Need advice on new road bike (Fuji Transonic vs. Gran Fondo)
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  1. #1
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    Need advice on new road bike (Fuji Transonic vs. Gran Fondo)

    I have been riding a Fuji Cross 1.1 (2014). It was my first bike since I was a teenager (had not ridden in many decades). I've owned the Fuji for a year and have about 2500 miles on it (I live in Chicago and ride quite a bit indoors too, on a recumbent. Last year, total of 8,000 miles). The Cross is a stock bike (except I installed different tires to make pavement/road riding a bit more practical). I love it - absolutely no problems.

    Recently, I've been riding more on pavement/road (with friends who ride road bikes). I'd love to get something more suitable for the road. Getting a new set of wheels/slicks for the Cross would cost about $600 to $800 total (and would still leave me with slightly compromised geometry, since it's a cross bike). I don't have any problems changing the wheels but don't want to change tires (hence, thinking about spare set of wheels). Even at those prices, the wheels are on the cheaper side (I would need a cassette and disc brakes too).

    As an alternative to a spare set of wheels/slicks, I'm thinking about getting a dedicated road bike (and ride the Cross 1.1 when I ride on stone trails, etc). Deciding between the 2015 Transonic and the Gran Fondo (I've looked at the Ridley Fenix CR1 and it looks nice, but I see little there that betters either Fuji model). I had my eyes on the Gran Fondo for some time, but just learned about the Transonic and it looks nice (specs/aesthetics).

    Most of my outdoor rides are between 40 and 75 miles and I ride outside at least a few times per week (I've already done several centuries on the Cross).

    My Fuji Cross 1.1 is a medium (54cm). I understand that a cross is sized smaller than a road bike, so I think I need a 56 (or 58). I'll get fitted, but for now trying to compare on paper. I'm 6' (215 pounds).

    I'm attaching a comparison chart I put together. It looks to me like the Transonic 56 cm is a better comparison to my Cross 1.1, but maybe I'm not reading the chart correctly. The reach on the 58 cm Transonic looks much greater and given the distances I ride, probably not as comfortable.

    The Gran Fondo doesn't have a 56 cm but the 55 cm looks to be about right (compared to my Cross).

    Looking for advice - what, on paper - would more closely match my Cross 1.1 and what would you recommend as a better bike for the types of distances I'm riding? Is the Transonic a better choice? Gran Fondo? Ridley Fenix CR1? Would you recommend something entirely different in that price range (~$2K)?

    Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.14.16 PM.png

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossK View Post
    I have been riding a Fuji Cross 1.1 (2014). It was my first bike since I was a teenager (had not ridden in many decades). I've owned the Fuji for a year and have about 2500 miles on it (I live in Chicago and ride quite a bit indoors too, on a recumbent. Last year, total of 8,000 miles). The Cross is a stock bike (except I installed different tires to make pavement/road riding a bit more practical). I love it - absolutely no problems.

    Recently, I've been riding more on pavement/road (with friends who ride road bikes). I'd love to get something more suitable for the road. Getting a new set of wheels/slicks for the Cross would cost about $600 to $800 total (and would still leave me with slightly compromised geometry, since it's a cross bike). I don't have any problems changing the wheels but don't want to change tires (hence, thinking about spare set of wheels). Even at those prices, the wheels are on the cheaper side (I would need a cassette and disc brakes too).

    As an alternative to a spare set of wheels/slicks, I'm thinking about getting a dedicated road bike (and ride the Cross 1.1 when I ride on stone trails, etc). Deciding between the 2015 Transonic and the Gran Fondo (I've looked at the Ridley Fenix CR1 and it looks nice, but I see little there that betters either Fuji model). I had my eyes on the Gran Fondo for some time, but just learned about the Transonic and it looks nice (specs/aesthetics).

    Most of my outdoor rides are between 40 and 75 miles and I ride outside at least a few times per week (I've already done several centuries on the Cross).

    My Fuji Cross 1.1 is a medium (54cm). I understand that a cross is sized smaller than a road bike, so I think I need a 56 (or 58). I'll get fitted, but for now trying to compare on paper. I'm 6' (215 pounds).

    I'm attaching a comparison chart I put together. It looks to me like the Transonic 56 cm is a better comparison to my Cross 1.1, but maybe I'm not reading the chart correctly. The reach on the 58 cm Transonic looks much greater and given the distances I ride, probably not as comfortable.

    The Gran Fondo doesn't have a 56 cm but the 55 cm looks to be about right (compared to my Cross).

    Looking for advice - what, on paper - would more closely match my Cross 1.1 and what would you recommend as a better bike for the types of distances I'm riding? Is the Transonic a better choice? Gran Fondo? Ridley Fenix CR1? Would you recommend something entirely different in that price range (~$2K)?

    Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.14.16 PM.png
    Since you already have a cross bike that can be used for gravel and cx rides, I think any of these could be a great choice, but they are very different kinds of bikes.

    To answer this question though, you are going to have to do a bit of soul searching because it's not really one any of us can answer for you. Your decision has to come to down to what you are looking for out of the new bike (should you go that way). If you want race ready aero and speed in an all around package, the Transonic is a really nice bike. I tested it a couple of months or so back and it was fun to ride, but it comes with a more race oriented geometry (it still was more than comfy though). If you are looking for something to make those 40+ mile rides more comfortable on the arms, shoulders, back, and neck, then something like the Gran Fondo or any of its competitors should work (you have lots of options). Those bikes can be set up to be plenty fast though. To be honest, some of the fastest guys I have ridden with, ride endurance geometry bikes (so, it's not going to cost you much performance wise really).

    Just try a few and get the one that you feel most comfortable on and like best. Of the Endurance bikes I looked at and/or tested, I liked the Domane, Roubaix, new Defy Advanced, and BMC Gran Fondo the most. The entry level Defy and Roubaix seemed like the biggest values to me. The Transonic and Felt AR are two of the best values for an aero race bike that I have seen in the U.S., but Scott, Specialized, and Trek are expected to be releasing new aero bikes soon and some of those may have models in your price range.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  3. #3
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    I bought the Transonic 2.3 (Ultegra mechanical group) earlier this year. I have about 2200 miles on it so far. I like it so far, except that I've been having a problem with the front deraileur / shifter, but that's a Shimano issue, not Fuji. Also, I didn't like the saddle that came on the Transonic, but then again I've replace the saddle on every bike I own, so that comes down to a personal preference. My prior bike is a Specialized SWorks cross bike with road tires, which I had been riding for about the last 5 years. I'm 5'11", about 185 lbs. I have the 56cm (M/L) which is definitely the right size for me.

    The Transonic is quite a bit stiffer and twitchier than my CX, but that's to be expected. From what I've read about the Gran Fondo, it's designed more for long distance comfort, and might ride similarly to your CX. But for me, I wanted something different in a new bike, not something similar.

    Also, if you are not averse to buying online, Performance is having their once-a-year 30% points back for Team Performance members this weekend. The net cost of the Transonic 2.3 would be $2270 minus $681 in points back for a net cost of only $1589, plus you might save on sales tax if Performance doesn't have any brick-and-mortar stores in your state.
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  4. #4
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    This seems like a really good deal to me:

    Fuji Transonic 2.8 Road Bike- 2015 - Performance Exclusive
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    This seems like a really good deal to me:

    Fuji Transonic 2.8 Road Bike- 2015 - Performance Exclusive
    That's an AWESOME deal, especially with the 30% back in Team Performance points. Just a bit over $1100 for a full carbon aero road bike with Shimano 105.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
    That's an AWESOME deal, especially with the 30% back in Team Performance points. Just a bit over $1100 for a full carbon aero road bike with Shimano 105.
    Those are my thoughts as well. That bike rides really nice too.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    This seems like a really good deal to me:

    Fuji Transonic 2.8 Road Bike- 2015 - Performance Exclusive
    That is a pretty good deal, but the wheelset seems to be quite a compromise at that price compared to even the Oval (house brand). If the plan is to change the wheels anyway, it's terrific.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    Since you already have a cross bike that can be used for gravel and cx rides, I think any of these could be a great choice, but they are very different kinds of bikes.

    To answer this question though, you are going to have to do a bit of soul searching because it's not really one any of us can answer for you. Your decision has to come to down to what you are looking for out of the new bike (should you go that way). If you want race ready aero and speed in an all around package, the Transonic is a really nice bike. I tested it a couple of months or so back and it was fun to ride, but it comes with a more race oriented geometry (it still was more than comfy though). If you are looking for something to make those 40+ mile rides more comfortable on the arms, shoulders, back, and neck, then something like the Gran Fondo or any of its competitors should work (you have lots of options). Those bikes can be set up to be plenty fast though. To be honest, some of the fastest guys I have ridden with, ride endurance geometry bikes (so, it's not going to cost you much performance wise really).

    Just try a few and get the one that you feel most comfortable on and like best. Of the Endurance bikes I looked at and/or tested, I liked the Domane, Roubaix, new Defy Advanced, and BMC Gran Fondo the most. The entry level Defy and Roubaix seemed like the biggest values to me. The Transonic and Felt AR are two of the best values for an aero race bike that I have seen in the U.S., but Scott, Specialized, and Trek are expected to be releasing new aero bikes soon and some of those may have models in your price range.
    Appreciate the feedback. I ended up doing a lot of reading the past few days and ended up ordering a Transonic 2.3. Unfortunately, the store didn't have a Gran Fondo or Transonic in my size so a test ride wasn't an option. But I bought from Performance so there's no risk if I made a poor choice.

    As I looked at specs a little more closely, my Cross 1.1 is much more aggressive than I originally thought, so I decided that since I'm comfortable doing centuries on it, I can ride a more aggressive road bike (compared to the Gran Fondo, for example). I might be wrong, but only some good test rides will prove/disprove this.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
    I bought the Transonic 2.3 (Ultegra mechanical group) earlier this year. I have about 2200 miles on it so far. I like it so far, except that I've been having a problem with the front deraileur / shifter, but that's a Shimano issue, not Fuji. Also, I didn't like the saddle that came on the Transonic, but then again I've replace the saddle on every bike I own, so that comes down to a personal preference. My prior bike is a Specialized SWorks cross bike with road tires, which I had been riding for about the last 5 years. I'm 5'11", about 185 lbs. I have the 56cm (M/L) which is definitely the right size for me.
    Thanks so much - very valuable information here that helped me decide between a 56 and a 58. Ended up getting a 56. The store didn't have either in stock but I tried a Fuji SST in a 56 and 58. A bit different, but 58 was clearly too much of a stretch.

    I have the Selle SMP Extra saddle on my Cross 1.1 and have thousands of miles on it. Changed it the day I bought my Cross and love it. Bought the same saddle for the Transonic - I know it works for me over long distance so no reason to experiment (plus all the reviews say the Transonic saddle isn't especially good).

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
    The Transonic is quite a bit stiffer and twitchier than my CX, but that's to be expected. From what I've read about the Gran Fondo, it's designed more for long distance comfort, and might ride similarly to your CX. But for me, I wanted something different in a new bike, not something similar.
    Ultimately, I also decided to get something different, not something similar. We'll see if it's twitchier. It's a bit shorter, so I assume it would be.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
    Also, if you are not averse to buying online, Performance is having their once-a-year 30% points back for Team Performance members this weekend. The net cost of the Transonic 2.3 would be $2270 minus $681 in points back for a net cost of only $1589, plus you might save on sales tax if Performance doesn't have any brick-and-mortar stores in your state.
    Ended up buying from Performance (right near my house) today so was able to take advantage of the sale. Thanks.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossK View Post
    That is a pretty good deal, but the wheelset seems to be quite a compromise at that price compared to even the Oval (house brand). If the plan is to change the wheels anyway, it's terrific.
    Yeah, I am assuming that at some point, he is going to develop a preference for a better set of wheels (probably aero) and then relegate these to foul weather duty.

  11. #11
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    Congrats on the new ride. I took advantage of the 30% twice this weekend myself and picked my wife up a finest 1.1. After one legitimate MTB trip with me, she decided after the first 2 mile descent at off road is not now not will it ever be for her so with all the miles she logs on pavement on her mtb I figured I may as well get her the right tool for the job. Did a little fitting on it last night to get her started and we are headed out in a couple of hours to do 40 and see how she likes it.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossK View Post
    Appreciate the feedback. I ended up doing a lot of reading the past few days and ended up ordering a Transonic 2.3. Unfortunately, the store didn't have a Gran Fondo or Transonic in my size so a test ride wasn't an option. But I bought from Performance so there's no risk if I made a poor choice.

    As I looked at specs a little more closely, my Cross 1.1 is much more aggressive than I originally thought, so I decided that since I'm comfortable doing centuries on it, I can ride a more aggressive road bike (compared to the Gran Fondo, for example). I might be wrong, but only some good test rides will prove/disprove this.
    No problem at all, that sounds like a great choice for you, congrats man. Make sure to post some pictures once you get that puppy.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy_s View Post
    Congrats on the new ride. I took advantage of the 30% twice this weekend myself and picked my wife up a finest 1.1. After one legitimate MTB trip with me, she decided after the first 2 mile descent at off road is not now not will it ever be for her so with all the miles she logs on pavement on her mtb I figured I may as well get her the right tool for the job. Did a little fitting on it last night to get her started and we are headed out in a couple of hours to do 40 and see how she likes it.
    Congrats! We did the same (bought the Supreme 3.0 after debating between the Finest and Supreme). My wife also prefers pavement and has a comfort bike for trails.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossK View Post
    . . . ended up ordering a Transonic 2.3.
    .
    Just to follow up on the problem I've been experiencing with the front derraileur shifting. I forwarded my concerns directly to Fuji, believing that the problem is a design issue due to the way the FD cable is routed. Fuji responded to me today, saying that they are aware of the problem and that they have developed a "shifting converter" to correct the issue. You should ask about this at your store.

    Otherwise, congrats & enjoy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
    Just to follow up on the problem I've been experiencing with the front derraileur shifting. I forwarded my concerns directly to Fuji, believing that the problem is a design issue due to the way the FD cable is routed. Fuji responded to me today, saying that they are aware of the problem and that they have developed a "shifting converter" to correct the issue. You should ask about this at your store.

    Otherwise, congrats & enjoy.
    Thanks so much for the update - really appreciate you taking the time to post it. Will definitely ask at the store when I pick up the bike.

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