Fuji, on of worldês oldest and leading bicycle manufacturer have always had a special place in the market for road bicycles, especially endurance focused ones. The Sportif series of road bicycles from Fuji have always focused on providing comfortable road cycling experience. From the 2016 Fuji range we got the opportunity to review the Fuji Sportif 2.1 2016 and here is what we thought.
Once you settle in over the Fuji Sportif 2.1's top tube, you will realize it is compact. The benefits of a compact frame are many, but a few key bonuses are the shorter distance to the handlebar when seated, which alleviates neck, back and wrist strain, while increasing your ability to handle the bicycle with confidence. The shorter seat tube means greater stand over height, so when you pull up to a stop sign you can easily step off the bicycle with plenty of safe clearance between you and the bicycle. Also, a shorter top tube means you will be riding more upright. That means you will get a greater view of the road ahead and any objects around your bicycle while your ride. The frame itself is made out of lightweight double butted aluminium and the fork is made of both carbon and aluminium, which reduces the bicycle's weight and helps to smooth out the vibration from the road.
The Fuji Sportif 2.1ês design is simple yet elegant. The bicycle I test rode came in a dark grey primary colour with lime green graphics which adds a good contrast. The neat lime green lines on the top tube, fork and the Fuji brand name in the same colour on the bottom tube make it look bright and can be spotted from a long way out. The matte finish colours clearly enhances the aesthetics of this bicycle. A simple road bicycle is not termed only because of its functionality but also because of its design and the Sportif 2.1 embodies that perfectly.
The gearing in the Sportif 2.1 is taken care of by a complete Shimano Sora groupset. This bicycle is an endurance focused road bicycle and during the test ride the gearing was comfortable enough to maintain a balanced cadence for a long period of time. Though mid level, when tuned properly the gearing components work flawlessly and can be compared to more expensive bicycles for similar derailleur performances. The Shimano Sora shifters have a comfortable, ergonomic feel and with a quick flick of the wrist to change gears, depending upon the grade of the road. It also gives a great riding experience, allowing riders to learn and develop road bicycle gearing skills at a less expensive price point.
One of the common parts which are often looked away on a road bicycle are the brakes due to the type of riding. The Fuji Sportif 2.1 2016 comes with an alloy dual pivot brake. The unbranded alloy dual pivot brakes supplied were actually surprisingly powerful and had reasonable modulation. When combined with quality rims, the braking power was really excellent for the endurance focused road bicycle.
The Oval concepts road handlebar felt comfortable in reach in a typical endurance geometry. I test rode the Sportif 2.1 2016 up to almost 40-50kph down some flyovers with steeper declines with curves and found that I could bank the bicycle over in hard and fast corners with no hair-raising moments. The steering was reasonably responsive, potentially siding on the slow, rather than the twitchy side. But this was no problem for me and I really enjoyed hammering descents on it by the end of the test. This bicycle was never aimed to be a racer, but thankfully Fuji have managed to stick to the expected comfortable 'endurance' position for this bicycle with a lively steering response.
The Sportif 2.1 is rolls over a pair of Vera Corsa wheels with wide and comfortable Vera Helios 700C x25C tires. The Vera Corsa double wall aero rims on Formula Road alloy hubs are actually pretty good. During the test ride the wheels stayed true to its ability and were reasonably stiff too, certainly more so than some budget wheels. The Vera Helios tires find their limit fairly quickly when you are scrabbling up a steep, slimy road climb but they are fairly predictable so long as you don't throw your body weight fully into the corners. The Oval concepts 301 saddle are specifically designed for road bicycles and they were of the right shape, no complaints there. The overall ride quality on flat tarmacs was smooth.
The Sportif 2.1 is easily one of the most comfortable mid-level endurance road bicycle to buy. Overall this is a likeable bicycle, and one will eat up fitness or commuting miles without complaints. Brake pads and levers were solid and dependable. The new Sora STI levers are excellent, the wheels are pretty good for the money and as a package the Fuji Sportif 2.1 2016 is a good-looking decent endurance performer at an affordable price.