Fuji Opus III Is Resurrected

I purchased this 58cm frame in early 2019 from William Bevington, Fuji expert and author of Japanese Steel: Classic Bicycle Design from Japan. It sat in a room for 2 years before I decided it might be a good idea to build it up.

I’d been searching for a red, white, and blue 70s Fuji Finest, the model with chrome under the paint, but came across the Opus III which seems to be a higher-end machine. It certainly has beautiful lug work, and from reading bits about it in Japanese Steel: Classic Bicycle Design from Japan, it was handmade in Japan in the renowned Cherubim factory.

I thought about finding the appropriate Suntour Superbe Pro bits and pieces, but decided instead to go with some of what I had on hand, a mix of new and NOS bits, and some, hopefully uncompromised, used pieces:

  • H PLUS SON TB14 wheels with White Industries T11 Hubs + SRAM 11-28 cassette
  • White Industries MR30 46-32 VBC Crankset + MKS Urban Platform pedals
  • Brooks Cambium C17 Saddle
  • Shimano MT-60 rear derailleur + Shimano front derailleur
  • Shimano Sora SL-R400 downtube 8 speed shifters

from a 1987 Trek 400T Elance:

totaled in a head on collision with another cyclist on the Hudson River Greenway, near Chelsea Piers, on September 8, 2019.

I did not reuse the brakes, stem, handlebars, seatpost, or frame:

The collision was head on but there was no obvious damage to the front of the frame. I’m guessing the point of impact was on the front brake bolt (which was bent along its axis), or somewhere on the stem or bars. I only kept the parts listed above, and the fork (as a keepsake), which appeared undamaged. It was not a complete loss, however, and that is as much as I can say.


Rear wheel can come out of alignment and hit a chainstay when under sudden heavy torque, like when going up a steep hill in too high of a gear.

Chainwheel and gearing may not be ideal, or something else needs adjusting. In the front big / rear big combination, chain does not want to stay on chainwheel. I’ll look into possible front derailleur and bottom bracket adjustments. The classic Shimano MT-60 rear derailleur should have enough capacity to handle my 46-28 (32-11) drivetrain.

Seat binder bolt is 9mm, a size very rare and seemingly unattainable, I had to use a less than ideal acorn nut, my best bet may be to grind down a 10mm hex nut.

Catalog photo:


Cycling the Acadia Carriage Roads

The weekend before last, Cindy and I took a trip to Mount Desert Island to visit Acadia National Park and its famous 45 miles of carriage roads.

It was our fist time on the carriage roads though we’d each been to Mount Desert Island before. Having only experienced Bar Harbor and, superficially, Acadia, on the park loop road in an automobile, this experience was comparably amazing!

We brought our road bikes and were not disappointed. I’d been uncertain about the best type of bike to bring but was reassured by a friend our selected road bikes would be up to the task.

Though mountain bikes have the usual advantage of a triple crankset, their wider tires aren’t entirely necessary on the carriage roads.

My 1984 Fuji Touring Series III road bike performed admirably. I benefited from its triple Sugino RT crankset and wide range of gearing.

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To Flip or to Flop, That Is the Question

I’ve had this frame sitting around my bedroom, in various states of completion, since May, 2019. I finally got it together this week.

The bike, a 1986, Steel Grey/Silver Trek Elance 310, made from tri-butted Ishiwata EX tubing, is 23″ as specified in the catalog, measured center to top. It’s roughly 22.5″ or approximately 57cm measured center to center.

It’s my first true single-speed bike. I’m running 27″ wheels as Trek intended for this frame, and chose Velomine’s Sun CR18 offering, with 36 spokes and cartridge bearing Formula hubs. I’ve used the same wheels many times before on other bikes. They’re solid and economical.

In 27″, there’s really not much else (off the shelf) to choose from. I’m glad they’re still made. The front wheel is quick release, the rear is a flip-flop, 120mm, bolt on track wheel. I added 3mm of spacers under the lock nuts on each side of the axle to fit my 126mm spaced frame.

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I found this NOS vintage 8.8.8. (Maeda Industries/SunTour) 22T 1/2″ X 1/8″ freewheel on eBay, suitable for a BMX or single speed bike. Its “YF” date code indicates a production year of 1982. I’m planning to use it on an upcoming single speed project I have involving a 1986 Trek Elance 310.

A suitable crankset and 1/8″ 53T chainring are also on the way. This will provide around 65.5 gear inches with my 27″/630 wheels. I’m hoping that’s not too low for me. My riding plan for this bike is mostly commuting between Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York City. 

SunTour is renown for making exceptional quality bike components in Japan during their heyday. This freewheel feels and sounds very nice. I’m looking forward to riding it!

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My Single Speed Is Actually a 2-speed

Today was new chain day. I installed a KMC K1 Narrow single speed 1/2″ x 3/32″ chain last night but couldn’t get a good length. The chain seemed way too slack even with the wheel all the way back in the dropouts. I removed a link and set the wheel back to what seemed like a good chain tension, but now the wheel looks to be too close to the dropout’s front edge. I’m not so worried. It’s not that close and the bolts are tight! But I wonder, is it too close? 

Some have said a chain may stretch a little initially and I may be able to move the wheel back somewhat. Others say, chains don’t stretch, they only wear, and seem to stretch. Another suggestion is to add a half link, it seems reasonable, but maybe a hassle? I may add one. 

Come what may, it’s very nice to have a new chain. I can feel the difference. The KMC K1 Narrow is quite nice. 

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