A good quality bike for commuting or load lugging duties with hydraulic braking and mudguard and rack mounts
High front end for upright ride position
28mm tyres add comfort
Good spec hydraulic brake levers
Mudguard and rack mounts
Good gear range
By Paul Norman
Fuji’s roots go back to 1899 in Japan, although despite its name the modern company is actually US-based. It’s got a wide range of road, mountain and leisure bikes and recently launched a new version of its carbon Gran Fondo endurance bike. The Sportif range sits below this, with the 1.1D being its top model.
The Fuji’s frame is aluminium alloy with a carbon fork with alloy steerer, a wide bottom bracket shell and lots of clearance for wider tyres. It’s got a shortish wheelbase and top tube and a longer head tube for a more upright riding position.
Cabling is external – a boon for maintenance, although not as clean looking as the internal route which is currently more popular. There are rack and mudguard mounts, which are a benefit for commuting or load lugging.
The Fuji uses Shiamno’s 105 shifting and hydraulic disc brakes, although the levers are the higher spec 685s, which look neater and are also more comfortable to rest on and grip from the hoods than Shimano’s lower spec 505 model which is often used with 105 shifting. There’s a non-series Shimano RS500 compact chainset, which along with the 11-32 cassette gives a wide gear range.
Finishing kit is from the Oval Concepts brand – the company has the same owner as Fuji – while the wheels and 28mm tyres bear the Vera logo.
With its short reach and high stack, the Fuji rides quite upright. This is great if you are not that flexible and makes for a comfortable ride, with more of your weight resting on the well-padded, well-shaped saddle. It does mean that you catch quite a lot of wind though and I could feel this when heading into a stiffish headwind.
The 28mm tyres provide a lot of cushioning from road imperfections and allow you to run lower pressures. The good frame clearances mean that you can go even wider and I was able to fit 32mm cyclocross tyres and head up some bridlepaths too, with mud build-up never being an issue.
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The bike’s weight is noticeable when heading up hills though. It’s got enough gear range to cope with steep and long, but I found I was more inclined to sit in and spin up gradients than to make out of saddle efforts. I was able to descend confidently though, helped by the grip and shock absorption of the wide tyres.
For £1300, the Fuji’s mix of 105 and hydraulic braking provide versatility to cope with most riding conditions. It’s a package which you can find on quite a few bikes at this price point and the Fuji is definitely up there with them.
The specing of Shimano’s more comfortable and more comely 685 levers is definitely an attraction too.
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