Words by Kevin Rouse || Photos Courtesy Dave Lieberman
A name synonymous with high-quality race rigs in the 1980s the FUSO name is fresh off of a 15-year hiatus. For everyone who coveted one of those storied frames back when Hammer pants where en vogue, they’ll be pleased to know that the original frame designed by Fuso founder Dave Moulton in now available again thanks to the skilled hand of one-time apprentice, Russ Denny, and remains unchanged from its 1980s no-frills elegance.
FUSO Business and Sales Manager Dave Lieberman (also of Ritte Cycles) recently shed some light on the rebirth of the FUSO brand, as well as this particularly gorgeous FUSO OS-LUG.
What is the FUSO Story?
“FUSO was a very popular frame in the 80s and raced professionally. It was also a very sought after frame. Dave Moulton had years [of framebuilding experience] behind him before he even started FUSO, and Russ Denny was his apprentice starting at age 16. Russ has 25 years of frame -building experience, and has gone through the gambit of different materials. From steel, to aluminum, aluminum and carbon, steel and stainless. He can build lugged, tig'd, bonded, and fillet-brazed frames. He works on prototypes for different companies, and even does hand cycles, tandems, BMX, cargo, and breakaway frames”
“The bike is the OS-LUG. Which simply stands for "oversized lugged" frame. The lugs are designed by Lewellen, and were specifically designed for a lugged MTB bike, but we like to use it for road bike.
I am a big advocate for oversized tubes, now that they are readily available. The 35-millimeter downtube (instead of 27.2), and 31.9-millimeter top and seat tube make a solid frame--especially at the bottom bracket. This gives you that "jump" feeling when you put the pedals down hard, like the carbon bikes of today. The compact design and the six-degree sloping toptube give it both a modern look and less flex in the frame, making it very responsive. The [Columbus] Life and Spirit tubes give it a high-quality steel ride, and the lugs take a little bite out of the ride so it is not so harsh.
This version has polished stainless lugs, and the seat stays are also stainless so we could continue the polish down a little towards the brake bridge for good looks! The headtube on this one is a bit longer to the customers request, but not too long that he can’t bomb down long descents.”
“The bike shown is a multi step process unlike some builds. Lugs are polished once, then brazed together, then re-polished, aligned, and sent to painter. It seems simple, but there is a lot of detail that goes into this frame style.”
“Simply put, I think this bike is the nicest ride you can possibly get out of a road bike! When these frames are ridden, I get the same comment over and over: "SOLID". The oversized tubes give you a stiff responsive ride, and the lugs give just enough compliance that it literally "invites" you to take it out on a seven-hour ride.”