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Fuji Supreme 1.1 review

4 Feb 2021
Verdict:

The Supreme 1.1 is Fuji's fastest-ever road bike, and it's just for women. Photography: Mike Massaro

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Fast, and not just for a women's bike • No patronisingly feminine design touches • Bespoke geometry for different sizes
Against 
Heavier than some rivals

In 2015, in the halcyon days before Trump and Brexit, I reviewed the Fuji Supreme 2.1. At the time, it was the second-best bike in the company’s Supreme range, and – purple butterfly paintjob notwithstanding – it was an impressive women’s race bike at a reasonable price of £1,800.

But in bike years 2015 is eons ago, and the four new bikes in the Supreme range feel like they are from another planet (and another price point). Such is the pace of change in cycling these days. At the top of the family tree is the Supreme 1.1.

It took two years to develop, and Fuji claims it’s the company’s fastest women’s bike yet – indeed, its fastest road bike, full stop.

Compared to those old bikes it is indeed a true transformation. The new frame has dropped seatstays, truncated kamm-tail aero tube profiles, sharp angles wherever you look, and the geometry has been radically overhauled.

The components have been up-scaled too. Sram’s Red eTap HRD is the kind of top-spec groupset that rarely gets an airing on women-specific bikes, and the Oval Concepts 950 Disc 50mm carbon wheels with Vittoria Corsa G+ tyres are equally mouth-watering.

What’s more, the purple butterflies have gone. Whether that means Fuji has bought into post-feminist theory is anyone’s guess, but the 1.1 now features a sporty-looking raw carbon frame with just enough gold trim to turn the eye of a Hatton Garden jewellery thief.

The result of this makeover is a formidable aero race bike that, when compared to the previous top-of-the-range Supreme, is ‘three minutes and 23 seconds faster and requires 14 watts less to maintain the same speed’, according to Fuji (based on a 56kg rider travelling at 40kmh for 40km).

Compared to Fuji’s men’s aero Transonic, the Supreme is allegedly 1min 19sec faster, which means this women’s bike is faster than its male equivalent. Radical, yes. And about time too. 

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Faster than fast

Fuji started its overhaul of the Supreme with the geometry. At a time when some brands are ditching women-specific geometries, Fuji has stuck to its guns and focussed on creating a performance bike designed specifically for women.

Informed by fit data collected over three decades, the Supreme offers ‘female-specific geometry with slightly shorter top tubes and slightly taller head tubes compared to our other competition platforms’, says Steven Fairchild, Fuji’s global product manager.

Crucially, as per any serious race bike, the geometry has been designed around each size, as opposed to ‘simply taking one geometry and enlarging or shrinking it’, a common complaint made about many women’s road bikes, which historically have been based on shrunken down men’s frames.

As well as incorporating light and stiff ultra-high modulus carbon fibres, each frame is laid up differently in the mould depending on frame size (unlike many brands, which develop one frame and use the same layup schedule for all sizes). This, says Fuji, ensures performance is proportional throughout the size range.

An XXS, for example, has deliberately less stiff tubes than a size medium to offset the fact that the smaller triangles of smaller frames make for stiffer bikes. 

Everything about the new Supreme is built purely for speed. ‘The previous version was introduced in 2010 before the wide adoption of aero properties and the realisation of how this can benefit the competitor,’ says Fairchild.

Buy the Fuji Supreme 1.1 now

The airfoil tube shapes not only significantly reduce drag compared to previous models, but also help lateral stiffness as well, albeit with a slight weight penalty.

At 900g the frame is no porker, but it falls short of the super-light frame weights of the latest disc frames from the likes of Trek and Specialized. That said, the total weight of 7.46kg is still pretty good for an aero disc brake bike.

When a bike is nicknamed ‘Speed Queen’ it’s unlikely to perform like a tractor. But to confirm its claims, I decided to start by pointing it downhill. I feel that descending on a bike is a surefire way to get an idea of how it will perform overall, so, aiming it nose-first down a 15% hill, I set out to see if this queen really has regal qualities.

Feels like a winner

What struck me immediately was the grip. Through corners the Supreme felt planted, sure-footed and confident even at top speed. What’s more, it has a stiffness around the head tube that offers quick, responsive steering without the twitchiness you might find on some race-focussed bikes.

Based on previous experience of aggressive race bikes, I presumed the Supreme might lack compliance and compassion. I was wrong. I was expecting a teeth-chattering ride but instead I got a remarkably comfortable one.

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Although it’s not as forgiving as Specialized’s S-Works Tarmac or Liv’s Envie Advanced Pro, the seatpost and carbon layup of the Supreme 1.1 did a sufficient job of absorbing the lumps and bumps that are part of any ride on British roads.

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On the flat the Supreme was fast – faster than any bike I’ve ridden for some time. In fact, it was so fast that I got a touch over-excited and tried to recreate the kind of pace I used to put out before my children started doing sport themselves and their schedule got in the way of riding a bike. I succeeded, only for a few minutes, but it was a gas.

Instead of the integrated aero cockpit found on some aero bikes, the Supreme 1.1 has a traditional stem and round-tubed handlebar. It may seem like an oversight, but for those of us with small hands, it’s welcome, as is the ease of adjustability.

The semi-compact 52/36t chainset, paired with an 11-28t cassette, offers all the gears I could want, and Sram Red eTap’s electronic shifting is slick, if perhaps not as quick as some other systems.

For me, the Sram HRD disc brakes proved to be something of a shock. I found the levers to be super-responsive and anything other than the lightest touch resulted in a rather abrupt stop. However, it didn’t take me too long to get the feel of them.

Ultimately, the Fuji Supreme 1.1 is as fast and able as many top-end bikes out there, but the really exciting thing is that Fuji has dared do things differently, and the result is a game-changer that puts women centre stage.

Spec

Fuji Supreme 1.1
Frame Fuji Supreme 1.1
Groupset Sram Red eTap
Bars Oval Concepts 910SL Ergo
Stem Oval Concepts 777SL 
Seatpost Oval Concepts aero carbon
Saddle Oval Concepts 751W Women's 
Wheels Oval Concepts 950 Disc
Weight 7.46kg
Contact fujibikes.com

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Price: 
£6,999.99

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