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American owned Japanese brand Fuji entered the Indian market a couple of years ago and from being completely unknown to a majority of the cycling population here, they've shot up to being one of the most popular international brands available to us today. Fuji even sponsored the Tour of Tamil Nadu last year to show their support for cycling in India. If Fuji had one bicycle that screamed "versatility", it would be the Fuji Sportif.
The Fuji Sportif has a compact double butted Aluminium alloy frame. This is pretty standard as far as frame materials go. Carrying the bicycle around wasn't as easy as I thought it would be with the cable routing under the Top tube. And it's not the lightest road bicycle out there; but that isn't a fault of the frame. We'll come to that later.
As far as it's finish and design is concerned, the Fuji Sportif 1.3 does not disappoint. The White with Orange accents colour combination on the model that we had for review was stunning. The paint and finish was top notch and it made our photographer very happy.
Like the Trek 1.5C that we reviewed earlier, the Sportif 1.3 has a carbon fork which is a huge advantage over other standard Aluminium fork bicycles. It made for a much better ride experience by reducing shock and vibrations. It helped make some bad roads pretty tolerable on our test ride.
The Sportif frame comes with a slightly taller head tube when compared to its racing counterpart; the Fuji Roubaix. So I found myself in a more upright riding position that gave me a better field of view to watch out for other traffic or just enjoy the scenic ride. This can be a huge bonus if this is your first road bicycle, and you're not used to the bent over riding position.
Here's where Fuji decided to give the bicycle a little twist. While most road bicycles come with the standard 700x23c or 700x25c tyres, the Fuji Sportif comes equipped with solid 700x28c tyres.
Whether you're a veteran rider or not, you'll instantly be able to tell the difference in ride quality. While the 23c tyres offer lesser traction and are ideal for speed, the 28c tyres give you unparalleled comfort on most roads. This might be a slight compromise on weight, but it is definitely worth it.
The bicycle features the Shimano 20 speed Tiagra Compact crankset (or Tiagra Double). This means the crankset has only 2 chain rings, as opposed to the standard 3 chain ring crankset. The Sportif 1.3 has a 50t and 34t chain ring.
As we mentioned before, this bicycle is by no means a speed demon. However, the 11-32t 10 speed cassette coupled with the compact crankset does give you the right range of gears for comfortable long distance riding.
What sets the Fuji Sportif apart from the rest is that it is one of the few road bicycles with disc brakes. The ProMax Render-R Mechanical Disc brakes give the bicycle, spectacular stopping power. While this contributes to the weight of the bicycle, it is definitely a welcome compromise.
The 2013 version of the Sportif had 25c tyres and was equipped with rim brakes as opposed to the 28c tyres and disc brakes on the 2014 model. This resulted in the 2013 being lighter and faster than the 2014 model. However, the drive train componentry on the 2014 variant is the superior Tiagra Groupset as opposed to the Sora on the 2013. Price of Fuji Sportif 1.3 2013: INR 49,990* Price of Fuji Sportif 1.3 2014: INR 79,990*
This might just be the most comfortable road bicycle to take on long rides or when youÈre training. Incredible levels of comfort with amazing control can guarantee a really satisfying riding experience. But if youÈre looking to race, you should look somewhere else. I's heavier than its competition and the thicker tyres make it harder to pedal for speed.