Fuji’s idea behind the SL chassis was to aim to make one of the lightest on the market, and with the top of the range rim brake model hitting just 660g for the frame and the range topping 1 series (C15 hi-mod carbon) disc model at 880g it’s got pretty close.
- The Fuji SL 2.3 disc is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2019. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub.
This is the 2-series chassis which uses Fuji’s own C10 high-modulus carbon, which is a slightly simpler construction. That said, the frame is still well under a kilo and the fork around 400g. At the three grand mark, the Fuji sits just a few grams below the TCR Disc and the (more expensive) Canyon Ultimate 8.0, so this is one very light bike.
The geometry is every inch the classic race bike, with parallel 73-degree angles and a tight 983mm wheelbase (on my 56cm model), while the stack is low at 559mm and the reach long at 398mm.
The handling is best described as swift. The front end needs plenty of attention because it feels light and twitches over rougher road surfaces.
It may react like a startled whippet but strangely it never feels like you’re anything but in control. Yes, it’s capable of darting left or right in an instant, and the tight wheelbase imbues it with a marvellous ability to be slotted through the tightest corners with ease, but it’s not the best bike to rail through longer, faster and more sweeping turns — but is a fair trade-off for the nimble twinkle-toes dancing it does elsewhere.
Like most of Fuji’s models, it majors in decent value. The full Shimano Ultegra disc group is great to see, and Fuji’s sister brand Oval provides some decent quality wheels in the form of the tubeless ready 524s.
The rim is shallow and wide (18mm internal) and the cartridge bearing centrelock disc hubs run smooth and the rear picks up quickly. At 1,880g a pair they aren’t the lightest you’ll find, but I’ve no complaints on their ride feel.
Oval also provides the semi-compact drop alloy bar and stem, and a nice slender carbon post. I wasn’t a fan of the Oval X38 saddle, its shape is okay but it does have a slight dip in the padding shape. This makes it feel oddly soft in the middle and firm on the edges, and not particularly comfortable, but as always, saddles are a personal thing.
The 2.3’s snappy handling balances beautifully with the quick acceleration you get from what is a seriously taught chassis. When I got to the climbing parts of my test loop the Fuji felt at its absolute best out of the saddle and stomping on the pedals to get on top of the gear.
The 2.3 has a willingness to accelerate uphill and the racy 52/36, 11-28 gearing favours this approach to hills too.
Where the 2.3 falls down though is with its ability to cope with poor surfaces. The rigidity in the short, tight chassis, which is so good for riding aggressively, translates into plenty of buzz and road chatter making it through to your seat and fingers.
After a few hours riding I was met with both a numb posterior and tingling fingers. I think a combination of a more user friendly (for me) saddle and a carbon bar and plush tape would go a good way to curing these ills, but as it stands I’d recommend the 2.3 to those lucky enough to be blessed with good roads. If your rides are blighted by poor surfaces then there are better options out there.
Fuji SL 2.3 disc specifications
- Sizes (*tested): XXS, XS, S, M, L*, XL, XXL
- Weight: 8.17kg
- Frame: C10 high-modulus
- Fork: Carbon
- Chainset: Shimano Ultegra, 52/36
- Bottom bracket: Praxis
- Cassette: 11-28
- Derailleurs: Shimano Ultegra
- Shifters: Shimano Ultegra
- Wheelset: Oval 524 tubeless-ready disc
- Tyres: Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 25c
- Stem: Oval 313 alloy
- Bar: Oval 310 alloy
- Saddle: Oval X38 chromo
- Seatpost: Oval 905 carbon
- Brakes: Shimano Ultegra
Fuji SL 2.3 disc geometry
- Seat angle: 73 degrees
- Head angle: 73 degrees
- Chainstay: 41cm
- Seat tube: 56cm
- Top tube: 56cm
- Head tube: 15.5cm
- Fork offset: 4.3cm
- Trail: 5.78cm
- Bottom bracket drop: 6.8cm
- Wheelbase: 983mm
- Stack: 55.9cm
- Reach: 38.9cm
- Price: £2,650 / $3,300 / AU$3,499