The Absolute has gained quite a following over the years, making it one of the most popular flat bar road bicycles in the world. Every year the Absolute series impresses us with something new. We got to see if 2016 is any different as we had an opportunity to ride and review the Fuji Absolute 1.9 D 2016. Below is our detailed review of this bicycle.
The frame in the Absolute 1.9 D 2016 is built with custom butted aluminium with a threadless head tube and a Hi-tensile steel straight-bladed fork. ¾The competitive weight of the frame is mainly because of the innovative design of the top tube, which is tubular at the bottom and flat shaped at the top. Our 52cm test bicycle had an aggressively slanting head tube and seat tube angle, and an aero top tube matched with the Oval concepts 20-degree raise stem, giving a flat-backed riding position that's great for winding up the speed but perhaps a little racy for urban riding. You also have the option to adjust the stem to get a more traffic-friendly upright riding position.
The aluminium frame in the Absolute 1.9 D is both neatly welded and well finished with a tough coat of paint. The graphics are not really anything special to look at but the full grey and occasional green here and there as the colour is something which might attract the rider. There are two bottle mounts, a replaceable mech hanger, rack/mudguard mounts at the rear and the Hi-Ten Steel fork has mudguard eyes too. It does look classy as a design with a singular colour tone, but Fuji could have done better in the graphics department.
The Shimano Altus/Acera gearing combination power the Absolute's drive train. The Shimano EFEF51 Altus 8 speed trigger shifters are really simple to operate and they have a clear gear indicator too. Shifting was adequate, with only a little rubbing and a clunky action, while the gear range is well suited to the fitness rider thanks to the 11-32t cassette. The gearing is low enough to cope with most inclines and high enough to spin along at a decent pace. Gear shifting throughout the test ride was quick and niggle-free, with only the slightest of delays when skipping from one chain ring extreme to the other.
The Tektro Mechanical Disc brakes provide all the stopping power for this flat-bar road machine. The 160mm disc rotors at both the front and back provided enough control for quick halts and especially on sharp turns. The integrated Shimano EF51 Altus brake levers do look like a cheaper quality component but reacts quick enough to transform the action to the brake rotors. But the levers definitely need more than 2 fingers to control, unlike what the spec sheet suggests.
The Oval Concepts Handlebar position is comfortably upright and the adjustable stem allows some leeway with the handlebar height. Like most flat-barred bicycles, good visibility and easy handling are part and parcel of the Absolute's 1.9 D's set-up.
We are seeing Vera's Corsa wheelset crop up on a lot of hybrid bicycles, mainly because of its light weight. In fact, they are a perfectly capable all round set of wheels that are suited for road training rides. We also had no problems with Vera City Wide, 700C x 23c tire with a Phalanx layer to help puncture proofing. The Oval Concepts saddle is ergonomically designed with enough padding for those longer rides. But the saddle's length was a tad bit longer than it usually is. The over-all ride quality was smooth and comfortable on flatter tarmacs but turns quite rigid and shaky when rolling on uneven surfaces on urban roads.
The Fuji Absolute 1.9 D 2016 is a fun and fast bicycle. Even though this bicycle is termed as a Hybrid, a flat-barred Road bicycle fits as a tag perfectly for this bicycle. Not all the parts weigh light and this contributes to the heavier overall weight than more expensive flat-barred road bicycles. It's the perfect bicycle to use for commutes and the longer 50km rides on the weekend. With adequate rack mounts, this Fuji bicycle will still be a versatile commuter in the longer if and when you upgrade to a lighter and faster road bicycle.