2010 Fuji SL-1 Pro SRAM
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Tested February 2010

Yahoo! Cycling Team's 2010 Fuji SL-1 Pro

  • Well-built, no nonsense race bike
  • C-7 Carbon Fiber frame
  • Size M/L tested ("53" size, 55.5 cm effective top tube)
  • 2010 SRAM Force throughout
  • Reynolds Attack Carbon Clinchers (1450 grams)
  • Vittoria Rubino Pro II tires
  • 11-26 cassette, 53x39 standard crank
  • 120 mm Fuji Stem
  • Prologo Nago EVO saddle
  • Cane Creek 1 1/8" headset with Inter Loc spacers
  • 72' head angle, 73.5' seat angle
  • 15lb 15 oz weight without pedals
  • MSRP: $4,700

Overview
This is the bike that the new Yahoo! Cycling Team has chosen to ride in their inaugural year. I was fortunate to get this one the day before it was unveiled to the team riders. The Yahoo! Cycling team riders reacted positively to it and they've made a great choice, as Fuji has a long history of making high quality bikes that offer a lot of performance for a reasonable price. The SL-1 delivers on this heritage of value. Personally, I've been a fan of Fuji's for many years and still have a '99 lime green Fuji Team Scandium.

The Fuji SL-1 Pro is a bike meant for training and racing. It's a little heavier than the top of the line SL-1 RC, but it's also beefier. Fuji's C-7 tubing is meant to take punishment year after year with very little fatigue. It is also spec'd with heavier, though more durable, aluminum stem, handlebars, and seatpost. If you look around at the tour bikes, you'll find the pros riding aluminum cockpits for their strength (and less catastrophic failure), and this bike follows that mold. It also features SRAM Force--and though it is slightly heavier than SRAM Red, it looks like the 2010 Force is actually better than last year's Red.

The Yahoo! Cycling Team will be riding this exact bike with a few component changes:

  • Deda will be providing handlebar, stem, and seatpost
  • San Marco will provide the saddles
  • TRP will provide brakes
  • Challenge will provide tires

Performance
This really is a great all around bike and I felt comfortable on it immediately. It's stiff, vibration free, and extremely predictable in all conditions. On a recent 55 mile ride with over 5200 feet of climbing, I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the bike was. It climbed well with no flex and very little noise; the components really work well together and it was nice to have the 39x26 bail gear. The steering felt a little slow (definitely not twitchy), likely due to the 45 degree fork offset, though it didn't bother me. More importantly, the bike descended with confidence. Out on the flats, I was even able to come from behind and win the "sprint to the sign", though the incredible wheels definitely made me feel like I was cheating.

The Goods
As stated on Fuji's web site, C-7 tubing is heavier duty than their superlight C-10. I'd estimate it weighs 1020 grams, 100 grams heavier than the C-10 frame. The frameset features an interesting array of angular planes on the top and down tubes. The bottom bracket isn't as massive as the recently tested Norco, but the chainstays have a large C section which braces them at the joint. The seatstays have are tucked in toward the wheel and offer an amazing 20mm of clearance between the crank arms. The coolest element of the frame is how the seatpost passes through the smooth junction of the top tube and seat stay. It appears that the massive top portion of the seatstays give the bike it's rigidity. Design-wise, I also appreciated the seatpost collar that mimics the bend of the seatstay. Nicely done.

Fuji's frame sizing is a bit misleading, so make sure you get properly fitted. When I opened the box, I noticed the "size 53" sticker and my heart sunk. I thought it would be way too small. Turns out the 53 is called "Medium/Large" and its effective top tube length is actually 55.5cm, which is just right for me (6' tall). I also find that the traditional method of measuring from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat insert is largely outmoded in these days of sloping top tubes and integrated seatmasts. What seems most important is top tube length.

The all carbon Fuji fork has deep blades that look very aerodynamic. It's a bit heavy, though, at 420 grams and features a rather slack 45 degree offset. Luckily, the retention system worked well and there wasn't a lot of fiddling required. The bike also featured a Cane Creek headset with these cool "Inter Loc" spacers that snap together. They look a little funky but are extremely light.

The bars, stem, and seat post were all Fuji branded and painted white. The stem looked good to me but at 120mm, it's 20mm longer than what I prefer, so I pushed the seat forward a bit. The seatpost seemed a bit clunky and had an overbuilt clamping mechanism. The handlebars were very comfortable and mimicked the bends of Ritcheys. The seat is made by Prologo; it had a good amount of padding but not a lot of flex. It was acceptably comfortable but I'd eventually upgrade it.

The most surprising part of the bike spec is the new, second generation, 2010 SRAM Force gruppo. In a word, it is fantastic. It looks great, is lighter than Dura Ace, and is smoother (and shifts better) than SRAM's 2009 top of the line Red! It cost less than those gruppos-in fact, it's even less expensive than the new Ultegra 6700. I have full SRAM Red on my bike; and though the Red features a sick-light and incredibly machined hollow cogset, it's actually noisier than the traditional cogset of the Force. The Red front derailleur is also extremely finicky and very hard to dial in. The Force was pretty much perfect and was dialed in from the factory. In terms of weight, performance, and price, it is very hard to beat the new SRAM Force.

The bike also features Reynolds Attack carbon clinchers; these are high performance wheels and it's amazing that they come "stock". They retail for around $1500--so included in the $4700 sticker, it really underscores the value you get with a Fuji. These full-carbon wheels are very light at 1450 grams and feature a 32mm rim. This deeper rim profile is more aerodynamic than a traditional rim. And they perform great; sprinting from the pack starting at 25mph and going to 30mph was noticeably easier compared to a traditional spoked wheel; you really do notice the aero benefits. Going down hills, the bike accelerated noticeably faster. I had to replace a flat tire and was amazed that I was able to remount the tire using only thumb pressure--this is extremely impressive, especially because these Vittorias are typically very snug. Drawbacks? Carbon clinchers are a bit more finicky; the super hard carbon surface requires special pads and wet braking is typically poor. Fuji did feature Swiss-Stop pads but they provided the wrong ones. The black "Full FlashPro" pads are meant for aluminum rims; the yellow versions are meant for carbon rims. And, unfortunately, the wheels did tend to squeak under braking. The only other drawback to wheelset is the muted graphics; they are a bit mundane for relative to their performance. Fuji also spec'd valve extenders which are big nuisance; they are difficult to keep tightly sealed which makes pumping frustration. Luckily, there are long valve inner tubes that are readily available.

Areas of improvement
Out of the box, I was shocked to see that the white bar tape was pretty filthy and the frame seemed dirty. Apparently, whoever packed the bike must have been wrenching on something else at the same time. Additionally, the clearcoat seems a bit thin in some areas as well. The weight weenie in me would upgrade the stem, bars, and seatpost to carbon and it would likely cut 1/4 pound or more. Other nits are the valve extenders and incorrect bake pads, things I'd try to get the bike shop to replace before purchase.

Summary
Fuji has done a great job at specing out a workhorse bike that can deliver in training and racing. The bike is reasonably lightweight and offers an awesome gruppo and surprisingly high-end wheels.

The Yahoo! Cycling Team will likely find a lot of success on the new Fuji SL-1 Pro!

Value: 4.5 stars 
Overall: 4.5 stars


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