Fuji have been sponsoring elite women cyclists for over 25 years, but they've only recently launched ladies production bikes. The Absolute DX is aimed at fitness riders and commuters, and at very reasonable price too.
The aluminium frame is both neatly welded and well finished with a tough coat of paint, though the graphics are not really anything special to look at. There are two bottle mounts, a replaceable mech hanger, rack/mudguard mounts at the rear and the chromoly fork has mudguard eyes too. The fork and stays give enough clearances to allow slightly wider tyres than the 700x28c pair fitted. Although Fuji make a size 15in, it's unfortunately not available in the UK - the 17in tested is said to fit riders 5ft 4in to 5ft 9in.
The position is comfortably upright and the adjustable stem allows some leeway with the handlebar height. Like the other flat-barred bikes in the test, good visibility and easy handling are part and parcel of the set-up. Also good for beginners, there was no noticeable toe overlap. Brake levers are reach adjustable via a small bolt, though we found the Gripshifters make the reach a bit further because of the extra width around the bars. On the plus side, the SRAM MRX twist shifters are really simple to operate and they have a clear gear indicator too. Shifting was adequate, with only a little rubbing and a clunky action, while the gear range is well suited to the fitness rider thanks to the 11-32t cassette.
To keep the price down, there are many Fuji branded parts, including the 30/42/52 road triple chainset, bottom bracket, mini V brakes and all the finishing kit - saddle, grips and aluminium stem and seatpost. This contributes to the heavier overall weight than more expensive flat-barred bikes. It's a fun bike to ride though and will undoubtedly be to blame for new riders catching the bike bug. With the rack mounts, it'll still be a versatile commuter long after you upgrade to a lighter, faster bike.