Aluminium isn’t only suitable for road bikes, and Fuji’s Jari 1.3 is designed for “gravel, light touring, bike-packing or pretty much whatever you can throw at it”. That’s quite a claim from the multi-national Fuji brand.
The Jari’s geometry is a mile away from the Experience’s aggressive frame angles. Fuji’s ‘adventure’ geometry lengthens the wheelbase and slackens both the head and seat tube angles for greater control.
The Oval Concepts bar is a super-wide affair with a 25-degree flare and four-degree sweep, again for better control off road. It measures 44cm across the top before widening out to a whopping 54cm at the drops; it’s also slightly flattened on the tops. The seatstays have a pronounced swoop to them.
The frame and fork are decked out with a spectacular array of fittings for touring and bikepacking. The usual mudguard mounts (and acres of clearance) and two pairs of bottle bosses are joined by another pair of bosses on each fork leg, one under the down tube and another on the top tube that Fuji calls a ‘bento box’ mount.
The top tube has another unusual feature, a small silicone shoulder pad underneath the top tube, to “increase comfort when portaging the bike”. I found it a surprisingly handy addition when carrying the bike on my local railway station’s stairs.
The gearing is typical gravel bike, with this being the first of three test bikes with SRAM’s 1x single-ring setup.
The combination of FSA’s Omega 40-tooth chainring and SRAM’s own 11-42 cassette offers a similar top gear to a 50×14 and a bottom gear lower than a 34×34.
What does this mean? Well, at the top end you could spin out, but this isn’t a bike for attacking speed records on. The flipside is that the 40×42 bottom gear is your friend, your very best friend when climbing or riding off road. This is a gravel bike, after all.
In spite of that its 38mm tubeless-compatible Gravel King tyres perform decently on the tarmac, the raised block tread rolling reasonably quickly thanks to Panaracer’s Zero Slip Grip compound. They coped with cobbles – Bath and Bristol have some Georgian pavé – and on pretty slippery torn-up gravel they grip diligently.
The Panaracer tyres cost a fair amount but Fuji has cut costs by pairing SRAM’s Apex levers with Tektro cable disc brakes rather than the SRAM hydraulic brakes found on two of the other bikes, though those are much more expensive.
The braking is good and it’s consistent regardless of conditions, but does require more hand effort at the levers.
But that’s the only real cost-cutting I could find. Fuji’s own-brand Oval Concepts’ name is on most of the cockpit components and I got on with all of it, even the saddle.
Fuji’s Jari proved something of a dark horse. It’s not that light, neither is it that quick. But it’s a lovely ride if you’re looking for a comfortable, practical, versatile bike that’ll cope with just about every surface you throw at it.
It was a joy on my long commute and even encouraged some singletrack forays. The low bottom gear’s a treat. Its stability makes it a confident if not super-sharp descender, and with more road-flavoured tyres it would make a great commuter-cum-training bike. Oh, and it’s a blast!
Fuji Jari 1.3 geometry
- Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
- Head angle: 72 degrees
- Chainstay: 43.9cm
- Seat tube: 52.5cm
- Top tube: 54.7cm
- Fork offset: 4.8cm
- Trail: 6.3cm
- Bottom bracket height: 28.5cm
- Wheelbase: 1,045mm
|Price||GBP £1349.00USD $1600.00|
|Available sizes||49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm|
|Headset||FSA No 42 integrated|
|Tyres||Panaracer Gravel King SK 38mm|
|Stem||Oval Concepts 313, 6061 alloy|
|Shifter||SRAM Apex 1|
|Seatpost||Oval Concepts 300, 6061 alloy|
|Saddle||Oval Concepts 438, steel rail|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM Apex 1|
|Handlebar||44cm Oval Concepts 325, 25° flare|
|Bottom bracket||Omega BB386 Evo|
|Front derailleur||SRAM Apex 1|
|Frame||A6-SL Super-butted aluminium|
|Fork||Cross carbon monocoque, thru-axle|
|Cranks||SRAM Apex 1x 40T|
|Cassette||SRAM PG-1130 Apex 11-42|
|Brakes||SRAM Apex levers, Tektro MD-C550 mechanical discs|
|Wheels||WTB ST i23 Light TCS|