2010 Fuji SL-1 Pro SRAM
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Tested February 2010
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:
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.
The Yahoo! Cycling Team will likely find a lot of success on the new Fuji SL-1 Pro!
Value: 4.5 stars