The Fuji Nevada 1.0 is no lightweight – you’ll find bikes about 1.4kg lighter than this at around the £500 mark – but its sturdy build, beefy tyres, stiff-sprung suspension and powerful disc brakes could make it an excellent choice for the heavier riders out there.
Ride & handling: Sturdy trail trundler that would be a sensible option for bigger riders
The Fuji's stiff frame and hard-sprung short-travel fork (we found it difficult to get more than 50mm – that’s 2in – of travel from the theoretical 80mm on offer) conspired to produce a fairly harsh ride on rough ground.
To compensate, we ran the tyres softer than usual, and the meaty square edge tread pattern meant that this resulted in slower speeds as well as slightly more comfort and traction – the slower pace was particularly noticeable on long steady climbs.
The narrow (597mm) handlebar is okay if you’re just cruising along but every rider on our test team wished for something wider as the terrain got more technical, where again the hard-sprung fork made the front end a bit of a handful, especially on rough downhills.
We tried hard to find some redeeming features in the Fuji but we couldn’t get away from its weight; it feels cumbersome in the majority of off-road environments.
It’s still definitely worth checking out if you’re a heavier rider who finds most forks too lightly sprung or most tyres too skimpy, though. And a wider handlebar would make a big difference in terms of off-road control.
The Nevada 1.0 is currently reduced to £450 and Evans say it'll stay at that price for the foreseeable future. If we were scoring it at that price, it would have scored half a star more, making it well worth considering.
Frame: Good quality and well finished, all-purpose design; fork is over-sprung for most
As with most bikes we’ve seen around this price, the Fuji's frame is worthy of eventual parts upgrades as stuff wears out. The massive hydroformed down tube makes for a noticeably solid (to the point of punishing) trail feel when the fork is locked out, though.
There'll certainly be riders who'll wish there was more than 80mm (3.1in) of travel on offer from the SR Suntour XCM fork when the going gets tough. It has a leg-top preload knob and lockout dial. Unfortunately, with the lockout engaged the fork develops an irritating clunky rattle, so we ended up not using it.
But the frame is well put together, beefed up to shun frontal impacts behind the fat hourglass bulged head tube, with slightly squared and biaxially ovalised top and down tubes for flex-free tracking, and extra strength at the welded tube joins.
The chainstays and seatstays curve out around the tyre for maximum mud room, and luggage rack mounts and two sets of water bottle bosses are all present and correct.
Equipment: Decent drivetrain parts and hydraulic disc brakes; could do with a wider bar
Drivetrain-wise, the Fuji twins a Shimano Deore rear mech with a clunky but very efficient Hyperdrive crankset and Acera mech up front. Shifting was perfect throughout the test.
The wheels are heavy but well-built, with Kenda front and rear specific tyres doing a superb job of providing traction in all conditions, but noticeably slowing dry trail progress compared to faster rolling tyres. The square edges tug at the steering occasionally, but you’ll welcome them on muddy corners.
The Tektro Auriga Comp brakes are among the best budget hydraulics on the market. They don’t offer much lever modulation and they’ll take a few big descents to bed in and start performing at their best, but they’re almost scarily powerful if you’re not used to hydraulic discs.
The finishing kit is all decent quality Fuji-branded stuff. Saddle comfort is pretty good and the only moan from a few riders was that the bar was only 23.5in wide – more bar width is good for manhandling a relatively hefty bike up the climbs or wrestling it through the twists and turns of rough singletrack.