Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fuji Bedford Makeover

I acquired this bike for free a few years ago from my friend Charles when we lived in Virginia.  My Fuji Bedford 3-speed is now a 5-speed.  I've had this plan in mind for a while now, and it has finally come to pass.  I wanted to change the steel wheels that this bike came with for aluminum ones to help with braking in wet weather, and to lessen some of the weight.  I also wanted more gear options to help with the hills around my local area.  This bike is supposed to be a joy to ride, but with the limited gearing, it was not fun!

I learned something new by going through this process.  Bikes are always teaching me something!  I learned that just because two wheels say they are 26" does not mean they are actually the same size.  The width given makes a difference in their diameter.  The steel wheels that were on it originally were size 26 x 1 1/4.  The beautiful gold ukais you see on it now are 26 x 2.125.  Well, the ukais have a bit of a smaller diameter.  That changed everything!  Again, Alan of Alan's Bicycles in Phoenixville, Pa helped me solve these issues.

 One, it lowered my brake reach, so I could not simply re-use the original calipers.  My brake reach measurement became 82mm!  We had to find and purchase the Odyssey BMX brakes with a super long reach.  Thankfully they weren't too expensive.  

Two, it also lowered the bottom bracket.  Thankfully this did not pose a real problem.  It originally had 165mm steel cottered cranks, but I changed them to a 170mm cotterless aluminum crank.  Even though the bottom bracket is lower and the crank is a bit longer, the pedals are still high enough off the ground to work.  

Three, the chainline changed due to using a different bottom bracket.  Thankfully I was able to use some adjustable bottom bracket cups from a different fuji frame with a 109mm suntour sprint spindle I bought a while back.  I was pleasantly surprised that it worked.  

I put a 42 tooth chainring on the front with a 14-32 cog on the back.  This gives me a nice low gear to work with, and a little bit of umph on the top end range.  I don't need to be going super fast on this bike.  It is not for distance riding.  It is just for riding around town a bit and having fun, the kind of riding we do when we're kids!  

I was disappointed to learn that this Fuji was made in Taiwan in the mid-80's,  a time when the factories in Japan were still running.  You can see that the quality of build is not quite the same as those made in Japan at the time.  Maybe at some point I will get a better quality Fuji cruiser type bike, but in the meantime this will have to suffice.  I'll probably end up loving it.  Replacing all of the steel parts has made it much lighter.  I now have a cruiser with bmx brakes and mountain bike wheels.  Although I will not be using it to race or ride single track, I am looking forward to riding it often, and enjoying it!

Specs:
Hsin Lung stem
V.C. nylon saddle (made in taiwan)
Suntour ratchet thumb shifter
Suntour Cyclone crank
Ukai gold clincher rims 26 x 2.125
SR gold hubs
Shimano freewheel 14-32
Dia compe brake levers
Odyssey 1999 bmx brake calipers
Fuji vx rear derailleur (made by Suntour)
Seagull Bell

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