After years of research and testing in the A2 Wind Tunnel, Fuji has just announced a brand-new aero road bike for 2015: the Fuji Transonic. The new bike and team NetApp-Endura together debuted at the 2014 Tour De France on Saturday.
This years Tour De France sees the debut of team NetApp-Endura and the Fuji Transonic
Following the Track Elite and last year’s Norcom Tri/TT bike, as well as the sprinters' SST and the lightweight Fuji Altimari, the Transonic joins a booming segment of the industry with an aerodynamic focus. While it seems nearly every other company claims to have found the secret recipe to the ‘world’s fastest bike’ in some capacity, Fuji has made no such claim.
The all-new Fuji Transonic
So just how fast does Fuji claim the Transonic to be? According to Fuji, "If a steady 300 watts were put out by a rider over a 40km course, the Transonic would be 65 seconds faster than the SST and 55 seconds faster than the Altamira." Unfortunately, these claims are hard to quantify without a comparison against other well-known aero frames, but either way, we expect this to be one fast ride.
Some of the aero trickery learned from the Track Elite and Norcom include an aerodynamically contoured head tube-fork-downtube junction, seatstays sculpted around the rear brake, a wheel-hugging seat tube and an aero seat post with integrated seat clamp. Some new aero features include full internal cable routing (Di2 compatible) and direct-mount brakes front and rear.
Just because a bike is fast in the wind tunnel, doesn’t ensure it’s going to be good on the road. Fuji claims through high stiffness and stable steering geometry, the Transonic will give riders "confidence to push the boundaries of fast."
The aero seat post features a roughened surface to prevent slipping
Compared to some other aerodynamic frames, the Transonic is designed with wider cross-sectional frame tubes to optimise pedalling stiffness. An example of this is seen with the enormous asymmetrical chain stays and PF30 bottom bracket for efficient transfer of power.
Additional frame features include an integrated chain catcher and space for a claimed 28mm width rubber and the widest of carbon racing rims.
The direct-mount brakes are a big part of the Transonic story
Although sponsored athletes provided plenty of feedback for the Transonic, Fuji also integrates mechanic feedback into all of its products. And so the Transonic claims to be easy to service and user friendly. Fuji is quick to point out that it's one of the first in the industry to position a direct-mount brake on the seatstays instead of under the chainstay.
"It's extremely challenging to set up and maneuver around the crankset when the brake's mounted under the chainstay, and it's impossible for a mechanic to adjust in a race situation hanging out of the car. The rider would have to stop," said Senior Fuji Road Product Manager Steve Fairchild. "So from a stiffness and aerodynamics standpoint, mounting the rear brake makes a lot of sense; but from a service standpoint, it's illogical. We realized that during the design process, so we worked directly with Shimano to modify their front brake design and apply it to a rear seatstay position. There it gives both mechanics and riders easy access for adjustments and wheel changes and allows for confirmation that the wheel and brake aren't rubbing after a change."
An additional bonus we see with this is greater power meter compatibility, with many chainstay mounted brakes causing issues with crank arm mounted designs such those from Pioneer and Stages.
Fuji showcases the new Transonic
Pricing and spec details
Fuji is investing heavily in this new model with seven frame sizes available ranging from 46cm-61cm, across eight complete bike models plus a frameset option too. The first models of the Transonic are expected to be available from October 2014 and onwards.
The Transonic 1.1 is the most expensive of the line-up at US$6,299/ EU€5,999
The top-end C10 Ultra high modulus frame is featured in three complete bike models: the Transonic SL, 1.1 and the 1.3. The Transonic SL features a SRAM Red 22 groupset and Oval 950 carbon clincher wheels for a total price of US$5,699/ €4,999/£4000. At $6,299/ €5,999/£4800, the 1.1 offers a full Shimano Dura-ace Di2 groupset, Oval 950F carbon/alloy wheels and an Oval carbon cockpit. While the 1.3 offers a Dura-ace mechanical groupset for a price of US$4,699/ €4,299/£3400.
The C10 frameset is available separately too
The C10 frameset is also available separately for US$1,999/ €1,699. Frame weight is currently unconfirmed.
Doing without the ‘Ultra’ in its high modulus carbon construction, the C5 frame features in the five remaining models. The Transonic 2.1 headlines this cheaper range with its Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, tubeless-ready Oval 733 wheels and Oval aluminium cockpit for a price of US$3,549/€3,299/£2650.
Fuji's Transonic 2.3
The Transonic 2.3 is next inline with its Shimano Ultegra mechanic gearing, Oval concepts semi-compact crankset and Oval 527 aero alloy wheels for US$2,399/€2,299/£1850.
The Fuji Transonic 2.5
At US$1,999/€1,999/£1600, the Transonic 2.5 still offers Shimano Ultegra gearing, but with Shimano 105 brakes and cheaper a Oval concepts crankset and wheelset. The 2.7 drops the price to US$1,889/ €1,799/£1450 with its Shimano 105 groupset, but is otherwise the same as the 2.5.
Sitting at the bottom of the range, the US$1,749 (not available in Europe) Transonic 2.9 will feature Shimano 105 gearing, FSA crankset and Vera Corsa wheels.