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Japanese bike brand Fuji is going all-out to grab some serious British road bike action. Their three UK-special Team bikes, coming in January, will all sell for under £1,000. That’s the Team 2.0 above for £829.99
It’s a sign that things have gone well beyond ‘looking up’ when so many road bike manufacturers are suddenly concerned with the sort of price points that sell big volumes. The sub-£1,000 category that the likes of Dawes and Raleigh had pretty much to themselves for decades is now crowding with some obvious big names like Trek and Specialized as well as the more recent additions we’ve covered, like Jamis and Vitus.
On our fingers and toes we can count a good dozen brands that sell sub £1,000 road bikes now, that didn’t five years ago. Better than that, though, is that they’re generally darned competitive. The growth in road bike sales has had a more progressive and organic feel to it, compared to the 80s explosion in mountain bikes, which means the contenders have been entering a relatively mature but fiercely competitive marketplace.
It’s all good for cyclists; as long as we beware of the inevitable cowboys who are surely conspiring in a dry gulch somewhere over the ridge. And that even the best bike on paper is bugger all use if it doesn’t fit your needs correctly.
We certainly shouldn’t be unduly concerned that the most recent to announce its volume-grabbing intentions is Fuji, a Japanese company with a heritage as long as Raleigh’s in making fine bicycles, even if we haven’t seen them here in Britain very much. Post war, they’ve been massive in the USA and anyone that follows track racing will be familiar with the brand.
Japanese Keirin racing attracts much the same following as horse racing here, with Fuji one of the top makers of the specially reinforced fixed-gear track bikes.
Fortunately for us with gears, the forthcoming Team models all utilise the same frame that was successful and well-reviewed on their last year’s Roubaix £999 model, but with three models to choose from starting down from that point.
While the 2010 Roubaix bike gets some useful tweaks and a price hike for the new season, its frame soldiers on as the basis for the 2011 Team bikes with its double-butted aluminium frame and purposeful looking welds and geometry.
The size Medium frame has a 540mm top tube, with a standover height of 777mm and an uncontroversial head tube length of 130mm. Most impressive is that there are seven sizes ranging from XXS with a 510mm top tube to XL with 590mm. There should be something for everyone, which is certainly not the case with every brand selling budget models.
Prices and brief specifications as follows:
Team 1.0 £999.99 – Shimano 105 10sp with FSA Gossamer Pro chainset and Tektro R540 brake calipers.
Team 2.0 £829.99 – Shimano Tiagra 9sp with FSA compact chainset and Tektro R350 brake calipers.
Team 3.0 £649.99 – Shimano Sora 9sp with a generic compact chainset and brake calipers.
Fuji 2011 Team 1.0, the pricey £999.99 version but on paper it looks good enough to race
The new Fuji models will be available from Evans Cycles in January by mail-order and, as they’ve just opened their 42nd store – that one in Leeds – an expanding number of local bike shops, as well.