La Fugazi

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JA331

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I named my first build off bike La Fugazi, which means a fake in American Italian slang. My goal was to build a replica of a prewar American balloon tire bike using a 1998 Trek Cruiser Classic frame and parts taken from the bikes of two of my favourite manufacturers, the Cleveland Welding Company and Murray. The frame has styling cues from the 1939 Roadmaster Supreme and a common Columbia bike. It is a credit to the designers at Trek not only because it has the vibe of a vintage frame but also because it is beautifully welded, lightweight and rides great.


Sourcing vintage parts for these bikes downunder is impossible and shipping is expensive so I tried using parts I already had. I bought the Elgin skirt guards and chainguard during the build and ultimately only used the chainguard. The fork, truss rods and chainguard are from a prewar Lady’s Elgin bike made by Murray and the fenders were spares I got when I bought my ’39 Roadmaster. I decided to use the slick Elgin fork over the Shockmaster I had as I prefer rigid forks on my rides. One thing I never liked about this frame was the weird looking top part of the seat mast, so I shortened it by a couple of inches.


The frame and vintage parts were sandblasted. I primed them in red oxide primer and chose Ford engine dark blue and Wimbledon White for the final colors, using more rattle cans than I care to remember. Along the way I discovered the awesomeness of 3M’s vinyl masking tape for the white accents. I swiped the wheels from my daughter’s unused Electra Gigi. Melbourne, Australia has a number of steep hills and the Nexus 3 speed and front roller brake attached to Gigi’s rims add versatility, speed and braking power. The chromoly Al’s Rapid Transit cruiser bars feed into a classic Ashtabula stem. I used an ACS chain with silver and black links similar to those of a Diamond skip tooth chain. It rides on sticky, fast rolling Tioga Powerblock tires with old school hot rod white lettering. I’m 6’2 and the layback seat post adds a heap of room to the short cockpit and a Brooks B67 saddle irons out the bumps. I fitted the reproduction Torrington pedals from a bike I’m not riding and added a nicer Trek head badge and an original Cleveland licence plate as a mark of respect to CWC and Murray who were based in Ohio.


I’ve had a great time during this build. The challenges of being struck down with covid and a number of other nasty winter viruses, a 4 week vacation in Greece and spraying outdoors in winter allowed me the time to reflect and change things along the way. I believe this is the best bike I have ever built. Many thanks those who provided help and encouragement. I would like to give special thanks to my beautiful wife who cuts me all the time I need to maintain my OCD (obsessive cycle disorder) and my buddy Yngwe for truing my wheels. Watching all these cool builds come alive has provided me with hours of entertainment and a stack of ideas for future builds. I now feel more connected to this fantastic forum. Peace and fun to all.

BUILD THREAD

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As I got it last year with its whitewalls painted with household oil paint!
 
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JA331

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Thank you. Considering I painted it with rattle spray cans in winter, I'm really pleased with it. It doesn't have the perfection of the work of a pro but this is ratrodbikes.com.
 

JA331

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Dude don't be so hard on yourself! It's awesome, period!
Just being straight up mate. I noticed you are from the Netherlands. I spent a few weeks in Amsterdam and Harlem as a backpacker in 1992 and was so lucky to stay with Dutch friends I met only a couple of months earlier in the USA. My stay in Amsterdam ranks at the top of my travels because of the locals and vibe of the city. I went back with my wife in 2013 for a few days and fell in love with the city all over again. So much had changed but the vibe was still the same.
 

kingfish254

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Brilliant work on making this Trek into a vintage build. All of the parts just flow so perfectly with each other.
BRAVO!!!
 

JA331

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The rain held out long enough for a short ride today. I need to replace the kickstand on La Fugazi as it isn’t up to the task and the bike leans over too far.

The first 2 photos were taken in front of my grandfather’s home. It was built in 1863 near the centre of downtown Melbourne. After he passed in 1983, our family was forced to sell it to the local municipality, who wanted to bulldoze it along with other historical homes on the same block to make way for a new public market. Those plans never happened as the National historic society gained protection against their demolition.
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Street art featuring Australia’s favourite native bird, the Kookaburra.
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A photo before getting back on La Fugazi and winding it out on one of my favourite stretches of bike track near home.
 
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Pondo

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Just looking at it I never would have guessed you used a modern frame as the basis for the build. The project is very convincing. I love the way all the little details come together and the paint job is top notch. If I ever come across one of those frames I think it might be fun to build a klunker with it using some faux-tina, Great job!!
 

JA331

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Thanks man. I would have used a skiptooth drivetrain if I could have found a nos chain for a reasonable price. I made other concessions like the nexus hubs in particular and a faux patina job would have been nice but I just wanted a mint looking bike in this color in my fleet. The Taiwanese built frame is superbly welded and lightweight. The seat mast is quite short compared to a normal cruiser so you have plenty of clearance over the top tube. The standard tubular fork although not cromo is decent too. Seat post is 1”. Its a great package for a budget klunker build.

This frame was only used for 1-2 years beginning around 1998.
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Pondo

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Thanks man. I would have used a skiptooth drivetrain if I could have found a nos chain for a reasonable price. I made other concessions like the nexus hubs in particular and a faux patina job would have been nice but I just wanted a mint looking bike in this color in my fleet. The Taiwanese built frame is superbly welded and lightweight. The seat mast is quite short compared to a normal cruiser so you have plenty of clearance over the top tube. The standard tubular fork although not cromo is decent too. Seat post is 1”. Its a great package for a budget klunker build.

This frame was only used for 1-2 years beginning around 1998.View attachment 209483

Yeah, a skip tooth on there would have been great, but they are definitely expensive. I've got one skip tooth klunker and a couple more in the works.

I do want to fix one of these Trek cruisers up into a klunker, I think that would be really cool. Plus I could run a suspension fork and not worry about breaking the frame on the trail. Thanks for bringing that to my attention and for building such a beautiful bike!
 
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JA331

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Yeah, a skip tooth on there would have been great, but they are definitely expensive. I've got on skip tooth klunker and a couple more in the works.

I do want to fix one of these Trek cruisers up into a klunker, I think that would be really cool. Plus I could run a suspension fork and not worry about breaking the frame on the trail. Thanks for bringing that to my attention and for building such a beautiful bike!
Thanks mate. all the best.
 

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