While Fuji’s dedication to women’s cycling dates back to the seventies, with the Supreme 1.1, it just raised the bar. The latest women’s competition build is not just the fastest in Fuji’s women’s line-up, but, it claims, its fastest bike — ever.
With the Supreme 1.1 scooping a World Tour stage victory with women's pro team TIBCO-SVB in May 2018, it’s no surprise to learn that the women's new aero performance bike from Fuji was designed with speed in mind.
First released in 2007, the numerous updates serve up improvements far beyond a sleek black and gold paint-job that’s satisfyingly stereotype-free.
Fuji Supreme 1.1 frame
Fuji’s new queen bee offers a step-up in carbon construction from the rest of the range. Employing its best-yet ultra-high modulus carbon layup, called C15, the frame combines three — rather than C10’s two as seen on the '2 series' — levels of composite material for greater compliance and stiffness. This is particularly noticeable on the head tube where it contributes to responsive handling, and the bottom-bracket area, giving optimum power output.
The frame and full-carbon FC-330 fork use Kamm tail aero profiles which, Fuji says, performs better against side winds than conventional airfoils.
With saving seconds in mind, the Supreme 1.1 has spent some serious time in the wind tunnel. Fuji claims the newly redesigned chassis has almost 3.5 minutes sliced off the previous version in Fuji’s 40km test, and 79 seconds quicker than the men’s aero bike, the Transonic.
To achieve the desired performance, the attention to detail in tube design is focused internally as well as externally. Fuji used high-compaction molding to smooth out wrinkles on the interior frame, while the integrated headtube is contoured, the seatpost narrowed and seatstays slimmed and dropped.
The improved aerodynamics twinned with the strong, stiff, light material make for a ride that feels immediately lively with eager acceleration – it can’t wait to go.
While some big-name brands are rethinking gender-based geometry in favour of unisex sizing options (such as Specialized with its new Women’s S-Works Tarmac), Fuji favour a tailored, women’s-specific approach.
This comes, it says, from its long-term commitment to women’s cycling, and data gathered from more than 40 years’ working alongside some of the world’s fastest female riders. A five-size range (44-56cm) with an independent geometry built around a progressively increasing reach and stack height system. This ain’t no shrunken Transonic.
The outcome is a frame and fit that’s intended to — and does — power women to the podium.
Fuji Supreme 1.1 specs
With a grams-saving frame forged in the wind tunnel, it’s fitting that Supreme 1.1’s specification is also, well, supreme. It’s razor-focused on speed.
The 1.1 is kitted with the crème de la groupset. The SRAM Red eTap HRD gave me smooth-shifting wireless tech with a hydraulic stopping power that I welcomed on this demon-fast bike, while the flat-mounted disc brakes ensured I felt firmly in control of my speed.
The semi-compact 52/36t cranks are combined with an 11-28t cassette, which is understandably race-focused, providing ample gears for powering forward.
At 7.43kg (M), the Supreme is not the lightest road bike available, but is lighter than some range-topping alternatives, such as Trek's Domane SL7.
The Supreme's speed-seeking 50mm deep carbon rims — with reassuringly secure 12mm thru-axles — scream race too, and the classy tan-walled Vittoria Open Corsa tyres feel fast-rolling and grippy on corners.
Handling is nimble and controlled in technical environments. The cockpit features compact Oval Concept carbon bars, which help place the rider in a hard-riding, aggressive position. This isn't a bike where chilling out in the drops is an option, nor would you expect it to be.
Unlike some other aero bikes, Fuji has chosen a classic rather than integrated cockpit setup allowing for simple bar and stem changes for that perfect fit.
Fuji Supreme 1.1 verdict
The name suggests high-achieving, and if it’s a fast climb through the racing ranks you’re looking for, then it’s bang on.
The Supreme’s pure race-focused build won’t deliver the comfort-over-distance of Fuji’s vibration-reducing Brevet, but the compliance in this frame, together with the carbon seatpost and the Oval Concepts 751W saddle with pressure-relief zones feel pretty good as miles rack up.
For tighter budgets, the 2 series Supremes still offer quality and performance. All offer the aforementioned C10 carbon, built with alloy disc wheels and performance groupsets.
The closest sibling to the 1-series, the 2.1, features Shimano's Ultegra hydraulic groupset, while the 2.3 sticks with Ultegra parts but switches to Oval cranks for cost-savings. The Supreme 2.5 comes equipped with 105, Shimano’s mid-range groupset.