Fuji doesn’t have a particularly high proﬁle in the UK MTB market (although there are plenty of Fuji Track ﬁxed-gear bikes out there), but it’s got a decent range of hardtails on offer, of which the Nevada 4.0 is the cheapest.
Ride & handling: Balanced, conﬁdence-inspiring ride
The Nevada beneﬁts hugely from being one of the lightest entry-level hardtail bikes around – it’s the best part of a pound lighter than most. Some of that is in the tyres, which aren’t all that girthsome or aggressively treaded. Neither are most of the tyres on bikes in this category though, so you’re not sacriﬁcing much for the lower weight. Less than a pound doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a difference you can feel.
Fuji have mixed a conservative head angle with a slightly steeper seat position and healthy cockpit length to good effect – the Nevada is poised and conﬁdent, unlikely to scare the novice but with enough edge to maintain interest as skills grow.
The smallish tyres and oversized seatpost mean that it’s not quite as comfortable for the long haul as some other bikes in this category, but it’s a small difference and one that can be easily sorted when the tyres need replacing.
Frame: Construction that's a cut above the usual fare
The Nevada frame generally looks like it’d be at home on a somewhat more expensive bike, and indeed you’ll ﬁnd the same one on the £499 Nevada 1.0. It’s good-looking, with plenty of contemporary touches but little in the way of gimmicks, and well-ﬁnished. Nothing about it says “cheap”, which is always welcome.
The hourglass-shaped head tube takes a semi-integrated headset, while the down tube is curved gently at the front end, both for fork clearance and to present the maximum possible weld area to the head tube. It’s ﬂattened out at the bottom bracket end too.
All the cables run above a top tube that has a triangular cross-section, while the rear end features snaked chainstays and seatstays for a good balance of tyre and heel clearance.
A disc mount on the left-hand side incorporates a neat strut to spread braking loads between seat and chain stays. You’ll need to swap the wheels to ﬁt discs, but it’s good to see a well-executed mount at this price. The standard two sets of bottle mounts are present, as are rack and mudguard eyes.
Up front is the now very familiar SR Suntour all-steel fork, although Fuji have opted for 80mm rather than 63mm of travel. Not that you’re that likely to notice – it’s still something of a blunt instrument.
Unusually, there’s a disc mount on the fork as well as the frame although, we’d be upgrading the fork before the brakes anyway.
Equipment: Problem-free Fuji-branded ﬁnishing kit
Fuji have opted to use Shimano RevoShift units on the Nevada, instead of Shimano’s EZ-Fire trigger shifters. The RevoShifts are twist-grip shifters, a concept that’s historically lost out to various styles of thumb/ﬁnger trigger and a choice that’s likely to split opinion.
They work well enough unless your hands get really muddy. They’re a little lighter and somewhat sleeker than the EZ-Fires, but you have to rest your hands on them the whole time to be able to reach the brake levers, leading to the possibility of missed shifts. We know that some beginner riders ﬁnd twist-grips more intuitive than triggers though.
Also putting in an appearance is a 14-34 MegaRange freewheel, combined with a Shimano 24/34/42 chainset, giving back hill-climbing ability but taking away a decently high gear for the road or long descents. The Shimano cranks are deﬁnitely a cut above the SR Suntour units seen on some other entry-level bikes, in terms of smooth shifting and ﬁnish though.
Tyres on entry-level bikes are always a compromise, with manufacturers generally unwilling to spec a full knobbly and scaring off the ‘utility’ buyer. The Fuji has a pair of Kenda treads that are the spitting image of old Tioga Comp III BMX tyres, only bigger. As with all the tyres on the bikes here, they’re reasonably fast on Tarmac, OK on ﬁrmer trails, and demand attention if it gets loose or damp.
All the ﬁnishing kit is Fuji-branded and didn’t present any problems, although at 610mm the bar is somewhat narrow – a little more width wouldn’t go amiss, especially as you start hitting harder trails quicker.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.