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Fuji is a Japanese bicycle brand which has been around from the 1900's. Japan's most popular bicycle brand, Fuji has a come long way in the bicycling world with constant benchmarks set for both professional and recreational bicycles. Fuji have always been known for their tourer and endurance road bicycles. We got the opportunity to review the endurance-focused Sportif 2.3 from the 2016 range of Fuji bicycles and here is what we thought.
The Sportif 2.3 (2016) is built with an A2-SL compact double butted alloy frame. This frame technology ensures that the welds on every corner are perfectly blended to make sure there is no extra material used where it isn't necessary. This drastically reduces the weight of the frame, which is a major positive in an endurance road cycle. The FC-770 carbon integrated fork makes the front half of the bicycle light and eases the handling capabilities during longer rides. The frame is strong and will last, if maintained properly.
The bicycle only comes in a lime green colour. Fuji has gone with just 1 colour for the full bicycle which makes the green look very bright. At the first glance it does look plain and one would wish there was a secondary colour. But, the ash grey stickering compensates the bright green by standing out well. The semi-rounded top tube adds a neat and elegant look to the bicycle with smooth welds which almost never show. A few more colour options would have been better.
The gearing department in the Sportif 2.3 (2016) is stocked quite well with Shimano Claris in the front and Shimano Sora at the rear as derailleurs. At this price point, these components are definitely value for money. Shimano Claris pushed the gearing performance well during the test ride, balanced well by the Shimano Sora. Getting up to a bigger chain ring quickly for acceleration wasn't the fastest change but with the 16-speed gearing the climbs were an easier affair. The Shimano Claris integrated shifters worked well during the test ride. The brake/gear lever's pushing mechanism needed a little extra push than usual for the gear change to take effect which might be uncomfortable when there is a need for constant gear shifts.
The alloy dual pivot V-brakes in the Fuji Sportif 2.3 (2016) were simple and effective. The braking process might slow down during wet conditions due to the smaller brake pads. The brake's pivots are easily adjustable. The Shimano Claris brake levers felt a little too far away from the hand while on the hoods. Braking from the drops was surprisingly comfortable.
The Oval Concepts butted 6061 Alloy handlebar are the same as found in most of the Sportif range of bicycles. The Handlebar design and position can make or break the rider's position and the Sportif 2.3's handlebar position was perfect for an endurance ride with slightly straightened rider posture and a closer reach to the bars from the saddle.
The Fuji Sportif 2.3 (2016) rolls on Vera Helios 700C x 25C tires which are designed for longer endurance specific rides which might include¾ different levels of elevation and drops. The slick and very sticky Helios tires aren't the best if you want also use the Sportif 2.3 (2016) for commuting, a slightly chunkier tire alternative might be needed. The Oval Concepts R300 saddle was designed perfectly for the sit bones to be placed at the widest points of the saddle. But, the length was more than what it should have been. A rider using an S/M sized frame could feel this difference. The overall ride quality during the test ride was smooth on flatter tarmacs with slight inclines.
Endurance road bicycles are considered the most easiest to ride among the different types of road bicycles. The Sportif 2.3 (2016) is the perfect example of comfort based road bicycles, mainly due to i's less aggressive ride posture which allows you to ride the bicycle for longer hours without experiencing any back aches. This bicycle is lightweight and yet feels sturdy enough to cope with slightly rough roads. On the whole the Fuji Sportif 2.3 (2016) is a well balanced and comfortable endurance and leisure road machine. Priced at Rs.49,990 the Sportif 2.3 (2016) is a highly recommended first road bicycle to own.