overhaul of the bike, cleaning all the moving parts with an ultrasonic cleaner, as well as bringing the frame to a remarkable shine.  He'd said it seemed the bike had barely been ridden, and I have to agree.  There's no wear on the drive train or anything else, even the suede saddle looks unridden.  Just about everything on the bike is original, aside from the handlebar tape, brake lever hoods, and tires.  He had the original tires, but they were badly dry rotted, so he sold me the bike without the tires.  There are a few small spots where the paint was rubbed through, probably from storage, but the plus is that they reveal that the whole frame is chrome plated under the paint, just like my two Centurions and Specialized Sequoia.

Dia-Compe brakes,
Fuji headbadge,
chrome fork crown.
 It's a gorgeous bike, and should be a lot of fun to ride.  As much as I love the fact it's original, I will be making some changes to make it a better rider for my purposes, but will keep all the original parts handy, in case I go to a classic bike event or something.  What will I change?  Well, first of all, the seat post, which is really short, and to fit me, needs to be an inch or so longer.  The Newest was only made in 22 1/2" and 24" frame sizes, and this is the larger 24" (61cm), but that's at the lower end of my size range (61 - 64cm).  I also have rather large feet (size 13-14 depending on brand) and so the medium sized toe clips just won't work, nor the quill style pedals, which have a little "hook" on the outer edge that really doesn't work with wide shoes.  I'll probably ride it with SPD style pedals most of the time, or a different toe clip compatible pedal with larger clips.

SunTour V derailleur,
14-22 tooth SunTour freewheel.

The factory-original gearing is also something that needs to be addressed, as I'm not as fit as I was in my teens, and the 47/52 chainrings matched to a 14-22 tooth freewheel really only work for younger legs on flatter terrain than I have where I live.  Honestly, I wonder if that's part of why the bike has so few miles on it... these are NOT Montana gears!  Then again, the bike was originally sold in Minnesota, so who knows.  

SunTour Power Ratchet shifters,
Primus pump, sewup tires,
Fuji logo on fork.
Finally, I will most likely build up a second set of wheels, using clincher tires instead of the glued on "sewups" the bike currently has.  Sewups are great riding tires, if you buy the really good ones, but they require more work to properly install and repair.  I can't bring myself to rebuild the original wheels with different rims, so I'll build a second set and mount some nice riding clincher tires like the Rene Herse models or the Panaracer Pasela, which I have used for many years.



Every Onward slogan on right
chain stay.
Oh, why did I title this post the way I did?  Here's the answer - for whatever reason, The Newest had this slogan on the chain stays for the first few years of production.  Quirky, and made all the more so by that typeface.  But it's just another reason I love this bike.

If you want to see more photos of the bike, check them out here:  1972 Fuji The Newest

Left side 1972 Fuji The Newest.

Front right quarter 1972 Fuji The Newest.

Right rear quarter, 1972 Fuji The Newest.







2 comments:

Craig said...

Nice! Appreciate the break from reading about Covid and other things.

I had a Tour de France in 1972 that took me to school as a senior in high school, and helped me survive the gas crisis in 73,74 which I rode to and from school and home and work.

Tim said...

Craig -

Thanks! I'm happy to provide a respite. I'm assuming you mean a Gitane Tour de France? Those were very nice bikes! We had a Raleigh dealer where I grew up, and my dad liked English bikes from his time there in WWII, so most of the family bikes were Raleighs or related brands. My Fuji S-10S was the first big departure, and I had to ask my mom to drive me to another town to get it... there just weren't that many Fuji dealers in the DC area back then.