This, ladies and gents, is the brand new Gran Fondo from Fuji Bikes. The Gran Fondo was first launched back in 2012 and the new version carries forward some key features, but ushers in plenty of new tech, including disc brakes, 12mm thru-axles, space for 30mm tyres and hidden mudguard eyelets.
Fuji has focused on rider comfort with the new Gran Fondo. The frame features VRTech (Vibration Reduction Technology) which is a "polyurethane treated natural fibre" that is placed in key areas of the frame, such as the chainstays, and is claimed to reduce vibration transmitted to the rider by 24.6% than without VRTech.
A handful of manufacturers have taken to adding other materials to the carbon fibre layup of a frame to provide more compliance, including Bianchi, Merida and Look, the latter adding flax fibres to the carbon layup to provide a bit more cushioning.
This VRTech is placed in the fork, seatstays, and chainstays, which the company’s testing apparently confirms provides the “greatest balance of damping, road feel, and stiffness.” As well as modifying the carbon layup, Fuji has also looked at the shape of the tubes, using a wave design for the seatstays to further increase smoothness.
This graph (above) shows how much the VRTech filters out vibrations.
“The Gran Fondo is our answer to a cyclist’s nemesis: road vibration. It causes fatigue, compromises comfort, and diminishes performance,” says Fuji Road Product Manager Steven Fairchild. “By dramatically reducing vibration and enhancing compliance, we’ve designed a bike that removes the barriers to spending all day in the saddle and enjoying every minute.”
Producing a frame that can iron out vibrations is only part of the appeal of an endurance bike. The geometry needs to be modified to provide a more relaxed and comfortable riding position compared to a race bike.
As such, the head tube is taller and Fuji has lengthened the chainstays, which both provides a longer wheelbase, for increased stability, and increased tyre clearance. It’ll take up to 30mm tyres while stock bikes will ship with 28mm tyres.
“We knew the Gran Fondo had to be comfortable. But just as important was ensuring our newest platform also met the high-performance standards and incorporated the innovations of our top-level carbon race bikes,” added Fairchild. “This is a bike built for speed and comfort. Why not have both?
Other new features of interest are the decision to use 12 thru-axles front and rear with a convertible axle system that allows you to switch to a 135mm quick release axle if you don’t want to use the standard 12x142mm setup. 135mm quick release axle if you don’t want to use the standard 12x142mm setup.
The flat mount standard is used to fix the disc brake calipers to the frame and fork. To ensure the frame can handle the forces generated by the disc brakes, the chainstays have an asymmetric shape, being larger on the non-driveside.
There is full internal cable routeing and perhaps best of all, there are hidden mudguard eyelets, providing useful year-round practicality. Other details include a press-fit bottom bracket, chain watcher and chainstay protector.
The new bike will be available in April. There will be four models in the UK, the range-topping Di2 version isn’t being brought in by Evans Cycles. A SRAM eTap model and two flat bar versions will be added later in the year. Here are the prices:
More at www.fujibikes.com/granfondo/ and hopefully we'll get to ride it soon.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.