This is the £700 Fuji Sportif 1.3 which, as its name suggests, is designed for sportive riding, combining a double butted alloy frame with a relaxed geometry to provide comfort on the longer rides. The Sportif range comprises four models and tops out at £900, the 1.3 being the second tier bike.
Did you know Fuji is one of the oldest bicycle manufacturers in the world? The company was founded way back in 1899, and 20 years later was the most popular bicycle brand in Japan. They had interests in racing too, establishing the first national stage race, a race which is still very popular to this day.
The frame is a good example of aluminium at its best - an AS-SL tubeset with double butted main tubes and a hydroformed top tube and down tube. The head tube has an integrated headset with 1 1/8in bearings top and bottom. Into this slides a carbon bladed fork with an alloy steerer tube.
It’s a clean looking frame, with the slightest curve to the top tube and down tube, a straight seat tube and reasonably slender seat stays. The paint scheme is also doing it for us, with the white paint and not overly dramatic decals giving a smart look. From a distance it looks like it should cost more than £700. It also has versatility with the addition of mudguard mounts. Fitting a set of 'guards to it would turn it into a very good winter bike.
We’ve got a L/XL size in for our Dave to ride, which measures up with a 58cm seat tube and 59cm effective top tube, with a 22.5cm head tube. Head and seat angles are parallel 73°, with a 102.9 cm wheelbase. The stem length is proportional to the frame size; here we have a 12cm stem fitted with 44cm handlebars. The cranks are also longer at 175mm.
Fuji have to work hard to get a reasonable build kit on a bike of this price and it’s no surprise to see a Shimano Sora groupset, a popular choice for this kind of money. The rear mech has been upgraded to a Tiagra model, and the chainset is a Fuji branded forged alloy item with 50/34t chainrings. That combines with a wide range 11-32t 9-speed cassette out back, so while it may lack the extra sprocket of a pricier bike, you’ll at least have a good chance of making it up most hills without too much of a hard time.
We always value good wheels on a bike, bu especially at this price, and the Oval hubs are laced to Vera Corsa alloy clincher rims with 20 spokes front and 24 rear. They’re bladed spokes for a small aerodynamic improvement. As this is a bike built for comfort over long rides it has 25mm Vera Helio tyres fitted. With a wire bead (not a folding Kevlar bead), they’re not the lightest option.
Oval, a brand we haven’t seen a lot of in recent years, supply the 6061 alloy handlebar and 3D-forged stem. The headset is an FSA Orbit, and FSA also supply the sealed cartridge bearing bottom bracket. The 27.2mm seatpost and saddle are from Oval as well.
On the road.cc scales the Fuji tips the needle around to 10kg (22lb), so the Sportif 1.3 is far from light, but weight is the biggest obstacle for bikes at this sort of price. From the spec it's easy to pinpoint a few possible changes - like the tyres, for example. There’s a lot of competition for your money at this price, with bikes such as the Specialized Secteur, Trek 1.2, Cannondale Synapse and Scott Speedster all similarly priced rivals offering similar aluminium frames and Sora specifications.
The important thing is how it rides though, and as soon as Dave has logged enough miles in the saddle, we’ll be letting you know.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.