Fuji SL-10

Fuji has been very busy the last two years developing their newest road bike, the Fuji SL, and according to the specs, the results are astounding. The bike will be shown to the public for the first time this weekend at the 2015 Vuelta a España, but we were given an early preview and interview with Fuji’s longtime Road Project Manager Steven Fairchild to get the low down on how they accomplished such a feat.

Fuji knew how much everyone loved the ride and stiffness of their Altamira line, and that they needed to set the stakes high.  The result is a frame that came in at a jaw dropping 695 grams without sacrificing anything that the Altamira offered. Click on through to see the detailed pictures and technology that went into Fuji’s new flagship road bike and a couple of hints of more things coming down the pipeline…

16_FUJI_SL_1.1_SIDE

Here is what 10.9 pounds looks like (as shown).  This is accomplished by expanding their High Compaction Molding process on their C15 high-modulus carbon tubing to all tubes, including the rather thin seat stays.  They also reduced the number of assembly joints in the frame and designed light weight perfectly integrated cable stops into the frame.

Fuji SL-12

The High Compaction Molding process involves placing nylon bags aired up to 200psi into each tube while setting up in the molds eliminating any wrinkles and excess resin.  According to Fairchild, by using the High Compaction Molds, not only does it reduce weight and smooth out the frame’s interior leaving a finish as nice as the outside’s, but it also strengthens the joints where they intersect by eliminating the imperfections. Using this throughout the SL’s frame enabled them to significantly lighten the frame while making it stronger at the same time.

Fuji SL-8

Fuji even went as far to to produce nylon bladders small enough to fit within their narrow seat stays to eliminate any wrinkles and excess carbon.

Fuji SL-6

What may seem to be a small detail ended up being one of the more complex part’s of the SL’s design.  When you design a frame this light, you don’t cut corners but must make it compatible for both the easy to route Di2 cables as well as the less forgiving mechanical cables and housing.  They tried several versions that worked, but looked like an after thought.  What they ended up going with is some really sleek injection molded cables stops that fit flush into the frame and were at the same time lighter than the alternatives.

Fuji SL-3

 

Fuji SL-11

The SL’s combined 695 gram frame and 293 gram fork are a whopping 237 grams lighter than the Altamira’s making it 19% lighter than any bike Fuji has ever produced.  To further improve on the bike’s strength and weight, Fuji only bonds the left and right stays that incorporate the carbon dropouts to the bike’s main frame totaling only four bonded joints compared to the Altamira’s eight.

Fuji SL-7

WIt’s a bike so light, it’s easy to assume there might be a reduction in frame stiffness. However, this bike was not designed to be *just* a climber’s bike. It is in fact laterally stiffer than the Altamira.  Fuji uses an octagonal shaped down tube on the SL that, with the assistance of the High Compaction Molding, gives it a head tube that is 9% stiffer and a bottom bracket that is 11% stiffer than the Altamira’s.

Fuji SL-9

To add to that, the SL’s fork uses their RIB technology that incorporates a thin wall support beam of sorts that runs the entire length of the fork’s inner legs increasing lateral stiffness by 19% giving it razor sharp handling.

A unique feature of Fuji’s road bikes since 2010, (until the last year or so when a competitor started doing it), is that their road bikes have different fork off-sets between the 52cm and 54cm sized frames. Though never marketed, this was something Fairchild had been curious about. Steve has been at Fuji bikes since 1985, starting in customer service and becoming project manager in 1989.  In 2003, he left to work for Jamis, but returned to Fuji in 2010. While racing in the 1970’s and 80’s, there was a point where he had a different bike for each day of the week and most all of them were steel Italian frames with Record, (*sigh* no, he no longer has them).  Having gained a good feel for each bike, his early engineering roots struck his curiosity and he began measuring head angles the fork’s off-sets. Years later he began studying this again and discovered by changing the 43mm off-set to 52mm on bikes 52cm and smaller, it kept the handling characteristics more consistent between the wide array of sizes.

Fuji SL-5

The Fuji SL comes in sizes, XXS/46, XS/49, S/52, M/54, L/56, XL/58, and XXL/61, and each frame size has a slightly different lay up so to give them the same ride quality throughout the size range.  The Altamira will remain only in the entry level form in their road bike line up.

The SL comes in 6 models as well as a frameset plus a Team Replica for the Euros. The 2 Series frames use Fuji’s C10 High Modulus carbon and are said to weigh the same as last year’s Altamira SL.

Full Specs

SL 1.1 – Red22 – $9,999

SL 1.3 – Dura Ace Di2 – $6,320 (USA only)

SL 1.5 – Dura Ace Mech – $4,740

SL 2.1 – Ultegra Di2 – $3,690

SL 2.3 – Ultegra Mech – $2,240

SL2.5 – 105 – $2,000

1.1 Frameset – $1,900

 

Checkout Fuji’s well done video on the SL. The narrator gives it a great flare with a build up equal to that of Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables 3.


 

There was also a mention of some new mountain bikes with a new suspension platform that will be presented at Eurobike next week and possibly another road worthy bike to compliment the lineup soon after that.  We’re not allowed to mention any details past that, but stay tuned as our crew gets a close up look next week.

 

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ZeGerman
ZeGerman
6 years ago

It sure is light and Im sure it rides nicely but man couldn’t they have given it a prettier paintjob, it looks cheap and ugly

Mayhem
Mayhem
6 years ago

Aluminium clinchers? Dura-Ace Di2? No exotic parts? No way does the bike you’ve labeled 10.9 pounds “as shown” weigh anywhere near that.

Now the different setup in the pictures further down, which clearly has Sram Red, carbon tubulars, EEbrakes etc., that seems much more realistic to be a 10.9 pound bike!

Tomi
Tomi
6 years ago

If you are willing to spend the money on an high end bike, you can afford a new custom paint job.

Meszaros
Meszaros
6 years ago

@Mayhem. The DA Di2 setup is spec’d at a weight of 14.17 lbs, which is still pretty damn light considering its using a 17c alloy clinchers with 25mm spec tires. A swap to carbon tubs and you would likely hit under 14 lbs with some added aero. Put on pedals, computer, bottle cages, and various sensors and you likely still be possible under 15 lbs.

The only gripe I can lay upon it is BB Drop is a consistent 68mm, where you could have a tiny bit more on the smaller sizes, that being if you ride less than 54cm like I do. It does appear that other adjustments were made to balance the ride out. Very consistent trail, seems like a design point to keep that figure the same across nearly all sizes. The Transonic had some very odd geometry choices at the smaller sizes. Glad to see something a bet less of an oddball for the SL.

Jame$
Jame$
6 years ago

With all the effort in lightening up and adding so may percentages of stiffness (I scanned the article – what was the % vertical compliance improvement?) they have still managed to make their top of the line bike look like it should be $1500 in 2004. (deleted)

If they can afford the engineers, can’t they get one person with a bit of aesthetic talent?

Zuhair
Zuhair
6 years ago

So… I get that lightness is a desired quality in a bike, heck, I even used it as ONE of the many factors I looked at when deciding on my current road bike. But, and here’s the elephant in the room here, what’s the point of making a production bike that weighs 4-5 lbs less than the UCI limit? You’ll have to lead tape this thing out the wazzoo to get it legally race-able!

randall
randall
6 years ago

Regarding the 10.9lbs, that is clearly the Caja Rural Model, not the 10.9lb version.

Regarding the looks, it’s similar to all the current Fuji road bikes. I think they look great! I currently ride an Altamira, so I am a bit biased, but they don’t look different than most any other bike on a group ride.

Bottom line with Fuji is that they are not stoked in all areas by an LBS, but for someone who likes to do their own bike work, they are a great option because the price is great, and at least in the case of the Altamira, the ride quality is great too!

Tom
Tom
6 years ago

@Trey, at that weight, is there a weight limit on that frame?

BMANX
BMANX
6 years ago

I like the look of this frame and forks. The weight is great as well. I am currently thinking about doing a 1 X 10 or a 1 X 11 build and think this would be a great starting point. I am sure I could get this done lighter than 10.9lbs.

boom
boom
6 years ago

Meh, looks like they are trying to play catchup with Trek’s Emonda and fell short in terms of weight and looks. Sorry Fuji, but there’s too much good competition out there already.

Colin
Colin
6 years ago

#takethattrek

JBikes
JBikes
6 years ago

Trey, just curious, are the cross-sections shown a comparison between their previous molding process vs the new High Compaction Molding process (the later being on the right)?
Thanks

JBikes
JBikes
6 years ago

boom, yeah that 5 gram difference between the Fuji and Trek frame should be the deciding factor.
And your last sentence is strange as its an effective oxymoron – your claim their is too much good competition while stating Fuji shouldn’t also compete. You do realize if companies like Fuji didn’t compete (both in terms of performance, feel, aesthetics and price), there wouldn’t be “good competition out there”

Colin
Colin
6 years ago

don’t forget, the trek is 15 grand, people always seem to forget that one.

plif
plif
6 years ago

– In fairness, nowhere in this article does it state the cost of this bike.

bc
bc
6 years ago

The dentist in the cover photo is making me uncomfortable.

Chris L
Chris L
6 years ago

@Zuhair: They build the bikes to sell them. What you seem to forget is that anyone who has to worry about UCI weight limits doesn’t actually buy their own bikes. I guarantee you anyone buying one of these will almost certainly never race it! This is true of most racing bikes. The number of $5000+ bikes sold in the U.S. vastly outnumbers the number of people who actually hold a racing license. Cycling is somewhat rare in that it’s one of the few equipment driven sports where the average person can afford the same gear as the pros. Can’t say that about motor sports, sailing, etc. Of course anyone who thinks dropping 2-4 pounds off their bike is going to make them noticeably faster is fooling themselves but so what? Bikes are fun and at the end of the day that’s really all that matters.

boom
boom
6 years ago

@JBikes and Colin: Actually, you both seem to forget that the Emonda is more than just a few models. Yes, the 10.2lb version is $15k, but how about the full mechanical DA model that is 13.7lbs and $7.5k (compares to Fuji’s 14.3lb DA Di2 one). Or their 17.5lb 105 bike for $2.5k. Or their $1500 carbon bike with a FULL Tiagra gruppo? My point is that if Fuji wants to actually compete, they need to step up their game. At least in weight, spec, and looks.

Fiddee
Fiddee
6 years ago

@bc, dentist? Pretty sure he’s an engineer with a bike addiction.

JBikes
JBikes
6 years ago

boom,
the only thing one can compare at this time is frame/fork weight. Assuming they are the same size, there is a 18 gram difference in frame+fork weight between the Emonde and SL. So assuming the same components used, that 18 gram difference will remain regardless.
We have yet to see prices and full component specs for the new SL models unless you have sources I don’t. If you do, please share, I am sure myself and others would be interested.

WannaBeSTi
WannaBeSTi
6 years ago

After looking at Fuji oh-16 price sheet, I would think that the SL 1.1 (I think that is the SRAM model) will be $10k. The SL 1.3 (D/A Di2) is $6320 while the Emonda SLR9 $11,500!

JBikes
JBikes
6 years ago

Road bike OEM’s: Top line framesets with Ultegra (or equiv) groups please.

Mike
Mike
6 years ago

SL 1.1 – Red22 – $9,999
SL 1.5 – Dura Ace Mech – $4,740

Can someone please explain to me how on earth the Red22 is $4,200 more than Dura Ace? And why anyone wouldn’t just buy the frameset for $1,900, build the Red22 bike for another $4,000 or so and pocket the remaining $4,000? I see nothing in the pictures for which MSRP add up to $10k. I mean even the eecycleworks brakes are only (ha!) $600. I have money to burn, but holy heck, that price makes no sense.

This is my same issue with the Emonda SLR. The MSRP on the parts does not come close to the full bike… so confusing…

WannaBeSTi
WannaBeSTi
6 years ago

Mike, the SL 1.1 also has Reynolds RZR wheels, which are really expensive.

Sickboy
Sickboy
6 years ago

Those wheels are $4500 Brah.

ascar larkinyar
ascar larkinyar
6 years ago

what no disk brakes…..lol

Mike
Mike
6 years ago

@WannaBeSTi and @Sickboy

Alright, now we’re up to $6,400. So, what, $600 for brakes? That’s $7,000. Red22 components, what, $1000 to $1,200, maybe. So, a handlebar, stem, seatpost and saddle for another $1,800-$2,000? That’s all well over full MSRP.

Bikes are not cars… the labor involved in assembling the parts is pretty minimal. I could literally pay someone $100 an hour to buy all the parts (which are pretty well just stock, off the shelf parts) at full MSRP and assemble the bike for me for less than MSRP on the full bike. That makes no sense at all, $4,500 wheels or not.

But anyway, god bless the fools who pay it. Someone’s gotta pay for the R&D for the rest of us.

bazookasean
bazookasean
6 years ago

You can true the Trek’s wheels. And it’s made in the USA.

Meszaros
Meszaros
6 years ago

If you’re comparing the Emonda to the SL, then you have to take in account the Trek using ISM and topper to complete the bike. So the Trek is going to a bit lighter overall with the carbon clamped topper and titanium hardware. Trek also has a slighter lighter fork and also uses two different rake angles across the size ranges. So yes, the Trek will be lighter.

The Trek also have direct mount brakes, which have been noted for better stopping power. I guess Fuji didn’t have the room on the rear stays to do them since they seem to have done so with the Transonic. The feedback on that bike was the DM brakes were fantastic.

Trek is using their BB90 standard and Fuji with BB30. Bit of trade on this one as Trek has more room at the shell and can often improve BB stiffness. The Fuji can accept cranks that have an overall higher stiffness on the axle with better L/R balance. The Trek also uses longer chain stays, which might have been to add a tiny bit of stability to a very aggressive geometry. The Fuji seems to use some really thin seat stays, so vertical compliance might be better. The Emonda has sometimes been criticized as not being gental to the rider, but its an all out race bike so no apologizes needed. You would need to use a BB30 crankset to gain its advantage, so there is that to consider.

Trek has better finishing kit in general. Both are long and low, but the Trek is tiny bit more so optimized across the sizes and is even a bit lower and longer than the Fuji. This mainly compared by the the H1 fit as the H2 is closer to and endurance geo.

Overall, the Emonda might wring out every last bit of performance potential, but the Fuji would be more livable for most mere mortals. Honestly, its a very nice option, but the top end model is pointless showboating. The other models are a pretty good option for someone looking for what looks to be a solid climber at a reasonable price. It might be a smidgen below the best road bikes out there, but so is the general asking price. I’d certainly be curios to know how it rides and it does appear to be their best bike to date.

bielas
bielas
6 years ago

What is that story about fork off-sets? That is nothing new or innovative from this bike! Most bikes, if not all, have different fork off-sets for the smallest sizes (48-50-52 or 49-51 whatever that brand is doing). The main reason is toe overlap, in the small sized frames the wheels get too close together and a “trick” to avoid toe overlap (and pass the norms) is to have a bigger off-set. Just check any geometry chart of any Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Cervelo, etc.

Meszaros
Meszaros
6 years ago

@bielas

Neither the Tarmac, Supersix, Roubaix, or Synapse have differing fork rakes across all sizes.

Ditto
Ditto
6 years ago

All I read for the last 10 minutes can be paraphrased as follows:
1. Whinge, Whinge, I don’t like Fuji.
2. Whinge, Whinge, Trek is Better than Fuji.
3. Fuji performs well at a nice price.
4. Whinge, Whinge, Trek does things better, Nothing new here.
5. #3, you don’t know anything, I know more.
6. I’m a mechanic, you should listen to me.
7. Everything has been done before, so outdated.
8. Dear #7, you are incorrect my fine sir.

Can’t anyone just say: ‘Wow This bike sounds interesting. I’d like to try riding one before making any comment’

Ditto 2
Ditto 2
6 years ago

Wow, this bike sounds interesting. I’d like to try riding one before making any comment.

Mr645
Mr645
6 years ago

SL 1.1 – Red22 – $9,999
SL 1.5 – Dura Ace Mech – $4,740
Can someone please explain to me how on earth the Red22 is $4,200 more than Dura Ace? And why anyone wouldn’t just buy the frameset for $1,900, build the Red22 bike for another $4,000 or so and pocket the remaining $4,000?

The Red 22 model comes with Reynolds RZR45 tubular wheels, 900g $4500 wheels

Sickboy
Sickboy
6 years ago

@Mr645, that was covered in the comments already. $600 brakes and $4500 wheels take it past that so its practically a bargain!

zaky
zaky
6 years ago

Hi… i would like to know.. is there any difference in the frameset used in the 1.1 model compared to the 1.5??

As in the carbon use or the weight?

Anyone able to advise?

Thanks..