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Fuji named its Gran Fondo 1.1 bike quite literally. Yes, it has the upright fit and comfort features common on endurance road bikes. It is also stiff under power and handles with the quickness of a race bike — good for when that fondo gets spirited on a timed segment.
To begin with, the Gran Fondo has a number of features to smooth out rough roads. Fuji says its “VRTech” polyurethane-treated carbon fiber layup reduces road vibration by about 25 percent. The seat stays also have a kink to add a bit of vertical flex.
Is it a smooth-riding bike? Sure. But part of that might also be attributed to the 30mm Vittoria Rubino tires, which, by the way, are a terrific way to increase any disc-brake endurance bike’s capabilities.
These compliance features are mated with a chunky, stiff BB30 bottom bracket shell and an equally stout front end. Among endurance bikes, the 73-degree head tube angle is quite steep. The 58.7-millimeter trail figure also hews pretty close to traditional road bike geometry.
Fortunately, the geometry didn’t sacrifice stability. In fact, we enjoyed how this Fuji was a bit zippier than some endurance bikes that have slower, more muted steering. But if you expect relaxed handling, this bike might not be for you.
To match the more traditional geometry, Fuji opted for a cable-actuated Dura-Ace drivetrain. This kit is becoming increasingly rare with the proliferation of electronic shifting. Shimano’s made a lot of improvements in this latest generation — shift lever action is shorter, the hoods are much more comfortable — but still, electronic offers the best pure performance.
Fuji should get some credit, though, for opting to bring down the Gran Fondo’s price with the mechanical shifting. Plus, the generous gearing of a 11-30T cassette and 50/34T chainrings is ideal for a bike in this category.
While the shifting might feel a bit old-fashioned, the Dura-Ace hydraulic disc brakes are space age. The nearly solid Ice-Tech rotors are meant to help cool the brakes on long descents.
Beyond the drivetrain, the Gran Fondo has Oval components for the cockpit and carbon fiber wheels. All of these parts were perfectly functional but didn’t stand out as marquee parts in the overall build.
Given its geometry, Fuji’s Gran Fondo 1.1 is a bit of an outlier in the endurance category. However, with components that are good for the long haul, nice, wide tires, and a few touches to smooth out rough roads, it’s a good choice for any long day in the saddle — regardless of whether you’re tying a fondo number to your bars.
We hope you enjoyed this online gear selection. For the complete VeloNews Buyer’s Guide, which is only available in the magazine, subscribe to VeloNews, visit your local newsstand, or buy the single issue.