Fuji 2014 Gran Fondo 2.1 review - first ride
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  1. #1
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    Fuji 2014 Gran Fondo 2.1 review - first ride

    https://www.fujibikes.com/images/bik...o_2.1_SIDE.jpg

    Let me start out by saying I am not an expert cyclist, however, I probably have been putting in about 3,000 miles a year over the past seven years. I started getting into cycling as an exercise to replace running due to the fact that my knees just couldn't tolerate daily running after 20 years of pounding. My first road bike was a used 3RENSHO (which I still have as a back-up) which you probably never heard of, and about 5 years ago I purchased a Specialized Allez Elite. But while on vacation two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of renting and riding my first carbon fiber frame (a Trek Domane 4.0 series) which was a dramatic improvement over what I had been experiencing with my Specialized (aluminum) frame, so when I got back home, I decided to upgrade my bike to carbon fiber. My buddies who are expert cyclists suggested that if I make the move to carbon fiber, to also not settle for components worse than Ultegra, however the Trek model I rode only had Tiagra, and the version that had Ultegra was significantly more expensive. So I did some research and honed in on the 2014 Fuji Gran Fondo 2.1, which indeed had the Ultegra components, a compact gear set on a carbon fiber frame, which I purchased from my LBS yesterday. (A side benefit was they gave me $500 on the trade-in of my Specialized.). I rushed home yesterday evening to get my first ride in (I had about an hour of daylight remaining), and squeezed in 20 miles. It was absolutely an exhilarating experience, incredibly smooth riding from the way the frame seemed to handle bumps, or generally speaking, how the contours of the road are transferred to the rider, as well as how smoothly the Ultegra components handled any gear shifts. I was also able to climb the few hills on my route without ever having to leave the saddle, which is not typical for me. But an absolutely unexpected benefit was my bike speed was up significantly, probably by 3 mph. Anyway, if anyone is thinking of purchasing this bike, it certainly has my endorsement!
    Last edited by Running256; 08-16-2013 at 07:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Fat and slow but trying
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  3. #3
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    Seriously though, I have an Allez and I'm looking hard at the Grand Fondo. Can you give more direct comparisons between the bikes? Not sure when I'll make it to a Performance shop to try one, hopefully soon.

  4. #4
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    Response to Nubster

    image.jpg This is a picture of the new Gran Fondo next to the "old" 3RENSHO

    I unfortunately don't know enough to provide you with any statistics other than the Fuji is of course a more expensive bike than the Specialized, but for what it is worth, I initially was looking at Performance Bicycles when I considered purchasing the bike, but as it turns out, the Fuji Gran Fondo 2.1 that they are selling appears to be a last year's model, which was cheaper and did "not" have Ultegra components. They (Performance) were actually very helpful, however, as I spoke to the "tech guy" from Performance, and had him objectively compare the 2013 Gran Fondo 2.1 that they were selling, vs. the 2014 version that I could buy from my local bicycle store, as its statistics are posted on the Fuji Bicycle web-site; he had the statistics and data for both bikes side-by-side, and after evaluating all of the information carefully, including the price that I could purchase each bike for, he concluded that it was in my best interest to "not" purchase his bike (from Performance), as it was inferior to the 2014 version that I could buy locally. (I actually felt like the kid in the movie Miracle On 34th Street, when the Macy's Santa sent the kid to another store to purchase the toy that he really wanted!)

    As a follow-on to this post, it appears that since I initially posted this comment, PB is now selling the 2014 Gran Fondo, although it is not being heavily discounted like the 2013 models.
    Last edited by Running256; 09-04-2013 at 07:17 PM.

  5. #5
    Heft(y) on Wheels
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    I have a '12 Fuji Roubaix SL and made the tradeoff of frame/materials (A6 aluminum frame and 440 carbon fork) for Ultegra components. Bought from PB on a triple rewards weekend and upgraded the brakes to Ultegra from the mushy Ovals.

    Congrats on the purchase!! Got to test-ride an Altamira SL and that thing was awesome but waaaay above my budget.
    "Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor."
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  6. #6
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    As a follow-on to this thread, I just got back from my first "normal" ride on the Gran Fondo, as I rode 37 miles today, and it performed as well as I described above. After I posted my initial comments, I started to think that the increased speed that I experienced might have been due to the fact that I was really pumped up for that first ride on the new bike, and perhaps experienced the results of extra adrenalin causing me to go faster. But today I wasn't particularly excited when I started my ride, and yet I completed the route about 15 minutes faster than usual!

  7. #7
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    Man, you have to ride the 3Rensho more. Do you know what you've got there? It's like someone saying I drive my Nissan GTR all the time and use my Toyota 2000GT as a backup. Give that beauty some lovin'!
    Last edited by Tachycardic; 08-18-2013 at 04:49 AM.
    Wake me up when it's alarm green.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tachycardic View Post
    Man, you have to ride the 3Rensho more. Do you know what you've got there? It's like someone saying I drive my Nissan GTR all the time and use my Toyota 2000GT as a backup. Give that beauty some lovin'!
    +1... A 3 Rensho is nothing to laugh it. That's a serious machine. Have you seen what they go for? I've never seen a road model but I know that track models sell for more than most new carbon track bikes. 3 Rensho is highly collectible, so it's awesome to see one out there every once in a while. That bike needs to be ridden. It wants you to ride it. Definitely up there with the Italian bikes of the day. Truly a work of art.

  9. #9
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    3Rensho : 3Rensho of the day

    Thanks for your thoughts on the 3Rensho. I still haven't figured out how to post an actual picture into my response, but if I did this correctly, the attached link is a picture of what my 3rensho looks like, other than mine has a silver front fork. (Not sure what significance that has.) I also had no idea that this bike is extremely valuable. The only thing I really know is that the guy that was building these bikes had a terrible auto accident and I believe became disabled and is no longer building them. But the bike has "old school" technology, including gear shifters on the tube of the frame, and the bike isn't nearly as comfortable as the Gran Fondo, which becomes more acute on long (+40 miles) bike rides.

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    Fuji 2014 Gran Fondo 2.1 review - first ride

    Quote Originally Posted by Running256 View Post
    3Rensho : 3Rensho of the day

    Thanks for your thoughts on the 3Rensho. I still haven't figured out how to post an actual picture into my response, but if I did this correctly, the attached link is a picture of what my 3rensho looks like, other than mine has a silver front fork. (Not sure what significance that has.) I also had no idea that this bike is extremely valuable. The only thing I really know is that the guy that was building these bikes had a terrible auto accident and I believe became disabled and is no longer building them. But the bike has "old school" technology, including gear shifters on the tube of the frame, and the bike isn't nearly as comfortable as the Gran Fondo, which becomes more acute on long (+40 miles) bike rides.
    3Rensho pronounced san resho were some ofthe best built bikes of the 80's. They were heavily used in Keirin racing and the build was badly hurt in a car accident and could no longer build frames. More here;
    http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Japan/3Rensho.htm
    2015 Specialized Tarmac, Ultegra 6800, HED C2 rims
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  11. #11
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    As a follow-on to this email thread, I have now ridden the Gran Fondo about 250 miles, including two organized rides, where I am "not" listening to any music, which is a good thing because it allows me to really focus on any noises that the bike makes, which I might not otherwise pick up on. Although the bike is great, and continues to perform as I have come to expect, my only "minor" criticism is that the bike is making a very slight ticking sound as I pedal. When I first brought the bike back to the LBS for its initial tune-up, they evidently “repacked” the crank (at least that is how they described it) with whatever lube is used, but I will now bring it back, and I believe if need be, they will replace the crank if it turns out to be a problem. But at least for me, the CF frame and the endurance class bike were definatley the way to go. (I will still be riding the 3Rensho, however, as all of your above posts have given me a better appreciation for it!)
    Last edited by Running256; 08-26-2013 at 07:14 PM.

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    I am in the Montauk NY area for the holiday and have been riding a 2007 Trek 1000 on a 40mile route, and although the Trek is a fine bike, I can really tell the difference between it and the Gran Fondo, particularly when climbing hills, which they seem to have a lot off out here. Additionally,the Trek brakes are weak and the Tiagra components are noticeably worse than the Ultegra counterparts on the Fuji. For those of you that might be familiar with this area, I did about 35 miles today, and had thought that the second half of my ride would be fairly easy because I had already knocked out the hilly sections of the route, but then I headed west into a headwind that absolutely kicked my a...
    Last edited by Running256; 08-31-2013 at 10:30 AM.

  13. #13
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    I picked up the bike today after its tune-up. I only had an opportunity to ride it for 2 minutes in the parking lot of the LBS and the ticking sound from the crank was gone, but I also know the real test will come when I take it out this weekend on a 40 mile ride.

    P.S. I took the bike out for a 40 mile ride on Saturday, and the slight ticking sound seems to have been fixed. My only complaint was that the bike's engine (me) was not performing well, as I was fighting a summer cold and certainly wasn't at my strongest.
    Last edited by Running256; 09-09-2013 at 07:32 AM.

  14. #14
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    I don't know about any of you, but the shorter days are really hurting the number of miles that I am able to ride each week. During most of the summer, I can get home from work and still fit in a 20 mile ride most weeknights, but at this point of the year, it becomes almost impossible to ride after work, so I am left with just weekend rides. But I am looking forward to doing 100 miles this weekend.

    As a post script to this, I just finished a 60 mile ride, and I am still very much enjoying riding this bike. I have previously spoken of all the positive characteristics of the CF frame, but I also wanted to mention how happy I am to have purchased a bike with Ultegra components, which I really start to notice the more I ride the bike. I can't tell you how frustrated I was riding my old Specialized Allez which had 105's, and seemed to constantly be needing to be tuned because the bike would not shift properly. I still can't quite figure out why my bike speed still seems to be close to 3mph faster on the Gran Fondo; I wonder how much of this is due to the design of the new bike, vs the likelihood that the old one was so out of tune that it was going much slower than it otherwise should have.
    Last edited by Running256; 09-14-2013 at 02:17 PM.

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    Bike geometry?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Running256 View Post
    I don't know about any of you, but the shorter days are really hurting the number of miles that I am able to ride each week. During most of the summer, I can get home from work and still fit in a 20 mile ride most weeknights, but at this point of the year, it becomes almost impossible to ride after work, so I am left with just weekend rides. But I am looking forward to doing 100 miles this weekend.
    You may want to purchase a good bike light (600+ lumens, battery enclosed) like a Cygolite Expilion. I've found that it greatly extends ride possibilities. No longer do I look outside and decide against a ride because I may not make it back before it gets too dark for comfort. My Cygolite LED pierces windshields hundreds of feet away, throws crisp light everywhere and makes it comfortable to cruise 17+ when the moon is out. You may be thinking that this won't do because of any experience you may have had with cheapo store bought lights, but the difference is really - no pun intended - night and day.

    Slip it into your jersey pocket and ride to your turnaround point knowing you can pop this back on and have 1.5 hrs on the brightest setting to ride back.

  17. #17
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    I just got back from a 40 mile ride this afternoon, and I noticed that the front derailer was having trouble shifting to the smaller ring. (I hadn't ridden the bike in about 10 days, and the weather has been relatively cool) I am surmising that the cables that control the components perhaps may have contracted, but in any case, is the adjustment that needs to be made as simple as turning a screw (which I could possibly do) or do I need to take this back to my LBS for the adjustment?

  18. #18
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    I'm kind of curious whether there is any very general "rule of thumb" which speaks to how much of an impact wind has on bike speed. For instance, I did a 32 mile bike ride yesterday, and under normal conditions, I would have set as my goal to cover the route at about an 18 mph rate. The riding conditions, however, provided for a 15 mph wind, and when riding into it, I was struggling to maintain a 14 - 16 mph speed, while when I had the benefit of the wind, I was moving at a 20-22mph clip. So based on my personal data, is it fair to assume that bike speed is impacted by about 1 mph for every 5mph of wind?

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    I am curious how many of you ride in cold weather, and how cold it has to get before you "shut it down"? In previous seasons, I would basically stop riding once we hit November, but I just spent about $400 on cold weather riding gear, which I understand should allow me to ride in temperatures down to about 40 degrees, and based on weather forecasts, it should be 43 degrees on Thanksgiving, so I am hopeful to put this clothing to the test tomorrow!

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