Established US bike-builders Fuji have a growing presence in the UK and the women-speciﬁc Supreme 2.0 is new to their range this year. It’s a quirky-looking bike that turned out to be surprisingly versatile. We’d upgrade the wheels and brakes to make this a really zippy, solid racing machine but if you’ve struggled to ﬁnd an all-round long-distance and racing bike, this is well worth a look.
Ride & handling: Buzz-free bike serving up a plentifully racy and enthusiastic ride
The Supreme has been developed with the Fuji-sponsored Diadora Pasta Zara Women’s pro team, based on their feedback rather than a preconceived idea of ‘women’s ﬁt’ – so we shouldn’t have been surprised by how lively the bike felt. What looks like a ‘sportive-friendly’ shape actually feels racy and enthusiastic; it’s a light bike thanks to its carbon mainframe, but feels even lighter because of the friendly, fun way it handles.
That curvy top tube is designed to give a higher standover height at its bottom end, but to be stiff at the top-end, so head-tube height is conventional and steering stability isn’t lost. Fuji say the tube shaping should also give a lower centre of gravity to improve rider conﬁdence, which might explain why we liked it. The outcome on the ride is a really versatile bike.
It doesn’t quite have the push of a full-on racing machine, but there’s enough bulk and stiffness at the bottom end of the bike, and enough stability at the front, to bear down and get up to speed quickly. Its sturdy front end, comfy bars and reasonably light weight make it a great climber, though it’s better suited to sitting down and grunting it out than getting out of the saddle and stomping, perhaps because of the narrower bars and low front.
When it comes to swinging back down a descent, again this isn’t the quickest or most twitchy steerer, and those spongy brakes made us a little wary, but it glides round wide corners well and the head-down position kept us feeling safe and balanced in the saddle. On longer rides, it’s smooth, with almost no road buzz getting through to our bum or hands – that’s thanks in part to the well-shaped saddle and cushy bars, and in part to the all-carbon, curvy build.
Frame: Clever carbon shapes give this a surprisingly race-friendly feel
The Supreme was greeted with suspicion by our testers – but they were in for a nice surprise. The ‘compact’ style frame suggested a slack ride, not what we were looking for under our ‘racy women’s bikes’ remit, and the crazy shapes beg a lot of questions. The super-skinny, rounded and ﬂattened top tube bulges up and over from the head tube and meets the seat tube miles below the saddle, ﬂattening as it reaches the bottom. The rounded-to-ﬂattened seat stays meet boxy, deep chainstays and the down tube is round and wide all the way back to the cockpit.
Internal cable routing is another interesting touch, though it seems to be more for neatness and protection of the cables rather than aerodynamics. The carbon frame uses Fuji’s custom D6 carbon blend, which is designed to be strong for its density, so less of it is needed. It’s quite a different ride though, and a look at the geometry shows that there are some optical illusions going on with that curved top tube, and its relatively long cockpit, giving a head-down feeling.
Equipment: Nice range of women’s specific kit keeps it comfy
Choice of kit spec was interesting, with lots of shiny white components we don’t usually see on mainstream UK bike builds. Oval feature heavily in the selection, providing wheels, brakes, stem, handlebar and seat tube. The women’s-speciﬁc handlebar made handling much more comfortable and the R700 female-ﬁt saddle was also the most comfortable on test.
We weren’t quite so keen on the heavy, slow wheels and soft-feeling brakes, though. Gearing is Shimano 105 all the way – nothing more than we’d expect at this price. It’s smooth and quick enough to make the most of the ride, though they’ve opted for an 11-25 cassette at the back, so if you’re heading for the hills you might want to swap that for something with a bigger top ring.
This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine.