The top spec Altamira was ridden in last year’s Tour de France. Although our 2.5 model is made of more cost-effective stuff, that racy DNA is very apparent.
The carbon frameset has an attractive marbled finish that shimmers in the sun and tries to mask its businesslike persona. A stiff fork plugged in to the beefy head tube, giant rounded down tube and deep rectangular chainstays with wide bottom bracket shell ensure rigidity in all the right places.
Meanwhile flattened seatstays and a heavily tapered and flattened top tube enhancing rider comfort. All of the cabling is external, saving expense but also simplifying maintenance.
Highs: Very capable frame and effective drivetrain combination
Lows: Cost reducing parts increase overall weight
Buy if: You want a refined, rapid ride with a solid component spec
Equipment starts with Shimano Ultegra shifters and derailleurs, offering their trademark slick changes and high quality feel, but it’s not a complete groupset, deviating with a 105 cassette and brakes, and an Oval crank. Fuji’s preferred component supplier, Oval Concepts, has in this case partnered with Turn for the 520 cranks – their inside face is scooped out to save weight, and they feature a hollow axle and Praxis Works chain rings.
We’ve found these cold forged rings to be very hardwearing and as smooth shifting as any. In pro compact 52/36t sizes, they complement the 11-28t cassette to offer a great range of gearing for almost everyone. Together they’re stiff, efficient and only enhance performance.
Praxis works chainrings work with hollowed-out oval cranks:
Praxis Works chainrings work with hollowed-out Oval cranks
Oval also supplies the tidy alloy bar and stem, carbon wrapped seatpost and saddle. We found the perch to be a good supportive shape and extremely plush – almost too plush for the racers among us – but too much comfort is certainly better than too little. The wheelset is another Oval item, with 28mm deep and 24mm wide alloy rims, J-bend bladed spokes for simplicity, and 23mm Vittoria Zaffiro Pro rubber.
The hoops are very current in design, and really open the skinny Vittorias out to give seemingly more volume and grip than expected from 23mm rubber. Stability is increased too, and with it, confidence – although they lack a big name, the wheelset is a willing and fairly lively performer.
Once you’ve assumed the position, you’ll soon forget the handful of spec compromises fuji has made in the name of economy:
Once you’ve assumed the position, you’ll soon forget the handful of spec compromises Fuji has made in the name of economy
The frame encourages a classic road position, with ample room to stretch out and get as low as you need to. On the flat it feels like a real all-rounder’s machine, keen to drive onwards incessantly. But when gradients arrive it also bounds upwards, climbing efficiently, and is a very capable descender too.
When riding, it’s almost impossible to tell that the brake calipers are 105 instead of Ultegra. They offer plenty of real-world stopping power and smooth modulation from the levers.
Ride quality is definitely on the firm side. That said, it’s quite acceptable thanks to the rolling stock combination and that well padded perch, and we were never uncomfortable throughout our test period.
The Altamira’s composure shows the frame’s refinement: able to clip along efficiently at a good lick, stiff enough to pack a mean sprint, and supple enough isolate you from poor road surfaces. Cornering is confident, thanks to more accessible grip and great poise, and although on paper the Fuji’s spec list has had a few corners cut, from the saddle, it’s a hard argument to feel, as it offers a very complementary package.