Fuji produce a full range of aero machines and even their entry-level bike ticks most top-end feature boxes to produce a good-looking and super-friendly introduction to reduced-drag riding.
Ride & handling: Stable, relaxed and comfortable ride for stress-free high mileage
Ironically the ﬁrst thing you feel when you hop onto the Fuji after riding other aero bikes is that the saddle is too low. Checking with shoe heel and tape soon proves that actually it’s exactly the same height as the others, but the low-slung bottom bracket and saddle area contrasts with the high Proﬁle arm pads for a more ‘sit up and beg’ feel than normal.
The low headtube means it’s easy to drop another few centimetres out of the front end if you’ve got the ﬂexibility to handle it though. Alternatively, you can keep all the spacers under the stem on the tall steerer tube for a more orthopaedic outlook on positioning.
There is noticeable ﬂex through the front end, plus more bounce and spring in the bars and pedals and a less-focused acceleration response when you press hard, compared with other bikes we've ridden.
The steering and line holding is similarly soft-edged rather than razor sharp or battleaxe solid when it comes to getting your knee down or keeping the bike locked on line when leathering a big gear round. While this means the whole bike deﬁnitely feels more ‘Toy Story’ than ‘Terminator’ that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all for an affordable entry-level aero bike.
For a start the frame and cockpit softness means a very comfortable cruising feel that relaxes you into the ride with a smile on your face for as long as it takes to get to the ﬁnish. We don’t mean it encourages you to give up on effort entirely either, it’s just the frame doesn’t ﬂog you relentlessly forward to beat the last calories and muscle twitch out of your legs.
The handling is blissfully relaxed and sure-footed too, meaning lazy reaches for back pockets gels or casual scrolling of computer data became the norm however gusty the weather. It’s similarly encouraging on descents too, where we still felt we could have read a book or sketched the passing scenery in a pad at 70kph plus.
Even our ex pro triathlete tester Joe rapidly warmed to the overall friendliness of the frame and position and despite the soft feedback telling us otherwise, actual on road speed wasn’t dramatically different from its peers on a rolling test course in gusty conditions.
It’s not as sharp or as inspiringly quick as the fastest bikes in it’s price range, but the Aloha is as friendly as it sounds. Super-conﬁdent handling, and comfortable ride quality and well thought out adjustable ride position make it very ergonomically efﬁcient.
Frame & equipment: Heavy frame with good kit selection for the cash
The Fuji frame certainly looks the part, with the short inset headset tube giving seriously low cockpit potential and thin carbon-bladed aero forks giving cutting-edge drag reduction.
Deep oval down tube, aero seat tube with wheelhugger cut-out and skinny top tube keep airﬂow clean. Rearward facing dropout wheel slots manage tyre clearance and the gear and rear brake cables are internally routed through the tubes.
You can also dismantle and rebuild the two-position seatpost to give a properly radical forward-pedaling position. This is great for those who like to feel that they’re right over the pedals or whose guts get crushed by a conventional seat angle when they’re in a deep tuck. It's a neat touch – especially as the deep section seatpost is carbon – and shows Fuji have really done their triathlon bike homework and applied it right down to this affordable level.
There’s no concession to cost in the kit either, with the Shimano Dura Ace tip shifter, Ultegra/105 gears and FSA chainset transmission seemingly the default on £1500 aero bikes this year.
Well-established brand Oval Concepts provide the mid-weight semi-aero wheels with bladed spokes, slightly ﬂexy reverse bolt stem, colour-coded saddle and dual pivot brakes. Proﬁle’s widely adjustable T2 and T1 cockpit provides comfortable contact up front with Dura Ace tip shifters for efﬁcient ‘in tuck’ gear changing.
The complete bike package is reasonably light, and small touches like the cable rub protectors and height markers on the aero post add daily use convenience.
This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine.