Ride & handling: Good frame, good geometry, good tires
The middle-of-the-road steering (63mm of trail) works well in slow- and high-speed handling, and the new school geometry (67mm of bottom bracket drop) offers a centered feel. The carbon frameset’s snappy performance is somewhat hampered by the heavy wheels, though, especially under acceleration.
With a 1.5in lower headset and reinforced legs, the beefy fork performs well under heavy braking and aggressive cornering.
Paired with a beefy fork, the 1.5in lower headset bearing ensures confident steering with zero stutter, and the big BB86 bottom bracket and thick chain stays perform similarly with power transfer to the rear wheel.
The stout fork doesn’t suffer from brake-induced shudder
The tires' tread provided good all-conditions traction and the volume made for a comfortable ride. The casing seems to strike a good balance between flexibility and durability. Though listed as 32, the Challenge Grifo clinchers measured 33.5mm wide on the Oval 327 CX wheels.
Finally, the disc brakes are adequate, the Avid BB7s giving great modulation compared to standard cantilever brakes, with decent power at most cyclocross speeds. We also tested the bike with road tires on a 2,500ft descent, where hard braking revealed a lack of upper-end power.
Frame: Solid carbon chassis
The carbon heart of the bike is a good one – Fuji hasn’t skimped on the frame. The carbon fiber Altamira 1.3 comes drilled for Di2 routing, in six sizes from 49cm to 61cm, and our 56cm test frame weighed a respectable 1,124g.
Fuji has completed the build with Oval bars, stem, seatpost and wheels, the latter of which weigh the bike down on the scale and on the ’cross course (complete weight 8.73kg / 19.2lb).
Aesthetically, the bike’s graphics and color detail regularly drew remarks throughout our testing period. Beyond the yellow bar tape, frame highlights and saddle accents, even the cable stops, ferrules, stem face, stem preload cap and bottle cage bolts have been selected in light blue to match the frame.
The internal cable routing doesn’t have guiding sleeves, making overhauling the cabling a bit tricky, with some fishing involved. But on the upside, the shift cables are almost completely protected from the elements.
The brake cables’ housing is riveted to the frame
The rear brake, however, uses Jagwire housing running along the top of the top tube, which can be mildly uncomfortable if you happen to palm a rivet during a dismount.
Equipment: Force group lifts the bike, wheels bring it down
Fuji has built the bike with SRAM’s Force group – including an 11-28 cassette and 46/36 rings – plus Avid’s BB7 calipers, and the brand’s Oval house brand for the wheels and cockpit.
Seating the tires on the Oval 327 CX wheels was a challenge, often requiring up to 150psi to get the bead to pop in everywhere. For comparison, our Stan’s NoTubes Iron Cross wheels, with a center channel, usually take about 50psi to seat with cyclocross tires. Fuji says it’s used the same rim on thousands of bikes without such an issue, and a friend of BikeRadar who bought an Altamira 1.3 through a shop has had no problem with his hoops, either.
Our Oval wheels were difficult to seat tires on
In any event, the wheels weigh 1,880g without skewers, rotors or rim strips, and the Challenge Grifo tire is a good all-around tread. We raced it between 30 and 35psi (for an 86kg / 190lb rider) with no flats.
Fuji’s house brand Oval saddle is somewhat narrow, measuring 137mm at widest point. It’s generally flat, with an anatomic cutout, decent padding and some flex between the nose and tail. The Oval 310 bars bulge and curve back slightly on the tops.
We appreciated the small details, such as the frame saver rubber sleeves on the shifter housing, and the barrel adjusters on both the shifter and brake housing.
All in all, the Fuji Altamira 1.3 is a perfectly raceable bike that would benefit from some better wheels.