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2013年8月23日 (金)

Fuji Feather (Part 2: Front-end)

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the first installment of this series "Fuji Feather Part 1 Introduction" I mentioned that this was a very rare lady's high-end model.  How high? Top of the line for a lady's bicycle, right up there with the infamous "Hao" which was the top of the line for gents as can be seen from this 1957 export catalog.
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I also mentioned in the last post that there were far too many details to cover is a single post. I've decided to break it down into three sections Front, Middle and Rear.  In this post we will examine the front-end.
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High-end handlebars are easy to identify by the brass plate with the company name and logo.  This removable brass plate was actually a cover for the casted-in housing that held the springs for the rod brakes and protected them from the elements. 
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The handlebars have celluloid grips and celluloid coated brake levers.Img_20130722_102304565


Note the revolving bell
 complete with Nichibei Fuji logo.Img_20130812_101632417

Wonderful lamp with the rare eye-lid visor.
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Here is something I have never seen.  In the 1950's nearly all bicycles bore a fender ornament either plate type (Japanese only) or figure type (Japanese only) screwed to the front of the fender.  Most Nichbei Fuji bicycles had a mountain (Fuji logo) shaped fender ornament. However, this rare model makes use of Nichibei's creased fenders and the fender ornament is actually part of the fender.
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Look at the luster on the three coat enamel paint and on the absolutely gorgeous cloisonne head badge.
Over a half century old and the luster is like it was made yesterday.

They certainly don't make them like they used to (first half)
They certainly don't make them like they used to. (second half)
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Here is a good look at the creased fender, common to Nichibei Fuji and often found on high-end models from other manufacturers.
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Also note the hand painted gold pinstriping, and "Fuji" raised letters.
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Nearly each and every part is stamped with the company name or logo   right down to the tiny bolt heads.  To me "quality goes in before the name goes on" and no company would risk putting their name on anything that wasn't quality-perfect.
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Even the fender stay bolts bear the Nichibei logo.
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One unique playful characteristic of Nichibei Fuji is that the company not only stamped each part, but as can be seen in the photo below the mountain shaped Fuji logo is actually designed-in.  Note the mountain peaks at the top of the lock, and, the mountain-shaped front fork brake brackets.  We shall see more examples in furture posts when we look at the middle and rear sections.
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The fender stays and hub are stamped with the company stamp.  The bearing covers are colored which is indeed quite rare and again, another first for me.  Later when we look at the read-end section we will see that this applies to the rear-hub as well.
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The Nichibei Fuji logo found on the chrome 1 1/4"rims. 

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Many unique characteristics went into the design of this fine Nichibei Fuji Featherweight, but there are more to come as we shall see in the next English post when we will examine the mid-section.

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